• Photograph 7495335
  • Photograph 7495349

Mario Cerasani was born on 9 June 1930 in San Benedetto dei Marsi in the Abruzzo region of Italy. The fourth of six children, Mario emigrated to Australia in 1956 at the age of 26 as an Australian Government-assisted migrant. Following the war, the prospect of finding work and making a living in Italy were extremely poor. Australia provided the hope of earning enough money to one day return home and start a life back in Italy. He left Italy from the port of Genoa and with suitcase in hand travelled to Australia aboard the “Neptunia”, arriving in Melbourne via Fremantle after a long voyage. Mario possessed no specific work skills - he was a labourer - and he did not speak English. He travelled to Australia alone and did not really know what to expect once he arrived. Shortly after arriving in Australia, he was transferred to the migrant camp at Bonegilla on the NSW-Victoria border. Soon after he was assigned work with the Tasmanian Hydro Electric Commission. Whilst working on the Tasmanian Hydro Electric Scheme he lived in the township of Wayatinah along with many other migrant workers in a camp specifically provided for the workers. His job was to drill the holes for the giant pipes that form part of the Scheme, near Tarraleah. When this work ended, Mario found work for a short time picking apples in the Huon Valley before also travelling to far north Queensland to earn a wage cutting sugar cane. He eventually found more permanent work with the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Commission. In 1961 he returned to Italy but only stayed for a short while – a matter of months – as he still could not find work. He returned to Australia and not long after his arrival he found permanent employment at the Port Kembla steelworks, near Wollongong, where he finally settled and would live out the rest of his life in Australia. Mario Cerasani passed away in 1997 at the age of 67. He left behind his wife of 35 years, Loreta, and three sons - Giulio, Sergio and Mauro.

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