In the lead up to Harmony Day meet some of the families who make up our culturally diverse community

HARMONY: Josie and Sandy Zarantonello. Photo: Emma Zirkel.
HARMONY: Josie and Sandy Zarantonello. Photo: Emma Zirkel.

In 1956 a 20 year-old Sandy Zarantonello made the almost three week voyage by boat from Italy to Australia. 

With his cousin to act as guarantor and help him find a job Mr Zarantonello secured work as a plasterer upon his arrival before he began a job as a cabinet maker, the trade in which he originally worked in Italy.

Aided only by a dictionary as a communication guide Mr Zarantonello said he interacted mostly with Australians which helped him grasp the English language.

Meanwhile, a young Josie worked in a delicatessen, which she ran along with her younger sister. 

At the suggestion of a friend Mr Zarantonello visited the delicatessen, bought a fanta and invited Josie on a date.

The pair spoke of the many opportunities available in Australia.

“I’m pleased I came to Australia, it’s a beautiful country,” Mr Zarantonello said.

“If you work hard, it will reward you for it.

“When I went back to Italy for the first time after I was married everyone there told my I should come back, but I couldn’t imagine leaving Australia.

“I love to go back to visit but we love it here.”