ANFE is an acronym for “Associazione Nazionale Famiglie Emigrati” which means National Association of Migrant Families and was founded in Brisbane in 1962 by Comm. Carmelo Caruso by request of the Italian Government.
It is a “not for profit” organisation and a moral entity which was founded in Italy in 1947 by the Hon. Maria Federici and which was formally recognised by the Italian Government by decree of the President of the Italian Republic in 1968.
The original aim of the association was to assist the migrant and their families which were sometimes left back home when the breadwinner (usually the husband or father) migrated to another country. All representatives worked on a voluntary basis. Through these, ANFE provided assistance to the entire family nucleus exposed to the hardships of migration.
With the change in society, ANFE’s aim has now evolved and its primary objective is the safeguarding of its original cultural heritage by preserving its history and traditions. It also offers interaction amongst others with the same cultural interest and where necessary, provides social welfare and assistance.
ANFE avails itself of an organised and structured network, constituted by Regional, Provincial and communal branches in Italy as well as branches in European and non-European countries. In Italy. ANFE has eleven regional delegations, forty provincial branches, and numerous communal delegations (mainly present in southern Italy). Around the world, ANFE has approx. 74 representations in countries like Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, Holland, Luxembourg, England, Scotland, Tunisia, USA, Canada, Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela and of course, Australia where we currently have five representations (Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Fremantle). The National Delegate for ANFE Australia is Comm. Carmelo Caruso O.A.M.
The Brisbane ANFE branch is located at 10 Wyandra Street, Newstead and has always had an extremely strong following from not only the Italian migrants, but also from the local community as well. The branch provides both social and recreational activities, especially for the older generation which travel from afar to attend their social Sunday afternoons.
HOW IT STARTED
ANFE was fortunate enough to have always had a very hard-working committee. It’s first Committee was formed on 15th of March 1962 and was composed as follows:
PRESIDENT: Carmelo Caruso; VICE PRESIDENT: Gina De Martini; TREASURER: Mariano Regano; PUBLIC RELATIONS: Vera Frola; Committee Members: Cristina Ridolfi, Vilma Frola, Giovanni Dettorre, Ursula Castellano, Maria Guarrera, Aniello Rizzo, Elida Pierini, Filippo Mangano, Eddy Krieger, Maria Pizzica, Dolores De Mattia, Angelina Masci, Giovanni Sassu and Emilia Regano.
HONORARY PRESIDENT: Dr Francesco Castellano
It’s core voluntary work was to assist the new migrants with the completion of migration documentation, interpreting and translating, recognition of professional qualifications and of course the organisation of socio-cultural activities to help the new arrivals integrate into the local society.
After forming a committee, and seeing that nor the Italian or Australian Government was able to provide funding, it was necessary to find funds to carry out some of the services for the migrants that ANFE was providing. Besides traditional forms of fundraising, ANFE decided to form an Association recognised by the Australian authorities with members and therefore adopted a local constitution based on the model of the ANFE Constitution from Rome. It was modelled with the help of the then State Member of Parliament, the Hon. Samuel Ramsden. So in 1963, the ANFE Association was formally launched and after a year of membership subscriptions, the first Annual General Meeting of the Association was held on the 28th of January 1964 at Carrington Lounge, in Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley.
During this meeting, the current President and Founder, Carmelo Caruso, handed in his resignation and a newly-elected committee was formed as follows:
PRESIDENT: Vera Frola; VICE PRESIDENT: Joan Calvisi & Eddy Krieger (co-shared); TREASURER: Ralph De Pasquale; SECRETARY: Elida Pierini; DEPUTY SECRETARY: Emilia Regano; PUBLIC RELATIONS: Carmelo Caruso; COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Ursula Castellano, Maria Pizzica, Gina De Martini, Vilma Frola, Cristina Ridolfi, Mariano Regano, Aniello Rizzo, Franco Corallo.
The committee met at Carrington Lounge every first Tuesday of the month.
In 1966, the committee attracted more and more members and at the AGM held on the 18th of February, a new committee was elected:
PRESIDENT: Cav. Lino Antonelli; VICE PRESIDENT: Italo Tomasin; SECRETARY: Nerina Gonfalonieri; DEPUTY SECRETARY; Deanna Gallina; TREASURER: Mariano Regano; DEPUTY TREASURER: Giovanni Ridolfi, PUBLIC RELATIONS: Carmelo Caruso; COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Orazio Scimone, Rocco Masci, Concetto Lo Giudice, Filippo Mangano, Emore Giaroli, Giovanni Sassu, Vilma Frola, Angelina Masci, Paolina Montagner.
The Associations voluntary work continued through the years and ANFE got more and more popular as the first port of call for all the Italian immigrants in Brisbane. Numerous social functions were also held in historical venues like Orana Hall, Cloudland Ballroom, Carrington Lounge, Buffalo Hall, and the Astor Cinema of New Farm, many of which no longer exist. Other activities organised by this committee included Flood & Earthquake Relief Appeals, Italian Language Scholarships, Coordination of the visit of Italian Sports Teams, eg. A.S. Roma (Rome Soccer Club), Concerts with Italian pop-stars like Mina & Peppino Di Capri, Card tournaments, Christmas Gift Giving Functions and of course, Charity Queen Pageants – all this to maintain the Association.
ANFE was also a pioneer of the travel industry for Tour Groups organising through the expertise of Carmelo Caruso’s “International Travel Agency” many groups of migrants who returned home for the first time after migrating to Australia. The first group travel to Italy in collaboration with Alitalia Airlines left Brisbane on the 15th of June 1965. This was followed by many more including one of the largest groups ever for that time of 57 people on the 12th of April 1966 which set a record for delaying the plane due to the huge number of relatives that had come to Brisbane airport to say farewell.
In 1967, ANFE started looking at the possibility of constructing their own premises and acquired a block of land in Cintra Road, Bowen Hills. Architect, John Curro (now with the Qld Youth Orchestra) designed plans for a building which would have included a large functions hall, a recreation room for Table Soccer & Card games, and a small Kindergarten. The committee worked hard to raise the necessary capital (approx. $140,000 was needed) but it was proving very difficult.
Over the years, the Committee of ANFE saw many members come and go but in November 1972, the Association took on a new direction with the election of a new committee determined to make this dream a reality.
The new committee was composed as follows:
PRESIDENT: Annibale Boccabella; VICE PRESIDENT: Luigi Pizzica, SECRETARY: Vilma Frola, TREASURER: Italo Tomasin; PUBLIC RELATIONS: George Cali; COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Francesco Mazzucca, Rocco Di Labio, Pacifico Petracci, Santino Di Luzio, Filippo Mangano, Filippo Arena, Giovanni Pennisi, Orazio Scimone, Filippo Ranieri, Giuseppe Nave, Alberto Di Vincenzo, Pantaleone Angelucci, Lino Miolo, Biagia Magno, Bruno Norbido.
It was also during this administration that ANFE decided to downsize their project to make it more accessible and therefore sold the block of land in Cintra Road and purchased the land at 10 Wyandra Street, Newstead to construct their new premises.
For over 30 years, ANFE spearheaded by iconic President and New Farm local, Mr Annibale Boccabella, and along with his ever-faithful committee – which includes some of todays Committee Members – worked hard every week, year after year on a voluntary basis, to organize events and fundraisers to pay off the loan that ANFE had taken out to construct their clubhouse to ensure that ANFE would still be standing today.
On the 22nd of November, 1981, ANFE House was officially opened by the then Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Ald. Frank Sleeman.