Almost 40 years ago, on the 22nd of November 1982, after numerous years of planning and many, many months of hard work and dedication, workers and volunteers laid down their tools and inaugurated ANFE House – the first Italian club in the Fortitude Valley/Newstead area, and headquarters of the National Association of Migrant Families also known as ANFE.
It was a joyous occasion and it marked the beginning of a new era for this well-known and active association. In the 80’s, ANFE House, which is situated at 10 Wyandra Street, Newstead, became the hub for many social and cultural activities and every week, hundreds of people poured through the club house to enjoy a traditional plate of pasta or a “stecca al piatto” (steak on a plate) as it affectionately became known, which had been prepared by the volunteer ladies of the ANFE committee.
Today ANFE House, which has been re-branded to ANFE ITALIAN CLUB, continues to be a very popular haunt for both locals and visitors to the area and has introduced an authentic Italian Restaurant within it’s premises where a team of very talented chefs from Italy will tantalise your tastebuds with their genuine authentic recipes direct from the kitchens in Italy.
Maria Maruca's father Carmelo Caruso founded ANFE Brisbane in 1962 on request of the Italian Government.
From her childhood, Maria has always been involved in the Italian Community and in the later years, focussed on youth affairs.
Maria was only 10 days old when she attended her first ANFE Function with her parents. She grew up within the Association and has been involved in many aspects of ANFE, in particular the founding of ANFE Giovani (Youth) in the 1980's & 90's, the ANFE Borsa di Studio (Scholarship program 1998-2005), Co-ordinator of the ANFE 40th & 50th Anniversary Celebrations (2002 & 2012) and has represented ANFE at the Worldwide Conference in Rome in 2013. Maria was elected Treasurer of ANFE in 2011 and was then elected President in 2014, a role she carries out with the same passion as her father.
Maria's vision for ANFE is to ensure that the Association will continue into the future and that the community has a place where they can feel at home.
Allegra Boccabella's Nonno, Annibale Boccabella was president of the ANFE Brisbane for many years until his passing in 2006. A New Farm local, Allegra went to Holy Spirit New Farm and All Hallows' School. Allegra completed the StuditaliA exchange prize in 2007 in Cividale del Friuli. Like many members of the committee, Allegra was involved in the ANFE from a very young age. She has fond memories of dancing at dinner dances and following around her Nonni whilst they set up for various events. As a teenager she would volunteer at Dinner dances. Allegra is proud to continue to celebrate her Italian origin through cooking, film and the Italian language. Allegra is honoured to follow in the footsteps of her Nonno by being on the ANFE Committee, along with her father Lorenzo. 'Nonno and I would call ourselves the two ABs; afficionados at making pink lemonade and an unbeatable scopa duo. There's not a day that I don't miss my wonderful Nonni, and I'm so grateful to have ANFE to continue my connection to them and our community.'
Concezio Ottobrandi is considered one of the pillars of the ANFE Association and is heavily involved in the running of the day-to-day operations.
Concezio joined the ANFE Committee many years ago in November 1972 and took on the role of Secretary, a position he has kept to this day making him the longest serving committee member in the history of ANFE.
He was part of the committee which worked very hard in the 1980's to raise funds for the construction of ANFE Italian Club house in Wyandra Street and continues to work tirelessly to ensure ANFE continues to operate for future generations to enjoy.
"Con" - as he is affectionately known - used to live in Wyandra Street when he first arrived in Brisbane and found work down the road at MacTaggarts tannery. He has plenty of stories to tell about the area, the history of ANFE and enjoys chatting to everyone when they visit the club.
Born in Ascoli Piceno, Le Marche, Italy, Teresa migrated to Australia with her parents as a child in 1960 at the age of eight. Teresa's father inspired her appreciation and love of Italy, it's history and culture, a passion she still carries today. Both of Teresa's parents were long-standing members of the ANFE Committee for many years. After retiring from work, Teresa helped out as a volunteer on a monthly basis in the kitchen for the traditional Social Sundays. In 2013, Teresa officially joined the committee. In 2015, Teresa took on the position of Public Relations, a role which she still enjoys immensely today. You will usually find Teresa greeting everyone at ANFE Front Desk.
Gino Toscano was born & raised in Brisbane. He attended Holy Rosary Primary School in Windsor and then St James Christian Brothers College in Spring Hill. He has an Associate Diploma in Electrical Engineering and currently works as a Communications Technician for Telstra, a job he has held since 1986.
Gino married his beautiful wife Bronwen in 2001 and they live in New Farm, not far from the ANFE Italian Club, a place they have been frequenting for quite a number of years.
"I am honoured to be part of the ANFE Committee and look forward in working closely with Maria to help make the club a success and establishing it as a great dining and entertainment venue for all ages whilst still keeping the traditions alive and honouring the great many people who have made the club what it is today".