Domenico and Anna Sergi
Domenico Sergi was born in Plati Reggio Calabria Italy on April 27, 1921 and married Anna Sergi 'the love of his life' on January 21, 1944. Domenico was 22 and Anna was 18.
They started a family quickly, and Antonio (Tony) was born in September 1944, followed by Pasquale (Pat) in January 1946. Domenico travelled to Argentina to work in an aluminum factory and was gone for 3 years. When he left, Anna was expecting their third child and Giuseppe (Joe) was born in February 1948. Santa was born in December 1951, followed by Elizabeth (Lisa) in March 1953, then Maria (Mary) in September 1954.
In 1955, when Mary was only 9 months old, the family left Italy for Australia on the TN Sydney. Domenico and Anna wanted to make a better life for their children. The journey took 30 days and they arrived at Circular Quay on July 9.
Arriving in Griffith, they stayed with family until they could purchase a 2 bedroom house in Tharbogang. The family continued to grow and Anne was born in January 1957, Domenico (Domenic) in February 1958 and Francesco (Frank) in May 1958. Giovanni (John) arrived in December 1959.
Domenico worked at the rice mill working day and night shifts with only a push bike for transport. He would often have to ride in the middle of the night with only the lines on the road to guide him on the 8 km journey and Anna was always waiting for him to make sure he arrived home safely. The days he was not working at the mill, he spent his time working on the farms.
After 4 years in Tharbogang, he purchased a home on what was then Middle Road (now Sidlow Road). There was 12 people in the family by that stage and no running water. We can all remember taking water from the canal so we could bathe and wash our clothes. We had a friend living nearby who would give us big pots of rainwater to drink and cook with. Domenico left no stone unturned and contacted the water commission, council and the engineers to see what could be done to access water on the property. Someone said to him 'they are not going to change the law for you' but he kept persisting and a man from the water commission visited the property and saw for himself the family needed running water. And with that, we had water!
In 1977 Domenico was awarded Citizen of the Year in the Australia Day celebrations for assisting charities and raising thousands of dollars.
Anna and Domenico celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on January 21, 2004. Sadly, Anna passed away in June that year, at the age of 78.
Domenico lives in Griffith now and enjoys meeting family and friends for coffee, 6 days a week at precisely 10am.
- Santa Portolesi (Sergi)