This path-breaking study explores the experience of Italian migrants to Australia between 1860 and 1962.
Jackie Templeton employs the letters exchanged between Valtellinese migrants and their families to trace the extraordinary story of these sojourners who came from the mountains to the bush.
Complemented by fascinating family and social histories, 124 letters are reproduced in full.
Italian migrants did vital work and enriched their communities of adoption from the mining camps of Western Australia to the canefields of north Queensland.
Many became permanent migrants who inevitably had to ask themselves: ‘Where is home?’
Letters were the means by which, during long absences, they attempted to maintain contact with their parents, siblings, wives and children, and to preserve some sense of continuity and stability.
Today their letters allow us to peer behind the ‘salt-water curtain’ and understand both sides of the migration story.
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