LaRocca fam­ily mile­stone

An­gelo looks back on 100 years of fam­ily and tra­di­tion in Aus­tralia

Isis Town and Country - - Life - By JODIE DIXON

THIS year marks a cen­tury in Aus­tralia for the LaRocca fam­ily.

In 1915 Billy Hughes be­came Aus­tralia’s sev­enth prime min­is­ter, the pop­u­la­tion was a measly 4.9 mil­lion peo­ple and it was the be­gin­ning of the An­zac leg­end.

Early last year, the Giuseppe LaRocca story was told.

He was a strik­ingly hand­some 23-year-old with ideas of a bet­ter life.

His par­ents, Rosario La Rocca and Se­bas­tiana Leotta, de­cided to move their en­tire fam­ily to Aus­tralia.

It was 1915, Italy was over-pop­u­lated, poor and a dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake had de­stroyed much of the coun­try and killed thou­sands.

Rosario had dreams and ideas for a bet­ter life and es­tab­lish­ing a brighter fu­ture for his fam­ily.

The LaRocca fam­ily gath­ered their most trea­sured pos­ses­sions and set sail for Aus­tralia.

The fam­ily of eight left ev­ery­thing and ev­ery­one for a strange and for­eign land.

Fast for­ward 100 years and the com­mu­nity of Childers is still ben­e­fit­ting from the LaRocca fam­ily’s hard work.

The es­tab­lished farm­ers con­tinue the fam­ily tra­di­tion of grow­ing sugar cane.

Septem­ber 23, 2015 marked the 100th an­niver­sary for the LaRocca fam­ily in Aus­tralia.

The fam­ily has branched out over the years, with many set­tling in North Queens­land.

Grand­son of Rosario, An­gelino (An­gelo) La Rocca said it was great to be able to celebrate a fam­ily mile­stone.

“It was dis­ap­point­ing we didn’t have more of our fam­ily here with us, but I know they are cel­e­brat­ing up north,” he said.

The fam­ily gath­ered at the Childers Isis Club, which has the nec­es­sary room for an Ital­ian fam­ily to celebrate.

It was never an easy life for the LaRocca fam­ily and they worked tire­lessly to im­prove their cir­cum­stances.

Rosario never learnt to speak English, his chil­dren were il­lit­er­ate and they strug­gled with learn­ing the lan­guage.

The signs of a hard worker have been en­graved in the hands of An­gelo, his tough-as-leather hands and

An­gelino (An­gelo) La Rocca I have never been afraid of hard work, I was raised with strong ethics and old­fash­ioned val­ues.

dirt-stained nails tes­ta­ment to many years of man­ual labour.

“I have never been afraid of hard work, I was raised with strong ethics and old-fash­ioned val­ues,” he said.

He proudly talks about his four chil­dren and is grate­ful for hav­ing a sup­port­ive wife.

“My kids make me proud ev­ery day.

“We are lucky to be ed­u­cated and all my chil­dren are do­ing re­ally well,” he said.

An­gelo mar­ried Dorelle Nord in 1972 and to­gether they have raised four chil­dren.

As An­gelo flicks through fam­ily trea­sures he stops and looks at a photo of his mother, a stun­ning young woman with her hus­band and two sons.

He has a look in his eye that says he is think­ing about years gone by.

“Wasn’t my mum beau­ti­ful?” An­gelo laughs at a pic­ture of him­self try­ing to fig­ure out how old he was in the photo; his best guess was about eight years old.

An­gelo spent his child­hood on the farm and was never bored.

He and his older brother Giuseppe (Joe) were close and spent many hours to­gether.

“Our fa­ther al­ways had chores for us to do,” he said, and added they never had time to be bored.

The LaRocca fam­ily tree con­tin­ues to flour­ish, from the eight mem­bers who took their first ten­ta­tive steps on Aus­tralian soil in 1915 and never looked back.

“As I get older I rem­i­nis­cence more and more about the past and I hope our fam­ily tra­di­tions live on well af­ter I am gone,” he said.

“I am proud to be here and cel­e­brat­ing 100 years in the best coun­try in the world,” he said.

PHOTO: ZACH HOGG BUN011113FAM1

FARM­ING GEN­ER­A­TIONS: Joe LaRocco, An­gelo and Dorelle LaRocca, (An­gelo's son) An­thony, (An­thony’s son) Ni­cholas and An­thony's part­ner Sharon Paar­man are cel­e­brat­ing 100 years of the LaRocco fam­ily in Aus­tralia.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

FAM­ILY PHOTO: Proud par­ents Al­fia and Giuseppe LaRocca with sons Joe and a very young An­gelo.

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