LaRocca family milestone
Angelo looks back on 100 years of family and tradition in Australia
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.
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.
FAMILY PHOTO: Proud parents Alfia and Giuseppe LaRocca with sons Joe and a very young Angelo.