Lo­cal char­ac­ters and lar­rikins

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - Greig John­ston

YOU don't have to speak to Vince Gar­reffa for long be­fore his love for Perth shines through.

The 65-year-old mas­ter­mind be­hind Mondo Meats in In­gle­wood and Os­borne Park came to Aus­tralia from Italy as a five-year-old in 1956.

His fa­ther had set off four years be­fore, work­ing in Syd­ney, Melbourne and Ade­laide be­fore set­tling on Perth and send­ing for his wife and son.

Vince said his fa­ther brought them to par­adise and he's never for­got­ten the gift.

“This city has looked af­ter me all those years,” he said.

“When I think about North­bridge, I started at 14 in the butcher's shop with Frank Torre and Sons in Lake Street. I fell in love with all the mixed com­mu­ni­ties, ev­ery race that you could think of.

“This city has grown around me and be­come a city of the world.”

Vince also cred­its his par­ents with his work ethic.

“Mum and dad are gone now but when they came to this coun­try they were stone broke,” he said.

“The only thing they re­ally had was an empty suit­case to make it look like we had pos­ses­sions.”

As a re­sult, he's been work­ing since the age of nine, when he started sell­ing news­pa­pers with his broth­ers.

Now a typ­i­cal day be­gins at 5am with the chirp of his mobile phone, sort­ing out staffing for his re­tail and whole­sale busi­nesses.

“My day seems to plough along: I an­swer heaps of emails, heaps of text mes­sages and do lots of quotes for peo­ple who are having par­ties,” he said.

“Some­times we might find time for a bite of lunch, other times we just build up an ap­petite for din­ner.”

And the hard work doesn't stop at home time, with Vince be­com­ing a devo­tee of Cross­fit a cou­ple of nights a week.

As part of our #SnapPerth cam­paign, we asked Vince what he thought was the most pho­to­genic part of Perth. He opted for El­iz­a­beth Quay and the Bell Tower, but said he much pre­ferred look­ing at the city's rich his­tory.

“In my heart, the ones that I get the most plea­sure from are look­ing at old photos of some­one's busi­ness in the ’60s and ’70s,” he said. “When I look at a pic­ture of an old build­ing, I see a lot of sto­ries.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d460014

Vince Gar­reffa reck­ons this city has been good to him.

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