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Italian Immigration to Australia Essay

Pasta and pizza the two words are brought to mind when you think of Italy. The last thing that you think of is immigration. We see and hear about it nearly every day but it is usually Africa or Singapore. This essay will talk about the Immigration from Italy, Why they immigrated, how they got here, their roles when they got here, whether or not they were welcome, what they contributed to our society, what difficulties they faced, the process of getting here, how they were helped and what the status of immigration is like today.

Migration means moving from one place to another, the Italians have been migrating to Australia for over 200 years. This migration was at its peak during the years between 1876 and 1965. During this time period nearly 33 000 people emigrated. The bulk of this was during or after WWII. These Italians suffered much poverty and hardship especially in the southern country areas. In these areas the wealthy people owned large areas of land. They took no interest in anyone underneath them. Under these conditions many people wanted to leave Italy. As mentioned before the bulk of migration was post WWII, this saw many single men coming to Australia and then organising “Proxy” marriages, “proxy marriages” were a ceremony in which the groom was substituted, it often took place in the brides home country before she migrated to meet her real husband across the great divide.

Many reasons are given to why the Italians all decided to migrate in a rather small space of time, two of the more popular ones are the US’s restriction of access to Italians and the Australian Governments drive to increase their population. Both of these reasons are thought to be the major drives behind the migration sensation. By 1939 there were 38,000 people of Italian Origin in Australia and by 1971 when the rush of migration had slowed greatly there were over 660, 000 people of Italian descent in Australia. But how did they get there? There were no planes and most people were much too poor to get on a proper boat. There was also the prospect of getting to the port. Many people would travel days by cart, train, bus or boat. Their very few belongings fitted into a small, solid wooden trunk. It normally involved a good luck charm such as a rosary and some photographs of their loved ones. They then had to board a rickety and unsafe boat, the conditions were cramped, food was poor and the journey took its toll on the young and the sick. The boat was advertised to be 5 star and many Italians believed this.

Nowadays there are still many Italians entering our country, but there is now much more support of it. However there was some support, in 1881 politician Francesco Sceusa founded the Italian Benevolent Society. This society was committed to improving the living and working conditions of Italian immigrants, there was also the Camitato Assistenza Italani, the Associazione Nazionle Famigle Emigrati and the Federaziane Italiana Lavoratori Emigratie Famiglie. All of these were organised and set up by the Italian Government to better life in Australia for immigrants. These sorts of organisations are what I believe should be promoted and advertised more in the present day.

I am proposing that a special support system be put into place by the Australian Government in order to help any immigrant of Italian descent. This program will offer assistance with finding a job and semi-permanent to completely permanent accommodation, education assistance for children and help with any difficulties or conflicts in the world around them. Often people forget about the amount of Italian immigrants in Australia so the very first step towards a brighter future for Italian immigrants. The government invest millions of dollars every year into stopping asylum seekers, if a fraction of that could be put towards helping some of them the difficulties for people that will in the long term help our nation the amount of hatred and controversy over this sensitive topic will slowly lessen. There are many organisations already in the world that have begun to do this.

The Comitato Assistenza Italani still exists today and a youth worker Marco Zangiri claimed “they believe this is the new Eldorado, they still think they can come here and have a nice house at Bondi.” For Zangiri, he sees about 20 Italians, per day, all wanting advice about settling in Australia “we have lots of people with previous professions but when they get here it is harder to get a degree recognised.” These people need that helping hand to get a head start in the career industry; it’s hard enough for born and bred Australians to get a job, let alone a foreigner. Another support system which would greatly improve the quality of live for these immigrants is the ability to be taught the English language. All over the world language barriers are created and destroyed imagine if the barrier between immigrants and everyday Australians was slowly destroyed and these two different communities could evolve into a multi-cultural society much like Australia today. If these proposals are carried out we will be on our way to a better and safer community for Australians and others alike. Once we take the very first step, it will be smooth sailing in the future

In this essay I have discussed the history of Italian immigration such as why they immigrated, how they got here, what life was like in Australia, their jobs, hobbies, what they brought into Australia and much more. I also looked into the state of acceptance and agreeability within our nation, if the Italians where welcomed or shunned and some of the strategies being put into place by the government, both then and now, to aid these immigrants. Finally I discussed some options of which I believe the government should take in order to slowly better the quality of life in Australia, for all immigrants from around the world. These included the raising of awareness, the assistance with job and living arrangements and the ability to learn and speak English. All of these factors will contribute to the growth of awareness of these people in Australia. We are all the same, why should your country make a difference?


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