As the daughter of migrant parents Nella often felt "different and isolated from the other children at school".
Her strict father did not allow her to experience some of the advantages life in Australia had to offer so Nella was determined that her own daughter would have what she couldn't.
My father came to Australia from Sicily, Italy in 1952. He married my mother by proxy in 1955 and she arrived not long after.
Even though I was born in Australia in the late ‘50s, being in a family only speaking Italian it was difficult for me to understand English when I started school. After my first few days of school my parents were asked to come to school and speak to the teacher. Because mum didn’t speak any words of English dad came. He was asked why his daughter did not speak English.
Being the only child from a non-English speaking family made me feel different and isolated from the other children at school. However, as time went on I picked up the language and completed my school years. Dad’s parents arrived in Australia in 1963 and lived with us for a little while. In the same year dad bought our first TV, so I had windows into two different worlds.
Around the age of 10 years I was asked to go with my grandmother to the doctor to translate. To me it was boring sitting and waiting at the doctors rooms. I was often asked to go with family members to see doctors and specialists as I was the eldest and understood best. Sometimes I wonder if I said the proper thing in relation to their illness or, was it like a game of Chinese whispers. I was a child go-between in an adult world.
As my school years came to an end, in the country there were not many opportunities to continue studies. I worked in the local supermarket for a while.
In 1976 I met Dom Siciliano and in June 1977 we were married. I came to Cobram and worked with my husband. We have four children, three sons and one daughter. Our children grew up and completed their school studies locally. Our sons have stayed and worked on the family orchard. Our daughter said she would like to go to University. Her father said he would think about that. I said that my daughter was getting the opportunity I did not have and if she had the scores to enter University I would be happy for her to go. I thank God she was admitted to University and that her dad agreed.
Australia: per forza e per amore
Yeni Hayat = New life
New life new country
My Second Home
Dad, I made it!
Loving Lebanon and Australia
The spaces in between
Where do I belong?
Heart of Otara
The story of an immigrant filmmaker
A Fishy Problem
My Beautiful Schwesters
Story education resources
Education Museum Victoria: Drama and Cultural Diversity
These resources for Years 2 - 12 students focus on immigration and cultural diversity through drama based activities. School-based activities are provided for before or after an excursion to the Immigration Museum , or may be used as an additional resource for teaching immigration and/or cultural diversity themes in classroom programs.
Education ACMI Generator - Immigration Stories
Diverse digital stories about the immigrant experience in Australia.
Immigrants who arrived in Australia from countries as varied as Ethiopa, Italy and Vietnam describe the sacrifices made, the experience of arriving in a new country and how immigration impacts on the next generation. Each digital story and theme is accompanied by education resources suitable for VELS 4-6.