A “tightly-knit” Italian community
By Prue Hartley
Since its establishment in 1914, New Farm Park has developed a rich history, and 57-year-old Sicilian immigrant, Mariangela Stagnitti, is just one story of the many.
Ms Stagnitti reminisces on New Farm in the 70’s as a tightly knit Italian community and the park as a place full of shared fond childhood memories.
“As Italians we stuck together, we would walk back home from the park together and make sure we got home safely – it was a different time, but a beautiful time,” she said.
“Every year in March we’d have the Italian festival to celebrate Saint Joseph – we’d go to mass at Holy Spirit School, and then celebrate with a procession to New Farm Park – bringing along Italians from every suburb.”
Ms Stagnitti says that the New Farm community has changed drastically over the years.
“It saddens me that kids these days can’t enjoy the same upbringing that we had, where we would come home from school, throw down our ports, and just run down to the park,” she said.
“I was a part of the New Farm street festival in the 90’s and New Farm didn’t have much Italian community anymore, they moved elsewhere.”
She said that despite the change over the years, there is a continued connection.
“I still have those same friends from first grade, my brother, aunt and uncle still live there, and my brother sent his own children to Holy Spirit – continuing the legacy,” she said.
“Despite it all, that deep connection we all have to New Farm and the park remains.”
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