If Gabriele’s reluctant arrival into this world in 1931 was any indication, then his life was destined to be one eventful, amazing journey.
In 1943, his idyllic, simple life with his loving family in the little Italian town of Ripa Teatina, Abruzzo, was shattered by World War II. Surrounded by deprivation and tragedy, looking for scraps of food, Gabriele would have serious conversations with his beloved donkey Rosina, telling her … “I need you to concentrate, and take me through these mine fields without stepping on any …”
In 1952, Gabriele accepts the offer from the Australian Government of promised paid work. He survives 42 horrific days on a rust bucket ship, the infamous SS Hellenic Prince, to become an inmate of the Bonegilla Migrant Camp.
Gabriele’s beautifully written biography starts in Italy and the horrors of war and then, moves to Australia, taking the reader from the intensity of Ingham’s cane fields in far North Queensland, down the East Coast of Australia to Geelong in Southern Victoria, to finally settle in the Queensland / New South Wales border town of beautiful Tweed Heads.
Australia—through Gabriele’s experiences—is significant in its historical importance.
Gabriele’s spirited character would see him through many trials and tribulations. He could never have imagined, that the worst was still to come …
Yet … it is a love story throughout.