Departure: Italy, 1956
Arrival: Sydney, Australia, 9 July 1956
Vessel: SS Neptunia
Lina Cesarin came from a small town in the northeast Italian province of Pordenone. When she was 17 years old, Lina met Rizzieri Cesarin, to whom she became engaged after a brief courtship. In 1951 Rizzieri set sail for Australia on SS Surriento in search of work and ‘la bella vita’ (the good life). He promised to send for Lina when he was established in Australia.
Sydney and Cooma
On 18 June 1951 Rizzieri arrived in Sydney, where he worked for a couple of months before moving to Cooma in southern New South Wales. He helped to establish base camps for workers on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, an ambitious post-war engineering project to divert waters from the Snowy River to generate electricity. The scheme employed 100,000 people from more than 30 countries between 1949 and 1974.
Did you know more than 70,000 people migrated to Australia to work on the Snowy scheme, making a significant contribution to Australia’s development after World War II?
Rizzieri’s work was dangerous and conditions were tough. Rizzieri wrote letters to Lina describing the challenges of working in Cooma and his hopes for establishing a comfortable home for her.
Farewell to mother
In 1956, the time finally came for Lina to migrate to Australia to join Rizzieri. She bid a heartbreaking farewell to her mother before boarding SS Neptunia on her own.
Lina arrived in Sydney on 9 July 1956 and was reunited with Rizzieri after five years apart. The couple married just two days later in the Sydney suburb of Leichhardt. Lina wore an ivory satin dress with a white lace veil and a pair of gloves. These items are now part of the ANMM collection and evoke a time when ‘bride ships’ were greeted at Australian ports by crowds of eager husbands and fiancés desperate to be reunited with their loved ones.
Read more about Lina on our blog.