The Reuniting FamilyPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Graeme Saunders

Commemorates Italian migration to Australia, and migrants from other countries who settled in Australia as well.


Address:525 Collins Street, Melbourne, 3000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.818223
Long: 144.957685
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Landscape
Monument Designer:Michael Meszaros


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 16th December, 2008
Front Inscription

Plaque 1 :

The Reuniting Family

This art piece was commissioned by the Roll - Ruzzene Foundation to commemorate Italian Immigration and all migrants, to Australia.

Sculptured by Michael Meszaros, who captured the moment of the reuniting family.

Unveiled by the Honourable Sir James Gobbo, AC, CVO.  Former Governor of Vic, who came from a migrant family

16th December 2008

Plaque 2 :

The Reuniting Family

This honouring of Italian Immigrants to Australia has taken a number of years to bring to reality.  It recognises approximately 400,000 Italian migrants who came to Australia and all migrants.  It shows a scene that has been experienced the world over, the separation and reuniting of the family.

The Reuniting Family is set in the mid 1950s, in post World War II in Australia, where mainly blue-collar workers were sought for immigration, predominately men.  Government policy, housing shortage and cost of passage, all contributed to lengthy periods of family separation.  The wife and children were left behind in Italy whilst the breadwinner, husband/father, migrated to Australia to work.  By the mid 1950s greater possibilities for family reunion occured.

These sculptures depict that moment of family contact, they capture the tension, anxiety, fear, happiness and the many emotions that were felt by the various members of the family.  There is apprehension between the two adults after  many years apart, can they gather the threads of their separate lives and weave them together again ?  The mother in a moment of forgetfulness, charged with emotions, abandons her handbag on the trunk to concentrate on her husband.  The father, joyfully, welcomes his family, with out-stretched arms.  In one hand a felt hat, typically worn at the time and in the other a simple bunch of flowers.  The smaller children do not recognise their father, "He was a stranger like all other strangers," and hide, shyly, clinging fearfully to their mother`s dress and hand.  The older boy points in recognition towards his father, drawing him to the attention of his sister.

The battered trunk and suitcase represents the family`s past and future.  They have taken all their belongings to start anew.  Although more importantly this luggage holds the hopes, ambitions and dreams for a successful future together.

The bunch of flowers consists of the Calla Lily, a common white flower that grows profusely around Northern italy, symbolic of the common people that migrated to Australia from Europe.  The Eucalyptus branch, native to Australia symbolises and recognises the indigenous people, the tradiotnal owners of this land.

The Rialto site is most appropriate for these sculptures as this was the busiest area of commerce in colonial Melbourn

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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