The film, Dall'Italia All'Australia (From Italy To Australia).
Rare footage of 1920s Melbourne has finally surfaced.
In 1924, the steamship Regina D'Italia set sail from the Italian port of Genoa. Its seven-week journey took it through the Mediterranean Sea to the Suez Canal, on to Sri Lanka and Australia.
*More than 100 Greek immigrants travelled on this ship - many of them Kytherians.
As was often the case in those days, a cameraman, Angelo Drovetti in the employ of the Pittaluga Film Company, was on board to capture the journey for people back home.
Travelogues were a cornerstone of film exhibition then. Travel was the province of the well-heeled, and travelogues, along with books and postcards, were a window to the unknown world.
Drovetti's footage, to which a florid commentary was added after the Regina D'Italia returned to Italy from Brisbane, takes in Egyptian boats in the Suez and the markets of Colombo, as well as Flinders Street station's facade, downtown Swanston Street and Sydney's harbour.
But there's another, compelling human story contained in Dall'Italia All'Australia (From Italy To Australia). The majority of the ship's passengers were Italians on their way to make a new life in Australia. Giacomo Silvagni, the father and grandfather of Carlton footballers Sergio and Stephen Silvagni respectively, is one of the 85 names in the ship's manifest.
The existence of this 60-minute film, which has never been seen in Australia, was uncovered by Melbourne journalist Tony De Bolfo when he undertook research for his book, In Search of Kings, which details what became of 108 passengers who travelled to Australia on the Regina D'Italia in 1927, among them De Bolfo's grandfather and his brothers.
For De Bolfo, the film is intriguing not only for its rare glimpses of early Melbourne and other ports of call. It is a record of the journey that tens of thousands of European migrants made between the two World Wars and immediately after World War II.
"The ship's voyage to Australia is significant in its timing," explains De Bolfo, "because in 1922 the United States imposed a quota on Italian migration and Ellis Island closed its doors. My grandfather and his three brothers all came to Australia in 1927. In later years one of the brothers told me that they were faced with the choice of either Australia or Canada and he chose Australia because he remembered how nicely the country was portrayed in a book he read as a schoolboy."
De Bolfo says he was struck the first time he saw the film's images of Melbourne - about one-third of the film is set in Australia - by the frenetic pace of Melbourne in the 1920s. "Mind you, Melbourne was still home to the Australian federal government back then and as Drovetti himself put it, 'the city presents all the traits of a metropolis'.
What also took my eye in seeing this precious footage of the city's central streets was how uncluttered it was overhead, given that the trams at that time were powered by underground steam-driven cables."
Travelogues, says Ken Berryman, manager of the Melbourne office of the National Film and Sound Archive, were precursors to home movies, which became popular later with the advent of affordable, small-gauge cameras. Though cityscape films are well represented in the archive's collection, Berryman laments that people didn't spend more time in their own backyards.
Below is a description of the Regina d'Italia
The Regina d'Italia was a 6,560 gross ton ship, built by Sir J Laing & Sons Ltd. Sunderland (engines by G.Clark Ltd, Sunderland) in 1907.
Her details were - length 430 ft.x beam 52.7 ft, two funnels, two masts, twin screw and a speed of 14 knots.
There was accommodation for 120 1st and 1900 3rd class passengers. Originally laid down as the "Sardinian Prince" for the British owned Prince Line, she was purchased on the stocks by Lloyd Sabaudo and launched on 20th Jan. 1907 as the "Regina d'Italia".
She sailed her maiden voyage from Genoa to Naples, Palermo and New York on the 15th May 1907, made two Genoa - South American voyages the same year and in Dec. 1908 she was used as a hospital ship after the Messina earthquake.
She continued New York sailings during the Great War up until the end of 1916 when regular passenger voyages on this route were discontinued by the company.
On 10th April 1907, she resumed N. Atlantic sailings when she left Genoa for Marseilles and New York and in 1920 she was refitted to carry second & third class passengers only. On 20th Jan.
1920 she arrived at New York from Constanza, Constantinople, Smyma, Piraeus and Messina and started her last Genoa-Naples-Boston-New York voyage on 14th Mar. 1922.
In April 1922 she transferred to the Genoa-South America service, except for a single round voyage between Genoa, Naples, Palermo, Halifax and New York commencing 22nd May 1924.
In October 1928 she was scrapped in Italy.
(North Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P. Bonsor, vol. 3, p.1361 -1367) (South Atlantic
Seaway by N.R.P. Bonsor, p.385) - (Posted to The ShipsList by Ted)
The Sydney Passengers from the Regina d’Italia, 1924
Is your family name here?
The following is a list of Italian, Greek, Albanian, Polish, Yugoslav, Palestinian, Arabic and Indian passengerswho disembarked the Regina d’Italia in Sydney via Melbourne on the voyage filmed by Angelo Drovetti for Dall’Italia All’Australia in late 1924.
As most of thepassengers’ names were written in freehand rather than typed onto the manifest, spelling inaccuracies are likely.
Ernesto Araldo Luigi Alehene Ruggiero Bargiacchi
Carlo Chiantou Santo Dalcarobbo Giovanni Dalla Valli
Giuseppe Dadeppo Linone Dall’Aegu Giovanni Fontana
Domenico Trancone Virgilio Tuscalro Alberto Tuscalro Enrico Tuslcalro Bruno Gei
Elirna Maestripieri Duilio Maestripieri Libero Maestripieri Leone Paoletti Battista Gei
Sergio Feloniato Antonio Sandonoi Teresa Sandonoi Vittorio Spada Leone Feloniato
Dante Vanucchi Nicola Andrela Antonio Gaudio Nicola Katavic Abiamo Valmassoi
Rudolf Lendic Cristoforo Raffaele Yure Zuning Lutic Nicola Unkoire Marco Lendic
Gvan Wiscik Ante Zitic Cirtanov Unkoire Giuseppe Ancona Toma N. Lutic
Gaetano Basib Salvatore Barbagallo Sebastiano Carminito Giovanni Coco Salvatore Bozzo
Santa Cardillo Stefano Calaguiri Alfio Caruso Salvatore Cappelano Lebak Caltabiano
Salvatore Corsaro Giuseppe Cavallaro Giovanni Catalano Carmelo Cappelano Giuseppe Corsaro
Francesco D’Allura Salvatore Di Savia Sebastiano Finoichio Mario Falco Mario Di Bartolo
Salvatore Gulotta Salvatore Grasso Salvatore Impalá Sebastiano Aut. LaSpera Salvatore Granata
Giuseppe La Fauci Vizicenzo Leaonardo Candelore Mangrourti Rosario Mazza Giuseppe Leotta
Giuseppe Monforte Rosario Mangario Rosario A. Messino Salvatore A. Messino Francesco Marino
Giuseppe Martorano Salvatore Martino Antonio Nicotra Salvatore Nucifora Murzio Messino
Mariano Policcina Carmelo Previte Maria Previte Vito Pari Giovanni Patané
Santo Puglisi Salvatore Passanisi Domenico Palazotto Rosario Ricca Salvatore Patané
Giuseppe Rao Orazio Rao Angelo Beltrame Francesco Colia Mariano Russo
Teobaldo Diotti Giovanni De Martini Gio Batta Taletti Maurizio Gonella Pietro Colombino
Francesco Gilardino Giusto Godnic Francesco Guaraldo Giuseppe Tmarisio Giovanni Gonella
Francesco Lucca Zavi Mario Leporati Vincenzo Laiole Michele Maule Gisella Kosmino
Secondo F. Micheletti Felice Metoglio Ottavia Merlo Doralice Merlo Giuseppe Musso
Battista G. Onesti Domeico Onesti Angelo Onesti Angelo Puccini Pietro Massoso
Anacleto Pezano Ermenegildo Poglio Giuseppe Porto Domenico Prosa Giuseppe De Bandi
Angelo Pietrobon Eugenio Petrobon Agostino S. Ricci Lodovico Rovcic Abramo Pietrobon
Antonio Nicolo Cesare Ricaldone Luigi Solito Attilio Spertino Ernesto Rosso
Giuseppe Solito Giovanni Tebaleli Francesco Traconia Stefano Zega Luigi Solito
Maria Brusic Nicolo Brusic Antonio Orlic Nicola Stula Mate Paska Buseljas
Lathauros Wangelos Angelo Drovetti* Giuseppe Rizzuto Vincenzo Restuccio Nicola Zitic
Giuseppe Sorbello Francesco Puglisi Rosario Sorbello Michele Spanó Venera Sorbello
Alfio Siracusa Leonardo Scarpignato Sebastiano Sorbello Sebastiano Tropea Carmelo Silvestro
Giovanni Trivaró Alfio Tomarchio Angelo Vitali Giuseppe Virgona Ignazio Trovato
Alfio Zappalá Giuseppe Zappalá Spiro C. Fermani Christanti Fermani Orazio Vasta
Demetre Christofaron Carabanbus Christofaron Simon Nitsos Andonus Verdaukas Efstratia Christofaron
George Yokaris Leiciamus Stathatis George Yokaris Spiros Vlaridis Nicolas Arghiris
Elefterios Sfidonias Stavroulo Nicolaisas Stamataulo Gerakitis Sophia Veneri Spiro Marinic
Elia N. Pantazis ChristosLeonardopantois Denetre Christakis Lyourge Christakis Costantin Kontakis
Spiros Protoposalti George Thiodoropaulos Panayoti Veneris Demetri Cassimatis George Zaglanikis
Nicolas Fatseas Costo E. Segri Eleni Hagi Arghisi Polina Arnaldo Yulios Fatseas
Giovanni Cotsas Erini Cotsas Maria Condos Aleferis Zacaria Ward Walkemberg
Dimitri Dragomis Panayoti Kokodis anayoton Pierre Christoforos Caminis Cristos Cristoclulca
Suba Singh Alfonso Besedrjott Pietro Buzzi Alessandro Caligaris Miskel Stamaulis
Pietro Colombino Giusto Godmic Nikola Asinari Alfredo Adorno Francesco Colia