By Mavis Stower
The unexpected meeting of two men who had not seen one another for 65 years was the highlight of this year’s Inglewood Reunion for families and friends held at the Ravens Reserve Chermside in Brisbane recently.
The two men were Nick Lacovella and Enio Piccini who related their story to the gathering on the day.
Nick said he arrived in Australia from Italy in 1954, a young man, alone and with very little knowledge of the English language. He travelled by train from Sydney to Brisbane planning to go on to Inglewood to join his father who was working for a district land owner, the late Augie Agostinelli.
A mix-up with trains left him stranded in Brisbane. When Augie Agostinelli heard of his plight he organised for Enio Piccini to go and pick him up and bring him to Inglewood. Enio said at that time he owned an old Vanguard utility and made the trip from Inglewood to Brisbane and back to Inglewood all in one day. This was a feat unheard of in those days because unsealed roads were the norm and the section between Karara and Omanama was known as the “horror stretch”, involving miles of a road surface covered with deep corrugations. Enio said it was a hair-raising trip and he dropped Nick off at the Agostinelli farm late that night. They both then went their separate ways without seeing one another again.
Nick now lives in Brisbane and said he decided to attend the Inglewood reunion after hearing about it from a friend. They both agreed that their meeting after all the years was unexpected, amazing and emotional.
Special guests on the day were Sister Margaret and Sister Ann, both of the Order of St Joseph and both teachers at Inglewood’s St Maria Goretti School during the 1950’s. Not only had they taught – as children – many of those attending the reunion, but their taxi driver had recognised who they were, identified himself as Andy Genito, one of their former pupils who later came to the reunion.
Noted among many well-known former Inglewood residents at the gathering were Frank Cotronese, Nuncio Varrichio, Ester Ziviani, Elisa Rossic, Margaret Tait and Anne Gillespie.
During the day reunion organiser Charlie Parrella presented both Sister Margaret and Sister Ann with copies of his recently published book ‘Charlie the Barber – My Memoir’. He said he had a very soft spot for Inglewood as it was the first place he had lived in when he came to Australia and where the people were still like a big family to him. He asked for ‘expressions of interest’ in having another reunion next year at the same time in the same place and judged the cheers of approval to be a resounding vote for “Yes”.