House of Assembly: Wednesday, April 10, 2024


Altavilla Irpina Sports and Social Club

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA (Hartley) (12:27): I move:

That this house—

(a) congratulates the Altavilla Irpina Sports and Social Club on celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024;

(b) thanks the hardworking volunteers past and present for their dedication to the club and community; and

(c) congratulates the Altavilla Irpina Sports and Social Club on a successful 50 years of bringing together families and communities from throughout South Australia.

The 50th anniversary of Altavilla Irpina Sports and Social Club occurs in 2024. Obviously, the club began with what was a group of migrants meeting with a view to promote their cultural roots, over time that group got bigger and there was this idea to form somewhat of a football club, and in 1974 the club, led by the late president Pasquale Rossi, was formed and incorporated.

Over the next years, members of the soccer club strongly felt they needed a club to go back to and to bond with friends and family and their community and, throughout this journey, the soccer club and the Altavilla social club became united, creating 50 years thus far of strong community, social, family and sporting success as well.

Located on The Parade in Beulah Park, the club has an amazing food service run by dedicated volunteers, a function area for family and social events, as well as an outdoor playground for the next generation to enjoy. The club continues to enhance their value of family essence and connection to their Italian heritage and also to allow the next generation of families to continue the enjoyment of the club brought to life by their ancestors.

The actual town of Altavilla Irpina itself is only around 45 minutes to an hour away from, if I was to give you a landmark, the Amalfi Coast, for those of you who follow southern Italian areas of interest and tourist locations. I know it is very familiar to yourself, sir, with family from not far from there, if I am not mistaken.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Not my family; I was born there.

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA: You were born there? There you go, exactly right. It is said that there are actually more people from Altavilla now living in Adelaide than there are in the town of Altavilla itself. Of course, many families, including my own family, had relatives who left Altavilla after the Second World War to seek a better life here in South Australia. What better way than to acknowledge in this place the hard work, sacrifice and dedication of many of those families who came here and set up this club to make sure they could continue to share in their heritage and their cultural celebrations.

I have had the fortune of being able to go back and visit a few times now and engage with even elected members of Altavilla and I know that they are extremely proud of their relatives who have set foot in Australia and made the most of the opportunities over here.

It is certainly a great club that allows families to come together, whether it is for the very famous fusilli nights, which I attended way too many over my time not only as a member but also as a child, or various fundraisers. You name the cause and over the years they have done a fundraiser for it. They are always making sure they put their hands in their pockets to help the local community and also the international community as well. Whether it has been over time floods or earthquakes back in Italy or local charitable causes here, the club really is used to serve the greater good.

I want to acknowledge the many people who have served as volunteers, whether it be in an informal or formal capacity, whether it has been through the soccer club or whether it has been through the religious element of the club, of course, supporting the feast of Saint Pellegrino. Saint Pellegrino is a feast that is now celebrated in my own electorate in Hectorville, but of course many would remember the famous two-day feast that took place in Norwood at the St Ignatius Church and surrounding grounds.

I want to take the opportunity to thank the many volunteers who have served on the committee in various roles, whether it is the presidents, whether it is the treasurers or whether it is the secretaries. Many of these people, of course, have been either directly or indirectly related to me in one way or another or at least drawing their roots from the same village.

I want to especially acknowledge people like my great-uncle, my late grandmother's brother, Pietro Varricchio, who was a long-term president of the club. I also acknowledge the current president, Dominic Reppucci. I should probably also issue a shout-out to my parents, who still serve on that committee in one way or another, and various good friends and family who continue to serve the club in one way or another.

They also do these very famous pension days and not long ago our team on this side of the chamber was able to buy a table to one of these pension days. It is a great way, at an affordable rate, to offer a lunch to members of not only the Italian community but the wider community and I think that is one of the strengths of this club. This is why the club has been able to flourish when some of the other clubs—their peers—have not done so, because they do open up their doors to the wider community. It is also because of the leadership of the committee, who saw there was this need to adapt and anticipate and look at what the needs of the community were and to provide a place for people to come together to enjoy a quality meal at a fair price with great surroundings.

If you go there on a Friday night, you will see a playground that is often full. I know that my own son, Leonardo, enjoys that playground on weekends. You will see a wood oven that is often cranked up, especially in the nicer weather. You will see a big screen out there that has been utilised for anything, from things like movies that can be broadcast, all the way through to AFL Grand Final day. If I am lucky, every now and then, when the AFL Grand Final day falls on my birthday, it is always a convenient location to have a birthday celebration.

The dinner dances are, again, another great way of the local community coming together to celebrate what is good about their culture. I can remember over the years key performers who have come through, whether it be comedians or things like hosting celebrations for both of the Italian radios over the years, or other performers who come here. There are sometimes international musicians. You know how these things work, sir; on their way through they might discover that there is a critical mass and they can conduct a few performances along the way, if they are here for one large celebration. Of course, the club has also dug deep and tried to assist them.

The club has also done a good job in supporting the next generations, which I think is very important. If these clubs are to survive then they need to be agile and they need to adapt and they need to also promote and encourage the next generation to take their place. Even with my own child through time I have attended things like the Dante Alighieri language programs, mainly for toddlers. Most of the kids that I have seen there with their parents would be under the age of five, and they have been encouraged to participate in language courses that are, again, provided to the local community to whoever wants to become involved at a really nominal, affordable rate. What that allows them to do is to also participate and effectively become the next generation of volunteers and participants in the club.

There are a few plaques on the club. As I was walking my dog last week I thought I might take a couple of photos and talk through some of the history. With your indulgence in the remaining six minutes I have here I might talk a little about them. For example, one was a plaque commemorating the visit of His Worship the Mayor of Altavilla Irpina, Avv (lawyer) Alberico Villani, and the parish priest of Altavilla Irpina, Giuseppe Martino, Altavilla Irpina Sports and Social Club Inc., on 17 January 2004. What this highlights are the very strong links that still exist between the club here in South Australia but in Italy as well.

What you will find is that there have been premiers—I do not think the current Premier has been, but he is probably due to visit at some point. I am sure he will be received by a couple of people who know who he is. I know that former premiers have certainly been there, such as former Premier Marshall. I do not want to mislead the house but I know that Labor premiers have definitely been over there to Altavilla throughout time. Premier Rann, of course, would have been there. He certainly enjoyed his time in Italy, I can vouch for that. He even hosted me once for lunch in Altavilla.

You can see that there are strong links between this particular club and the Italian community still, and that is shared right across the chamber as well. Of course, my good friend the member for Morialta also visited Altavilla Irpina not that long ago. There is another plaque from 1981, Circolo Sportivo Altavilla Irpina Club Inc., stating that this building was blessed by Trinitarian Father Antonio Bosco, Native of Altavilla Irpina, on a visit to Adelaide on 15 February 1981. What you see is that these visits have continued to occur through this very proud 50-year history, again showing the really strong links that exist.

When I look at another plaque it says Circolo Sportivo Altavilla Irpina Inc. Clubrooms, officially opened by the Hon. Greg Crafter MP on 23 February 1986. There you have it, all the way back then, a clubroom opened for the club. Then, of course, the final plaque I want to talk about is another plaque commemorating a visit to Adelaide by Filomena Caruso, the Mayor of Altavilla Irpina Italy, on 5 February 1994. What it says here is that it is the 20th anniversary of the Altavilla Irpina Sports and Social Club Inc.

It is important to congratulate the club—50 years is a long time. Many clubs have not achieved the 50-year status. I know that the club is in good shape. It is in good shape from a financial point of view, it is in good shape from a resources point of view and I am sure, because of the way that it has been able to be agile and adapt, that it is in good shape for the future as well.

I do sincerely want to take the opportunity to thank the hardworking volunteers—those who have come before us but also current ones—for their dedication to the club and the community, and I do congratulate the Altavilla Irpina Sports and Social Club on what has been a successful 50 years, bringing together families and communities from right throughout South Australia. I commend the motion to the house.

Ms WORTLEY (Torrens) (12:40): I, too, rise to support this motion in celebrating the Altavilla Irpina Sports and Social Club's 50th anniversary. This is a club and a community that has been built by dedicated volunteers who sought to create a home for the number of the Altavillese who migrated to South Australia. The state government congratulates the club on this achievement.

This is a community that has made an immense contribution to the state and the eastern suburbs. The people of Altavilla Irpina have their roots in agriculture and mining. These tough working conditions of the migrants from Altavilla Irpina have ingrained a spirit of hard work, and it is reflected in each and every person who made the journey to South Australia. We have seen the descendants of this community excel in their fields of choice and, of course, we have just heard from the member for Hartley, who is a proud descendant of this community.

With the boon of postwar migration, it was clear that the significant number of Altavillese needed a place to call home. Since that time, the Altavilla club has not just been a home for its own community but a home for the wider community that surrounds it. This is a testament to all the volunteers and the executive team who work so hard to make it a club for everyone. On Friday and Sunday nights, the place is buzzing with people from all walks of life enjoying the very best of Italian hospitality, with authentic fusilli pasta and pizza.

Faith and sport have been a key foundation of the community—and to think this all began as a social club of young Altavillese who played soccer with each other. These humble beginnings in 1974 were the foundations of the club, and in 1977 led to the club premises at 281 The Parade, Beulah Park. This allowed for the current premises to be built and now enjoyed by the first, second and even third and fourth generations of Altavillese. It is also recognised as a fabric of the community, as a much-loved member. The premises at 279 The Parade Beulah Park was added in 1985 through the generosity of two committee members who transferred it to the club. I think that point needs to be made, and I think the member for Hartley also touched on that.

Recently, in recognition of the contribution of the club to the community, the Premier, along with the newly elected member for Dunstan, Cressida O'Hanlon—who at the time was a volunteer, and is a volunteer, who helps out in the kitchen and serves meals and has told me about the monthly pensioners' lunch, which is looked forward to by very many members of the community—announced funding for the much-needed kitchen upgrade. I know that that will go some way in helping to contribute to the community and to continue to support in particular the pensioners' lunch and some of the elderly in the community. It is something they look forward to each month. It will allow the community to enjoy the very best of Italian cooking in a family-friendly atmosphere.

The San Pellegrino Festa is also a key multicultural event held each year by the Altavilla Irpina Sports and Social Club management committee and through the San Pellegrino Martire subcommittee. The San Pellegrino Festa has been growing significantly since 1978, with the Altavillese expressing their devotion to the patron saint of Altavilla Irpina. The state government was able to support the 2024 event through the Celebrate Together grant. Thousands of parishioners and community members enjoyed the festa of this year at St Joseph's Hectorville grounds. We hope that this festa continues its success for the years to come.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the president, Dominic Reppucci, the executive committee and the many volunteers who have made this club—and continue to make this club—the community place it is today. We look forward of course, as do the local community and the member for Dunstan, to the next 50 years.

The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (12:45): It is a great pleasure to be able to talk on this important motion and share my congratulations with the volunteers and, indeed, everyone who has been involved in committees over 50 years for the Altavilla Irpina Sports and Social Club. Many of those volunteers and many of the people who founded the club live in my electorate of Morialta. Many of them are known to me—and not just those who are in the member for Hartley, Vincent Tarzia's, family, although there are many of those as well amongst my constituents who are proudly involved in this important club.

Whenever I go to the Altavilla club, which I do on a fairly regular basis, it always feels like coming home. I was at the pensioners' lunch with the member for Hartley, the Leader of the Opposition and Anna Finizio, the Liberal candidate for Dunstan at the recent by-election, just a month ago. It was an enormous joy to be there with the excellent service of everyone involved at the Altavilla club and all the volunteers as well. Being able to go around that room, it is like family. It is like being in Morialta with some people from Hartley and Dunstan there as well. The Morialta community, of course, supports this club in many ways.

When the member for Hartley gave his speech he outlined some of the specific history and he thanked a number of people by name. I do not propose to go over that ground; I want to add some of my own reflections. But I do acknowledge the member for Hartley and his family, obviously, because of the connections that he has given me, not just in the club when I first became the member for Morialta in 2010 but also the opportunity to meet with members of his family in Altavilla. That was an exceptional experience which I will come back to.

The Altavilla club hosts so many different fundraisers. I have been to the Altavilla club to support heart research. I have been to the Altavilla club to support a range of Italian causes, including after natural disasters in Italy. The Altavilla club reaches out to the community more broadly to make sure their facilities are available to support worthy causes at a reasonable price. Of course, the food is always terrific, but the facilities are tremendous as well.

The playground upgrade was talked about earlier. I can share with the house that that came in particularly handy for my family when the Altavilla club was the host venue for one of my daughter's first birthday/baptism lunches, which went exceptionally well. We filled the club. It is no easy thing for us to find a suitable venue for, well, I will say my wife's extended family, because mine is the very smaller component of the arrangement. It was a tremendous day. We will always think fondly of that day, and especially the fact that that playground was the answer to the prayers of all the parents in the room. The casual meals that are offered are tremendous and an opportunity to connect with community and to connect with culture as well.

The Altavilla club plays a really important role in the San Pellegrino Festa. As is well understood, it is one of the most significant cultural and religious activities in the eastern suburbs. It is currently located at the Hectorville Annunciation Church and the grounds behind, and the school obviously adjacent. That festa is really popular. It comes at a time of the year where we are seeking to re-engage after potentially a little bit of Christmas cheer and the opportunity to spend a bit of time with family. It is one of the first significant community events of the year, and it is a moment of significant joy.

Over the last few years, as often as the member for Hartley, he and I have both represented the Liberal Party there, as has former Premier Marshall, in speaking to the crowd. But the radio engages, the community engages, enjoying the trippa. I do not enjoy the trippa, but people tell me it is fantastic. Pasta and pizza are always obvious. Extraordinary efforts are made by the volunteers to have that festival that brings in the people and has the music. My goodness, the music is special. The opportunity to engage with members of the community, ascoltatori a casa, listening at home through the radio is much appreciated by many.

When speaking at the festa this year, I had cause to reflect on the trip that the member for Hartley referred to, when I went to Altavilla. That was a really important trip for me, not having been to the south of Italy before, where so many of my constituents' families come from. It was an eye-opener in some ways, but a real opportunity to engage with the culture with which I was becoming very familiar as a result of being the member for Morialta.

You doorknock certain streets in Rostrevor, and Italian is more necessary than English to engage with some residents—the majority of residents in some streets. Many of them are from not just Altavilla but surrounding towns in Molinara, Sant'Angelo a Scala, Pietrastornina, and the larger communities of Avellino, Benevento and of course the broader Campania area. Probably 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the Italian community in Morialta are from these sorts of neighbouring regions.

That trip gave the member for Hartley and I the opportunity to visit with many of those communities. It was not the member for Hartley's first time. I remember doing the passeggiata in the evening down the main street of Altavilla. One of the things that struck me was that I think there were as many Adelaide accents as there were Italian accents from people passing down the street and in that community. If you go to Altavilla in August, chances are you are not the only person from Adelaide who is visiting family there.

It is an amazing connection that people maintain. It is really important. People have given up enormous things in their life, made great sacrifices in the 1950s and 1960s, in many cases at great risk, at great courage, to come to Australia to provide opportunities for their families that they had heard that Australia might offer. Several years later, in most cases, they had bought family out but not everybody. There is usually some cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, that remain in Italy. There is a bond between the regions within Adelaide that have large Italian communities and the regions in Italy. As the member for Hartley said, they often have fewer members of those communities left in Italy than they do in Adelaide. Those bonds are really precious. They speak to people's cultural identity. Their capacity to continue to maintain those traditions is very strongly supported by the existence of a club like the Altavilla sports and social club.

Sometimes people have suggestions about combining the Italian clubs. There are occasions when, due to a lack of local volunteer support or financial difficulties in the past, not every club that started 50 or 40 years ago has been maintained through to today. Sometimes that is very sad. It is one of those facts of life that often we regret. Some of the clubs are going very strongly. My view is that, unless it is absolutely necessary through a lack of ability within the community to provide the necessary volunteers, we should fight to protect these clubs. Any ad hoc or from-top-down proposals to shut down or merge local community clubs in favour of having broader representative clubs for entire regions would be mistaken.

I think that would be a disservice to the volunteers and the community members who started these clubs—in the case of this club, 50 years ago. Certainly, I want to place on the record my support for these clubs continuing independently for as long as they want to. It is great that there is always bipartisan support when there is a need for investment in communities such as this. In the years ahead, the Altavilla club will surely continue to thrive, hopefully encouraging the experiences for people who have connections to the Italian community through marriage or local representation to connect in Italy.

I want to acknowledge Pietro Rosato, who was in Adelaide very recently. He works for the council in that area and has built a very strong bond with Adelaide and facilitates engagements very strongly. He was in Adelaide recently participating in community life at the club, and it was great to see him at the Altavilla club just three or four weeks ago.

To all of the leadership, Dominic and the team on the committee, staff, former committees, former volunteers, I offer my thanks, my support and the continued support of the Liberal opposition for the operation of the Altavilla Irpina Sports and Social Club. Congratulations on 50 years of success. May there be 50 years and more going forward when we can enjoy the fruits of Altavilla Irpina and its social, cultural and culinary contributions to our state as they continue in the years ahead.

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA (Hartley) (12:55): I want to take this opportunity to thank the members on both sides of the chamber for supporting this motion. The member for Morialta has helpfully reminded me that we should also pay tribute to the various saints who obviously have a very close affiliation to Altavilla Irpina. We should certainly mention them. Obviously, much has been said about Saint Pellegrino already, but also Alberico Crescitelli. We had the good fortune to actually visit the local church when we were there and be taken through with the local priest and people like Pietro Rosato as well.

In winding up, I would like to take this opportunity to thank members on both sides of the chamber for supporting this motion today. I wish the Altavilla Irpina Sports and Social Club all the very best in their 50th year. I want to thank the volunteers past and present for all that they do for a very strong club that is widely regarded right throughout the whole of South Australia. All the very best for the next 50 years as well.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I would like to add my personal congratulations to the club on its 50 years.

Motion carried.