homeresourcesacknowledgementscontactmigrant placesexhibitionsearchblog
View Caption

Antonio Cunial

Interview conducted by Elisabeth Edwards for research for the Orange Migration Heritage Project, with Antonio Cunial.


Antonio originated from Possagno, near Udine, northern Italy and started his journey to Australia from Rome. Antonio arrived in Sydney Australia in 1948.


"I only had one change of clothes. I came on the first plane after the war in 1948. I had paid 100,000 lire deposit for the boat trip but something happened and I lost most of the money. I borrowed money from relations already in Australia and came by plane from Rome. It was an old bomber plane. There were 27 places but over 50 on the plane. I was lying down on the floor and I held onto the pilot's seat. We had engine trouble over India and we were there for about a week. We were put in old army barracks in India and we were bitten by something that was not fleas but they were so big it wasn't funny. When the plane had to take off everybody had to go to the front."

I arrived in 1948. My father had come to Australia in the 1920s but had returned to Italy. My brother Andrea was already in Australia and a couple of uncles were in Griffith.

The reason why I didn't come with my brother and two uncles was because I was in the army.

Nine months later my wife Antonia came with our daughter Elvia, aged 18 months, my brother Joe, sister Angela Cunial, future brother-in-law Isidoro Vardanega and Frank Bastianom. I came straight to Orange because Andrea was already there. I came by train.

My impressions of Australia: open country, good people ... but the flies were bad! I knew this was the land for me.

I told my wife "don't bring anything, there's everything here", but there was nothing.