Amongst the guest list were Joseph Lo Bianco AM (Professor of Language and Literacy Education, Melbourne Graduate School of Education) and Professor Robert Pascoe (Dean Laureate and Professor of History, Victoria University).
The night was full of entertainment, with dancers performing the Tarantella, a traditional Calabrian dance.
Guests were also treated with traditional music from southern Italy.
The concept of this new organisation is to “enable our children and grandchildren to learn about our culture”, according to Vincent Morfuni, President of the Calabrese Cultural Association.
“It aims to capture all groups, but in particular, those people who are trying to reconnect with their past,” Domenico Conidi, the association’s secretary, added.
For many first-generation Italo-Australians, the association is an opportunity to reconnect with the culture which they lost due to experiences with racism and discrimination following their migration to Australia.
The association prides itself on their principal purposes, to represent the Calabrian community, promote unity and provide a forum for Calabrian Australians to express their views on matters of interest to them.
The launch was a huge success, with many of those present at the event excited for the future of the association.
“The night gave me insights to the vision and goals of the Calabrese Cultural Association,” Sam Bagnato said.
“Hearing immigration stories throughout the night gave me a sense of pride in my identity as a Calabrese and the importance that this association will have for the Calabrese community into the future.”
With the dream of starting a Calabrian association now a reality, the board welcomes new members who want to educate their children and facilitate the Calabrian culture in the community for generations to come.
The next major event for the newly established association will be a strategic planning day to crystallise objectives for the next three to five years, and the means to achieve them.
All members of the association are encouraged to attend this important day to help shape the future direction of the association.