Upon completing his first season with Carlton, the 18-year-old star decided to take a trip to Italy to discover more about the man who brought the Silvagni name to Australia three generations earlier.
Giacomo Silvagni, who Jack is named after, boarded the Regina D'Italia at the Italian port of Genoa on September 21, 1924.
Seven weeks later, the ship docked at Port Melbourne and Giacomo took his first step onto Australian soil.
The new arrival then awaited his sponsor at the dock, only to discover that they would never show up.
With nowhere to go and not a word of English under his belt, Giacomo spent his first night in Australia under a tree in the Exhibition Gardens.
Little did he know that his distinctly Italian surname would become iconic just a few decades later, when his son Sergio paved his path to AFL royalty.
This October, 92 years after Giacomo faced his first 24 hours in Melbourne, Jack journeyed back to the north-eastern town of Asiago, in Veneto, to explore his heritage and unearth his great-grandfather’s story.
During his travels, the young forward was joined by his father Stephen, mother Jo, and nonni Sergio and Rita, who surprised him at Silvagni Street, named after Giacomo’s cousins Silvio and Antonio Silvagni.
“We didn’t meet any relatives while we were there, but we managed to go to the house that Giacomo grew up in,” Stephen says.
The five-time All Australian added that it was an invaluable experience which has allowed his son Jack to appreciate his heritage from a more informed perspective.
“It’s always nice when you get an understanding of what your ancestors went through and the difficulties that they faced to give you a start in Australia,” he says.
“Jack really enjoyed it; he found it fascinating.”
The family also travelled beyond Giacomo’s hometown, spending some time in Marostica and Venice, while Jack seized the opportunity to venture further south to Rome as well.
To top the trip off, Jack was presented with Carlton’s No. 1 guernsey, previously worn by both Stephen and Sergio over the course of their legendary careers.
The famous No. 1 was most recently donned by Andrew Walker, who retired this year and offered to return it into the capable hands of a Silvagni.
“Jack was honoured to wear the No. 2 jumper, but all through his junior days he wore No. 1 and I think he’s had a burning desire to wear it ever since,” Stephen says.
The touching moment unfolded at the Grand Canal in Venice and was captured on film, while Jack’s entire quest to retrace his great-grandfather’s footsteps was documented for the screen.
Presented by Virgin Australia, ‘Bloodlines – Giacomo to Jack’ will be aired on the Carlton Football Club’s website on Sunday, December 18.