Giovanni Lagana & Maria Larosa
Teresa Maria Larosa, b. 14 May 1912 (parents Concetta Maria Lagana & Rosario Larosa), d. 22 Apr 2006 in Kensington, WA aged 93, buried in Karrakatta Cemetery, WA. She married Giovanni Battista Lagana, married 29 Oct 1936, b. 12 May 1900/1, (son of Domenico Lagana and Maria Romeo) d. 23 Aug 1954, buried in Narrogin Cemetery (section RC - Q.15).
Giovanni Battista Lagana was born in Siderno, in the provence of Reggio Calabria, Italy on 12th May 1900*. His parents were Domenico Lagana and Maria Romeo.
Giovanni immigrated from Siderno to Perth, Western Australia, in 1923. He travelled on the ship Orsova from Naples to Fremantle, arriving in Fremantle on 11 January 1923. He was 22 years old at the time, and the arrival papers list his occupation as a wood cutter.
At that time, there were significant numbers of Italian immigrants arriving in Australia after the First World War. They were pushed out of Italy by severe economic difficulties and rising political disquiet, and propelled towards Australia by the 1921 and 1924 US immigration restrictions as well as the growing propaganda about good wages and working conditions.
According to family sources, Giovanni left behind two brothers and one sister in Italy. He was either kicked off the family farm, or left in disgust, as he was not the eldest son and was therefore not entitled to take over the family property. This was fortunate for him, as by going to Australia he avoided being conscripted into the army to fight in WWII. He became a naturalised Australian in approximately 1934.
After working for a time, he returned to Italy, where he married Teresa Maria Larosa on 29 October 1936. Together they immigrated back to Perth, Western Australia. They travelled from Naples to Fremantle on the ship Orion, arriving on 13 October 1939. Boat travel from Europe to Australia at that time would have involved a few months of travel.
Giovanni and Maria bought a wheat and sheep farm in the wheat belt town of Yealering, east of Perth.
Giovanni's sister Immaculata came to Australia at a later date. She married Girolomo Reggio. According to family sources, they may have had seven children, one or more who may have changed their surname (to make it less Italian sounding!) to Regan or something like that. Joe and Vince are two of the children. Of Giovanni's brothers who stayed in Italy, it is rumoured that one committed suicide and the other was institutionalised.
Although the family were strict catholics, at Yealering the priest would only come and celebrate Mass around every six weeks or so.
Giovanni died at age 53 on the 23rd of August 1954, leaving Maria to raise their five children Stella, Alexander (Alex), Beatrice (Nina), Ellen and Ernest (Ernie) and run the farm, which she did admirably.
Giovanni's tombstone in the Roman Catholic section of the Narrogin Cemetery (section RC - Q.15) reads:
LAGANA, Giovanni Battiste, 1901 - 23 August 1954, Husband of Maria, Father of Stella, Alex, Nina, Ellen and Ernie
* his passport from 1923 lists his birth year as 1900, his tombstone lists 1901. Also, his middle name is spelled Battiste here, but on his passport and naturalisation documents he wrote it as Battista.
Not sure where the following memorial is found, as the wording is different from the tombstone in Narrogin.
Maria died on 22 April 2006, and is buried with her son Alexander in the Karrakatta Cemetery, WA.
- Passport of Giovanni Battista Lagana