Bedola family

The Bedola family- are representative of immigrants arriving in Fremantle from Italy, many of whom lived in East Fremantle before moving to other areas. First generation migrants experienced extreme racism and were forced to do hard physical labour to survive- but they paved the way for their family to prosper.

According to his passport Matteo Bedola (born 1901) arrived first in January 1925 on the SS Caprera (reference). In 1930 (living at 19 South Terrace, Fremantle) he renounced his Italian citizenship to become a naturalised Australian. (reference )

‘‘I, Matteo Bedola, of Italian nationality, born at Malonno, In the Province of Brescia, and resident five years in Australia, intend to Apply for Naturalisation under the Commonwealth Nationality Act, 1920-25”(reference)

Matteo worked as a miner in Kalgoorlie- where, in 1934 he filed a wages complaint in the Kalgoorlie court. (reference)

Matteo’s older brother Bartolomo Bedola (born 1903 in Malonno) joined his brother on the SS Carignano on 26 Feb 1927. He worked at Morawa for 5 years before also going to the Goldfields. Bartolo was caught up with the famous Kalgoorlie riots that began on 28 January 1934, which have been described as Australia’s worst ethnic conflict. The events were sparked by the accidental death of local miner George Edward Jordan who died after an altercation with Italian barman Claudio Mattaboni. Rumours that the Italian had murdered the popular miner sparked widespread violence over three days and resentment for perceived loss of jobs and working conditions saw property belonging to the Italian and Slav communities razed and looted. Matteo was charged at that time with disorderly conduct and having an unlicensed firearm.

1935: In the Kalgoorlie Warden’s Court an Application for a Gold Mining Lease (No. 5657Z) was given by Matteo Bedola and Bortolo Bedola,  Lorenzo Bona and Lorenzo Picen, of Menzies, for a 24 acre lease under the provisions of the Mining Act, 1904, to be known as Aspacia, containing 24 acres half a mile west of Menzies. In 1936 Matteo was successful in his application for a gold mining license (reference) and in 1937 Matteo was involved in a court case over shares owed him for a gold claim. (reference)

Matteo died in Cue in 1938.

In 1940 a request for naturalisation by Bartolo was denied and because he had served in the Italian Army- he was also declared an enemy alien- and was interred on Rottnest Island from July 1940 until released in April 1941 with the help of his brother. (reference)  Once released Bartolo worked at Quinns Rock as a lime burner.

28 April 1935 Matteo’s son Giovanni (b 1916), a ‘ganger’, immigrated from Malonno to join his father and arrived in Fremantle on the Remo. He worked as a prospector in Kalgoorlie in 1939 and was also declared an ‘enemy alien’, andsubsequently interred on Rottnest Island from June 1940 until October 1940. (reference)

In 1948 Giovanni married Joyce Annie Clarkson (b Cue 1922) in Cue. They had two children.

In 1950, registered as living in Bullsbrook, Giovanni sponsored his mother Maria Pasqua Bedola (b 1894 nee Bonnetta), his sister Caterina (born 1929, a domestic), brother Francesco (born 1928, a farmhand), and his younger brother Giacomo (born 1924, a farmhand who arrived in 1956). Giovanni finally obtained his Naturalisation papers in 1966. In 1968 Bedola was charged with selling stolen copper piping. Police noted he was a man of good character ‘’married to an Australian woman’’.

In 1956 Giovanni sponsored his younger brother Giacomo Bedola (1924-2001) to immigrate. (See Immigration papers: (reference) The Bedola family were living at 89/91 Duke street, East Fremantle, from 1957-65. (reference) Giacomo Bedola, working as a electrician married Caterina Ghirardi. In 1980 they lived 30 Wood St, Fremantle with Francesco and Mathew Lawrence Bedola (b 1952).

Caterina and Maria Bedola arrived from Italy on the Ocean in September 1951. Caterina’s occupation was described as housekeeper. She was naturalised in 1956. (reference) In 1964 she married Kenneth Charles Stanley Adams (d 1972). Caterina died 2013.

Caterina 1950.JPG

91 Duke Street