Mildura Weekly : Friday July 17 Vol 9 No 36
16 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, JULY 17, 2015 By GRANT MAYNARD IT is not by chance that Mil- dura’s Tony Roccisano heads one of our city’s oldest and most respected real estate companies. He is, after all, following in the footsteps of his father, Joe... and successful footsteps at that. The Roccisano real estate story began in 1958, but new pages are continuing to be written today, with the busi- ness running strongly under the ‘Professionals’ banner. Roccisanos has been around so long it can rightly claim to be a Mildura institu- tion...and it is now the oldest, continuously family-owned real estate business in town. Joe Roccisano founded the business in 1970, but that was after working for 12 years with two early Mildura real es- tate firms, one of them being the Barnden family’s Chaffey Real Estate. Interestingly, Tony’s father never set out to be a real estate agent. He got into the indus- try largely by default. An educated man when he immigrated to Australia from Italy following World War 2, Joe soon mastered English, both the written and spoken forms. He was an avid reader of newspapers, with a keen interest in current affairs, and his grasp of the language soon outstripped the majority of his peers. That fluency made him a valuable resource for the Italian immigrants who had already fled, or would later flee war-torn Europe for a better life in Australia. “Dad acted as an inter- preter for many of those early immigrants as they came to grips with the laws, customs and paperwork of their new homeland,” Tony said. One of Joe’s main tasks was helping his fellow coun- trymen and women with housing and land purchases. So, a career in real estate sales and services was a logical pro- gression. Tony’s father secured his full real estate agent’s license under the ‘grandfather clause.’ That, Tony explained, al- lowed his father a full license because he had been practis- ing in the industry for three years prior to 1961. After that, would-be real estate agents had to study and pass exams to be admitted to the industry. Joe’s full license was grant- ed on the strength of his ‘prior learning’ so to speak. Joe struck out on his own in 1970, and Tony joined the firm a decade later. He was joined by his wife Frances in 1981. The pair had met while studying in Mel- bourne – he real estate and she business. “I brought Frances back to Mildura with me, and we have been here ever since,” Tony said. Together, and with a lot of long hours and hard work, the couple has built on the com- paratively modest Roccisano Real Estate business that was Tony’s father’s. Within the company, Tony looks after high-end residential and commercial sales, while Frances runs the property management side of their business. The Roccisanos employ 18 people, eight of whom, including Tony, are in sales. The remainder manage Roc- cisano’s large rental roll and the business’ administrative duties. The Roccisanos treat their staff as an extension of their family. The couple have three children – Bianca, 30, Bridgett, 24, and Joseph, 21. All three are living, working or studying in Melbourne. “Our staff are like family to us,” Tony said, “And quite a few of them have been with us for many years, some more than 20.” “Yes, we are very proud of our people,” Frances says. Tony is a self-confessed seven-days-a-week, 24-hours- a-day real estate salesman. “If someone wants to buy a house on Sunday, I am not going to say no,” he said. But when he is not ‘seal- ing a deal,’ Tony likes to head bush. “I really enjoy camping. Heading up somewhere on the Darling and enjoying na- ture,” he said. He is also a keen cook and gardener. The two go hand in hand for a man that likes to grow his own veg- etables, and then use them to prepare food for family and friends. Tony proudly maintains many of the food traditions the Italian immigrants of the 1950s brought with them to Australia and Sunraysia, and each year makes his own salamis, preserves his own olives, crushes his own toma- toes for sauce, and even finds time to make his own wine. It is, he acknowledges, all part and parcel of his rich Italian food and wine heri- tage. Tony is the eldest of three children. His brother, John, is a partner with Mildura law firm Maloney and Anderson, and he has a sister, Mary, who lives in Melbourne. Tony is justifiably proud of his firm’s success. The walls of his office, and those of his business, on the corner of 9th Street and Deakin Av- enue, are filled with awards won during the past three and half decades. They are a tangible testament to the hard work and effort Tony, Frances, and their loyal staff have put into the business. Roccisanos continues to grow, and has been part of some significant real estate deals in our region during the past two decades. Much of the burgeoning 15th Street commercial precinct, for ex- ample, is Tony’s handiwork, bringing together a myriad of national retailers –including Harvey Norman, Bunnings and those occupying the Homemaker Centre – with local developers. Following in his father’s Mildura’s Tony Roccisano builds on his family • ALL BUSINESS: Tony in his very busy office, surrounded by the tools of his trade, and with numerous citations and awards covering the walls. INSET: Tony’s favourite image of his father, a caricature painted by Mildura artist Geoffery Brown. “He just captured Dad so well,” Tony says. 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