Mildura Weekly : Friday April 11 2014 Vol 8 No 23
Mildura Weekly – 11/04/14 19 www.milduraphonebook.com.au TOM Araco has a clear recollection of grow- ing up in Mildura, marrying and starting a business, and a few notable events stand out. One was moving into the new house he built on the dirt high- way (Deakin Avenue) after his wedding in 1938. Another was walk- ing across dusty 8th Street to the studio of photographer Frank Zaetta for the wedding portrait... ...And a third memory was having to apply to the Govern- ment for a permit to establish a fruit and vegetable shop, also in 8th Street, during the war years. Italy had joined Germany in the war against the Allies, and there were times when peace-loving Tom and fellow migrants in Mildura feared retri- bution. He has vivid mem- ories of the day the war ended - ‘V’ Day, and a huge crowd, yelling, cheering and dancing as they headed into the central business district. His shop, the Cen- tral Fruit Palace and Araco’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetables, was right in their path...but thankfully, says Tom, the boisterous crowd didn’t pay him any at- tention. That was probably because Mildura was gaining an early repu- tation as a place where respect was earned by hard work, honesty and integrity, and Tom was widely known for his work ethic...not to mention the quality and reasonable prices of the wide array of fresh fruit and vegeta- bles he sourced-from as far away as Adelaide and Melbourne. There wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) be an Ital- ian migrant – or any long-time Mildura resident for that mat- ter – who wouldn’t recognise the name Tom Araco. His leadership qualities, and the help and hospitality he and his late wife Domenica showed to new arrivals from ‘the old country,’ help shape the Sun- raysia we know today, and paved the way for hundreds more mi- grants of many ethnic origins to make this rich agricultural re- gion their home. • Continued Page 54 He was a migrant boy of 10 who left school early to work in a fruit and vegetable shop in Melbourne before coming to Mildura to marry a childhood friend, open his own business, and raise a family of seven. He admits he’s “getting on a bit,” but is still independent, doing his own cooking, washing and cleaning, and as the Mildura Weekly’s ALAN ERSKINE discovered this week, has... Memories that go back almost 100 years • MEMORIES: The Araco Food Store as it looked in the 1950s, BELOW, and Tom and Domenico on their wedding day 70 years ago. That’s Tom at his Mildura home this week, LEFT. We have all the right people for all your labour needs! All workers are VEVO checked.
Friday April 4 2014 Vol 8 No 22
Friday April 18 2014 Vol 8 No 24