Born Survivor celebrates 100 years

happy resident

A born survivor has celebrated his 100th birthday singing and dancing to songs from his homeland with his family and friends at his Padstow Home.

Giuseppe narrowly escaped a bomb attack in Russian trenches during World War II and a severe bout of food poisoning on the ship that brought him to Australia from his native Italy, but he was still able to dance with his daughters on his birthday.

The centenarian now lives at Casa Mia Aged Care in Padstow, and on Wednesday dozens of his family members came to celebrate his life with fellow residents and friends.

Giuseppe arrived in Australia in November 1949 along with many Italians desperate for work and a safe country for their family.

He worked for more than a year before saving up enough money to bring over his wife Carmela and daughter.

His daughter, Maria Wood, said her father was an extremely hard worker his whole life, and worked in factories, gardens and steel works before opening a fruit shop in Regents Park.

He was incredibly lucky to be alive, after surviving a number of close calls in his early life, Mrs Wood said.

“He was in the war in Russia, and in a dugout for months,” she said.

“He got to the stage where he said ‘if I don’t move out of this hole I’m going to lose my leg’. And he said to his friend, ‘I don’t know about you but I’m going to run across to the next one’.

“When he got across to the next dugout his friend stayed and that was the one blown to bits.”

Many people also died on the ship to Australia from food poisoning, and although Giuseppe became sick he survived.

He and his wife had another daughter Rita, who was also there to celebrate his birthday along with his four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

An Italian entertainer sang traditional songs, with Giuseppe often singing along with him, and even getting up to dance with his daughters and staff from his Home.