Tribute to John
Monday, 1st July, 2019
By Callum Marshall
The Broken Hill Italo International Club was handed over to Southern Cross Care yesterday, with the local aged care service announcing they’d name their new facility the John De Franceschi Aged Care Centre.
In what was an emotive ceremony celebrating the impact of the local Italian community and their history within Broken Hill, Southern Cross Care paid tribute to the man who was the first Chair of the then Southern Cross Homes and who was such an integral part of the Italo Club as President.
Chairperson of Southern Cross Care Broken Hill Robert Johnson delivered a moving speech about John’s legacy in the town and the significance of the Club.
“John was a real giver ... he wanted to make sure the memory of the Italian community lived on,” he said.
“(And) when you see this building, it’s not the building itself (that we remember), but the joy, the striving, the dreaming that the Italian community put into it,” he said.
In a speech that drew on the rich Italian heritage of Broken Hill, Councillor Christine Adams described all the Italian families who’d moved out to the Silver City to make a living, whether that was in the mines, opening up a local club or starting up a construction company.
She listed the numerous local buildings that owed their creation to those with Italian heritage, such as Con Crowley Village, the Miners’ Memorial and Council’s administration building.
She also discussed the important role the Italian community had played in highlighting multiculturalism within Broken Hill.
When the Italo Club was brought up, Clr Adams said it had played a positive community role in delivering bocce programs to the Alma Primary and Broken Hill High schools, as well as to those with a disability.
Mayor Darriea Turley echoed much of Clr Adams comments, and said that the Italian legacy within Broken Hill would continue with the pass over of the Italo Club to Southern Cross Care.
The ceremony was also attended by special guest Monica Busnello, an Italian Consulate representative, who paid tribute to John’s legacy as well the way the local Italian community had flourished over the years.
Chris De Franceschi, son of John and current President of the Italo Club, recalled his own memories of the Italian club in Crystal Street and construction work of the Italian community.
After the speeches, Mr De Franceschi handed over the Club’s keys to Mr Johnson, the commemorative cake was cut, and a plaque was unveiled that named the new Southern Cross Care facility the John De Franceschi Aged Care Centre.
To honour the occasion, Mayor Turley and Gabriella De Franceschi unveiled a photo of John at the ceremony’s end.
After the ceremony, Ms De Franceschi said she was very grateful for the recognition that John had received, and that the naming of the building after him had been a very lovely surprise.
“It’s a pity that he’s not here to see it,” she said.
“He’d been working towards this until the end and got Christopher to take over as President as he couldn’t do it anymore.
“(But) I would’ve hated to see it go to nothing after all the hard work the Italians put into building it, and all the history that’s come along with it.”