A Cool Surprise

By late 2017, Russell, Karen and newly-arrived Darius were comfortably settled into inner-west Dulwich Hill. But, over the previous couple of years, they'd spent quite a few months living with us, on and off. So they very nicely bought us a fridge to replace the old drinks-fridge in the laundry.

That old fridge has a long history. It's a rarity, bearing the brand-name Zoppas. Rob and Sue Pelley bought it in Adelaide in the 1970s. We acquired it from them when they were in Drummoyne in 1983 (gratis!), and we used it in Leichhardt and then in Canberra 1984-2018. So far so banal, but bear with me.

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As we prepared it to be picked up and taken away, I checked the plate on the back to find out when it was manufactured. It appears to have been 1972. But that wasn't the interesting bit.

The company name was F. Zoppas SpA, and the plate said Made in Italy.

Most relevantly, the plant where it was made was declared to be "at Conegliano".

Click for a larger image
Click for a larger image

Linda's Spinaze and Perin/Capelin forebears accidentally migrated to Australia in 1880-81 from Codogne and Orsago, north of Venice. Those villages lie a few kilometers east of Conegliano.

The history of the expedition that they participated in is interesting, not least because it arguably delivered Australia's first 'boat people'. About 200 Italians survived the voyage (and about 100 didn't). Among them were 6 of Linda's forebears and 8 other close relatives.

The connection has long seemed worth nurturing. Among other things, when we needed to establish a self-managed fund in 1996, we called it the Conegliano Superannuation Fund.

There's still a manufacturing company in the Conegliano area bearing the Zoppas name, although it's left the whitegoods industry and is now in high-tech fields. It's located on the outskirts of Conegliano, at San Vendemiano.

Not only have we visited Conegliano several times, but we've been to San Vendemiano as well. In June 2015, we joined Linda's first cousin Barry and Carolyn Summerlad, second cousins Steve and Mick Capelin, fourth-cousins-once-removed Sonia and Yvette Bianco, and a few hundred other, more distant relations, at the 5th reunion of the Perin clan.

It was held at the Chiesa Parrocchile di San Vendemiale Vescovo, which is a 1.3km walk away from the Zoppas plant.

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In short, we had a memento of Linda's ancestral home in our house for 35 years, but we only discovered that was the case when we threw it out.

This a page within Linda Spinaze's Family Web-Site

Contact: Roger Clarke and Linda Spinaze

Created: 13 January 2018; Last Amended: 14 January 2018