The Women of the Campania Club, SA

“Femmine E Pizze’e ne Esse Massizze”

Australia Donna met on 16 March 2005 with a group of women from the Campania Club. We talked about the history of the Club and of the women’s involvement, their experiences, aspirations and their vision for the future of the Club. Here are their testimonies…

“The Club would be a nice place to bring the grandchildren and teach them about us!”


First Days And Early Functions

Rosa Di Fede “Before the Club started we met in our garages. We, the women cooked food and made pizzas while our husbands got the plans for the Club into action. My husband and I went to Boston Massachusetts in 1971 and visited a Club ‘The Sons of Italy’. There was a need to start a social Club for people in South Australia from the Campania Region, and so we invited people to join us”. “It started a dream.”


The Dream

The ladies excitedly told their stories…

“The founding meetings were held in the homes of Rosa Di Fede, Elvira Barone, Tony Rotolo, Tony Limongelli, various other homes and Charlies Pizza Bar.”

“In those days we were always preparing food!”

“In 1975 when the Club was first formed, there were all men at the forefront and all the women in the background baking, cooking, and actually running the Club.”

(As they nodded, it seemed that the women present agreed with this statement in heartfelt unison).

“We would hire the St Bernards hall, prepare the tables and the food for fundraising dances; even the children helped and had fun. We had nowhere to leave them. They had to come with us. We had our children, our elderly parents and ourselves. Everyone worked in preparing and cleaning after the dances.”

“In the early days of the Club, there were children everywhere; they came with us…in those days they had no choice but to come with us! We had three generations, my parents, our in laws and the children, they all helped!”

Maria Morelli “I remember the children huddled in chairs or sleeping on the stage.”


The beginning of the “Ladies Committee”

“The first Ladies Committee was formed on Sunday, September 14th 1980, to raise funds, to cover the debts of the Club, and to support our men.”

A great majority of the ladies were very much involved with the Miss Campania Quests inaugurated in 1979 and continued until 1983.

“In 1980 the Italian earthquake in the Campania Region brought us together to raise funds for our compatriots in Italy. Campania Club was the headquarters of the Earthquake Appeal. The fundraising brought together many people from the Campania Region and was instrumental in bringing many members to the Club. Even the then Premier Dr David Tonkin personally helped. Monetary assistance came from the State and Federal Governments. It was a tremendous effort from everybody.”

The official opening of Campania Club was performed by the then Prime Minister Hon Malcolm Fraser on Sunday, 6th December 1981.

During the first years the Ladies Committee, a strong and motivated group, worked so hard to raise funds for many community needs and charitable organizations such as:

  • Telethon Hair & Fashion Spectacular including Children’s fashion (which attracted over 500 people and raised a great amount)
  • The Leukemia Foundation
  • The Ash Wednesday Bushfire Appeal, 1982
  • Miss SA Quest. (Rita Quirino (daughter of Life Member the late Nicola Quirino) herself a sufferer of cerebral palsy, was sponsored by the Ladies of Campania Club who raised the highest amount for the Miss South Australia Quest).
  • Many of our ladies through their involvement with Campania Club have been involved in great fundraisers for Churches in Parishes throughout Adelaide.
  • The Cranial Facial Unit (which continues to have many of their meetings here).

Maria Morelli “In 2003 we organized a fund raiser for Steven Taylor’s “Tayen Park Cancer Care Centre” in Clare.

The Late Fausta Paglia was Honorary Member and Life Governor of Campania Club. She held the position of Treasurer for the Ladies Committee since its commencement and was always here for the ladies. Even throughout her illness extending over eight and a half years, she was very much involved in our community and church and held a lot of us together with her never ending support, vision and drive. “I am going to die and I never will be able to do this,” she would say (having promised that she would have a fundraiser for Steven Taylor.”

Anna Morelli said “yes, we will do the fundraiser.”

“We met at my place,” said her cousin Rosa Morelli

“So we gathered together and helped to prepare for the function. 600 people attended the fundraiser; (full house) raising in excess of $20,000. She was so beautiful. Era una bambola!”


Why Women Joined The Campania Club

“Our ladies worked hard to raise funds and were very much involved in the social aspect of all events; eg we prepared the food, but also entertained many guests and dignitaries, including the local community, presidents, prime ministers, religious leaders and artists from all corners of the world. We were amongst them all!”

Rosa Morelli “I have been with the Club since 1980 when I was involved with the Miss Campania Quest.”

Raffaela Maione “My husband was involved and I enjoyed it too, it was great company for me.” Raffaela is still in a Pizza making group today.

Grace Tropeano “I came for the first time when I was invited by Vincenzina De Ionno. I enjoyed the function. I was asked to join the Committee. I served as Secretary, then later I served as Treasurer. I am still a member of the Committee. My husband and I have been involved with the Club for the last 12 years. We are at the Club helping in a voluntary capacity in the Pokies and the front counter in customer service. We all do our best; it’s the companionship!”

Vincenzina De Ionno “I was always in the background. What made me join (the Management Committee) was that the secretary was absent on one occasion and we would have had to pay someone. My husband asked me to take the Minutes, so I joined, I wrote the Minutes as best I could and my daughter would rewrite them for me, for five years. Gradually, I progressed and became the Catering Manager, taking bookings etc. Aurelio, my husband was the President and our Committee worked so good together. We had a Labour Party function (850 people) and I sat with the Prime Minister Keating and his wife. I was so proud of myself that I had this in me. I never worked in my life and I achieved this, so I was so proud. I was the first woman in the Club to receive an honorary membership.”

Maria Mignone (an Honorary Member of the Club) “I came to join the Barone and Di Fede families to celebrate New Year’s Eve and decided to join the Club. I was always in the background and my husband (now an Honorary Member) was on the Committee. I had little children then. Now I am on the Committee as a volunteer; and my husband is still today working voluntarily in the bar. I became the Vice President and the Hostess. I continue to work as I like the Club to grow; I now have seven grandchildren and I want them to be proud of this Club. They tell me that they are proud of me and I hope that the Club will be there for them as they grow up. The Club offers friendship and fraternity to the people of Campania and we welcome everyone.”


Pizze, Zeppole e Baccala’ – THEN

“La pizza della Campania la conoscono tutti…nessuno ha mai detto che la nostra pizza non e’buona….ogni venerdi’ sera il Club e’ pieno! Abbiamo incominciato a fare la pizza quando gli uomini giocavano a bocce; dovevamo dargli qualcosa da mangiare…siamo napoletani e allora facciamo la pizza!” (Vincenzina De Ionno),

Alberina Luongo “abbiamo partecipato al Carnevale ogni anno.”

“Nel 1979 al Festival nel Rundle Mall, abbiamo portato per la prima volta zeppole, baccala’ e pizze. Abbiamo fatto anche le pizze ‘frienne e magnenne’ pizze fritte e condite con sugo di pomodoro.” (Giuseppina Maione, Margherita Rinaldi)

“La prima ricetta di zeppole, fatte con le patate veniva fresca dall’Italia! e sono state vendute al Festival Italiano con grande successo.”

Margherita Rinaldi “Abbiamo fatto anche la sfilata dove gli uomini si sono vestiti da donna coi tacchini alti e le mini-gonne …..!”

Margherita went on to say…

“I’ve been involved with the Club since 1980, and personally involved with the fundraising for four Miss Campania Quests. I was a kitchen coordinator on the Ladies Committee. I was involved in organizing all the functions such as Father’s Day, Carnevale and New Year’s Eve etc. The first New Year’s Eve function that I was involved with; we left here at four o’clock in the morning.

We were making the pizzas on Friday Nights: Zia Antonietta, Nannina and myself. We used to ‘ammassare 10 kili di farina –(it was heavy) at home and then bring the dough to the Club. I was also in charge of hiring the hall. I am still here and still helping when I can and whenever the Club needs me.

Campania Club for me is like my own home, I wish the Club well and if ever there will be a Nursing home here, we may be here playing cards and reminiscing with all the people who made this Club.”


Il Gruppo Delle Pizze – NOW

Anna Morelli “Siamo gruppi di 4 o 5 donne. Facciamo l’impasto 5 o 6 giorni ala settimana e poi ognuno viene ad aiutare. Sono contenta di stare insieme a queste belle donne che ci aiutano tutte, ognuno viene ad aiutare. Sono contenta di stare insieme a queste belle donne che ci aiutano tutte, cosi’possiamo fare le cose piu’belle per il Campania Club. Il mio lavoro adesso e un po troppo – cinque or sei giorni alla settimana, con due o tre donne!”

Maria Morelli “The Campania ladies hold Anna in very high esteem and all members of the Club uphold this view.”

Alberina dice sempre… “Femmine e pizze e ne esse massizze.”

Nel 1974 siamo andati in Italia con la nostra famiglia per vacanze e ci siamo incontrati con la famiglia Di Fede a San Rocco a Paduli. Giovanni Di Fede parlava di formare questo Club in Adelaide. Io e mio marito siamo stati cosi contenti e l’anno dopo hanno formato il Campania Club (Sons of Italy). Noi siamo stati sempre vicino al Club per tutti I trent’anni. Mio marito e un fondatore del Club, e stato membro del Comitato per tanti anni ed ha assistito a qualsiasi lavoro che si doveva fare e insieme abbiamo partecipati a tutte le funzioni.

Mia figlia era con il Gruppo Campano e hanno ballato all’apertura del Club.

A I miei suoceri ci piaceva molto il Club e mia suocera spesso diceva ‘portatemi al Club perche la vedo le gente!’

Io ho lavorato con tutto le donne nella cucina, ma di piu con le pizze e ancora lavoro con queste pizze!

e non dimenticate che ‘femmine e pizze e ne esse massizze!’ Così diciamo in dialetto al mio paese e io vengo da Montesarchio. Alberina Cecere in Luongo”

Rita Cavaiuolo “I go to Domus Operosa, the Italian Nursing Home at Burton. I visit the elderly and minister Holy Communion. I have been a volunteer at the Campania Club for many years. My husband is on the committee and I have been working as a volunteer. Being in the Club has been enjoyable but it has also been a lot of hard work, long hours and being available when needed.”

The benefits have been many, especially the friendship and being able to support our Italo – Australian community in social and recreational activities.”

Maria Muccitelli “I was Secretary in 1985-86 and I was the only woman in an all men committee. I was dragged in….I took the Minutes in Italian and English and my daughter helped. I just took the Minutes I had no say. A woman on her own twenty years ago, where could she go? I came because my husband came with me.”

Nancy Greco “e poco tempo che sono col Club appena 3 o 4 anni e vengo per la gente…la compagnia. Poi vengo ogni mese per fare le pizze. Se ce un weekend che non vado al Club mi manca qualcosa.”

Angela Bagarozza “The first time I joined the Committee was in 1992; I held the position of first lady Treasurer for two years. I used to do all the bookwork from home in my spare time as well as help at the Club for functions.

Towards the end of 1996 I was asked to join the Committee again. After a few months of joining it was decided that clearly, the Club needed an employee in the office. I was elected as Office Secretary, Function Coordinator and Treasurer.

I did this for 3 years; my workload was enormous, but I was always told I was needed and was always encouraged. Now I still work as a volunteer in one of the pizza groups, which I joined back in 1992. My hard work has rewarded me with many friends. Throughout the years I have seen a lot of dedicated hard working people caring for the Club. It’s almost as if it reminds them of their homeland, traditions and I guess it is their way of life and upbringing.

The older women who worked in the kitchen amazed me the most. When there was a function on they would be in the Club kitchen first thing in the morning starting to work and be ready for the long day ahead. They worked from morning till late at night always happy and saying jokes. Not long day ahead. They worked from morning till late at night always happy and saying jokes. Not many of us could do this today, so I truly admire their work and commitment.”

Antonietta Santucci “Quando è nato il mio bambino c’era un’infermiera tedesca che mi domandò da che parte venivo dall’Italia. Io le dissi che ero napoletana. Lei mi disse che adesso stanno a costruire un Club a Modbury North e mi chiese se noi eravamo coinvolti.

Un giorno un nostro paesano, Donato Rinaldi ci ha invitati a lavorare insieme per fare I fondi per la Miss Campania Quest. E così abbiamo incominciato a lavorare insieme con paesani e compaesani. Noi ci siamo uniti con amici campani per fondare il Club.

È stato tanto lavoro, noi impastavamo le pizze con I pugni; a quei tempi non c’erano le machine per fare l’impasto. Ci siamo divertiti facendo balli e altri divertimenti e continuiamo ancora. Saranno 26 anni che lavoriamo con il Club. Nel 1995 quando e stato eletto Presidente mio marito Pierino, io lo assistivo a tutte le funzioni. Auguriamo che noi possiamo ancora godere a participare finche la salute ci accompagna, e poi spero che I nostri figli e nipotini se ricorderanno I lavori e sacrifici dei loro genitori.”

Antonietta Belperio “I have very happy memories from my days at the Campania Club. I was involved with the Miss Campania Quests, the Italian Festivals, and countless fundraising events. Most of the time I worked in the kitchen preparing meals. We made exceptionally wonderful friendships, spent many hours and days working hard but always with fun and laughter.

I was on the original Women’s Committee and started the Friday Night Pizza’s for which the Campania Club is now renowned. My husband was on the Management Committee and I was always there to support and help him. Many, many times after we retired we would spend our days at the Campania Club, setting up and cleaning up before and after the functions.

Nowadays, due to my immobility because of numerous hip operations, I cannot help anymore but I do miss the company and the laughter. These happy memories from the Campania Club have been instilled in all my family, because my daughter Josie was the Club Secretary, and her husband Domenic was also involved, and they too have formed lifelong friendships with people whom they met at the Club. Even my grandchildren Paul and Mark have many good memories and always say “Oh that is a Campania Club song”, when they hear tunes like ‘Delilah’ played.”


Josie De Ionno: “My lasting impressions of the Campania Club…

“I have seen the Club grow from an idea, to what it is today, a meeting place for people of the same cultural background. I have been involved, and watched the Club being maintained through three generations.

I value having being involved with people such as John Di Fede, and other leaders of SA Government and government departments. I learnt so much from them by being involved in the organizing of multiple fundraising appeals, such as the Earthquake appeal, Miss Campania Quest and the Italian Festivals. Possibly the single most important thing was seeing the evolving of the SA Multicultural Department which happened while I was on the Management Committee.

I remember setting up the Ladies Committee, which became an integral part of the Club, meeting and making life long friends and friendships that I will always treasure. Hopefully, all this learning has helped me to grow and develop personally.”


Rosanna’s story

My name is Rosanna Quaglia and I have been with the Club for approx 10 years. I first came to the Club in 1994 when my husband Mark Quaglia said we should associate ourselves with the Campania Club. At that time we had 2 young children, Matthew and Thomas.

In 1995 Vincenzina De Ionno, who had been Secretary and Function Coordinator left the Club. I was then asked to take on the position of Function Coordinator and being interested in that field I accepted and I joined the Management Committee. Together with the then President, Pierino Santucci we organised many functions and it was a very satisfying experience.

In 1996 I was the first female Vice President. At the end of that year I resigned because I was having my third child Luke. In 1999 I returned to the Management Committee as Club and Office Secretary and continued my role as Function Coordinator. I was also heavily involved with the organising of our gaming license along with Raffaele Barone President at the time. This was a great achievement both personally and for the Club.

In 2001 I had another child Anthony, who actually grew up in the office of the Club. In fact, all my boys grew up in the Club and I hope, one day they too will carry on our traditions and continue to be a part of our Club.

Six years later I am still the Club and Office Secretary and although it is challenging raising 4 boys, running a home and working, I enjoy being a part of the Campania family.

I have been a part of many changes in the past and I am looking forward to being a part of greater things to happen in the future. The future of our Club will soon be in the hands of the youth of my generation and the next to follow.

I wish the Club great success and hope it will continue for many future generations to enjoy.


Wanda Cavaiuolo

I became involved with Campania Club after my Son-in-law, Mark started bringing us on Friday nights for pizza. I was involved with the Fundraising committee with Tina Ranaldo, Grace Tropeano and Pina Boffa. We started up Bingo and ran raffles on Friday nights and we raised money for the Club. With the proceeds raised we renovated the ladies’ toilets.

I joined the Management Committee in 2002 and have been in the Committee for 4 years. I was Function Floor Manager for 1 year and was also involved voluntarily in the gaming room.

It was always my wish to have been a part of organising a special day for our elderly members on a continued basis which I hope will eventuate

I have made many friends during this time and I wish the Club every success for the future.


Giuseppina Maione

I am Clemente Maione’s wife, one of the Founders of our Club.

In the 70’s life was very difficult for my husband and me being in this new country. We had 3 very young children. We had just started our own business in steel fabrication, we had a language barrier issue, and we had no money and no time.

When my cousin John Di Fede approached us about this idea, vision and dream he had to form this Club, we were very excited and enthusiastic about it but devastated that money and time was a major issue in our lives. However, the passion and the pride was there and when you have these attributes, you can almost achieve anything.

I remember, staying up late, once I had put the children to bed, to sew aprons, costumes or anything else that needed to be sewn so that our Club could save money.

I remember, unity and happiness as most of us women struggled to make ends meet within our own homes but we were always willing and able to help in any way we could and at any time it was need so that this Club could build its own Club rooms and be noticed in this State and Country, which in turn would make us Campani noticeable.

Now, 30 years on I am so proud that I was part of this Club from day one and I am so very proud that my daughter is the President of this Club today. Although it was very difficult for me and also I believe for many other women, we always focused on the original vision which was to provide for our children and grand children and this we have done!”


Clementina Maione

I am the daughter of one of the Founders of Campania Sports and Social Club Community Centre Inc. My parents are Clemente and Giuseppina Maione.

I have so many memories of the early years of our Club and I clearly remember the first Carnevale our Club participated in, which was held in Rundle Mall. As a very young girl, I would march with pride at the official procession from North Terrace to Rundle Mall and I loved it.

Also, I became a Campania Club Dancing Girl together with my sister, cousins and family friends. We all wore the traditional costumes which were hand made by my mother and other ladies of our Club.

The Official Opening of our Club rooms on Sunday 6th December 1981 remains a vivid memory for me. Although it is difficult to remember exactly how I felt at the time, I know that my parents were so proud and happy to finally have their own Club rooms.

In my twenties and early thirties I pursued my career and moved interstate on two different occasions, once to Sydney for 2 years and another time to the Gold Coast for 3 years.

For many years I was not physically present at our Club but I always knew how it was doing, who was the President and what new changes were happening as it was and still is a major part of our family life!

When my parents, family and friends, (all members of our Club) gathered at functions they would always discuss our Club and kept on saying how our Club really needed a change and needed to move into the next generation.

One evening. I was having dinner with my parents as I had just returned from the Gold Coast and my parents were discussing the AGM of 2004, which they had just attended. We discussed our Club and its future and I could see it in my dad’s eyes that he just wanted our Club too move forward. I looked at both my parents and I said and I quote, ” I am going to join the Committee. My parents were elated and were very supportive of my decision, together with many members of my family and friends.

After two months of being on the committee I knew that our Club needed me and I had so much to offer. Therefore, when I was elected as President of Campania Club in January 2005 I accepted it with true honour and joy. Being the first female President, being elected in our 30th year of celebrations and being one of the Founder’s daughters was just so overwhelming.

It has been and continues to be a challenge every day, to say the least. But, it is all worth it and I hope that my vision of taking this Club to the next generation occurs with many more generations to follow.

Viva Australia, Viva Italia and Viva Campania!


A Vision For The Future


“The Club would be a nice place to bring the grandchildren and teach them about us!”

“Centro Didattico hold Italian language classes for the youth.”

Mr Eugenio Di Vizio used to teach La Tarantella. There was La Taccarata, and il Gruppo Folcoristico San Nicola, all teaching dances to our children.”



 “For the elderly, we would like to give one day a month to bring the older generation here and we would be hostesses to the aged. We can play bocce, cards, and we can just listen to them….”

Clementina “A vision that John Di Fede and Nicola Minicozzi have for the Club, is to build a nursing home, with the help of government funding and adapt it to the older people’s style of living. What we would like is to see them come here and do activities that are culturally appropriate and familiar to them.”

Grace Tropeano “Keep Fit classes for the ladies in the evenings. We used to have one here. It is for us ladies to enjoy.”

Dr Daniela Costa “a hydrotherapy pool is good for people who lose their ability to move and therefore become unwell. When you age your body gets rusty, so I always encourage my patients to go to hydrotherapy pools. They say “Yes, but where do I go?”

Vincenzina De Ionno “Once a week we could teach the youth and community members to cook a traditional dish. They would be encouraged to be involved in the preparation and tasting, and be given the recipe to take home.”

“Noi vogliamo formare il comitato delle donne, e questo e perche siamo qui stasera, quindi e una serata storica.”

Maria “vorrei fare una funzione Spirituale, uno studio della Bibbia.”

Letizia (a visitor from Sardegna on working Visa) “sono qui da due mesi, ospite a casa di Anna Casari. Questa serata e un po commovente, la solidarieta di trovarsi in un paese nuovo, …tanti sacrifici…questa riunione e bellissima.”



Australia Donna thanks Vincenza Ferraro, Maria Morelli and Rebecca Bagnara for their collaboration on this project.