Giumelli Achille (Alex)

In Memory of John Giumelli

The Family of
Achille (Alex) Giumelli
2.10.1920 to 27 . 6 .1970

(Last Updated September 2012)

Achille (Alex) Giumelli was born on 2nd October 1920 in Telgio in the Province of Sondrio in the north of Italy.

Achille’s father first came to Australia in the early 1900s but returned to Italy at the onset of WW1 and never returned. He died at a young age as a result of war injuries.

Achille was the second child but the eldest son of a family of 5 children and times were very difficult in Italy after the War and poverty was wide spread. Angelina Giumelli was left to rear her 5 children in a difficult country where food and work were scarce and Achille was sent out to work in the fields at 11 years of age to help his mother support the family.

Angelina’s brother Dom Marchetti had immigrated to Australia before the war and had become an Australian citizen and he had established himself by buying land in Pickering Brook and growing fruit and vegetables. He was well respected in the community and was a successful business proprietor with a fruit and vegetable outlet in the city.

In 1936 Dom Marchetti, then a resident of Pickering Brook sent for Achille to come to Australia to help him with his own business and give some relief to his sister in Italy. Achille was only 16 years old when he left Italy and was never to see his mother again. He sailed on board a Lloyd Trestino ship and arrived at Fremantle wharf in 1937. At that early age Achille had already decided that Australia was to be his home, and his first step on Australian soil confirmed his decision and he learnt the customs and language very quickly and in no time he was an active member of the community like his uncle.

Life in Pickering Brook like many farming areas in Australia was very hard. As a young man, Alex, as he was now called, worked very long hard hours for his uncle. Digging drains to establish new orchards, growing fruit and vegetables and early morning deliveries to the West Perth Metropolitan markets before the new day began and another working day. Alex lived with his Uncle and his wife, Virginia and their daughter Ida.

In 1940, Mussolini’s Italy declared was on the allies and the most recently arrived Italians in the area were interned. Alex escaped that fate because he worked for his uncle who was a well known businessman and fluent in English. He was conscripted into the land army and was not allowed to leave the area of his uncle’s property. In a typical laid-back Aussie style, a policeman cycled up from Kelmscott monthly to check to see that he was still with his uncle.

But Alex was content and eager to integrate into the community. He was well liked, adventurous and full of fun and laughter and was soon established in the area.

Alex’s two brothers, Martino (Martin) and Giovanni (John), had remained in Italy and during the Second World War. After the war he sponsored them to Australia and they arrived in 1949 and took up land in Bracken Road, Pickering Brook. His sister Zaira arrived at a later date and settled in Karragullen with her husband and two children (Rainaldi).

Carilla, as it was then called was the centre of the social life of district and Alex was soon attending all the dances at the hall. He met Rose Sala Tena at one of the dances. Rose was the eldest daughter of Peter and Savina Sala Tena who had established themselves on a block on what is now known as Sala Road in Pickering Brook.

Rose and Alex were married in the Catholic Church in Queens Park on the 28th June 1941. They celebrated their wedding with a family dinner at the home of Peter and Savina Sala Tena followed by a dance in Dom Marchetti’s shed in Repatriation Rd. Pickering Brook. It was wartime, so the doors and windows were shaded with Hessian bags and the entire district was invited. Alex and Rose settled into a small flat attached to the home of Dom Marchetti before moving to their home on Repatriation Road. They had four children, John, Peter, Beverley and Christopher.

Alex enjoyed his role as father and husband and the children spent many hours with him in the orchard. He was encouraged by Rose to only speak English to improve his command of the language and to attend the theatre on a regular basis to look at new horizons beyond the bounds of the district.

Alex adopted his new country from the moment he arrived and believed that the future for his family was education; therefore he insisted that his children fulfil their education before making a decision to return to the orchard and export business.

Alex’s two brothers and two sisters remained in Italy and the Martin and John fought with the Italian during the war until they were taken as prisoners of war by the Germans. After the war, Alex sponsored his two brothers to Australia and they arrived in 1949 and took up land on Bracken Road in Pickering Brook.

His sister Zaria arrived at a later day and settled at Karragullen with her husband and two children (Rainaldi).

Dom Marchetti was accidentally killed while helping Martin and John clear their land on Bracken Road and it was a sad day for the district when one of their established neighbours was killed clearing land.

After the death of his Uncle, Alex continued with running and developing the properties and diversified into poultry while developing BLUE MOON COOL STORE (1950) and establishing the first fruit exporting business in the district.

He exported fruit to Singapore, Hong Kong and to the United Kingdom.

The business thrived, but Alex was a progressive man with great drive, vision and enthusiasm. He sold the Blue Moon Cool Store as he had plans for a newer concept of fruit growing.

Alex was a progressive man with great drive, determination and ambition with a great understanding, particularly for those immigrants from Italy.

His charismatic nature, foresight and ambition made him look further into the export business and new growing methods. In 1965 he toured Europe visiting the fruit growing regions and observing the new techniques. He toured South Africa with Ray Owen looking at new methods. Encouraged by his travels and his vision for the future he established A Giumelli & Sons on Canning Road Carmel. The family business has been there ever since.

Alex became a board member of Wesfarmers and at that time he was the youngest member on the Board.

A. GIUMELLI & SONS established around 1966

His brother, John married Rosa Imperial, who was Rose’s first cousin and they had five children, Tony, Robert, Stephen, Sandra and Dianne. They lived in Bracken Road, Pickering Brook.

Martin Married Rita Giumelli and they had four children. Laurie, Mario, Frank and Susan.

His sister Zaria married Abele Rinaldi and had two children, Stephen and Maria. They settled in Holden Road, Roleystone.

John Giumelli Jnr., the eldest son of Alex continued with the family business after Alex’s death. John was committed to serving growers as his father did at the commencement of the fruit export business in committed to serving growers, as his father did at the commencement of the fruit exporting business in 1950.

Alex suffered from a congenital heart disease and after a period of illness in 1970 he passed away at aged 49 years.

It was a great loss for the community and for his family. His dedication to the industry was encouraging, his ambition, foresight and energy made him respected by many.

Alex was a charismatic man with great empathy for new immigrants, especially those who came from Italy. I am sure there are still many stories about the assistance that was given to them by Alex Giumelli.

A GIUMELLI & SON’S established a comprehensive orchard supply business delivering to Dwellingup and Jarrahdale fruit growing areas and developed a broader fruit marketing strategy that included a more commercial approach to the market.

The GIUMELLI Family has remained as orchardists in the area with a strong sense of family and a commitment to the fruit industry of Western Australia.

John Giumelli was awarded a Centenary Medal in 2002 for his personal contribution and involvement in the fruit industry of Western Australia.

In September 2010 John passed away after a long illness.

Beverley Giumelli (Millar) Councillor East Ward 1992 - 2002

Alex’s daughter, Beverley Giumelli was elected as councillor of the East Ward (Rural Sector) of the Kalamunda Shire with a strong focus on supporting and retaining the fruit industry in Western Australia. She served as a councillor for a 10 year period, and finally resigning in 2002.

At the time of updating this history (2012) Alex’s wife Rose continues to reside with her daughter Beverley and she is 91 years old. Her love for the history of the area she grew up in and subsequently married and lived in is a testament to the strength and dedication of those early settlers who established our district. Rose is a writer of verse and she has committed much of the history to verse.

In Memory of John Giumelli

WA horticulturist remembered.

Highly respected WA grower and horticultural identity John Giumelli died in September 2010, aged 68.

Mr. Giumelli was an industry stalwart and household name in horticultural circles and a familiar presence at the Karragullen Expo. The Giumellis’ have exhibited at Karragullen since the first field day in 1984 and intend to continue for as long as orchard workers require mechanical assistance.

Orchardist Roma Spiccia said Expo and the industry would not be the same without Mr. Giumelli. “He was such a big part of the horticultural community, and will be sorely missed.” she said.

Karragullen Expo President Bruno Del Simone said John was devoted to the industry and an asset to Expo each year.

Mr. Giumelli leaves his wife, Anne, and four children, Stephanie, Paul and twins Libby and Mikaela. Mr Giumelli will always be remembered for his hard work and dedication to the industry. He ran two orchards, a packing shed, a wholesale agency and new and second-hand machinery sales in Carmel, where the family home is located. Few would doubt his devotion to growing fruit and advocating the industry. Many knew the tall businessman lived and breathed horticulture.

Above all, Mr Giumelli was renowned for providing honest advice. He regarded his customers as friends because he had grown up in the area and went to school or played sport with most of them.

Mr Giumelli’s father, Alex, came to WA from Italy in 1937. He set up a fruit growing business in 1951 in Pickering Brook and later moved it to Carmel. While John Giumelli worked outside of the family business at first, he left his position as an industrial chemist to work with his father in 1965 and together they established new orchards on Canning Road. After Mr. Giumelli’s father died, he continued to build the premises, modeling it on the one his father had developed at Pickering Brook.

To further enhance the reputation of the business, he expanded into machinery and merchandise sales as well as becoming a fruit handling specialist, with a strong emphasis on export.

Mr Giumelli married pediatric nurse Anne in 1966 and their five children grew up on the orchard. “Dad was at work a lot, that was his passion,” Mikaela said. “As kids we used to go riding on the forklift and for school fetes he’d supply apples for candy apples. We all have fond memories of running around in the orchard and playing in the packing shed.” Daughter Libby Carruthers continues the family tradition. As general operations manager at A. Giumelli & Sons, she helped her father with exporting, marketing and general operations.

John Giumelli was awarded a Centenary Medal in 2002 for his personal contribution and involvement in the fruit industry of Western Australia.

Mr. Giumelli once said that despite the success he had experienced in global markets, it was only through the dedication and support of his family and loyal staff that he was able to achieve what he did.