Pickering-Brook-Heritage-fiolo-salvatore-sam-3-1600x600

Fiolo Salvatore (Sam)

Information gathered from an interview between Salvatore Fiolo and Carol Cahill on 28th July 2006 and other sources.

Researched and compiled by Gordon Freegard

Salvatore was born on 3rd February 1937 in a little town in Sicily called Ucria. With a population of five thousand people it is situated in the mountains thirty-five kilometres from the ocean. At the age of seventeen he decided to come to Australia because in 1956 Italy was in a depression and there was not much work around. His brother-in-law had come to Australia four years earlier and had written to him asking him to come out to Australia also. He did not actually make the move to Australia until he was nineteen.

SAM FIOLO #1

In Sicily his father, who was a heavy smoker, died at the age of forty-three in 1945. So Sam started work with a builder mixing cement in a wheelbarrow. He worked there until at nineteen he caught a Qantas plane to Australia. The ticket cost him two hundred and sixty-four pounds which was a lot of money in 1957.

He arrived in Karragullen and started work with Giovanni Cassoti where his brother-in-law also worked. The first fourteen months he lived in a little house with his sister and brother-in-law on the Cassoti property. A year later they bought a fifty-seven acre property at Karragullen for two thousand, three hundred and fifty pounds ($4,700.00). They paid a small deposit and borrowed the rest from a bank.

However after about fourteen months he decided to move. Working with Italians all the time he was having trouble learning English. He did a three months stint working on the railway at Southern Cross before returning to Karragullen where he found work at John Mazzega’s saw mill in Kelmscott. After seven or eight months he left to work at Illawarra Orchard in Karragullen. He very much enjoyed working for the Price family at Illawarra as they were so good to him. At the end of the first season there he was offered a permanent job which he accepted and ended up staying there for four years.

In 1960 he was involved in a very serious accident. Sam and his brother-in-law Leone Tranchita used to ride on a motorbike to get supplies. On this particular occasion they were following behind a truck approaching a railway crossing which only had flashing light and no boom gates. However the truck braked very suddenly and the boys on the motorbike crashed into the back of it.

SAM FIOLO WITH FRESHLY PICKER FRUIT #2

As the small property had been bought in partnership, when his brother-in-law was killed the full debt fell onto Sam. Times were very, very hard then. He decided to sell off thirty-five acres of bush which enabled him to pay out his sister and purchase a tractor. He then started to pull out the few old apples trees that were on the property and planted new trees. Later he was able to purchase an adjoining property which allowed him to increase his orchard size.

The orchard now grows an abundance of the latest variety of produce. In summer, super sweet white and yellow flesh peaches and nectarines, plums, pluots (apricot/plum), apricots and our vibrant, sweet cherries. The autumn and winter months bring crunchy sweet apples, nashis and soft & hard persimmons.

Water supply was a major problem on the property. He had a small creek that ran through the middle of the property which he diverted into a dam. After sinking many bores and finding no water, he sank three bores near his house that produced a little water. So during the season he would use the creek until it dried up about December, then he would use the dam and finally the bores.

SOME OF THE RANGE OF FRUIT GROWN #3
SAM FIOLO WITH PICKED CHERRIES #4

Sam knew the Cassetta family in Italy prior to coming to Australia in 1957. Nineteen year old Sam was attracted to their daughter Carmela, who was only fifteen at the time. However in 1963 the Cassetta family migrated to Australia and Sam re-connected with Carmela and married her in 1964. They had a son and two daughters and in 2006 had five grandchildren.

In 1978 he visited a friend living in Yokine and fell in love with the design of his house. His friend lent him a copy of the plans and Sam build his own house from those plans.

Having made many trips back to Italy to visit family he maintains that Australia is still the best country in the world. Sam has one sister living in Italy and another in Australia. Sadly his mother passed away in 2001.

It was very hard for Italians when they first arrive in Australia, mainly not knowing the language. However it became easier with so many Italian immigrates living in Karragullen. He working very for long hours to establish his orchard and to pay off his debts. Many days spent picking the fruit in the rain, and then working late into night to clean and pack in boxes ready to take to the market in Wellington Street, at half past three in the morning.

The orchard is now leased to Sam’s son Sebastian and son-in-law Rob, with Sam helping out whenever he feels like it. Now in retirement he spends a lot of leisure time at the Lesmurdie Club with many Italian friends playing cards.


Every endeavour has been made to accurately record the details however if you would like to provide additional images and/or newer information we are pleased to update the details on this site. Please click here to email us at info@pickeringbrookheritagegroup.com We appreciate your involvement in recording the history of our area.

References: Article: Pickering Brook Heritage Group
City of Armadale Birtwistle Local Studies Library

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4 Internet