Acknowledgement is made for the enormous research carried out by Jenny Keast for her publication "Valley of Solitude" from which information has been used in this family history.

Frank Furfaro’s family came from San Giorgo Morgeto, Calabria. His family owned about fifteen acres of land, quite a lot for the times. When the family inherited it on the death of the grandparents, Dominic Furfaro and Victoria (nee Carere), it was left one piece, as so many of the family had left the country, until, in recent years, the family remaining in Italy divided the land and sold it.

Dominic and Salvatore, sons of Dominic and Victoria, came to Western Australia in 1925. Dominic was married with two sons, Dominic and Francesco (Frank). Salvatore returned to Italy in 1930 for five years and returned in 1935 bringing with him Frank, Dominic’s second son, who was just twelve years old. Dominic’s wife, Elizabeth, did not come to Western Australia, she remained in Italy to care for the eldest son, Dominic, who had been blind since the age of four. However, Dominic did come to Western Australia at the end of the Second World War and was employed at the School for the Blind at Maylands until retirement in 1986.

In 1937, Salvatore’s son, another Dominic, arrived after the war his wife Anunciata came. Salvatore also sponsored his sister Theresa’s daughter, Anna, who came in 1953. She was to become Frank’s wife in 1954.

When he had married in 1937, Dominic found work in the wheat belt, contract clearing land. He stayed there for ten years before returning to the metropolitan area and working for the Owen’s of Carmel while clearing his own land and planting vegetables and fruit trees. He also built a house, which was completed in 1942. The block was originally a soldier settler’s block but was uncleared, it was bought from the Agricultural Bank for seventy-five pounds, repayable over thirty-five years. The block was of two and a half acres and another block of the same size was added later.

Frank arrived in 1935,and also worked at the Owen’s property clearing and contract picking peas. Sometimes he managed to earn as much as two pounds a day but often did not earn anything at all if there was nothing to pick. During the depression years money was short, not only for people seeking work but for land owners too. Frank was glad to work for Tenusso at Karragullen just for food.

When World War 11 began, Frank was manpowered to work for his father but, not realising the consequences, he left to return to the Owen’s. He was soon enlisted into the army and served eighteen months before his father called him out again to work the orchard. However, three months later Frank rejoined the army.

Frank enlisted in the 58/59th Australian Infantry Battalion and was soon on route to Bouganville, leaving Australia on Christmas Eve 1944. Three other West Australians served with him, Frank Love, Trobe and Jessup, all returned safely at the end of the war. Frank was seriously injured towards the end of the war. An extract from the history of his Battalion, “Militia Battalion at War”, by Russell Mathews, reads, “On the same day (June 7th 1945) B Company, after being relieved by C Company at the Taitai Road Junction, advanced south along the Buin Road. Our artillery was ranging their 25 pounders prior to this advance, when one gun fired into the B Company positions. Gun fire was ordered without cutting out this gun and a number of shells fell into B Company positions, causing tree bursts, which killed Corporal K. S. Mills and wounded Private F. P. Furfaro. The latter had an artery severed and an observer recalls that a jet of blood as thick as a pencil spouted like a fountain from his groin”. Only the prompt and skilful attention of the A. R. P. orderly saved his life”. The A. R. P. orderly, Corporal Gorman, received the Military Medal for his action.

Frank still hates to talk of his experiences, it brings back terrible memories of the horror of jungle warfare. He had 200 injections, at three hourly intervals, before his wounds healed. The doctors actually wanted to give him 199 but Frank thought 200 would be easier to remember so they gave him an extra one! He had eleven operations on his leg to repair the damage caused by the tree burst. There were no difficulties between Frank, as an Italian, and the men he served with, however, there were some ill feelings at home both during and after the war. On his discharge from the Army, Frank worked as a waiter at the Imperial Hotel, Perth and did not return to Pickering Brook until 1950.

When things settled down after the war, life in Pickering Brook continued in a quiet way. Markets for fruit were expanding and growers concentrated more on fruit than vegetables. Until 1952 there was no power in the area and all grading was done by hand, the sheds and houses lit by kerosene lamps. The women worked very hard with few amenities and fewer social occasions.


Dances were sometimes held at the Carilla Hall as were weddings. Brides were quests at special functions, held before the wedding, when everyone would give them money to help establish their home. Rather like a kitchen tea but money was given instead of teapots. Later, the men were included in the party, Frank was the first to receive the money gifts. Franks and Anna were married at Kalamunda and their reception was held at the Carilla Hall.

The Furfaro children, Raymond, Emilio and Walter attended the Pickering Brook School, until the convent school opened at Pickering Brook, and later attended Kalamunda High School.

Frank in now retired, the land is worked by Emilio. Raymond in working out of the area, for the Wrigley Company, and Walter is at Mooney’s Cool Store, Pickering Brook.

Family Information

Dominic Furfaro married Victoria Carere.
Children; Dominic and Salvatore. Both arrive Western Australia 1925.

Dominic Furfaro married Elizabeth Belcastro.
Children; Francesco (Frank) and Dominic.

Frank married Anna Agostino.

Dominic Agostino married Theresa Furfaro.

Their Daughter Anna married Frank Furfaro.
Children; Raymond, Emilio and Walter.

Frank Furfaro passed away in April 2013

Emilio Furfaro passed away in September 2013

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: Valley of Solitude by Jenny Keast

Image: 1 Laurel Gava