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.

Dominic Marchetti was born at Teglio, Province of Sondrio in 1891. He arrived in Western Australia at the age of sixteen or seventeen and worked in the Manjimup area digging potatoes. He later found work in the Tunkurrin area, where he was naturalised in 1921. By 1926 he had saved enough to buy land at Pickering Brook and he and his nephew, Ambrogia Marchetti, began developing a block in Repatriation Road.

As his land was cleared Dominic planted vegetables and fruit trees and, as the trees began producing fruit, he bought a stall in Forrest Place, Perth and sold his fruit from there. He also grew a good supply of rhubarb, which brought good prices in the markets.

In 1936 Dominic married Virginia Prosperi. Her father had arrived in Western Australia in 1929 and worked in the mines at Kalgoorlie. His wife died, in Italy, when he was at Kalgoorlie and his two daughters, Virginia and Olga were sent to join him, in the care of a cousin, Concetta Tenardi. He found work in Perth where the eldest daughter, Virginia also found work later with the Molinari’s in their restaurant and boarding house. The family found conditions very hard in the city during the depression but by 1936 Virginia had married Dominic Marchetti and moved to Pickering Brook.

In 1936, Dominic brought his nephew, Achilles Giumelli, from Teglio to work for him in the orchard.

As Dominic earned money he bought land, which he cleared and then resold. In 1949 while clearing his land in Bracken Road, Dominic Marchetti was killed when the hawser of a steam driven tree puller gave way.

Ida, Virginia’s daughter, married Giuseppe Scafidi in 1957. Giuseppi had worked in the flour mill at Merredin for some time before working at the sugar refinery at Fremantle. Giuseppi suffered an injury to his back and was unable to work for twenty-one months, seven weeks of which he spent at St. John of Gods Hospital. He can remember the long dragging days and the hurt of not receiving any visitors at all during that time. He certainly let his friends know what he thought when he was released. Joe and Ida met while Ida was working in a milk bar in Perth. When they married they moved to Pickering Brook to be near Ida’s mother. In 1960 they bought land from Alex Giumelli and erected a house they had bought through army surplus.

Joe and Ida have three sons, Robert, Peter and Carlo. Dom Marchetti’s three cousins, Diminic, Charlie and Peter also came to Western Australia. The three brothers were of a family of eighteen boys and one girl. (Some were step brothers). Both Peter and Dominic were each one of two sets of twins. Dominic was the first to come to Western Australia. He worked on the goldfields water supply, laying the pipes from Mundaring Weir. In 1926, Peter joined him and two years later Charlie came. They all went to the Lake Brown area clearing land for farming. Later, Charlie came to Pickering Brook to work for his cousin Dom who was growing vegetables and rhubarb. The rhubarb stock came from Mr. Paull’s famous rhubarb – very big red stalks. The produce was taken to an open market in Wellington Street, Perth, opposite Royal Perth Hospital. The men would leave at 3.00am with a truck load of produce and set up stalls at the market, which opened at about 5.00am. When everything was sold they returned to Pickering Brook to do a day’s work. Charlie was paid twenty-five shillings a week for very long hours. All the vegetables were watered by a gravity fed system from a dam on a hill. Cauliflowers were not boxed, just piled onto the truck to take to market, each one was marked with a grade mark and all were loaded by hand.


Dominic and Peter joined Charlie at Pickering Brook. The brothers carted wood for Weston and Hawkins and also stone for the “old” Welshpool Road. Peter later worked on the goldfields railways. Charlie worked for Dom until just before his marriage, in 1933, when he moved onto a property, which was owned by Terry Ryan, just behind the present Pickering Brook Golf course. Dominic, Charlie and Peter boarded at the home of Granny Spriggs and Myrtle Bateman, which was separated from Ryans by the railway to Karragullen. Charlie met Doreen Gillam there when she was seventeen years old. When they married they lived at Ryans place until they bought a property in Bracken Road from the Thorleys. Charlie made Pickering Brook’s first bocce ring under the pine trees on his property, the tradition was later carried on by Charlie Della Franca.

The family lived in Bracken Road until 1954, when the property was sold in order to settle the boys on a dairy farm at Waroona. Charlie and Doreen later returned to Pickering Brook and began another orchard at Kingsmill Road. Doreen worked very hard on the property as well as rearing her family. She used a single furrow plough to prepare the ground for vegetable seeds. Later, a small Howard rotary hoe was used, this was eventually replaced by a Massey Ferguson tractor. Swedes were grown, both for the market and as pig feed. Doreen would fill one hundred gallon “kero” tins with swedes and then wheel them to the house to boil for the pigs.

They also grew huge cauliflowers, potatoes and peas. One day, Dorrie picked ninety-six dozen cauliflower, packed them onto a cart and then transferred them to a truck, all alone. She and her sister picked five acres of peas. They would begin at 4.30am and pick until they heard to 7.00am train whistle as it passed through Pickering Brook. This was the signal to return to the house to prepare breakfast for the children and send them off to school. Dorrie could pick twenty-two kero tins a day – they sold for one shilling (10 cents) a tin. Dorrie made her own jams, pickles and preserves and usually made one thousand jars of jam, much of it going to her sons at Waroona.

Dorrie and Charlie retired to Kalamunda in 1976. Charlie died in 1984.

Family Information

Dominic Marchetti married Virginia Prosperi.
Daughter Ida.

Ida married Joe Scafidi.
Children; Robert, Peter, Carlo.

Robert married Setophani Della Bosca.

Peter married Jennifer Brown.

Charlie Marchetti married Doreen Gillam.
Children; Charles, Tony, John, Bruce, Susan.

Dominic married Pia Ghilarducci.
Children; Leo, Lina.

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 We appreciate your involvement in recording the history of our area.

References: Article: Valley of Solitude by Jenny Keast

Image: 1 Beverley Giumalli
2 Jenny Keast