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.

The Vincenti family originally came from Villa Callemandina, Canigiano, Province of Lucca. Fredinando Vincenti came to Western Australia in the mid 1920’s and worked for several years clearing land around Karrawong. He saved hard and returned to Italy, in 1930, to marry Fiuseppina Mariani. A daughter, Francis, was born in 1932.

Giuseppina’s father, Francesco Mariani, had been in the U.S.A. for several years and had saved enough money to buy land and build a house. He died in the late 1930’s, after having his legs crushed by a rock fall in the mountains. His wife and four children survived on his savings. There was no pension available from the government in those days and the children had to work as soon as they were able. Ferdinando’s parents were share farmers, living in houses belonging to landowner’s. They were poor and struggled to raise five children.

Ferdinando returned to Western Australia leaving Giuseppina and Francis in Italy, until he could send for them in 1934.

On his return to Western Australia Ferdinando worked for Mr. Haines, a lawyer, who was establishing a dairy farm at Nornalup. He later leased land in Merrivale Road, Pickering Brook, from Mr. Grimshaw. The family joined him at Pickering Brook.

Later, a property on Barton’s Mill Road was bought. The house was built right at the edge of a creek and during winter it was often awash when the creek flooded. It was always cold and damp. There were four rooms, one used as a kitchen and the others as bedrooms. The walls were weatherboard, lined with face cuts, the floor boards were face cuts too and the wind howled in between the cracks. A young son, Tony, fell into the creek when it was flooded, and was swept away. The family’s silky terrier ran along the bank, barking, attracting Giuseppina’s attention and she managed to save him from drowning. Ferdinando decided to move the house away from the creek and with the help of a tree puller, Ferdinando, George Holroyd and a few other neighbours, pulled the house up the hill. The process took at least two weeks, by which time the house was in danger of falling apart so it was left where it was. Ferdinando then added a cement verandah and a little room for Tony. Water tanks were built near the house and eventually a terrazzo sink unit was put into the kitchen. Cooking was done in an old blackened wood stove. The outhouse “loo” was about one hundred metres from the house. Francis was scared to use it at night – the frogs and other strange noises had her imagining that all kinds of terrible things were waiting for her. When the loo pan was filled the contents were buried under a tree.

Ferdinando grew vegetables, which were taken to market by carrier. The road to the property was very steep and rough and some carriers would not take their truck up it, so everything had to be taken down the road. Cauliflowers were not packed into crates then and had to be lined up, in order of quality, on the truck. A cut into the stalk of the cauliflower denoted the quality, i.e., one stroke denoted grade one, and so on. The family carried cauliflowers in their sleep.


When Francis began school, she walked along the Barton’s Mill railway track to the school at Pickering Brook. In winter the rain ran off the forest and flooded the crossing and she had to wade across. There was a little shack at the crossing and it was often surrounded by water. The shack was lived in by several men who “batched”. Tiboni was one and Vic Della Franca while his wife was still in Italy, then Matt Della Franca. He had a small mill on Glen Isla Road, Carmel, before moving to the south west of the state.

When she was old enough to work in the orchard, Francis was bought a bicycle. This enabled her to pick peas and milk the cow in the morning before riding to school and arriving on time. Tony did the same when he was old enough. Francis can remember catching the train to Perth to buy the bike. It cost fourteen pounds ($28). The train trip to Perth took two hours but before catching the train there was a four mile walk to the station.


The nearest dentist was at Perth. After suffering with raging toothache all one night, Francis was taken on the train to visit one. The dentist found an abscess under her tooth but was unable to treat it so she had to spend another two hours on the train to return home – still in agony. There was a doctor at Kalamunda, Dr. Barber, and a very good midwife, Sister Gill, at Carmel. She had a little utility and she would take people into the doctor if needed.

Groceries were brought by Mr. Beard, in a canvass topped truck, he also brought the mail and papers.

The Pickering Brook School was a one class school. The first teacher Francis had was Mrs. Richards and some of her classmates were; Malcolm Beard, Garry and Derek Godbold, the Roads children, Dallas Neave, Charlie and Tony Marchetti, Charlie Della Franca, and Peter Sala Tenna. The school children took swimming lessons in a very muddy dam on the Neave’s property. It was so muddy that it anyone had drowned they would never have been found. All the girls and boys played cricket and rounders and there was drill every morning before school started. Both Francis and Tony had to leave school at the age of fourteen to work on the orchard. Tony was considered to be very bright, but all efforts by the teachers did not persuade his parents to allow him to remain at school.

In 1949, Giuseppina wanted to return to Italy to see her mother. She took Francis and Mary with her. The boat trip, via the eastern states and Singapore, took fifty-two days. Francis met Rino Erini while on holiday, and in a few months they were married.

Rino was in the Army during the war and had then taken up land on a share farming basis. Half of everything grown was paid to the owner of the land. He hardly managed to earn enough to keep himself. When he and Francis returned to Australia he worked on the orchard and also cut wood. He then worked for Mr. Niven for three years before buying a property in Barton’s Mill Road. When this was sold, he worked for Bill Ellery. He then bought a carrier business from Jim Di Rosa. Later , he sold the business and built a house in Pickering Brook. During the Second World War, Rino’s cousin, Fernando Grassi, was interned at Rottenest. His family was still in Italy, although they came here after the war, except for one daughter who was married. Fernando and his wife were apart for twelve years. After the war he planted the Servita Maria vineyard, now Ellendale, at Bassendean.

Giuseppina returned to Italy again in 1959, became ill and died there. Francis rushed by plane to be by her side, arriving just before she died.

Ferdinando returned to Italy to live and died there in 1970.

Family Information

Francesco Mariani married Lucia Chiari
Children; Giuseppina, b.1912, Giovanni, Antonio, Luigina.

Giuseppina married Ferdinando Vincenti.

Agostino Vincenti married Assuntina ? .
Children; Arnildo, Maria, Ferdinando, b.1901, Annina, Valentina.

Ferdinando married Guiseppina Mariani.
Children; Francesca, Antonio, Mary.

Francesca married Rino Erini, 1949.
Children; Fred, Ann.

Antonio married Ann Plozza.
Children; Joanna, Garry.

Mary married Angelo Gava.
Children; Neil, Julie

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, 2 Jenny Keas