‘All my work is about inclusion – it’s about bringing people along with us… Once I stopped working I was able to engage with things I hadn’t been able to give life to. And all of these life experiences and contributions inform what I do today.’

In 1955, Lella Cariddi arrived in Melbourne from Italy, docking at Princes Pier after a 30-day journey. She was just 15 years old when she boarded the ship and travelled to her new home, unaware of the significance that pier would later play in her life.

As migration continued in the 60s and 70s, Lella became the first ever ‘ethnic youth worker’ in 1974 to engage with young people arriving from Italy. This began a career in community development and engagement that saw her found education programs for migrant women at Footscray Women’s Learning Centre, eventually becoming the centre coordinator. Before retiring, Lella also spent 15 years as coordinator for the Multicultural Services Unit at Mercy Hospital. But retirement didn’t lessen Lella’s passion for community participation.

Lella

‘All my work is about inclusion – it’s about bringing people along with us… Once I stopped working I was able to engage with things I hadn’t been able to give life to. And all of these life experiences and contributions inform what I do today.’

In 2014, she founded the award-winning ‘What Happened At The Pier?’ project, beginning the process of documenting migrant stories. 

She reached out to communities all over Melbourne and held consultations for interested people to learn more about the project and potentially share their history. The target group was people who had arrived by ship at Princes Pier, just as she had, from any era. What followed was a deluge of responses.

‘These stories vary so much in length, in theme, in expression – they’re really unique. The participants were so generous with their contributions and giving of emotional material.’

For Radio reimagined, Lella’s project is transformed into Stories At The Pier, a selection of these personal stories read aloud by the memory-keepers themselves, or by close family members. 

The series deepens our understanding of the rich cultural history of Melbourne, and ensures these stories will continue to be heard. 

Listen to Stories from the Pier, featuring Lella Cariddi at the 2020 Victorian Seniors Festival Radio reimagined.

Add your comment

Add your comment

Cancel
Max 2000 characters