Luigi Snr 1903 - 1980 & Aurelia 1911 - 2008

Luigi Tuia was born in 1903 to parents Angelo and Maria.   Luigi was one of nine children, however his two sisters Rosa and Maria passed away at a very young age in Italy.  Luigi spent time in the military and discharged  in 1924 prior to leaving Port Genoa on the Ship Orama in 1925  headed for Fremantle, Western Australia.  Arriving in Fremantle he was approached by Charles Bunning the original Bunnings founder and he started work for Bunnings cutting sleepers until he purchased land in Balingup with his brother Enrico.

In 1930 Luigi applied for and became a citizen of Australia.  At the time while he could speak English he was unable to read the English language, so we can only imagine how hard it must have been in a new country for him, but then while in Collie he met Aurelia Betti and they started a new life together.

Aurelia  was born on 16th June in the Valtelina Region of Northern Italy in the small village of Tresivio to parents Giovani Betti a peasant farmer, and his wife Louisa. When Aurelia was only eight she sadly lost her mother to a stomach tumour. Aurelia had little schooling and spent much of her time caring for her sister Sylvia’s children as she passed away at the young age of 17. In December 1927 at the age of 16, Aurelia set sail with her father, Giovani Betti and a young Les Betti to Australia.  After three long months they arrived in Fremantle Western Australia and settled in Collie where Nonna worked in a wine saloon. It was here that Aurelia met a young Luigi, he was cutting sleepers in Bridgetown at the time.  In 1931 they celebrated their love with a wedding in Bridgetown and they began their lives together on a property on Southhampton Road in Balingup.

In 1939 they moved to King Spring Road, Thomson Brook near Donnybrook and it was here that Aurelia raised her children Ida, Elsie, Nino and Lui while Luigi was busy on the farm.  In 1944 the land was transferred into their name.  Their home was the calling place of many Italians in the area with their wine and sausages bringing people together.

After 23 years on the farm in Thomson Brook, it was time to move into town, and so in 1962 they settled into their home at 13 Alnutt Street, Donnybrook. It was a busy hub and a home full  of love. Aurelia and Luigi both tendered their garden with an abundance of vegetables behind the shed, everything from fruit trees to that strawberry patch delight.  The beautiful roses bloomed, the shade house was full and no matter where you looked the garden was alive.  They enjoyed sharing regular meals with family, grandchildren sleepovers and friends popping in.

After Luigi passed away in 1980, Aurelia stayed in her home. She attended church regularly, helped out at the Red Cross shop, was a member of the CWA  and cooked for the Catholic Ladies when they catered for event.

In 1996 she moved into Tuia Lodge. She spent three happy years there but as her health deteriorated she moved into Donnybrook Hospital as a permanent resident until she passed on 21 April 2008.

Aurelia and Luigi are buried alongside each other in the Donnybrook Cemetery.  Both Aurelia and Luigi have their names on the Welcome Wall in Fremantle and the South West Migrant Memorial in Queens Gardens Bunbury, recognising the vital role migrants played in the establishment and success of Western Australia.


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