Sydney's Italian Fruit Shops..

Reminisce and celebrate the cultural and historic contribution made by Italian fruiterers to Sydney’s social history when Co.As.It., (Italian Association of Assistance) in collaboration with the Australian Centre for Public History (ACPH) at the University of Technology, Sydney, present this major photographic exhibition. Photographs of smiling fruiterer families eager to present a picture of respectability, family unity and migrant success, belie the 18-hour days, physical labour, and social sacrifices that had to be made for their ‘shop full of dreams’ to succeed. These shops changed Australian eating habits and made a tangible impact on the cultural landscape of our streets and suburbs.

 This exhibition extracts the cultural significance of the Italian fruit shops in Sydney from the turn of the twentieth century, and will leave a lasting record and legacy for present and future generations.

The exhibition runs from Sunday 23 May to 8 August 2010 Monday to Friday, 10am-7pm Saturday to Sunday, 11am-4pm Customs House, Level 1 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay, Sydney NSW 2000 Ph: 02 9242 8551

Sydney's Italian fruit shops: a history

Where was your local Italian Fruit Shop?

Italian community agency Co.As.It. in collaboration with the Australian Centre for Public History at UTS have worked closely over a number of years with the families of Italian fruiterers, ‘the gatekeepers’ of the stories and images, to record the important legacy of Sydney’s Italian fruit shops. This collaboration has resulted in the following outcomes:-

– Over 40 oral history interviews
– A collection of over 150 photographs  
– A collection of items of memorabilia

A photographic exhibition  Sydney’s Italian Fruit Shops – Our Collective Memories will be launched at NSW Parliament House, Sydney in June 2010 and then move to Leichhardt for the period July – Sept 2010.

To accompany the exhibition Co.As.It. is creating an On-line Fruit Shop Register to facilitate the input of a wide range of Italian fruit shop data, photographs and memories. The on-line information will include:- Name of the original fruit shop, name of proprietors, street address, suburb, postcode and years of operation. There will also be a space for photos and a section to record reminiscences.

More info. on this exciting project can be found at:

JOURNEY TO A NEW LIFE: Italian migration in NSW

We are getting a huge response to this exhibition which went up early September during History Week and continues until October 30 at Leichhardt Library.

To date we have had more than a dozen high school groups (coming from as far as Adamstown, Newcastle) seniors groups and a western Sydney historical society visit the exhibition. Developed by Co.As.It Italian Heritage, Journey to a New Life pays an emotional tribute to the courage and sacrifices made by Italians who left behind their homeland to start a new life in New South Wales.

A work-sheet for use by high school classes has been developed around the major themes in the exhibition and can be downloaded here (requires PDF reader) journey-exhibition

Pietro Carnavale, with co-workers on the Hume Weir preparing Sunday lunch, Albury 1927.

Santo Acruri arrives in Sydney, March 1956. Image courtesy Acruri family.