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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

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4

Sugar cane cutting knife

2007.0018.0003

Sugar cane cutting knife

Object information

Physical description

A sugar cane cutting knife, with metal blade and wooden handle. The handle features a small drilled hole in the bottom end and four screws at the top securing the blade in place. The metal blade is inserted into handle by a narrow incision in the wood and features a hook on one edge.

Statement of significance

The Carmelo Mirabelli collection consists of 16 items relating to Mr Mirabelli's six years of itinerant work after migrating from Sicily to Australia in 1951. He travelled between Ingham, Qld; Shepparton and Mildura, Vic. following the seasonal harvests of sugar cane in Queensland and stone fruit and grapes in Victoria in order to find a 'home' in Australia. The collection includes his cane-cutting knife, fruit-picking apron, grape picking basket, camera, bicycle, kerosene stove and Remitter's Record Card which he used to send money to his mother in war-ravaged Sicily.

The Mirabelli collection reflects aspects of post-WWII Italian migration. It is representative of itinerant or seasonal workers lives in the post war period and how these flows of people connected Queensland to Victoria. The fact that Mr Mirabelli encouraged other cane cutters to pick fruit in Shepparton supports this. The collection adds to the understanding of post war agricultural history, particularly that of fruit picking and cane cutting which are not represented in the NHC. The Mirabelli collection also illustrates how phases of mobility and consolidation were part of the Italian male migrant experience in the post war era.

Object information

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