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National Museum of Australia

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Collection Explorer


Photograph of cane cutters around tractor at Mr Coco's farm, Trebonne 1953


Photograph of cane cutters around tractor at Mr Coco's farm, Trebonne 1953

Object information

Physical description

A black and white silver gelatine photographic print. The photograph is set in a field and features ten men standing on and around a tractor in the foreground. Among all of the men two men are wearing hats. One man is in front sitting on a wheel of a tractor and the other man is standing at the back. The back of the tractor is packed with long sticks (sugar cane?) and a power pole is visible in the background. The print is heavily discoloured (yellowed).

Statement of significance

The Carmelo Mirabelli collection no. 2 consists of 61 items relating to Mr Mirabelli's six years of itinerant work, and his time working on Melbourne's wharves, 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 48 photographs documenting his time cane-cutting, fruit-picking, his colleagues and his travels. The other items consist of his razor, two enamel plates, camera flash, Super 8 Movie camera, bicycle trouser clips and his crane driving certificate.

The Mirabelli collection no. 2 reflects aspects of post-WWII Italian migration. It is visually representative of itinerant or seasonal workers lives in the post war period and how these flows of people connected Queensland to Victoria. The collection adds to the understanding of post war agricultural history, particularly that of fruit picking and cane cutting. The Mirabelli collection no. 2 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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