By Barb Mullen, Australia
It was in December of 1910, not long after becoming a widow, that Kit was operating what was called a ‘two gallon license business’ at the Dudley Store (we would call it a sly grog shop, an unlicensed place where you could buy alcohol). Dudley is a small township close by Wonthaggi. Kit was called to the Police Court in February 1911, to account for her breach of the licensing laws. The court took sympathy on Kit and returned the liquor to her.
The General Store, Hicksborough
The next few years were quieter as Kit raised her young family. By 1920, when Kit opened the Store at Hicksborough, her children were leaving their teenage years and entering adulthood. At Hicksborough, a small community on the main road from Wonthaggi, they sold groceries, ironmongery, produce, draperies, millinery and more. Their house was attached to the store.
The children grow up
With the store in Dudley and one also in Hicksborough, the family was doing well.
The eldest son, Charles was working as a fitter in St Kilda by 1924, Kath was keeping house for the family, in Hicksborough, and Kit was working in the nearby township of Dudley. Vene was learning the hospitality industry. Roy was working as a clerk in Wonthaggi. The young adult children were beginning to spread their wings.
It was April 1925 when Charles came down from Melbourne to the country (Hicksborough) for the Easter holidays. On Easter Saturday, they were fishing off the rocks at ‘the Cliffs’, a nearby coastal fishing spot, when Charles was swept out to sea by a large wave. It was presumed that he drowned, his body was never found. His family was devastated.
Who were those Monighetti’s?
The Monighetti history in Australia is interesting in part because of the time period in which they lived, from the rough and tumble of sly grog shops in the goldfields to eminent respectability as would be participants in the elite of society from about 1930: they experienced a world of rapid change. They lived in the time of World War One, the Great Depression and World War Two and all three events had traumatic effects on Australia.
None of us live alone in the world, we are affected by what occurs around us. The Monighetti’s, thanks to the hard work begun by Carlo, were able to take advantage of opportunities that were not available or possible for other Mattei descendants. And through the continued hard work of Kit and her children, they were able to build on their successes.
Where they came from and the times they lived in, the opportunities they had, are as important as their personalities in determining their success.