by Barb Mullen, Australia
The Monighetti family story continues and here we explore aspects of the adult lives of Kit and Carlo Monighetti’s children. Every parent wants their children to have a life that is an improvement on theirs.
Roy Monighetti, taking the family for a spin.
Often the focus is on material wellbeing. We don’t want our children to suffer hardships.
Kit Monighetti worked hard for her family, investing much time and effort into helping her son Vene in the role as the financial centre of the family.
It is parents who create a sense of family, after the parents die families often loose their focus. How the children maintain that sense of family is probably dependent on how the parents encouraged family relationships.
There was not an easy accord amongst the Monighetti siblings. Vene held the purse strings, especially as it related to his sister Kathleen. This was further complicated when Vene’s wife, Janet did not have an easy relationship with either her brother or sister in law.
A family of young adults
The years from 1898 to 1927 were years of hard work and canny business deals, legal issues and sudden death. By the time the Monighetti family reached Wonthaggi, in the region of Gippsland, Victoria, they were in a position to consolidate their wealth. Carlo and Kit set about developing their café – restaurant which they operated in conjunction with Mary Dunbar’s boarding house. Then Carlo died unexpectedly leaving Kit to operate their businesses on her own.
The eldest, Charles started an apprecticeship as a fitter and turner, living and working in the Melbourne bayside suburb of St Kilda. On holidays back home one Easter he was swept off the rocks at “The Cliffs” between Kilcunda and San Remo.
Kath was busy at home duties and helping out at the various business interests.
Vene was developing his own managerial and hospitality skills in family businesses.
Roy was working in an administrative capacity, probably at the local bank.
World War One had washed over them, in these 30 years, they had become rich.
Where to after Hicksborough?
After Carlo died, Kit opened her business, primarily a general store, in Hicksborough, a small community not far from Wonthaggi. She was very successful.
In 1927, the family left Hicksborough. By this time they had donated a building for the community to use as its local Hall and place of assembly, they were a respected part of the community.
Hicksborough Community Hall in transit to location
1927 was a good time to sell because the State Coal Mine of Wonthaggi was rapidly undermining the township of Hicksborough and it would soon have to be moved. While remaining property in the name of Kit’s son Vene drew compensation to the value of £100, the family began a series of tours around the country.
They visited the Hepburn Daylesford area where the Swiss Italian community had established itself in the 1850s. They visited South Australia and took a cruise to Queensland.
They had worked hard, were very comfortable financially and they were enjoying themselves.
Then from Oct 1928 to Aug 1929, Kit, Kath and Vene operated the Wycheproof Hotel, in northern Victoria. It was their first venture away from the world of mining communities.
Leaving port for Brisbane, Queensland.
By March 1930, Kit and Kath had started their Grand Tour of Europe on the “Valdera”. Kit kept a diary of her travels which formed the basis of her letters home to her two boys, Vene and Roy. The two travellers were to include on the tour a visit to the home villages of Kit’s father, Alessandro Mattei of Cevio and Kit’s husband, Carlo Monighetti of Biasca. Here they met with family and claimed the inheritance.
An extract of that diary can be read at : http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/specials/swiss-italian_migrations/index.html
The “Valdera” leaves Melbourne for Europe.