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The Frat - Our Second Home

Antonietta Pigozzo fondly remembers the days when her young friends would ride their motorcycles to her parents’ Clifton home for social gatherings.

Other times were enjoyed at her aunty’s Balgownie home for an afternoon of dancing. It was the 1950s and dancing to the beat of vinyl records had become a social event. Now aged 80, Antonietta recently shared memories of when the children of Italian migrants would attend social events and help create fun and friendship through The Fraternity Club.

“I recall the roar of motorcycles on a Sunday afternoon as those who would come had made the ride from Wollongong and surrounds to our home at Clifton. The scenery was beautiful,” she said. “But it was on Saturday afternoons when the girls would flock to my aunty’s home for dancing.”

Once there, Antonietta’s aunty would roll back the carpet in the living room to reveal the hard floorboards, allowing her friends to kick up their heels for an afternoon of dancing. A collection of vinyl records brought from Italy added to the occasion.

“My aunty’s home had male boarders (from Italy), and the girls loved it,” Antonietta said. “My uncle would go up to Balgownie pub and have a few beers, and in that time up came the carpet and the dancing began. We had to make sure everything was back in place before my uncle arrived home!”

Antonietta’s family has enjoyed a rich and proud history in the Illawarra for decades. Her parents (The Sandonas) and family members arrived in Australia in the 1920s, paying their own way. Her father worked at the Coalcliff mine and enjoyed the ‘boom-time’ of employment across the Illawarra in the 1950s and 60s. Antonietta’s husband (Anselmo) was also a committee member and former president of The Fraternity Club, before his passing.

“We’ve enjoyed so many great years with our friends both at our homes and at The Fraternity Club. We always call the club our second home.”

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