Italian brothers Annibale and Severino De Marco migrated to Australia in the early 1900s from Italy via England. Together they established a successful mosaic and terrazzo business in Melbourne. Few details of their personal lives are on record; however their terrazzo and mosaic work is still in place throughout Australia.
Early Life & Terrazo Training
Annibale De Marco was one of six children born to Zaccaria and Teresa De Marco (née Manarin) in Fanna, a small province of Pordenone in the Italian region Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Zaccaria was a miner and Teresa was his second wife, three of their six children died in infancy. Zaccaria married Teresa following the death of his first wife Marguarita, with whom he'd had three children. Annibale, along with his brother Severino, was to become a pre-eminent terrazzo and mosaic worker in Melbourne with their business De Marco Brothers Terrazzo Granolithic and Concrete, established circa 1914.
Annibale was born on the 16th of February, 1885. At around fifteen years old, he moved to London where he worked with a company called Art Pavement, which worked on St. Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and the South Kensington Museum. He was joined by his younger brother, Severino, some seven years later, circa 1907. Annibale remained in London for nine years before deciding to sail to Australia. He arrived in Sydney, New South Wales on board the SS Pericles on the 11th of October 1909, staying there for the next three years. According to his naturalisation papers, he found employment with a company called Minocco Bros [sic] - a name that is probably a typing error for Melocco Brothers - another Italian mosaic company who were to eventually buy out the De Marco Brothers business in the mid-1950s.
Life in Melbourne
In 1912, Annibale relocated to Victoria to try his luck at establishing his own company in Melbourne at 69 La Trobe Street, naming the business 'Art Pavement' after the company he worked for in London. Annibale encouraged family and friends to come and work for him, some of whom were expert Terrazzieri. Annibale was known as 'Zio' (uncle in Italian) or Ernie.
In 1917, Annibale married Marieangela 'Angelina' De Marco (née Amerena) at St Patrick's Cathedral. He had noticed Angelina passing by each day on her way to work and they eventually met and married, although she was 14 years younger. Angelina was born in Brighton, England, although prior to immigrating to Australia the Amerena family travelled frequently between Brighton and Viggiano, Basilicata (Italy) as Angelina's father, Domenico, was a musician. Annibale and Angelina had two children, Zaccaria and Domenico De Marco, and six grandchildren. Annibale was granted citizenship on the 12th of April, 1923. None of the De Marco family was ever interned - in fact, Annibale's son Domenico served as a lieutenant in the Australian Army and Zaccaria as a gunner during WWII.
The couple first lived in McGregor Street, Middle Park before moving to a modest sized semi-detached property at 192 Scotchmer Street, North Fitzroy. This was relatively close to the residence of Annibale's brother and business partner, Severino, who lived in a a small single story terrace house at 138 Gore Street, Fitzroy. Both suburbs were very much working class areas at the time, Fitzroy in particular was surrounded by many factories and industrial sites. North Fitzroy was slightly more affluent with larger homes on bigger blocks and wider tree-lined streets. Annibale had an interest in acquiring land and property development, buying property at Leongatha, Eltham, Middle Park and Brighton.
Annibale and Angelina purchased 96 Brighton Road, Elsternwick, the second last remaining block of land available in 1926. They engaged Architects Alsop & Davis [designers of The Block Arcade] to design their home. It was completed for the family (who by then had two young boys) to move in on the day Trivale won the Melbourne Cup in 1927. It was also a 27th birthday present for Angelina. An effigy of a red horse was etched in terrazzo on the front porch and is still there 92 years later. Angelina lived in her home until her death in 1987.
End of An Era
Annibale kept a very low profile, possibly due to ill health as according to his family he was a chronic asthmatic. He is not named in any photographs that have been located and is rarely mentioned in business matters despite being the elder founder of the family business. Whether or not this was ever a source of tension between the brothers is unknown, though in March of 1941 they did dissolve their business partnership.
Annibale's last known activity was the purchase of a St Kilda property in 1942, shortly before his death on the 9th of August, 1943. He was fifty-eight years old, survived by his wife and children. Severino posted 'In Memoriam' notices for Annibale in The Argus newspaper on behalf of himself and his brother's family for some years after Annibale's death. Angelina passed away in 1987 and was laid to rest in the Melbourne General Cemetery alongside Annibale.
Information provided by Dominic de Marco, 2012
Co.As.It. - Italian Historical Society Photographic Collection, record number P-04221, 1936 Performance of 'Alla Corte di Addis Abbeba' , a play written by Doctor Soccorso Santoro, about the life of Haile Selassie
Co.As.It. - Italian Historical Society Photographic Collection, record number P-05293, c1925 The annual Italian community Melbourne Hospital Appeal Ball organised by and held at the Circolo Italiano Cavour [Cavour Club], 170 Cecil Street South Melbourne
Co.As.It. - Italian Historical Society Photographic Collection, record number P-07134, c1912 Female members of the Amerena family just before their departure from Viggiano, Basilicata to Australia
Google Maps - Street view
National Archives of Australia, series A1, control symbol 1923/7963, A Annibale De Marco
Naturalisation National Archives of Australia, series A1, control symbol 1920/4735, Severino De Marco - Naturalisation
National Archives of Australia, series B883, control symbol VX103311, DE MARCO DOMINIC JOHN : Service Number - VX103311 : Date of birth - 01 Dec 1919 : Place of birth - MELBOURNE VIC : Place of enlistment - Unknown : Next of Kin - DE MARCO JESSICA
National Archives of Australia, series B884, control symbol V90139, DEMARCO ZACCARIAH : Service Number - V90139 : Date of birth - 06 Jul 1918 : Place of birth - MIDDLE PARK VIC : Place of enlistment - RIPPONLEA : Next of Kin - DEMARCO A
National Library of Australia 1941 'Advertising.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), 3 March, p. 7, retrieved 10 July, 2012, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8161549
National Library of Australia 1946 '"The Argus" Fund For Children's Hospital, £9,047.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), 20 April, p. 3, retrieved 10 July, 2012, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22255470
National Library of Australia 1946 'More Playgrounds Needed For Children.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), 19 December, p. 2, viewed 10 July, 2012, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22394640
National Library of Australia 1947 'Donations to Red Cross July Appeal.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), 17 July, p. 4, retrieved 10 July, 2012, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22449297 Port Phillip Library Service
Victorian Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages
Fanna, Pordenone, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, London, England, United Kingdom, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia, North Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia, South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia