Pender’s Grove Primary School visit to the Veneto Club – Celebrating Italian Week

In June 2017, children from Prep to Grade 6 from Pender’s Grove Primary School spent the day learning about the Italian/Veneto culture with a range of activities from soccer, venetian mask making, dancing, eating great Italian food and playing bocce.

The group was lead by their Italian Languages teacher LeeAnn Sartorel, the daughter one of our late foundation members Gianni Giacomin.

LeeAnn enlisted the help of her mum Agnese to assist with a bocce lesson – Agnese is renowned for her bocce skills both at both a state and national level, a talent that Agnese shares with her brother Emilio.

As you can see from the pictures  the students had a fun filled day at the Veneto Club immersing themselves in all things Italian.

If you would like to organise a school visit – contact Karl Hodge on 9850 7111.


Blush High Tea









On Sunday 23rd July, Veneto Club hosted a High Tea in support of Doncare and Joel’s Journey. It was the second 2017 instalment of ‘Blush by the Veneto Club’ and it certainly did not disappoint.

Veneto Club was honoured to have Doreen Stoves, CEO of Doncare, as well as Peter, Tracey and Kane Sardi as guest speakers. The Sardi family who spoke on behalf of Joel’s Journey immersed the audience with their amazing speech about Joel’s experience while guests were truly engaged by Doreen, who shared Doncare’s commitment to helping and supporting the community of Manningham and beyond.

The Ark Clothing Co also organised a magnificent Fashion Show for the event while Ruby Woman displayed their beautiful homeware items. With the indulgent buffet of delicious sweet and savoury afternoon tea that had guests coming back for more, the high tea was a huge success!

Veneto Club is thrilled to have partnered with Doncare and Joel’s Journey and we look forward to our next Blush event – Birra é Salsicce on 27th August 2017.


Joel’s Journey – Set up in August 2014 after a local former Australian Army Rifleman, Joel Sardi, had a fall that left him a quadriplegic. After Joel’s service to the country, we thought the least we could do was aim to raise money to help Joel with ongoing medical costs, equipment costs and rehabilitation services as his accident was not workplace related.

Doncare – is a not for profit organisation which provides support to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in the City of Manningham and surrounds. Generous community and philanthropic support assists Doncare to provide counselling for families and children in crisis; prevention, support and recovery services for family violence; family support and case management; emergency relief; social support for seniors and financial and material aid.


May 2017 – A month of Re-connections, Recognition & Reflections









May was a month filled with many events that warmed the heart as the Melbourne weather starts to cast its chill upon us.

On Saturday 6th May we saw the return of the “Ven Disco” – an event that just six months ago was a mere idea for Angela Bonato, Nadia Bolzonello and Sonia Gough. The disco was a sell-out. For the majority of the 250 attendees it was a reunion of friends from three decades past speckled with disco songs from our youth. For me the evening was one filled with joyous memories of my youth and reconnecting with people that I haven’t seen for well over 30 years. Some were easily recognised, others not – what we all had in common was the excitement of our paths crossing again, and the fond memories of spending the best part of our youth at the Veneto Club. Thank you to Angela, Nadia & Sonia for your tireless efforts in bringing this night to fruition. Feedback from this event tells us that the Veneto Club should organise the Disco at least twice a year targeting the 40s to late 50s age group – we hear you and the VC Committee will certainly embrace this as well as the other feedback we received.

On Tuesday, 9 May, as part of National Volunteer Week we recognized and celebrated the contributions of our volunteers – and congratulated Mr Giovanni Cattapan on winning our Volunteer of the Year award. You can read more about this here Volunteer Week. Over the last five decades our volunteers have been an integral part of our survival and growth– on behalf of the Operations Team and the VC Committee our immense thanks go to all our volunteers.

And of course May is the month that we celebrate our love for our Mothers; recognise their influence in forming the people we have become and their contribution to society in general. For the Veneto Club mothers have been the staunch support in the background especially during the formative years of the club. There were a range of celebratory events to honour our mothers including the Ladies Auxiliary Mother’s Day Luncheon and our special Mother’s Day lunch and dinner Buffet.

To wind up the month, on Monday 29th May we held another Day Out – starting with a generous lunch in Sala Venezia followed by a bus trip to the Immigration Museum in the city. A gallery that has beautifully documented the migration and settlement of Italians and many other nationalities to Victoria. Especially touching and relevant to our group was the story of Edda Azzola an Italian migrant and textile outworker who arrived in Victoria in 1955. Located in the northern garden of the Immigration Museum was the Tribute Garden where over 7,000 people have memorialized their names as migrants Victorians; a sense of pride overwhelmed me as I scanned the countless Italian names, and a tear to the eye as I revisited where my parents and Zii have their plaques.

The visit ended with searches of the National Archives where some located migration records of family members– reconnecting us to how we have evolved to be here today in Melbourne. The stories of migration and especially the Veneto migration was one of courage and hope and as I reflect on today’s exhibition it’s synonymous with all the dreams and aspirations that our foundation members packed in their hearts as they journeyed to Australia.


Sonya Velo

VC Committee

Celebrating our Volunteers



On Tuesday, 9 May, as the Nation celebrated Volunteer Week, we proudly hosted our annual Volunteers dinner – a night to celebrate and acknowledge the efforts and contributions of all our volunteers over the past 12 months.

Volunteers play a vital role in the survival of our Club, and we are lucky to have such passionate groups and individuals who provide this invaluable support each year.  Our volunteer base is wide and varied from the Veneto Club Sporting Sub-Committees, Veneto Regional Associations, Ladies Auxiliary, Maintenance Committee, VC Committee and volunteer staff, to individual members and guests that volunteer their time, thank you for your continued contribution.

We congratulate Mr Giovanni Cattapan on winning Volunteer of the Year. Giovanni tirelessly assists with the maintenance of the Club, which with an aging facility is no mean feat. He also contributes his time, cooking BBQ’s at many of our key events including Una Notte Sotto Le Stelle and the Christmas Picnic.

Again a big thank you to all volunteers!


Blush Tee’d off for two great causes!

On Friday 28th April over 100 Golfers tee’d off at Freeway Golf course, marking the first of four ‘Blush by the Veneto Club’ events to be held this year in support of Joel’s Journey and Doncare.

Participants enjoyed a day on the green, with many fun competitions taking place around the course, including the chance to WIN A CAR in our hole in one competition, which was proudly sponsored by Northern Motor Group. To follow was a delicious two course lunch and award presentation at the Veneto Club. Congratulations to the overall winning team – Paul Jones, Mark Templeton, Chris Huddart and Nick Dela Roche.

It was an honour to have Guest Speakers Robert Walls, along with Doreen Stoves AM PSM JP (CEO, Doncare) and a video message from Joel Sardi who is way in America doing ‘Project Walk’ – they provided our guests with a special insight into their lives and the causes they are a part of.

Thank you to all our sponsors and everyone who attended for making the day such an overwhelming success and a special thank you to Camberwell Golf Club for their assistance with the event.

A wonderful day supporting two amazing causes;

Joel’s Journey – Set up in August 2014 after a local former Australian Army Rifleman, Joel Sardi, had a fall that left him a quadriplegic. After Joel’s service to the country, we thought the least we could do was aim to raise money to help Joel with ongoing medical costs, equipment costs and rehabilitation services as his accident was not workplace related.

Doncare – is a not for profit organisation which provides support to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in the City of Manningham and surrounds. Generous community and philanthropic support assists Doncare to provide counselling for families and children in crisis; prevention, support and recovery services for family violence; family support and case management; emergency relief; social support for seniors and financial and material aid.

Next up: Blush by the Veneto Club High Tea on Sunday 23 July.



Sagra San Marco – A 50th Anniversary Edition

The twenty fifth of April for Australia is a day of solemn reflection, on the other side of the world, in Italy,  it’s Liberation Day (Giorno della Liberazione), a day of celebration and within the Veneto region there’s an additional celebration because it is also St. Mark’s Day, the patron Saint of Venice.


A day of mixed emotions, a day of mixed weather….. but the Melbourne weather did not dissuade the faithful Veneti, after all a little water has never stopped the Venetians, has it!


Our Sagra di San Marco started with la Messa celebrated by Padre Vito Pegolo with a great turn out by our genitori.

At the conclusion of the Mass Padre Vito offered an official blessing for the official opening of the new headquarters for the Federazione delle Associazioni Venete del Victoria (FAV Victoria)


As the clock struck noon the Sagra was officially underway, and our senses were aroused by the nostalgic aroma of good old Veneto cuisine.

At one end, assisting the Ladies Auxiliary, Roberta Rigoni took command of the frying of the frittole, through to the far end where the Veronesi Nel Mondo warmed the Vin Brule’ and roasted Castagne, did you notice Roland Conte’s display of his BBQ skills as he tended the bistecche & luganeghe at the Trevisani’s marquee?


People strolled between the lane of marquees deciding on whether to have polenta with coniglio or baccala’ (served by the Vicentini) or maybe cotechino & crauti (offered by the Comunità dei 7 comuni), for the pasta lovers lasagna or gnocchi was on offer by the Padovani, and then the staple favourites of panini con bistecche or luganeghe or even porchetta, well presented and served up  by the Veneto Club team of volunteers.


Children queued with excitement to have their faces decorated with Venetian Carnevale inspired face painting, whilst the Venetian Gondoliers of Rob Severini navigated through the patrons singing folk songs.


The Great Armando was declared a hit by the crowd of children and adults bemused by his magic….a table of signore delighted as he stayed on to entertain with some card tricks at the end of his official performance.


In the later part of the afternoon the Spaghetti Eating Competition magnetized the crowds around the table. The children’s event was won convincingly by Letizia, a young girl who sucked down the pasta with great gusto to the delight and cheer of her parents and nonni. Our own Vice President Paola represented the Committee in the adults event, but was no match for the winner Piero.


Whilst the Sagra may have been dampened with sporadic rain during the day the Veneto spirit was not.

There was a great turnout on the day, people sheltered when the rain came, but did not deter the loyal from coming along, just like in Italy – come rain or shine the Sagra still goes on….


Well done and thank you to all the volunteers for their hard work and dedication who helped make the day possible and a success.

Melbourne weather, you will never dampen the Veneto spirit!

Sonya Velo

VC Committee

Best Community Support Project Awarded to Veneto Club


Best Community Support Project was awarded to the Veneto Club on Saturday 22nd April at the Community Clubs Victoria Annual Awards night.  This award was given to a Club that provided significant benefit to or advocacy in the broader community or local community. Blush by the Veneto Club was set up in 2011, to provide an avenue through which the Club could further demonstrate its commitment to helping the broader community. Having helped various charities over the years, in 2016 the Club dedicated its fundraising efforts to supporting local Charity, Doncare, who run essential services to help the aged, youth and disadvantaged in the City of Manningham and surrounding areas – we held a High Tea, Golf Day and Blush Gala ball and proudly donated $37,417.04 to Doncare at the end of 2016. A top effort from the dedicated and passionate team of Volunteers – the Blush Committee, staff members and our loyal sponsors who all contributed to winning this accolade.

It was also very pleasing to be finalists in the categories of Club Chef of the Year and Best Club Refurbishment;

We congratulate our Head Chef David Gauci on being a finalist in this highly competitive category. The Veneto Club thanks David for his leadership and dedication to the venue – his comprehensive attention to detail ensures the highest quality of food is delivered throughout all areas of the Club.

The Veneto Club identified the need to undertake a key refurbishment and in 2016 completed the renovation of a new Bistro kitchen, cool room, freezer, servery and Bistro bar area. Head Chef David Gauci contributed to a well thought out Kitchen design, General Manager Joe Morello and Operations Manager Chris Sier were integral in managing and directing the entire renovation and should be commended for becoming a finalist in this category. This renovation has increased output and has re-created the restaurant dining experience for our patrons.

An Italian Food Festival fitting for a 50th Anniversary

On Anzac Day, Veneto Club hosted Sagra San Marco, an Italian tradition, and one of the biggest events on the Veneto Club’s annual calendar. With 2017 marking the Club’s 50th Anniversary there was even more hype surrounding the day.

The weather wasn’t as kind to us as we had hoped, but the Club were thrilled to see it didn’t deter our members, friends and the wider community – in good spirit they came by the plenty and joined in the festivities.

Food marquees are always a highlight and proudly showcased authentic provincial Venetian food including; Baccalà, Rabbit with Polenta, Gnocchi, Crostoli and more.

The Venetian Gondoliers provided guests with entertainment throughout the day, Magician (The Great Armando) kept both kids and parents guessing, Face Painter Fairy Susie lit up the kids’ faces and with a well-received treasure hunt and colouring competition, the event was a hit for the whole family.

What better way to finish an Italian Food Festival than with our annual spaghetti eating competition – a highlight for onlookers and contestants – exciting and messy!

The dedication and support provided by the Veneto Club’s Ladies Auxiliary, Veneto Regional Associations, Committee, Management and Staff who volunteer their time, makes this spectacular community event possible.


2017 Special Olympics Victoria – State Summer Games

Special Olympics athletes came from all parts of Victoria to participate in this year’s 2-day State Summer Games held on the 1st and 2nd April, 2017.

Summer Game

s’ sports include

d Bocce, Athletics, Swimming, Tennis and Soft Ball; 12 clubs from all over Victoria came together to compete in the 2-day Games.

The 2-day Bocce tournament was held in the Veneto Club indoor Bocce dome; it covered Singles, Doubles, and Team events. Fifty-five athletes came from as far away as Echuca and Ovens & Murray regions, as well as from the metropolitan Melbourne Clubs Melbourne Eastern Ranges, Melbourne Inner East, Melbourne North, Melbourne Southern and Dandenong Casey Titans.

The Veneto Club has been a great supporter over the years with Ric Gatto and Emilio Colla contributing enormously to the sports development and organisation over the years.

This sport is part of a world organisation that gives the opportunity for the special needs athletes to enjoy physical recreation and competition at all levels.

The championships opening ceremony commenced with the athlete teams marching in to the Bocce Dome supported by volunteer members of Victoria Police, marching to the music of the Whitehorse Band and with the Law Enforcement Torch Run handing over the torch to Amanda Kozic from Victoria to light the Special Olympic flame and to declare the Summer Games open.  Amanda was a bronze medali

st representing Australia in the Alpine Skiing Slalom at the SOI World Winter Games in Austria, 2017.

The Bocce tournament was coordinated by a team of volunteers, coaches and other committed helpers, a big thanks goes to Emilio Colla Bocce president at the Veneto Club, for the provision of the Bocce courts for the 2-day event at no charge to Special Olympics. Thanks also to Ric Gatto, Ian Hampton and Michael Migliaccio for the introduction of lightweight court boundaries for the 1st time at theses tournaments (see photos).

Thanks once again to Ric for presenting the athletes onto the courts, Renate & Ian Hampton for working out the teams and all the scores tally for the medals.  Thanks to all the carers and parents for their support and especially to the athletes that made this tournament a success.

A Big Thank You to all the referees, court assistants and coaches for the Bocce tournament which are all volunteers, as well as volunteers from the Veneto Club and volunteers from the Freemasons Task Force that helped trough out the 2 days.

Clubs like Melbourne Eastern Ranges provide sports training and coaching in Bocce, Aquatics, Basketball, Gymnastics, Skiing, Ten Pin Bowling, Tennis, Netball and more.  Not all Clubs provide all sports.


For more information and to join these fantastic Clubs, please contact the Membership Officers in your area:

Ballarat: Maureen Eddy; 0409 312 716

Barwon: Sandra Lovell; 03 5278 4709

Bendigo: John Haggarty; 0400 641 405

Dandenong Casey Titans: Anna-Leah Dewit; 0409 354 206

Echuca Campaspe: Margaret Gumbleton; 0413 597 713

Melbourne Eastern Ranges: Helen Sullivan; 9706 2584; 0404 100 924; email;

Melbourne Inner East: Alicia Lands; 0434 514 959

Melbourne North: Christine Doyle; 03 9499 3667

Melbourne Southern: Dimity Pollard; 0405 615 882

Melbourne West: Ruth Kyne; 0431 710 992

Ovens & Murray: Naomi McDonnell; 0468 742 014

Vic Westernport: Tina Naughton; 0409 542 238


Information is also available on the Special Olympics Australia website: