Staying connected with the Veneto Region in Italia

It’s very important for us as the Veneto Club of Melbourne to maintain and further strengthen the connections & relationships we have with the Regione Veneto. The Regione Veneto is the equivalent of our Victorian Government (in Italy).

Whilst all the committee of the Veneto Club hold this relationship in high regard, Fabio Sandona’ leads this, and represents the Veneto Club in many activities and meetings both locally and abroad. In addition to this, Fabio is also the official representative of the Federazione delle Associazioni Venete del Victoria – one of the only two Australian Federations recognized by the Regione Veneto.

In late July the Regione Veneto sponsored two events to enable Veneti from around the world to meet & collaborate with a view to establishing how best to work with each other across the globe. Each Federation and Association had two Representatives, one for the Consulta and one for the Meeting.

The Consulta is the group that comprises the main representatives from the Veneti nel Mondo – and the Federazione delle Associazioni Venete del Victoria (which the Veneto Club Melbourne is part of) was represented by Fabio Sandona’. The meeting is  the the group that comprises youth represenetives (aged 18-39) and Davide Gottardello was our representative.

The first events were the Consulta and the Meeting dei Veneti nel Mondo – held at the Palazzo Barbaran in Vicenza.

The Regione Veneto was respresented by the Minister responsible for the Veneti nel Mondo communities Manuela Lanzarin. Manuela reinforced that the Regione Veneto is committed to working with and actively engaging with all Veneti nel Mondo. She also stressed the importance of these conventions as being mutually beneficial for both the Regione Veneto and all the Veneti nel Mondo and their local communities back home.

Did you know that there are almost 5 million people of Veneto background all around the world?  Five million people that have migrated in search of a better life and more opportunities.

From the various discussions during these conventions two strong messages were evident:

  • The importance of continuing to support our Veneto’s Associations through these conventions to maintain & foster relationships
  • For the youth – the importance of using social medial tools to connect, communicate, collaborate, and share ideas and details of events.

The second event – the Giornata dei Veneti nel Mondo was celebrated at the piana del Cansiglio in Santa’Osvaldo.  Over two thousand people attended this event which was officiated by the Secretary of Vatican State S.E. Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

Fabio (on behalf of the Veneto Club Melbourne) presented the officials of the Regione Veneto and the Veneti nel Mondo with a temporary honorary membership for the Veneto Club as well as a personalised Bulleen Lions jersey. They were all delighted to receive these gifts from our club.

A delegation from the Regione Veneto will be visiting Melbourne late this year to join us in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Veneto Club.

Fabio and Davide represented our club magnificently, and we are sure to reap the benefits of these strengthened relationships going forward.


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.