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Felice Piagno and Gino Piagno interviewed by Gregg Borschmann in Australian tobacco industry collection [sound recording]
Bib ID 3099495
Format AudioAudio [sound recording]
Piagno, Felice, 1918-, Interviewee
Access Conditions Access open for research, personal copies and public use. 
Description 2004 
3 digital audio tapes (ca. 190 min.) 

Australian tobacco industry collection.


Felice and Gino Piagno, retired tobacco farmers, describe arriving in Cairns from Bando, Northern Italy by boat on 15 February, 1934; their father's small tobacco farm; the small acreage, manual work, the use of horses; their brothers Bruno and Johnny; describe planting by hand; dry cropping and relying on the wet season rains; the planting cycle; the introduction of an irrigation system in 1938; talk about clearing new country, using a pick and shovel and axe to clear the land; the use of bull dozers after World War II (WW2); cutting timber in the winter; the curing temperatures and processes in the barn; the 26 grades of tobacco graded by hand; sorting tobacco at night; the drying process; transplanting and working in the fields until 4 am on nights with a full moon; talk about their father's death; tobacco being a difficult crop to grow; the system of setting a reserve price; the multinationals being smarter than the government; discuss the use of chemicals after WW2.

The Piagno brothers talk about the days before quotas; the effects of machinery; the damming of the Barron River and the creation of Lake Tinaroo in 1958; the start of flood irrigation, sprinklers; quotas; the quality of the crops; the children not farming tobacco but avocadoes; talk about staying in Australia, not being Australians nor Italians; the difficulties experienced at dances; Saturday nights being for the pictures and the pub; discuss the illegal growing and sale of tobacco, "chop chop"; the reasons behind the black market; the government increasing excises; mention how some appraisers and buyers showed favouritism to certain growers and the inequity of the situation; the domination by multinational companies; being easier in the beginning, farms today needing to be big and it being risky business.


Recorded on Mar. 25, 2004, Apr.1- 2, 2004 at Mareeba, Qld.

Digital master available National Library of Australia

Index/Finding Aid Note Timed summary (4 p.) 
Subjects Piagno, Felice, 1918- -- Interviews.  |  Piagno, Gino, 1927- -- Interviews.  |  Tobacco farmers -- Queensland -- Mareeba -- Interviews.
Occupation Farmers
Other authors/contributors Piagno, Gino, 1927-, Interviewee  |  Borschmann, Gregg (Gregg John), 1955-, Interviewer


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    Details Collect From
    ORAL TRC 5130/2
    Copy: Recording
    Special Collections Reading Room
    ORAL TRC 5130/2 (summary)
    Copy: Summary
    Special Collections Reading Room

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