Australia, My Love

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The Story

Rick in Libya, January, 1940. The Italian winter uniform, worn above, was the only clothing to wear in the desert.Rick was born in Italy on 24th April, 1922. At the age of 17 he enrolled in the Italian Army and was sent to Libya.  In 1941 he was captured by the Allied Forces in Benghazi and sent to Australia.

After 3 ½ years in a concentration camp, he volunteered to go and work on a farm and for 18 months he worked for Mr. & Mrs. R. Badgery at “Wongonbra”, Sutton Forest, N.S.W.

He was repatriated in 1948 after 7 years as a Prisoner of War in Australia.  After 2 years in Italy, he yearned to go back and this was quickly achieved as Mr. & Mrs. Badgery got a Landing Permit and paid his fare.

After working 18 months on the farm at Sutton Forest, he travelled to Sydney in order to progress and prosper on his own.  Life was difficult, but full of hope in Australia for anybody who wanted to work hard and save.  After working from dawn to dusk 7 days a week in various jobs he finally purchased his first home at Marrickville, this was the start of a new life.

He got a real estate license and got involved not only in selling houses but also in purchasing houses, renovating and reselling them.  This kind of business grew very quickly indeed, with owning of apartments and developing land and building over 600 houses in the Penrith, Blacktown district.

Rick’s dream and ambition was to one day become a cattle breeder like his mentor, Mr. Badgery. This came to fruition when he purchased his 300 acres on Mamre Road, now known as “Mandalong Park” plus another 350 acres a few years later.

Rick as a POW at large, 1947 - Mandalong Studs - Beef cattle breeding - Award winning beef cattle breeds: Mandalong Specials, Square Meaters & the TropicanaIn 1964 he showed the first Poll Shorthorns Bull at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, winning a blue ribbon.  Within 4 years Rick’s Poll shorthorns were acclaimed the best Shorthorns in the world.  Overseas visitors and buyers continuously visited Mandalong Park, cattle and semen was exported to most countries of the world.

Mandalong Poll Shorthorns broke almost every record in Australia. In 1968, he formed the Charolais Cattle Association of Australia and had the first Charolais Sale in Australia at Mandalong Park.  Again, with the Charolais, he had broken many, many records.

Rick had developed three new breeds of cattle called the Mandalong Specials, Square Meaters and the Tropicana.

He had the pleasure and honour to judge all breeds of cattle in Australia and had also judged in Canada and Zimbabwe.

In 1990, Rick received an A.M., the Order of Australia by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, for his service to the cattle industry.  In 1991, he received an Ethnic Business Award by the National Bank, also awards from the City of Penrith, Australia Day Association as an Australian Achiever and many other awards and certificates for contributions to the community. On 27th December, 1994 he received L’Ordine Al Merito Della Republica Italiana Onoreficenza Di Cavaliere.

Today he still promotes Australian cattle overseas and truly is a great ambassador of the beef cattle industry.