Age: 75 years old
Born: 16/11/1921 – Passed Away: 07/06/1997
Town Born: Nunziata, Sicily
Town Died: Cairns, Queensland
Leonarda Mauloni was born Leonarda LaSpina on November 16th, 1921 in the tiny village of Nunziata, Sicily, at the foot of the world famous and still very active volcano Mt. Etna. As a baby of 20 months old, her Father Giuseppe LaSpina left her Mother and older sister, Venera, to travel to the “Lucky Country”, Australia. He was searching for a better life for himself and his young family, away from the poverty of their beloved Sicily.
Her life as a young girl had it’s ups and downs like many others in her village in the time of the “Great Depression.” She loved growing up in an all girls convent, insulated from the outside world, but not from the hunger and the loss of a Father who had seemed to have forgotten his young family. Etna erupted twice in her short life in Sicily. This brought greater suffering and deprivation upon her little family than there already was. Her Father would send money every six months, so every six months, they got to eat meat.
Ten years passed and her Father, who by now was only a name and a stranger, sent for her Mum, her sister and herself to join him in Innisfail, Australia. This boat journey took over a month, an eternity for two hungry and apprehensive young girls. Their Mother Angela, bravely carried the load alone, anticipating the reunification of her young family, with a Father they didn’t know.
From landing on the Dock in Sydney, then travelling to faraway Innisfail, Leonarda and Venera intensely felt the loss of their little village in Sicily. Venera was by now quite frail and didn’t take the journey too well, but these two young girls shared a closeness that lasted their entire lives. Innisfail was strange and sometimes frightening, but they had each other as soul-mates and comforters.
Leonarda made some great life-long friendships in Innisfail, during her single years. Giuseppe, by now was a share cane farmer and the little family were “on their feet”, so to speak.
Not too much time passed before Leonarda (Nardina as she was known to her friends) met a handsome young man from her country, Settimo Mauloni from Ascoli Piceno, by the Mid East Coast of Italy. He asked her Father for her hand in marriage, and in February 1940, they married. By this time, World War 2 was raging in Europe, Italy was at war with the Allies, so the young Settimo was separated from his wife and new daughter, Antonietta (Nina) to be interred as a “hostile resident”.
After the war, No 2 Joseph came along, then No 3 Thomas, No 4 Peter, No 5 Mary, No 6 Angelina and lastly No 7 Rosetta. Her life was not easy raising seven children, money was scarce, but love for her children was in abundance! Leonarda and Settimo worked hard and successfully raised their seven children. Time passed and along came the grandchildren. It would certainly not be understated to say that they were the real joy of her life.
Sadly, the family would lose their Father in June of 1977, still relatively a young man. Almost 20 years later to the day, with the deepest sorrow, Leonarda passed away in Cairns, all too soon for her seven children, 12 Grandchildren and one Great-grand child; who all absolutely adored her.
Husband: Settimo Mauloni
Children: Nina, Joe, Tom, Peter, Mary, Angie, Rose
Grandchildren: Frank Dunne, Anna Dunne, Peter Mauloni, Allan Mauloni, Anastasia Mauloni, Michael Mauloni, Rachel Mauloni, Damien Mauloni, Matthew Mauloni, Robert Mauloni, Thomas Mauloni, Regina Mauloni, Brooke Sheerans, Joel Sheerans, Georgia Borresen, Rowan Borresen
Name: Frank Dunne
Your favourite memory: School holidays
Tribute Message: I have wonderful memories of my Nunna spending school holidays with her at her place in East Innisfail. There were always lots of my cousins at her house during the school holidays and she was always so happy to see us. She loved all her grandchildren so much and she always showed it kissing and hugging us.
I loved spending time at her house eating so much chicken and pasta I could not move. We would play in the street while she would watch us from her front patio. I remember spending hours sitting with her on that front patio just looking out ontop the street and talking about stuff and she always asked me lots of questions about what I was doing. I never once remember her going mad at me she would call me Frankie and tell my mum to leave me alone when I had been naughty.
I remember once when we were at the shop at the end of her street and the man working there asked me my grandmothers name. I said Nunna and he said yeah but what is her actual name. At this point I must have been about 7 or 8 years of age and I couldn’t think what her name was (Leonarda) she was always Nunna to me and always will be.
I will always love you Nunna and I miss you so much.
Name: Rachel Mauloni
Your favourite memory: Frozen Jelly Babies!
Tribute Message: Nunna was an amazing woman, she was so much a part of our childhood! We always loved going to Nunna’s for lunch, dinner, sleep overs or just to pop in for a visit. I have such vivid memories of visiting Nunna in her flat and also when she was living in the assisted living facility. Nunna loved us no matter what, it didn’t matter how naughty we were, her love never faulted. She didn’t sound like anyone else’s grandma, she had a beautiful Italian accent that always reminded us of our family routes. Nunna was the centre of our world, and we were the centre of hers, she had no greater joy than spending time with her grandchildren. We remember her with love, not a day goes by that I don’t think about her.