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Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Page: 2468

Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (09:33): I would like to pay tribute to my late father, Dominico Gambaro, who passed away on 22 October in Brisbane. Dominico was born on 18 April 1923 in a little town called Castiglione Marittimo in Calabria in the south of Italy. It is a tiny town. You will not find it on any tourist map, but it was the beginning of his world and where it all started.

He was one of six children born to my grandparents Giovanbattista and Teresa Gambaro. My father and his siblings had a tough upbringing, despite the beautiful location of this town with magnificent views of the Tyrrhenian coastline and great scenic beauty. Economic conditions were harsh and brutal. My grandfather Giovanni realised that the only way to improve his family's financial prospects was to seek work abroad, and in 1938 the time had come to leave his beloved Calabria to seek a better life for his family.

He arrived in Australia and worked as a cook at the Belleview Hotel in George Street in Brisbane and later at Lennons Hotel. My father joined him and disembarked in Sydney in 1948. They worked at the Sandgate Eventide Home as cooks before making their way to North Queensland to the Atherton Tableland, where they worked as sharecrop farmers.

One day when dad was visiting Brisbane, he overheard two men arguing about the running of their business in Caxton Street. Dad, being the true gentlemen, offered them a perfect solution to their problem: he asked if he could buy their business. No more argument; problem solved. And Dad was the proud owner of a fish and chip shop. G Gambaro and Sons began in 1954—by chance, a new beginning.

This was the original Caxton Street fish shop. Original customers witnessed the first chapter of a family business that prospered for six decades. In 1972, our family turned their hand to the restaurant business and Gambaro Seafood Restaurant was opened along with the bustling fish and chip shop. The restaurant is one of Brisbane's longest established restaurants. It has had a host of international celebrities go through its doors. Wholesaling, exporting and retailing followed and we were the official suppliers to World Expo 1988. Some of my fondest memories are of all the family working together on Christmas Eve to sell seafood to the long line of patient customers.

Dad was a man of great humility, humour, intelligence, generosity and a man of few words. He supported the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane as well as Parkinson's research. He loved his grandchildren; they brought him great joy. He was a gentleman and he was loved and respected by many. Deputy Speaker, my father was proud of me representing the interest of others, as he was proud of this country and proud to be Australian and he will be sorely missed by many in the Brisbane and the national community.