Casa Mia Living
The humble origins of Casa Mia have been established by the Straguszi and Messina families who arrived in Gordonvale from Sicily in the early 1900’s. Here, three generations of families lived and worked on the land, farming cane.
La Famiglia, “the family” was at the heart of Rosario and Rose Straguszi’s life. Their homes were filled with music, excitement and constant family interaction. The most important room in the home was the kitchen because of the significance the preparation and enjoyment of food had on the families’ lives.
Sunday Lunch was the hallmark event of the week. The hours needed to prepare began early in the morning; Rose cooking up a plate of pasta, fresh mud crab served simply with lemon, and a chunk of crusty Italian bread to accompany each meal. Rosario’s love of playing the piano accordion filled the room, and three generations of families were brought together through joyous singing, laughing, and dancing.
Gravitating to keep the Sicilian culture and values of love, care, loyalty, hard work, joy, and family history alive is an innate feeling that transpires within all of us. For three generations the Straguszi’s cherished an unbreakable bond. Casa Mia captures the hard work, spirit and innovation of the original owners and heroic cane pioneers to bring you a new frontier in retirement living.
Straguszi Family History
After WW1 Italy was gripped by famine and poverty. With no future in sight, Salvatore Straguszi made the life changing decision to migrate to Australia in search of a better life for his wife and child.
For Salvatore, this meant leaving Italy. In the early 1920’s he boarded a sailing ship and made the harrowing crossing to Australia for a new life in an untamed land. Eventually disembarking in Ingham.
It was here he started work as a canecutter. Through resilience and hard work, he eventually saved enough to buy his own farm. From Ingham he moved to Gordonvale and purchased a farm on Draper Road.
In 1923 Rosario Straguszi was born, and at an early age worked alongside his father and other pioneering families clearing land and felling scrub, battling disease, unfamiliar wildlife and cyclones. It was a total commitment to their farm, you had to produce and cut cane, or you could not feed your family and workers.
This commitment came to a halt with the outbreak of WW2 when many Italian farmers were interned, including Rosario’s father in-law, Andrea Messina who also owned a farm on Draper Road. Rosario and his family helped the remaining women and children, working their farms as well as their own.
With his expertise in speaking various dialects Rosario also served as an interpreter for the Italian speaking farmers. He was often called upon to negotiate contracts and legal disputes.
This family farm has served four generations and their families, and we will be forever grateful for their legacy they have left behind.