Carlo Bronze

Adam Cole

Rowville, Australia

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Artist's Description

CATANI, CARLO GIORGIO DOMENICO ENRICO (1852-1918), civil engineer, was born on 22 April 1852 at Florence, Italy, son of Enrico Catani, merchant, and his wife Augusta, née Geri. He was educated at the Technical Institute of Florence, where he received his civil engineering diploma. As a young man he was employed in railway construction in Italy.

Early in 1876 Catani and two of his colleagues, Pietro Baracchi and Ettore Checchi resolved to migrate from Italy; it is likely that they were recruited by the New Zealand immigration agency in Germany. They sailed as ‘labourers’ from Hamburg in the Fritz Reuter, reaching Wellington on 7 August. There was no professional work for the new arrivals, so Catani and his friends decided to go to Australia. Describing themselves now as miners, they took steerage passages in the Alhambra, arriving in Melbourne on 27 September.

Within a few weeks all three had joined the Department of Lands and Survey as draftsmen. In 1880 Catani was registered as a surveyor under the Land Act. Two years later he and Checchi were transferred to the Public Works Department, where they were employed as engineering draughtsmen preparing plans for harbours, jetties and coast works, and by early 1886 they were both assistant engineers. On 18 May that year at Fitzroy Catani married, according to the rites of the Free Church of England, 26-year-old Cathrine Hanley, daughter of a Belfast (Port Fairy) farmer. On 15 March 1892 he was naturalized.

Artwork Comments

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  • Adam Cole
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