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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

KAMRA TAD-DEPUTATI - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PARLAMENT TA‘ MALTA L-iSpeaker

The Speaker

15 ta Mejju 2015 Mr Frank Scicluna Honorary Consul for Malta in South Australia Please, permit me to say well done for the book you have written entitled "Malta and the Anzacs, the Nurse of the Mediterranean" which gives important and detailed information of the role Malta played during World War One between 1914 and 1918 when thousands of soldiers were sent to our island to recuperate. I would like to thank you also for sending me a signed copy of your work which, as we have previously discussed, includes a reference to Father Joseph Dimech , a relative of mine, who assisted the soldiers at Gallipoli as a chaplain. Best wishes and kind regards Hon Anglu Farrugia Speaker MALTESE VERSION Is-Sur Frank Scicluna Konslu Onorarju ghal Malta f’ South Australia Ippermettili nghidlek prosit tal-ktieb li inti ppubblikajt bl-isem “Malta and the Anzacs — The Nurse of the Mediterranean” li jaghti informazzjoni siewja u dettaljata tal-irwol li Malta keilha matul l-Ewwel Gwerra Dinjija bejn 1914 u 1918 meta eluf Ia’ suldati gew mibghuta f’artna minn Gallipoli sabiex jiddewwew. Nixtieq ukoll nirringrazzjak talli ghogbok Igfiaddili kopja ffirmata ta’ dan ix~xogh0l li kif tkellimna meta ltqajna aktar kmieni din is-sena jinkludi wkoll referenza f’pagna 118 ghal Dun Giuzepp Dimech li huwa familjari tieghi u li kien qeda dmiru mas-suldati bhala Kappiilan fl-Armata. Inseili ghalik ' Onorevoli Anglu Farrugia L-iSpeaker MALTA AND THE ANZACS – THE NURSE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN Frank, today I bought the book you published about the ANZACS AND MALTA It’s a beautiful book and I would recommend it to every Maltese person here and in Malta. We are proud to have a person like you as a Maltese Consul of South Australia. Amante Dimech www.ozmalta.page4.me

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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

submitted by Lawrence Scerri www.ozmalta.page4.me

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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

Mdina siege of 1429 was ‘greater than the Great Siege’ of 1565 Noel Grima

Mdina, Malta's old capital, has been besieged many times in the past but it was only defeated twice - the latest being in 1798, by the Maltese. This was the contention of well-known photographer Daniel Cilia, who gave a talk on the subject at Marsa Sports Club last Wednesday. Many of Mdina's earlier sieges are lost in antiquity and details are sketchy. The first instance must have been in prehistoric times. Those who walk around the newly-restored Mdina ditch can see carved in the side walls the remains of silo pits which must have been used to store grain, not water, in the Bronze Age. The recent restorations in the area have yielded many archaeological remains which are still being studied so no conclusions have yet been reached. In around 700BC, the Phoenicians came to Malta. They were not warriors but traders and must have appreciated Malta for its safe harbours. Temi Zammit found an oriental looking, most probably Punic, limestone head in a Roman well close to the Domus. The Phoenicians later founded Carthage in Tunis and Malta fell to the Romans in the Punic Wars. The Romans called Mdina 'Melita' and the town was far larger than it is today. Back then it extended from today's Mdina on one side to St Paul's Grotto on the other. In fact, the remains of the ditch on that side is still visible outside St Paul's church and it continued in the wide road that has now been created in front of the church. With the breakdown of the Roman Empire, Malta formed part of the Byzantine world but was used mostly as a place to which political prisoners could be exiled. By the time of the Byzantines Mdina was reduced to its present dimensions. Most probably they also strengthened the bastions, creating the round tower one can still see facing Mtarfa. In 870AD, the Muslim Arabs from North Africa, who had attacked Sicily from the north, slowly overcame Sicily and then conquered Malta. Mdina was attacked and taken and the rest of Malta followed. In 1090, the Normans attacked southern Italy and later Sicily and finally Malta. No fight ensued and Mdina's gates were opened to the invaders. Most probably no fight ensued and Mdina's gates were opened to the invaders. The first recorded siege of Mdina took placed in 1429 and it can be considered as greater than the Great Siege of 1565. At that time, North Africa had been taken over by the Sunni Muslims called Hafsidi who wanted to reoccupy Sicily. Malta, being in the middle, was attacked first. At that time, Malta's population consisted of some 5,000 to 6,000 people and the invading army had some 18,000 fighters. Malta had no foreign soldiers to help defend it, as it had in 1565, but Mdina was well-prepared for such a siege.

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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

There is a story that the invading troops placed bread at the entrance to the city to taunt the defenders that the invaders had bread while the Maltese did not. But during the night, the Maltese crept out of the city and placed ġbejniet on top of the bread to show they had not just bread but also ġbejniet. This siege is also renowned for the religious legends surrounding it. Originally, the legend said St Paul, sword in hand, appeared defending the city. Mattia Preti later painted the scene for Mdina Cathedral but he depicted the Hafsidi as Ottoman Turks. A far more recent depiction is in St George's Basilica in Gozo which has not just St Paul but also St Agatha and St George appearing to defend the Maltese. Nothing is known about the 1429 siege except that at some point the invaders must have given up and left. The next siege of Mdina took place in 1551, the one known for the sacking of Gozo. Earlier, the knights and Andrea Doria had attacked Dragut's well-fortified town of Mahdia, outside Tunis, and destroyed it. In retaliation, Dragut, who had also lost a brother during a previous raid on Gozo, vowed vengeance. His force landed in Marsamxett but found Birgu too well-fortified to be attacked, so then tried to attack Mdina, but found that too well-fortified too. So they moved to Gozo, attacked and overcame the Cittadella and murdered or took the Gozitans into slavery. One of the main streets of Mdina is Villegaignon Street and it is named after the knight who strengthened the Mdina defences during the 1551 siege. Even in this siege, there are legends of supernatural help. It is said that St Agatha appeared on the bastions to encourage the Maltese and in fact every year, on her feast day, a procession is held from Mdina Cathedral to Rabat, Malta. The 1565 Great Siege of Malta is justly honoured - not just by Malta but by the rest of Europe. Although the fighting took place mostly around Birgu and Mount Sciberras (today's Valletta), Mdina too had its share. Had it not been for Mdina, Malta would have lost the siege. After the 1551 siege, Grand Master D'Homedes strengthened the bastions, adding the two known as the D'Homedes and the St Peter bastions, the first two bastions built by the knights in Mdina. The huge Turkish armada touched land at Ghajn Tuffieha intending to attack Mdina but then moved to Marsaxlokk Bay for better fleet security. Turkish general Kızılahmedli Mustafa Pasha insisted on wanting to attack Mdina first in order to cut off any possible communication from Sicily but he was overruled since admiral Piali wanted to attack Fort St Elmo so that the Turkish fleet could use Marsamxett Harbour for mooring. This was a miscalculation that was to them cost the siege. The attack on St Elmo began, and the Maltese massed behind the walls in Mdina could only watch in impotent anger. St Elmo fell on 23 June. Some days later, Mustafa sent Suleiman the Magnificent a parchment map showing the Turkish flag flying on St Elmo and Mdina still flying the flag of the Order. On 7 August, the Turks attacked Birgu and Senglea in full force. That is when the pent-up fury of the people locked inside Mdina erupted: the entire Knights' calvary housed there, emerged from Mdina and swept to Marsa, killing any Turks they found, wrecking the Turkish camp at Marsa and causing mayhem in general. The Turks thought that the expected help had arrived from Sicily and desisted in their attack on Birgu, which had been, by then, almost succeeded.

The new book MALTA AND THE ANZACS –THE NURSE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN will be launched at the Maltese Community Centre, Royal Parade, Parkville on Tuesday 21 July at 7.30 pm. Members of the Maltese community of Melbourne are cordially invited to attend. Books will be for sale on the night MALTESE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION (Australia) www.ozmalta.page4.me

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Maltese Newsletter 87

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Malta’s Archbishop's father dies Emanuel Scicluna, the Archbishop's father, passed away early this morning in a Rome hospital, the Curia said. He was 85. He is also survived by his wife Maria Carmela and their children Monica, Josette, Jesmond. Mr Scicluna, clearly the source of the Archbishop's renowned good humour, spoke about his experiences to Times of Malta when Mgr Scicluna was appointed bishop. He said that once, he was painting his house’s internal doors when his son, who was helping him, started playing a cassette of what sounded to him like music sung by nuns in a convent. “When the cassette finished he played it again. I said nothing. It finished again and he played it again. I asked him what in the world he was listening to. He told me I’d better get used to it as he was becoming a priest,” Mr Scicluna said, chuckling at the memory. He recalled how his son always wanted to be an altar boy but he did not allow him since he didn’t want him to get distracted from his schoolwork. Later in life he found the irony hilarious. “When Charles was young I had got him wood to make an altar. Then he found a set of candlestick holders and pretended to celebrate Mass… “I think the inclination was always there. When he was 11 he took my elderly mother to church and read during the Mass and even sang.”

MaltaPost’s SendOn launches a new hub in the USA MaltaPost has announced that it is now offering local online shoppers a new forwarding service, which mean that they can now shop from USA online stores particularly from those which do not ship directly to Malta. Now with the launch of this new service, customers may shop from USA online stores, and forward their shopping to this hub and benefit from reasonably priced shipping costs to Malta. MaltaPost said it will deliver the shopping straight to the consumer’s doorstep in Gozo and Malta. To calculate the cost of shipping, the SendOn website provides an easy-to-use calculator. SendOn, gave the opportunity to thousands of clients to shop from UK online stores, even from those which do not ship directly to Malta. Registering for this service is very simple. Online shoppers who are not already registered with SendOn just need to complete the registration form available online at www.maltapost.com/sendon. Following sign up, the customers will receive a reply via email with a unique code and the USA address to be used when purchasing.

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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

MOSTA SCOUTS GROUP – MALTA Rev. Fr Edgar Salomone Founder Fr Edgar Salomone was born in Attard in 1882 and his parents were Dr Francesco and Vincenzanee Portelli-At the age of four he was taken to the village of Mosta. His family settled in this village and his father began to work as a doctor. Young Edgar started his early education at'the local primary school and then went to thc English College of St Ignatius run by the Jesuits which was situated at St Julian's. He then moved on to the Bishop's Seminary. In addition he did two years at aQ education institution in London also managed by the Iesuits. : His ordination to the priesthood took place in St John's Co-Cathedral on 19 December 1908 and his first Solemn Mass was celebrated in the Mosta Rotunda on 3 January 1908 The newly ordained Fr Edgar commenced his pastoral life at Sliema besides helping out in the Mosta parish. His work with adolescents started at Stella Maris College which was under the care of the Freres and Fr Edgar was appointed chaplain of the Salesian Boys Brigade where he set up the Eucharistic League. When he returned to Mosta he took over the running of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Oratory for boys which at the time was situated in a house in Eucharistic Congress Road. In 1916 Fr Edgar managed to establish the Oratory Boy Scout Troop originally with 72 boys. By this time Fr Edgar Salomone had already written some books among which there was Memories and Charms of Musta which and was issued in both the Maltese and English languages. In the last week of l9l7 he went to the Eastern Front as a military chaplain. On his return, rn 1920 he was sent by the Archbishop of Malta as the vice-parish priest of the parish of Mgarr. In 1930 he was appointed as the second parish priest of Mgarr. Here he worked for 23 years and rn 1954 was made an honorary canon of the Cathedral of Malta. Mgr Salomone died at the age of 86 on 22 Algust 1969 and was interred at the cemetery of Mgarr.

On the left is a picture taken in 1963 of the Mosta Scouts Group on a visit to say hello to Rev. Fr Edgar Solomone. I was 21 years old then and standing on the right hand of Father Solomone, and that is the last time I saw him.

Thanks to Joe Deguara (NSW) for sending me this contribution

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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

Queen Victoria's pants up for auction Britain's Queen Victoria's pants are to be auctioned off. The 45in waistband knickers, which are embroidered with the royal VR monogram, have been dated back to 1891, and are going to be sold in Chippenham Auction Rooms, Wiltshire on behalf of Yesterday's World museum in Sussex. Auctioneer Richard Edmonds said: 'We've been able to date the pants by measuring the waistband and they are from the last 10 years of her life.'Earlier in her life she was slimmer but her pants got bigger as she got older. As there's such a good photographic record of Queen Victoria, it's possible to calculate her waist measurement over time, so we know roughly when she would have worn items of this size.'Richard added the 125-year-old underwear was bought by Yesterday's World museum from a descendant of one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting. Speaking to BBC News, he said: 'Items of Queen Victoria's clothing were often given to members of the royal household, particularly after her death in 1901, and they're stamped with the royal crest which proves they're from the royal wardrobe.'As well as the pants - which are said to be in 'excellent condition' and expected to fetch several thousand pounds on 11 July -, the auction will include nightdresses, stockings and shoes worn by Queen Victoria's third child Princess Alice, as well as replicas of the Crown Jewels.

Il-Kors fil-Qari tal-Provi bil-Malti Ċertifikat fil-Qari tal-Provi bil-Malti, organizzat mid-Dipartiment tal-Malti fl-Università bi sħab malKunsill Nazzjonali tal-Ilsien Malti

Deskrizzjoni: Il-kors hu maħsub għal kull min juża l-Malti miktub fil-post tax-xogħol u għal kull min jinteressah li jtejjeb il-kitba tiegħu bil-Malti. L-istudenti tal-kors jiġu mis-settur Pubbliku u Privat, ilkoll minn oqsma differenti tal-ħajja, u dan il-fatt jagħmel il-kors aktar interessanti. Kwalifiki: Biex tapplika, jekk għandek sa 23 sena jrid ikollok iċ-Ċertifikat tal-Matrikola (il-kwalifiki normali biex tidħol l-Università) u l-Malti fil-Livell Avvanzat sa grad Ċ. Jekk għandek aktar minn 23 sena imma m'għandekx dawn il-kwalifiki, tista' tapplika xorta waħda u ssirlek intervista qasira minn bord tal-għażla apposta qabel jibda l-kors.

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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

It-tmien grupp ta' studenti Maltin u l-ewwel grupp ta' studenti Għawdxin li kkwalifikaw biċ-Ċertifikat filQari tal-Provi bil-Malti IL-KUNSILL TAL-GHAQDA TAL-KITTIEBA TAL-MALTI 1944-1945

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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILYhistory of early Maltese settlement

Albert W. Agius

It was during the decade between 1920 and 1930 that the Maltese consolidated themselves into a community. Dr Barry York Writes that “the Maltese were, according to Dom Puli, ‘like one big happy family’ in those days. There was considerable mutual support, not just in boarding-houses and clubs, but also in the course of everyday working life. Moreover, there was little choice, but to make good. “For young men, with several decades of life before them, the hurdles to settlement were not insurmountable. ‘We were young’, says Victor Schembri--Haildy. ‘We all had fun, even if we were broke?’ " “It is not possible to estimate how many years the process of adaptation took. When Dom Puli returned to his native Birkirkara in 1935, to attend the Feast ofSaint Helen, he found that While he was happy to be back in Malta he regarding Australia as a ‘heaven’ by comparison. “That was seven years after his arrival in Australia. To borrow Dom Puli’s analogy, Malta remained the Maltese men’s ‘mother’, but they had left home and had ‘married’ Australia.” Yet for most of them, the beginning was very hard. Many ha_d to travel from one place to another in their effort to find a suitable place Where they could settle down happily. Luigi, Giovanni and Michele Camilleri were among the so-called ‘Sons of Billy Hughes’ who had been refused entry to Australia in 1917. After spending some Weeks on New Caledonia they were finally allowed to land. Paul Calleja reports that their first employment was on the transcontinental railway construction at Port Augusta in South Australia. “Luigi and Giovanni returned to their home in Gozo in 1926 where Luigi married Giuseppa Cassar and Giovanni married Giuseppa’s sister, Two years later Luigi, Giuseppa and their new born son Joseph sailed for Australia on the Esperance Bay. Giovanni and his family had already returned to Australia. “Luigi obtained work in Melbourne for the first year or so, but moved to the mines of Broken Hill where a Maltese community complete with its own boarding houses, shops and meeting place, existed at this time.” Sam Xerri, who spoke about his experiences at a seminar organised to commemorate the first hundred years of Maltese migration to Australia, disembarked at Melbourne. He was unable to obtain suitable work in Melbourne and, with his uncle, travelled to Queensland. They went to Innisfail. Xerri’s move north seems to have been beneficial for him. “My first impressions of Innisfail were good,” he said. “An Irishman employed me. They seemed to employ many Maltese because they were Catholics too. The farm was five miles from Innisfail and it was 100 acres all under cane. My day consisted of a little bit of everything. “We planted the cane, weeded the grass, we cut timber for firewood so we would keep busy. I was accommodated on the farm,” Xerri said. “It was quite comfortable. My wages were 14s 6d a week. It was good money then. Accommodation was free; we only had to buy food. Life then was rather wild. There was a lot of hunting and shooting. This supplemented our food supply. “I managed to save some money and I was able to repay the cost of my passage. I always sent some extra money to the family. I spent the rest. I sent about £10 every six months and it helped the family a lot.” Xerri continued: “Some Maltese bought farms in the area but I didn’t. There was a lot involved in taking out a loan, employing labour and then having to work very hard. On the whole Innisfail would have had about 1,000 Maltese. Some of these employed others. If you were a good worker word got around and you would get a job. References were given by word of mouth.” Sam Xerri was not the first, nor the only person, to seek work in a city away from where he first disembarked. Indeed, the history of early Maltese settlement shows very clearly that the Maltese were a very transient group.

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Maltese immigrant’s home honoured The former family home of a highly successful Maltese immigrant, located on the Cairns Esplanade, has been entered in the Queensland Heritage Register. Floriana, a two-storeyed brick and timber house overlooking Trinity Inlet, was constructed in 1939 as the city residence of Paul and Paulina Zammit and their family. Queensland Heritage Council Chair David Eades said Paul Zammit, who migrated from Malta in 1912, was one of the most successful sugarcane farmers in North Queensland with a property near Bartle Frere serving the South Johnstone Central Mill. "Floriana tells the story of one migrant couple's aspirations to succeed in their adopted society without losing sight of their traditional cultural values," Mr Eades said. "It reminds us of the contribution that Europeans have made to the evolution of Queensland as a multi-cultural society." For their city residence, the Zammits chose a site in the best residential street in Cairns and then employed a Sydney architect to design the house, naming it Floriana after a portside village in Malta. "The design of Floriana was significant with a number of traditional Maltese housing elements incorporated within a typical modern Queensland home of its era," Mr Eades said. "The house announced the Zammit family's success in Queensland to both the local community and potential Maltese immigrants." Paul and Paulina Zammit had 10 children who were all talented musicians skilled at playing a variety of instruments. "The family regularly entertained top visiting US and Australian Army Showbands and hosted many social and fundraising events in Floriana's ground floor ballroom during the war years," Mr Eades said. Once established in Queensland, Zammit used his growing prosperity to support numerous migrants from Italy and Malta and his community efforts were recognised widely. Both during and after the war Paul Zammit continued to run the cane farm at Bartle Frere. In 1947 Zammit personally funded the construction of a small concrete church at Bartle Frere, the Church of St Paul. "The concrete blocks for the church were made on Zammit's farm by his canecutters during the off-season," Mr Eades said. "This act of generosity towards the Catholic Church was recognised by Pope Pius XII in January 1948 when he awarded Paul Zammit with the Bene Merenti medal. He was the first person in Queensland to receive this award." The Queensland Heritage Council is the state's independent peak body and advisor on heritage matters and determines what places are entered in the Queensland Heritage Register. Places that are entered in the Heritage Register are considered of importance to Queensland's history and are protected under heritage legislation.

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Maltese Newsletter 87

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Fr. Emmanuel Adami MSSP Fr. Emmanuel hu mill-Birgu. Huwa s-sitt wild minn familja ta’ tmint itfal. Mid-dar huwa rċieva formazzjoni nisranija soda, flimkien ma’ karattru edukat u ġentili. Dawn huma karatteristiċi li żamm u li malajr tintebaħ bihom. L-edukazzjoni primarja bdiha f’Ħal-Balzan, fejn il-familja kellha tevakwa ruħha minħabba l-gwerra. Imbagħad kompla l-edukazzjoni tiegħu l-Birgu, u wkoll fil-Kulleġġ ta’ De La Salle. L-edukazzjoni sekondarja ħadha fis-Seminarju. Sadanittant huwa kien abbati fil-Knisja ta’ San Lawrenz, u membru attiv fil-Mużew fejn dam sa Ottubru tal-1957, meta beda n-novizzjat f’Sant’Agata. Il-kors tal-filosofija u t-teoloġija għamilhom fl-Università ta’ Malta, u fit-3 ta’ April ta’ ħamsin sena ilu, ġie ordnat saċerdot. Wara l-ordinazzjoni, għamel sentejn bħala “House Father” fid-Dar ta’ San Ġużepp, Santa Venera u qatta’ sentejn oħra fl-Oratorju ta’ B’Kara. Il-ħajja pastorali barra minn Malta kienet varjata ħafna. Beda fl-Awstralja, fejn ħadem f’Melbourne, Perth, u Sydney, fejn kien kappillan tal-parroċċa ta’ Horsly Park. Mill-Awstralja fl-1977, ġie mitlub imur il-Perù. Hemm għamel 10 snin f’diversi djar tas-Soċjetà. Minn hemm irritorna l-Awstralja fejn issa ilu 23 sena sħaħ. Bħall-Fathers Maltin l-oħra, huwa Chaplain tal-Maltin, imma jeżerċita wkoll il-ministeru saċerdotali tiegħu mal-komunità Taljana. Huwa jitkellem ukoll l-Ispanjol. Fr. Emmanuel iħobb jikteb materjal reliġjuż, u anke stampa xi kitbiet minn tiegħu dwar il-Madonna u lEwkaristija. Għalkemm kif għidna, issa ilu 23 sena l-Awstralja, minn żmien għal żmien imur għal xi xhur ilPerù, il-pajjiż li tant ħabb. Kif jgħid hu stess, għadda minn ħafna provi kbar imma dejjem ħass l-id t’Alla miegħu. – Kontribuzzjoni ta ‘ Father Norbert Bonavia

Newsletter veru mformattiv , mimlija kultura tradizzjonali taghna l-Maltin.u prosett talli izzewqa bl-ilsien Ii taghtna dik l-omm imbierka Malta taghna. Inselli ghalik Greg Caruana

ANZAC CENTENARY 1915 -2015 THE NURSE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN This limited edition book is now for sale If you want to order a copy contact Frank honconsul@live.com.au www.ozmalta.page4.me

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Mikiel Anton Vassalli The Father of the Maltese Language Mikiel Anton Vassalli lived during one of the most turbulent periods of Maltese history: the final years of the Knights of St. John, the French period and the first Mikiel Anton Vassalli years of British rule. Besides the social disorder that was an outcome of political upheaval, there was also a deeply felt division between the social classes: the privileged class on one hand and on the other the vast majority that ha Mikiel Anton was born in HazZebbug in 1764 to a peasant family, so his childhood was probably similar to that of most other children, even more so after having lost his father at the tender age of two. His learning capabilities soon became evident however and promised a future of extraordinary achievements. Consequently, in 1785, at the age of 21, he started studies of oriental languages in the 'La Sapienza' University of Rome. It was a time of great turmoil when Europe was beset with revolutionary ideas which would come to a head with the French Revolution having as its ideals liberty and power to the people. As any other active and intelligent youth would, Vassalli closely followed all the developments that were taking place and absorbed the social ideas, besides doing very well in his academic studies. During the nineties he published three substantial works about our language, which set the study of the Maltese language for the first time on solid and scientific foundations. These works are : l-Alfabett Malti (1790), il-Milsen - a Maltese grammar in Latin (1791) and Ktieb il-Kliem Malti - a Maltese-Latin-Italian dictionary (1796) a work of great linguistic value. The well known introduction to this dictionary has a strong social and political flavour which makes it very clear that Vassalli's primary aim was not the Maltese language in itself, but the civil and moral education of the Maltese people which could only be attained through their native language. One can easily point out Vassalli's Discorso Preliminare as second only to the Constitution of the Republic in that it is a beautiful and precious document for the Maltese Nation to whom it was dedicated with the words: "Alla Nazione Maltese", a phrase which in those days could only be the fruits of a very fertile imagination. Vassalli's call is above everything else a political one favouring the education of the Maltese masses and the development of Maltese potential in all possible areas and the accessibility to the realms of

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wisdom and law so that the Maltese nation could arrive at a full consciousness of itself, its duties and identify itself as a nation in its own right. This is therefore a movement in favour of democratic power. The Maltese language was to be the primary instrument for this process. Vassalli was the first to study Maltese scientifically and according to its Semitic roots. He proposed it as an alternative to foreign languages which up to that time had always been employed in all areas involving intellect and culture. Thus for the first time the Maltese language appeared as an instrument for popular education and made a claim for power. It was inevitable that Vassalli's revolutionary call would have many obstacles to overcome in the process of its realization. In the meantime Vassalli returned to Malta and to a new phase of political involvement. We can picture this young man bursting with revolutionary ideas, returning to Malta and witnessing the disorder of the final years of the Order of St. John, overwhelmed by financial problems, by divisions running deeply within it and, worst of all, by the backwardness. Shocked by the precarious situation Malta was to be found in, and particularly his fellow Maltese, Vassalli listed some suggestions for the Grandmaster. Amongst other things he asked:   

that the Order would stop all fighting with the Moslems, an activity which was out of step with the times that Maltese harbours would be open for commerce with all countries that the Order would introduce a branch for Maltese wishing to become knights.

Wise suggestions which were aimed at improving the financial condition of our country on one hand, and on the other of adjusting the state of affairs which was hitherto despotic. The Maltese were deprived of any right to make their voices heard and to develop intellectually. The suggestions made by this presumptious youth did not go down well at all with the Order and Vassalli was left with no other option but to enter into league with the Jacobites in the hope that the Maltese Islands would be taken away from the Order. However the plot was uncovered and Mikiel Anton was sentenced to life imprisonment. Many were of the opinion that Vassalli was a scholar, a thinker and a dreamer and that therefore he was not cut out for the intricacies of political life. Whatever one's opinion might be, the fact remains that his political involvement was a bitter experience that brought him disgrace, suspicion, prison sentences and escapes. Finally this benefactor of the Maltese people was exiled for twenty years from his beloved country. This was a dark period spent in France and Spain until, in 1820, aged 56, poor, in bad health and, deprived of the best years of his life, he was allowed to return. After such bitter experiences, however, his spirit wasn't broken and his ideals found fertile ground whereby he reaped fresh results from this renewed vigour. With the help of John Hookham Frere, Vassalli began to teach at the University as the first Professor of the Maltese language, the highest seat of learning as was befitting the national language. He also produced other works: a new Maltese grammar in Italian (1827) and a book of Maltese Proverbs (1828), besides a translation of the Scriptures. He died in 1829 and was buried in a cemetery for the British. History sometimes deals an unlucky hand to some individuals, as is the case with Vassalli, for we do not know where this father of the Maltese is buried and have absolutely no idea of what he might

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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

have looked like. Moreover, his name was for many decades kept hidden and, if mentioned at all, was whispered under one's breath as though it were an object of shame. However the ideals and ambitions that Vassalli had for his nation were not to remain hidden forever. In its quest for political freedom and national identity, denied it for so many centuries, our nation could not but realise that there once had lived a Maltese, long ago but ahead of his time, who had dreamt all that was yet to happen to it. And his people loved him for it and brought his name out of the darkness and wrote it on the streets, in schools, in our literature and set it up as a monument for all Maltese to admire. This is just what we are doing today: recommending Vassalli as a model for our young people. Commending him for his integrity and altruism, for his love of study and learning. We cannot but note the symbolic significance of the particular circumstance of today's occasion. A school which for so many years served to educate the children of the residing officials of the ruling nation is also the school that bears his name. Vassalli's dream has indeed come true! This image of Mikiel Anton Vassalli will remind us of the lessons taught and the high ideals expressed in his writings and which he strove to achieve during his lifetime:     

First and foremost, a love for our country and fellow Maltese, regardless of class or political beliefs and above all personal interest. A love for knowledge, which will render us free. Honesty and sincerity, which make us adhere to our principles whatever the cost. Self-respect, which help us fight for, and defend our rights. And finally a love for the Maltese Language, our mother tongue which should be defended, fostered and respected not through lip service but by incorporating it in every aspect of daily lives and by passing it on to our children whose right it is.

This was Vassalli’s dream

Dear Frank, Again I have found the latest edition of your E-Magazine very interesting, Thank you. Now having read the article regarding Bastille Day, the revolution etc I would like to know if any of your readers or perhaps yourself can enlighten me & others if indeed there is any truth that Mikiel Anton Vassalli, who is sometimes referred to as the Father of the Maltese Language and who at the time was living in France, was involved with the beginning of the French Revolution. I have read in the past that Mikiel Anton Vassalli was one of the "master-minds" of such an historic event. Thank you. Charles N. Mifsud

www.ozmalta.page4.me

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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

MALTA RUGBY LEAGUE The Malta Rugby League (MRL) squad to face Lebanon on Sunday at St Marys Stadium in Sydney has been announced. The teams will meet for the second occasion, with the Malta team under the watchful eye of caretaker coach Tony Bainou. Sunday's international will be the Malta national team's first hit-out since the 34-8 win over Czech Republic last July and the team's first match of up to five this year. With caretaker coach Tony Bainou at the helm, the Malta team will come from a largely Australia based contingent for the first time since 2007. Malta's June 21 clash against Belgium at Headingley will return to a largely Malta based squad. The Malta team is sponsored by Mendizabal Container Solutions and will run out in the Maltese cross emblazoned jersey for the first time since 2011. Malta squad Mitch Barbara (Hemel Stags), Jeremy Carruthers (The Oaks Tigers), Adrian Cutajar (Toongabie All Saints Tigers), Nathan Falzon Nowra (Bombaderry Jets), David Farrugia (Mascot Jets), Dylan Frendo (Eagles RL), Kane Fuller Minchinbury Jets), Kyal Greene (The Oaks Tigers), Corey Harland (Minchinbury Jets), Jake Lennox (Blacktown Workers), Matthew Mizzi (Norths Devils), Blake Phillips (Helensburgh Tigers), Nathan Portelli (Tweed Heads Seagulls), James Redman (Central ASA Tigers), Josh Scicluna (Edensor Park Cobras), Andrew Sultana (Western Suburbs Magpies), Luke Vella (Emu Plains), Aaron Weston (Hills Bulls). Rugby League is a rather new full-contact team sport to the Maltese Islands, with the first game played at Marsa in 2005 by a largely Australian-Maltese touring team from the East-coast of Australia. The Maltese team opened with a successful 36-6 victory over England Lionhearts and featured one local Maltese player, Robert Bonavia. Played with an oval-shaped ball by two teams of thirteen on a rectangular grass field, it is one of two codes of Rugby Football, the other is Rugby Union. Rugby Union's first steps on the Maltese Islands date back to the mid 1900's when the first club (Overseas Rugby Club) was established in 1946. Malta's national Rugby Union team is now ranked in the 40's. Rugby League is played by teams across Malta and also the sister island of Gozo has it's own representation after the Malta Rugby League (MRL) introduced Gozo RL as a foundation club in 2011. The 13man code is faster, yet simpler to understand for spectators, exciting and spectacular to watch and concentrates on the core rugby skills that are catch, pass, tackle and kick. At the professional level, Rugby League is played by skillful and powerful athletes with the sport demanding that players show determination, sporting ingenuity and courage.

Malta Rugby League The Malta Rugby League (MRL) is the official governing body of Maltese Rugby League. The MRL is an official observer of the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) and officially recognised by the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF). The MRL is also a member of the Kunsill Malti ghall-iSport (KMS) - the national organisation responsibe for supporting, developing and promoting sport throughout Malta and Gozo.

www.ozmalta.page4.me

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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

MRL History

2004 The Malta Rugby League (MRL) was formed as the Maltese Rugby League Association (MRLA) on the 1st of April 2004 at Strathfield's Russian Club in Sydney, Australia. The founding directors were; Mr George Tonna (President) Mr Michael Borg (Secretary) Mr Matthew Smith (Treasurer) Mr Joe Grima (Board Member) Mr Anthony Micallef (Board Member) The MRLA Board of Directors implemented the mission statement, ‘to promote and develop Rugby League within the Maltese community’ and registered the MRLA with the appropriate Australian authorities. Along with an eye catching logo featuring the a Maltese Knight which would become the moniker of the national team, the MRLA selected to play in a red and white jersey that boasted a recognisable Maltese cross emblazoned across it.

NOSTALGIA -1971 ACHILLE LAURO

Mrs Mary Borg and her nine children pictured after their journey from Malta on the liner Achille Lauro, 3 May 1971.

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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

MALTESE IN VICTORIA Sunshine and St Albans (two large suburbs in Victoria, Australia) have been known as 'Little Malta' since the 1960s. Mass emigration was facilitated after World War II by the 1948 Malta-Australia Assisted Passage Agreement. The agreement marked a basic change in Australian policy towards the Maltese who had previously been classified as 'semi-white'. Inexpensive land situated near a railway line close to large factories, coupled with the presence of the Catholic Church and local government regulations which permitted the building of bungalows for residential purposes, attracted the Maltese to Melbourne's northern and western regions. Through chain migration, new settlers encouraged relatives from their villages of origin to join them. New immigrants, anxious to avoid indebtedness, added new rooms to the initial structure as savings and time allowed. In the early postwar years, life was very difficult in these suburbs: roads were unmade, sewerage was primitive and people were isolated from services. It was particularly hard for those Maltese women who stayed at home while their husbands went out to work. The Maltese worked overtime whenever possible and helped each other build or extend bungalows into proper homes in their spare time. They developed a reputation as hard-working, hospitable and unpretentious people. The 2011 census counted 22 456 Malta-born persons in Victoria - nearly half of all in Australia - of whom 90% were in the statistical division of Melbourne. To this may be added a few thousand ethnic Maltese who were born in Egypt and Tripoli. The principal Maltese meeting-places in Victoria are the Maltese Community Centre, Parkville (1983), and the Maltese Cultural Centre, Albion. A small, more middle-class community lives 'on the other side of town' but, whether east or west, the Maltese have a high level of home ownership. The ultimate measure of success for the first generation is the condition of their children. Family ties remain close and while the second generation tend to do better than their parents in material terms, most parents regret any loss of traditional Maltese values. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ MALTA AND THE ANZACS

THE NURSE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN Thank you so much for sending me a copy of ‘The Nurse of the Mediterranean’. I have quickly had a look through it and it is well compiled and very valuable contribution to our understanding of ANZAC history during this Centenary period. Congratulations to all involved in its publication. I look forward to reading it in detail.

www.ozmalta.page4.me

Brigadier Tim Hanna AM - President

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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

Plaque outside Prince Alfred's Court at the Grandmaster's Palace, Valletta, commemorating Prince Alfred's visit to Malta in 1858.

A statue of the popular Franciscan, Fra Diegu Bonanno (1831-1902), who was disturbed to see so many homeless on the streets, and opened shelters for destitute and abandoned girls from the 1860s onwards (by Censu Apap, 1932, St Paul's Square in Hamrun).

www.ozmalta.page4.me

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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

DLH marks 50th anniversary with commemorative stamp & card

Din l-Art Helwa will be marking the 50th anniversary of its Foundation on the 9th of July. To celebrate this special event, a commemorative stamp is being launched with a unique postmark franked for the occasion. This will be affixed to a dedicated cover envelope featuring a fine shadow logo of Din l-Art Helwa, the Senglea gardjola as well as the printed slogan ‘Heritage is Timeless, Our Countryside is Priceless. Both will run out of time unless they are saved.’ A number of limited mint stamps are being made available at the Din l-Art Helwa Offices on the 9th of July, 2015. If posted that day these will be stamped with the Din l-Art Helwa franking mark for the occasion. These are launched together with a special edition Postcard which features four historic sites restored and managed by Din l-Art Helwa. These are the Red Tower, the Msida Bastion Garden of Rest, Alessio Erardi’s painting of the Assumption at Our Lady of Victory Church, Valletta and St Mary’s Tower, Comino. The initiative is made possible with the support of Lombard Bank. These two items mark a significant milestone in the life of the first and foremost Maltese Heritage organisation and will be of special interest to philatelic collectors and collectors of Melitensia in general as well as those who wish to assist Din l-Art Helwa continue in its mission of protecting heritage and the natural environment. The Stamp, Cover envelope and Postcard will be available from the Din l-Art Helwa offices at 133, Melita Street, Valletta – Tel. 2122 5952 as from 9 July. Prices are as follows:Special Cover envelopes with commemorative stamp franked 9 July 2015 – €2.50 . Postcards with commemorative stamp and franked 9 July 2915 – €2.50 Postcards without the commemorative stamp – €1.50 Proceeds from the sale of these collectors’ pieces will be dedicated to Din l-Art Helwa’s restoration and environment fund. Become a Din l-Art Helwa member and join the proud defenders of our heritage! www.dinlarthelwa.org

www.ozmalta.page4.me

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Maltese Newsletter 87

July 2015

AMAZING SYDNEY – AUSTRALIA

Thanks for your loyal support and encouragement See you in Melbourne Sahha, hbieb u grazzi www.ozmalta.page4.me

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