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Carlo Marina (1832–1909)

by B. G. Andrews

This article was published:

Carlo Marina (1832-1909), pastoralist, was born at Piacenza, Duchy of Parma, son of Johan Marina, merchant and farmer, and his wife Judita, née Itory. After some years as an engineering apprentice he left home at 15 for musical training in the Milan College of Music but joined the Piedmontese army and served in the Lombardy campaign of 1848. In 1849 he fought at the battle of Novara, became a prisoner in Tuscany, escaped, was with Garibaldi at the siege of Rome and again taken prisoner. On his release he visited Malta, returned to Italy and in 1855 received a contract from the British government to supply meat to troops in the Crimean war. In 1856 he arrived in Melbourne.

By 1861 Marina was at the Burrangong goldfields in New South Wales, where he set up as the 'Real Diggers' Butcher' until his marriage at Yass on 18 August 1861 to a widow Eliza Tout (1821-1902), née Harcombe. In 1862 they leased the Moppity run near Young and gradually acquired a freehold estate which by 1892 covered 11,255 acres (4555 ha). Although known as a vigneron, orchardist and cattle exhibitor, his main interest was sheepbreeding. The Moppity flocks were descended from those of John Macarthur but Marina improved their quality by introducing new blood. His most prized ram was Mount Victoria which was mated with 1000 stud ewes purchased from the breeder, E. K. Cox, of Rawden. Mount Victoria was grand champion ram at the Young, Grenfell and Yass Shows in 1876, and in 1879 Marina took first prize for washed combing wool at the Agricultural Society's Show in Sydney, where he regularly attended the sheep sales. In the 1880s and 1890s he never ran less than 12,000 sheep. He was also a successful breeder of horses: in 1890 he won first prize for blood stallions at the Young Show and in 1892 he had at stud Stratagem, a half-brother to the champion Cremorne. Two years later Stratagem was shot by an assailant who remained unknown despite rewards offered by Marina and the government.

An early pioneer and a generous benefactor of local charities, Marina was prominent in Young society for years. His estate was a showplace; its entrance gates were bedecked with flowers which spelt the word 'welcome'; once inside, itinerant journalists and visiting celebrities were shown over Eliza's gardens, the spacious homestead, dairy, vineyards and wine cellars, then entertained over dinner by Marina's repertoire of songs and stories; later they were driven back to town in a sulky pulled by three ponies named Charge, Light and Brigade. Lord Carrington, Sir Henry Parkes and Alexander Oliver at different times enjoyed his hospitality and in 1899 local enthusiasts suggested that the Moppity area should become the site for the federal capital.

A typical immigrant of the gold rush years, Marina succeeded as a pastoralist by a combination of diligence, flexibility and luck. He died at his home on 30 September 1909. He was buried in the Anglican cemetery, Young, survived by his son C. W. C. 'Willie' Marina (1862-1911) and by a daughter; his estate was valued at £17,544. Although he never forgot his exciting youth in Italy, he and his family became completely assimilated into Australian society. His brother Camillo married the widow of a police sergeant shot by bushrangers and became a hotelier in Young, Murrumburrah and Kiama; his daughter-in-law Helen (1860-1940), known as the 'digger's friend', was made M.B.E. for her charity work during and after World War I, and his grandson Bertie was president of the Returned Servicemen's League in Young before he died in 1920 from wounds received at Gallipoli. Part of Carlo's original property is still owned by descendants.

Select Bibliography

  • W. F. Morrison, The Aldine Centennial History of New South Wales, vol 2 (Syd, 1888)
  • W. A. Bayley, Rich Earth (Young, 1956)
  • Miner and General Advertiser, 3, 7, 13 July, 31 Aug, 7 Sept 1861
  • Burrangong Courier, 6 Aug 1862
  • Burrangong Chronicle, 21 Mar, 18 Aug 1877, 13 Jan 1883, 2 July, 23 Aug 1890, 13, 27 Aug, 2 Nov 1892, 11 Aug, 22 Sept, 6 Oct 1894
  • Sydney Mail, 21 June 1884
  • Burrangong Argus, 16 Nov 1887, 15 Oct 1902
  • Bulletin, 14 Jan 1904
  • Young Chronicle, 2 Oct 1909, 16 Sept 1920, 12 Feb 1940
  • Registers of payments of rents for runs, 1856-62 (State Records New South Wales)
  • private information.

Citation details

B. G. Andrews, 'Marina, Carlo (1832–1909)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 26 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (Melbourne University Press), 1974

View the front pages for Volume 5

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


Piacenza, Parma, Italy


30 September, 1909 (aged ~ 77)
Young, New South Wales, Australia

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