It is often the simple, ordinary objects that tell the great stories. This is a story that brings together food, family, migration, small business and endurance.
In 1929, Nello and Bruna Borghesi migrated from Italy to Melbourne. They settled in Collingwood during the Depression, and over the following years set up a number of cafés around the city of Melbourne. In 1947 Nello decided to establish the La Tosca Food Processing Company at number 12 Bennetts Lane in the city. The factory commenced with producing tinned vegetables, tomato concentrates and pasta sauces until by the 1950s Nello decided to move into pasta.
La Tosca’s first ravioli was produced with this roller in 1952. The roller was used to roll out the pasta and create the pockets into which the various sauces were ladled and spread. This was a real family affair, and the family worked hard to produce trays of pasta in the morning, and then the pasta was delivered in the small family van to Italian delis and restaurants all around Melbourne.
By the late 1950s, the business was expanding to a broader clientele and moving into small machine production. So this roller represents a myriad of small businesses that were flourishing in Melbourne in the post-war period.