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hidden canal, Bologna


With my father hoping to recover from tuberculosis, my family migrated from

Australia to Italy in 1954 – a unique event at a time when all the traffic was the

other way. It was a good move. My father survived almost half a century

more; when he died I was ambassador to Italy (though not the Holy See).

Pope John Paul II - 1998

The time spent in Italy - two years in the 1950s, a year (1964-65) teaching and getting married in Naples, and finally four years in Rome - has had a lasting influence on my life.

Since leaving the foreign service I have returned to Italy practically every year,

and in 2002 I facilitated the arrival in Australia of a major art exhibition

appropriately called The Italians.

But it was Lerici in Liguria where I lived from 1954-55 that has had the most impact.

One reason for going back to Italy has been to see friends I made in Lerici as a ten-year old.