Brothers Bruno and Romeo Camillo have spent their whole lives in Werribee, starting out as market gardeners before each working for a number of car dealerships. Today, the two retirees – and die-hard Collingwood fans – still like to hang out and have a dig at one another’s expense. As told to Charlene Macaulay.
Which of you is the oldest?
Bruno: Which one looks the oldest? Come on! I’m older than him – 69.
Romeo: We both look young – I’m 65.
Tell me about your childhoods.
Bruno: We were both born in Werribee, in the hospital where McDonald’s now is. We started out near Werribee Manor because our parents had a market garden out there, then they sold up and we ended up moving to Stawell Street.
We could go out any time of night without having to worry about anything. There were about three or four of us and we’d walk around and go to the footy on Saturday down at Soldier’s Reserve and the pictures when it was at Station Street. Friday nights, we’d go to Centenary Hall – that’s where the Cultural Centre is now – and they’d have dances.
Romeo: That was the good old days – you wouldn’t worry about things. We both went to St Andrew’s … I played in the footy grand final [for school] when I was 11.
I understand you were one of the first Italian families in the area. How did the locals respond?
Bruno: Our dad came here in 1942 because he didn’t want to get enlisted and go to war, then he brought our mother over. We’re from northern Italy, Treviso, which is near Venice. Back then, we’d cop it a little bit – be called dago, that kind of stuff.
Romeo: When we were living in that farm, there were Aussies living beside us and they’d call us wogs and that sort of stuff. And guess who one of those kids were? [She ended up being] my wife, Maree.
Now she’s married to one!
How many kids do you have between you?
Romeo: I have two girls and three grandkids.
Bruno: I have four kids, two granddaughters – plus one on the way – and a great-grandson.
What’s kept you both in Werribee?
Romeo: We’ve got a lot of friends out here and some relatives.
Bruno: All the friends we knew at school, the ones we hung around with and still hang around with, are still here. Where would you go?