Gerald Fastuca has spent his life in Wyndham and is involved heavily in the community as a businessman and his work with the Italian Sports Club, the St Andrews Fair and the Werribee Districts Football Club, reports Charlene Macaulay.
What is your connection to the Wyndham area?
I was born in Footscray Hospital, but I’ve lived in Werribee all my life. It was a small country town to what it is now, a big metropolis. I went to St Andrew’s Primary School and I went to Glen Devon Primary School, and then I went to Werribee High School, which was the only secondary school in the town back in the early ’70s.
What was the area like when you were growing up?
It was a country town where everyone knew everyone. My first job I worked at a supermarket called Inserra’s. I was there for 12 years and then I bought, with my brother-in-law, a milk bar, which is where The South Corner cafe is now. I ran that for 20 years and I’m very familiar with a lot of people in that area. Now I’m one of the owners of Bevmarks Beds in Hoppers Crossing.
What’s kept you in the area all this time?
I think just family, friends. I played sport here when I was a kid too and it’s my home. As a kid growing up, we always had the stigma of the sewage farm, but I think we’ve progressed a lot since then. I’m really proud I live in Wyndham. We’ve got one of the best basketball stadiums going around, one of the best swimming centres going around, one of the best football facilities going around with the big development of Avalon Oval, we’ve got a private hospital now – it’s really progressed a lot. I’ve been involved in the St Andrews Fair for 30 years, I’m on the committee of the Italian Sports Club, I’ve been on the committee there for 15 years so I consider myself a well and truly rusted-on local.
Tell me about your family.
Married, we have two children – well, we had four, but we lost two – and a couple of grandchildren, that’s probably the key focus of our lives these days, being proud grandparents.
My son John had muscular dystrophy and he passed away about 10 years ago. He was a great kid. He was actually an Olympic torch bearer in the Sydney 2000 Olympics. It was a very proud day for us. John was a twin, and [his twin sister] only survived four weeks. It was very tough at the time.
If there was something you could change about this area, what would it be?
I think the traffic and the congestion is really the most difficult thing. Obviously it wasn’t built to cope with what it is now, and it is a constant headache for everyone.
What’s your favourite place to grab a coffee or a meal?
I’d say the Italian Club for a meal, but I really like what they’ve done at The South Corner cafe. Whenever I go there, you’re always meeting locals that were there when I was there, and they just love it.