Italian migrant Leo Zaia celebrates 90th birthday in Tamworth

A TAMWORTH man’s 90th birthday was as much a celebration of his long-lived years as it was a tale of love.

Italian migrant Alessandro “Leo” Zaia, a doting husband of 61 years, marked his 90th year with family at the Square Man Inn on Sunday.

Leo arrived in Melbourne in April 1952 and was transferred to Bonegilla Migrant Camp.

After stints cane-cutting in Queensland and at the Villawood Migrant Camp in Sydney, Leo went to work as a farmhand at Bingara.

When Leo migrated to Australia, he had left behind his love Isora (Louise) in Italy and they spent three years writing letters to one another. In 1955, Louise arrived on the “bridal ship” and married Leo that same day in Sydney.

The family spent time in Bingara, Walgett, Italy and then Quirindi before retiring to Tamworth in 2000, where Leo keeps himself busy gardening and growing his own vegetables in true Italian style. Leo lists good homegrown food, a good wife to cook it, a glass of vino, loving family and exercise as secrets to a long life.

“Work hard and love your wife,” he tipped.


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