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'Palazzo Di Cozzo' Film Screening & Panel Discussion

Ageing patriarch, Franco Cozzo, holds court over an iconic furniture empire. A pioneer of low-fi television advertising, Franco’s tri-lingual catchphrase sparked a cult of personality as kitsch as his baroque bed-heads. But his character is more than a caricature. Franco’s journey from rural Sicily to the high streets of Melbourne is marked by fame, fortune and family drama.

With ten children and 
a cult status to maintain, he’s a busy octogenarian. Meanwhile, his furniture tells its own story about Australia’s immigration history, gracing the homes of an evolving aspirational migrant class throughout the post-war era. But what will Franco do when the world, and his clientele, begin to move on without him?

Post-World War Two Migrants Who Made the West


Discover the lives and legacies of some of the great personalities who made Melbourne’s West in this panel event with writer and director Madeleine Martiniello (Palazzo Di Cozzo) and authors Olympia Koziaris and Joe Ribarow. Hosted by local history buff, Nick Szwed.

Madeleine Martiniello is a documentary filmmaker based in Melbourne. Sensitive to the quotidian, her work is inspired by people and places out of time, and explores the complexities of memory and nostalgia. A graduate of the Master of Film & Television at the Victorian College of the Arts, Palazzo di Cozzo is her first feature film.

Olympia Koziaris has gathered twenty heartfelt previously untold and unpublished histories of the Greek residents of Yarraville: their work, lives and pastimes across a seventy-year period, beginning in the 1950s and reaching up to the present day. Olympia’s interest in how these Australian’s adjusted to their new surroundings and in time, how they shaped their environment to create a new home is documented in her book: Yiasou Yarraville which was made possible with the support of a Maribyrnong Council Community Grant and sponsorship from Delphi Bank.

Joseph Ribarow came to Australia in 1949 with his Polish mother and Serbian father; they settled in St Albans in 1951. Joe attended St Albans High School in the 1960s and trained in social work. In the 1990s he was the Executive Officer at the St Albans Migrant Resource Centre and in the 2000s was on the Board of the St Albans Community Youth Club. Joe has written twelve books about the history of St Albans from the 1860s to the 1960s. In 2005 he collaborated with Nick Szwed to write the first detailed history of St Albans Secondary College.


Nick Szwed
and his family were post-war refugees from Europe arriving in St Albans with nothing in 1952. He grew up in the paddocks of St Albans. In 2005, when St Albans Secondary College announced a 50th Anniversary Celebration, Nick realised it was time to give something back to the community. He started to collect old photos and memorabilia while colleague Joe Ribarow, started to interview the people of St Albans. The outcome was a publication of the first detailed history of St Albans Secondary College.

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- The 2022 Brimbank Writers & Readers Festival is proudly supported by principal sponsor Victoria University Polytechnic

Event Properties

Event Date Tuesday 22 Mar, 2022 6:30 pm
Event End Date Tuesday 22 Mar, 2022 9:00 pm
Location The Bowery Theatre @ STACC

Venue Information - The Bowery Theatre @ STACC

The Bowery Theatre is our purpose-built 200-seat performance venue named in honour of the late Leigh Bowery.

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