Italian born Alfred Cavalchini arrived in Sydney at the age of 16 in 1900.1 Soon afterwards he moved to Wingham where he established himself as a well-known baker and confectioner at 89 Isabella Street.2 In 1908 Cavalchini and his family moved to Lorne to take up farming but they returned to Wingham in 1916 to open a bakery and photography business at 49 Isabella Street.3
During World War I, Cavalchini took photographic portraits of young men as they headed to war in their uniforms, several of whom did not return.4 Cavalchini’s most memorable photographs are of Victory Day celebrations in Wingham. His daughter Mabel recalled that her father set up a backdrop on the side of the house that day to take photos.5
In June 1919 influenza, brought back by returned servicemen, swept across NSW including Wingham. Cavalchini was struck down and as a consequence suffered a seizure that paralysed his right side. He spent six months in hospital where he learned to walk again. This illness left him permanently injured.6
Cavalchini continued to be an active community member until his physical condition forced him to give up work. He retired to Coffs Harbour where at the age of 52 he was hit by a lorry truck and was killed.7 Cavalchini’s photographs live on to remind us of his precious contribution to Wingham.
Author: Janine Roberts
Further information: 12 November 1918 was ‘Victory Day’. Click on this link to view the photos Alfred Cavalchini took of Wingham during World War 1 and on Victory Day. It documents the extraordinary actions of the people of Wingham during this time. Alfred Cavalchini World War 1 Wingham.
1 NAA: A1, 1911/17392 Alfred Stephen Francis Louis Mario Cavalchini – Naturalization.
2 NLA photograph, A. Cavalchini, baker, confectioner, Wingham, NSW. PIC Album 1197/2 #PIC/15675/412. Jim Davidson Australian postcard collection, 1880-1980.
3 Arthur Cooper et al., Strolling around Wingham, Manning Valley Historical Society, Journal, Number 34, August 2008.
4 AWM, Lance Corporal Leo Stanley Tisdell, Pte Colin Henry Arnott, http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1240647.
5 NSW State Library, Dressed up for Victory Day – Wingham, NSW. At Work and Play 01542. Photograph by Alfred Cavalchini.
6 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 24 June 1919, 11 July 1919, 5 December 1919.
7 Northern Champion, 26 Jan 1936.
8 NSW State Library, Victory celebrations – Wingham, NSW, At Work and Play 01565. Photographed by Alfred Cavalchini.