In the twilight of Pietro Antonio Muscio’s life he sat down to write his ‘little story’ over a fortnight in November 1922. Using a fountain pen, exercise book and in English (his second language) he wrote his life story in 43 pages…
Pietro was born in Someo, Switzerland in 1839. In the 1850s stories of the Australian and Californian gold rushes reached his working-class village and through a scheme created by the village leaders, young men including Pietro were funded to travel to either of these places. When Pietro left, aged just 15, it was the last time he saw his mother and his country.
After an arduous journey in which Pietro was caught up in a swindle, he landed in Sydney and looked for work. In one funny moment he cried out loud in his mother tongue “I hope someone will come and give me a job today, I do not care if it is the devil. I’ll go with him.” He had hardly spoken the words before a large man loomed over him and chose him for work. It was not the devil but a man called Isaac Rose who would become a lifelong friend.
This was the start of Pietro’s incredible journey to the Manning Valley and his eventual settlement at Glenthorne. Pietro’s intelligence and sense of humour emanate throughout the diary including the way he wooed his future wife Mary Trotter and the arrival of Protestantism to the area. He mentions many well-known Manning families in his diary.
Pietro died in 1928 and is buried with his beloved Mary at the Dawson River Cemetery.
Pietro’s diary can be read in full at the Manning Wallamba Family History Society at the MidCoast Library Taree, including a transcription by his great, great grandson Dr James Manning Cross.
Author: Janine Roberts