Applecross parishioner awarded Queen’s honour for good works in Archdiocese and community

08 Jul 2021

By Amanda Murthy

joe cinanni family
Father of three daughters Mr Cinanni is acknowledged with a 2021 Medal of the Order of Australia award for his involvement in various church and community-based volunteer work. Photo: Supplied.

Giuseppe Rocco Cinanni OAM, fondly known as Joe in the business world, and Rocco by his family, cites that his accomplishments and ‘good works’ which led him to gain a 2021 Medal of the Order of Australia, would not have been possible without the example of his Catholic faith, community, and family support, especially crediting his wife of 59 years, Maisie.

“Maisie and I have always been a team and we would be lost without each other,” Joe stated.

“In just about everything that I have been involved with, it has been a case of – you get one of us, you get both. We have different strengths and talents and somehow, we complement each other in our endeavours.”

The 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours for Australia were announced on 14 June by Governor-General David Hurley. The list recognises 1190 Australians, including 84 WA recipients.

Joe was honoured for his involvement in Catholic-based and community support initiatives, where he co-ordinated, volunteered, and organised various fundraising projects through collaboration with strong networks, which he built over the years.

This includes the Perth Soccer Club (formerly the Perth Italia Soccer Club), Catholic Children’s Homes, Catholic Care WA (now known as Identitywa), Italian Village Nursing Home Fremantle, Italian Club Fremantle, Abruzzo/Molise Association, and Italian/Australian Businessmen Association and being a committee member of a team raising money for the earthquakes in Italy in both 2009 and 2016.

His past accolades include the Italian Community Award (Italo/Australian Welfare and Cultural Centre, 2017), Peter Giorgi Clubman Award (Perth Soccer Club), and Merit Award (Perth Soccer Club) Life membership (Perth Soccer Club) and Life Membership (Italian Club Fremantle).

Italian-born Joe arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia as a 15-year-old in 1951 with his younger brother to join his father who had arrived the previous year.

His mother and younger siblings would migrate three years later. However, it was the initial support and kindness he received when he first arrived in Australia which inspired his ‘natural instincts’ to get involved with causes close to his heart.

“I think I have always been community-minded, especially since coming to Australia. My initial experiences seem to have been very different from many other migrants, in that my brother and I were welcomed by the small community of Serpentine,” Joe said.

“Many took me under their wing, teaching me English, encouraging me to join in local activities and showed me genuine kindness.

Applecross parishioner Giuseppe Cinanni was announced as one of 1190 Australians to receive a 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours for Australia. He was honoured for his involvement in Catholic-based and community support initiatives, where he co-ordinated, volunteered, and organised various fundraising projects through collaboration with strong networks, which he built over the years. By Amanda Murthy.

“People such as the family who employed us, the principal of the little school in Serpentine, the shopkeeper, the post mistress and the parents of the other children at the school -Australia has been very good to me. I have had opportunities that I know I would never have had if my parents had stayed in Italy. I just love to give back what I have received,” he added.

A parishioner of St Benedict’s Church Applecross Parish for more than 40 years, Joe’s versatility led him to embrace roles such as being a Parish Council member and then Parish Council Chairperson, a Building Committee member, and a continuing church grounds maintenance volunteer.

Most recently, Joe and his wife were a part of the fundraising team that contributed to much of the financial success of the Divine Mercy Church, Gingin-Bindoon-Chittering parish, which was dedicated on 6 June 2021.

When it was remarked that a lot of his deeds reflected his ties with the Italian culture Joe said, “For a long period, I have questioned myself as to whether I am Australian or Italian.

I am proud of my Italian heritage, and I do my part to keep in touch with my heritage, but Australia is my home. I have concluded that I am Italian by birth, but I am now Australian for it is Australia that has raised me. There was no hesitation when I was asked to help raise money to assist those in need such as the earthquake victims, it was something I could not ignore,” he added.

”Likewise, when my wife and I were recently asked to help with the Gingin-Bindoon-Chittering parish, when building came to a standstill, we felt compelled to help where we could, because so many people had already contributed to this project, that we had to see it through to its completion. We were very proud when it was finally dedicated.”

Looking back, the father of three daughters, Amanda, Katrina and Julia said that he admits that doing voluntary work, while having a full-time job was not a bed of roses, but he would not have it any other way.

“Although I was roped into most of my volunteer commitments because someone would tap me on the shoulder to help out, each cause was joined with intention and purpose – for example, I became passionate about assisting the Soccer Club after my nephew died from a drug overdose,” Joe said.

“I saw team sport as a way of keeping young men fit physically, mentally and maybe even emotionally, and if I could prevent even one youth from the same fate then any assistance I gave, would be well worth the effort. I would want every child to feel valued and to have that support.

“…My motto has always been, whatever you do, do it well and do it now, because who knows what tomorrow brings – we just have to do good whenever we can,” Joe concluded.

The official award ceremony will take place this September.