Obituary of Joe Mizzi (27-04-1944 – 06-05-2006)
Former Vice President of the AQA
As the president of the Australian Qala Association, I would like to acknowledge our friend Joe Mizzi, and past committee member of the Australian Qala Association. He was born in the village of Qala, Gozo and was our Vice President since the association was formed in 1995. Joe dedicated his passion and time towards the association and worked hard to see it grow. During his 10 years in the committee, Joe made lots of new friends from Qala and other communities in Melbourne.
Joe was born in Qala, Gozo Malta and was the eldest of 3 children, Lina and Alessio. The family grew up in a farming community with their parents and often told stories of growing up in difficult post war Malta. Joe was a good student and finished high school, but found there were limited work opportunities. His cousin, Charlie Camilleri told Joe of his recent trip to Australia and the opportunities of work and money. At 18 years of age, Joe left his family and sailed over to Australia and settled in a boarding house in North Melbourne.
Joe’s first job was at the Melbourne Savoy Hotel for a year and then found a job at the Government Printing Office, where he worked as a Book Binder for 28 years. He loved his career and called it a “job for life”. While living in Melbourne, he met his future wife Melina, after 3 years. They courted for two years and in his most romantic way, he proposed by asking “so are we going to get married or what?” Joe and Melina were married, together with Melina’s sister Jane and husband Joe, in Australia’s first double wedding which was published in the newspapers. They were married on Joe’s birthday and celebrate 38 years together. They purchased a house in Moonee Ponds on impulse decision and made it their home. His home was his pride and joy along with his 3 children, Sandra, Karen and Raymond. After 10 years at the Government Printing Office, Joe took his young family to Malta for a 3 month holiday to meet his parents. Joe was incredibly proud of his children’s achievements, with all 3 graduating at University.
Soccer became a huge part of Joe’s life, and he was part of the Sunshine George Cross Junior Soccer Club for 15 years, 10 of these years as Club Chairman. Joe enjoyed seeing all the children and parents get involved with the club and organising social activities. If ever there was a function from a rabbit night to a soccer event, Joe would be the first one there opening the gates and organising the canteen, to the last one there stacking the chairs. Joe often said that friends that he made at the soccer club were not just friends, but part of a soccer family.
When Joe retired from work and his soccer commitments, Joe and Melina travelled back to Malta for two more holiday trips. Upon return of his holidays Joe’s involvement in the Australian Qala Association became more prominent and was again helping organise functions and events, as this is what he loved, getting people together to enjoy life. Joe was one of the founders of the Australian Qala Association, and he suggested ways to keep the association thriving towards greater involvement in the community by suggesting that it be called “The Australian Qala Association” which was formerly known as “The Qala Association”. Joe took up the position of Vice President and was a hard working man in the committee, and always had a vision to see the Australian Qala Association grow. Joe was right and the Australian Qala Association continued to grow each year.
Joe gave lots of advice and I learnt from him, and I am grateful for his guidance and leadership. He was a great achiever and always thought the best for people from Qala and from other communities. He really loved the “Xalata Tal-Qala” (picnic day) and the Saint Joseph dinner dance. He was devoted to Our Immaculate Conception and our patron Saint Joseph in his beloved village of Qala, Gozo.
I remember seeing Joe very happy to see seniorities, when they came to visit The Australian Qala Association, from Malta and also from Qala. Visitors included Mons. Joseph Buttigieg, Rev Charles Buttigieg and Dr Raymond C. Xerri, and I still have memories of the smile on Joe’s face and his welcoming nature.
Joe loved the good life and he really lived life to the full. He loved a good party and loved his soccer too. Joe would often wake up at 4.00am to watch a soccer game and was really looking forward to seeing his Socceroos play in the World Cup. Joe was diagnosed with Leukaemia in September 2003, although sick and weary, Joe never gave up hope, and still remained part of the committee. Joes ultimate love was his wife Melina and his family and how they cared for him. Joe may have not said it often, but he loved Melina dearly and admired her spirit, loyalty, patience and compassion in caring for him. Melina provided him with the strength to never give up hope.
My personal memories of him include the surprise birthday parties, Joe making his wine, breeding canaries, taking his family to Port Arlington and spending time in his garden. For Joe there was always something to do outside because his home was really his castle. Joe filled the house with photos of special events from his travels and his beloved children and his treasured grandchildren.
During his illness Sandra was pregnant and he was fighting his battle to be well and out of hospital in time for the birth of his first grand child. He was so proud to be a grandfather at long last. Joe always kept strong through his illness and always tried to attend social functions when he was well. Finally on the behalf of the Australian Qala Association, I would like to thank Joe for his hard work and leadership through his 10 years working with the Association, and we know he will be looking down upon us. He will be sadly missed.
Australian Qala Association