Migrant communities in South Australia have been actively involved in sporting groups since the earliest arrival of Europeans. Clubs and associations provide an opportunity for people to continue cultural connections and a forum for integrating with the broader community. In the 1950s and 1960s when large numbers of Displaced Persons arrived, these new communities reshaped South Australian sporting life, introducing new sports and new teams.
Soccer in South Australia
The game of soccer has played a significant role for Australia's migrant communities. In the 1990s, soccer teams were encouraged to market themselves to "mainstream Australia", expanding on their traditional migrant supporter base. This included changing team names and logos, and banning ethnic flags at matches. The Migration Museum holds memorabilia from teams prior to these changes, when names and motives depicted clear connections with migrant 'home' countries. Following are just a few of the highlights from within the museum's collection.
Antonio Giordano, Promoter
Antonio Giordano was a keen promoter of sports and social activities for Italian migrants. He was the chairman of the Adelaide Juventus Sports and Social Club between 1960 and 1962. Italian and other Southern European migrant communities were instrumental in increasing the popularity of soccer in Australia. Giordano's involvement in the Italian community in Australia involved a range of activities, including the promotion of sports and social gatherings. He helped set up the Roma Amateur Sports Club in 1955 and edited its newspaper. The Adelaide Juventus Sports and Social club was another organisation he headed which not only promoted sports as a way of bringing members of the community together, but also as a link with other clubs supporting Juventus in Italy and around the world.
Polonia Sports Club
The Polonia Sports Club was formed in 1950, with the name stemming from the country of Poland. It was one many clubs in South Australia which sprung up in post-war Australia as a meeting place for communities of Displaced Persons who came here from their war-ravaged homelands to start a new life. Polonia started up in the Adelaide Hills because of the concentration of Polish migrants living at Woodside migrant hostel. The club played at various parks across Adelaide until 1956, when a long-term lease was secured in northwest suburb of Croydon Park. The playing field was levelled by volunteers with shovels and rakes because they couldn't afford a tractor! Many players were brought directly from Poland to play for the team. Men were keen to migrate as Australia because offered greater opportunities than their homeland. They were sponsored by a local Polish businessman, and would secure manual labour jobs.