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Francesco Frandi and Assunta Pierotti were married in December 1888 when Assunta was pregnant with their first child, Bella Italia Rosina Satina who was born 13 July 1889. Bella died on 20 February 1890 from exhaustion after a severe bout of diarrhea and vomiting. Assunta was about four months pregnant at the time with their second daughter, Amelia Fatima Elena.
The couple then had two sons, Menotte Garibaldi and Ricciotti Orlando. A third daughter Olivia Stella died shortly after her birth on 11 February 1894. Their last child, William Donald, was only about four years old when Assunta left and moved in with Charles Barnett.
Assunta’s sister Italia (Kate) Colorinda Pierotti married Bartolomeo Russo whose parents were Domenico and Josephine Castellano Russo. Kate also suffered tragedy; she gave birth to a set of twins who died in infancy. Kate and Italia Frandi, Francesco’s sister, helped to rear Francesco’s four surviving children. Nevertheless, the four children, and Amelia especially, had a difficult early life, which I document fully in my book Whatever Happened To Ishtar?
Cesare and Luisa Armita Pierotti were Assunta and Kate’s parents. Cesare’s gravestone bears the inscription, “He fought for the independence of Italy in 1860”. Both are buried in Karori cemetery.
Charles and Assunta eventually left Wellington for Tasmania after the birth of 11 children. Another two children were born in Tasmania, where
Assunta was the business manager of the successful partnership – Charles could not read as he only attended school for a day. Assunta read the newspapers to him. They owned a boat building company; Charles built a yacht, and they had shares in a timber mill and a hotel. He also built eight houses.
Francesco never agreed to divorce Assunta, so she and Charles Barnett were never married. One day while Assunta’s grand daughter was brushing her hair she suggested to Assunta that she should make a will. Assunta replied that “it would be a bit difficult”. When she died there was no will and the family discovered in disbelief that their mother wasn’t married to their father and then they discovered photos of her four children to Francesco that she had abandoned in New Zealand. The family just didn’t want to believe that their dear mother could abandon her children! Kate and Assunta corresponded regularly and Kate kept her sister fully informed about the children’s lives. Amelia, one of those four children, contested probate and she and her three brothers received a settlement which was confidential. Marcus, Assunta’s son, helped his father, Charles Barnett, to fight the claims from New Zealand.
Assunta buried money as she did not trust banks-neither did her mother Luisa or sister Italia (Kate). When Luisa died money was found stored in bamboo curtains, a large suitcase and pillows. She often tied money around her legs.
When Assunta left Francesco for Charles, the couple remained in Wellington for some years until they moved to Tasmania. One of the reasons Francesco’s son William moved to Waimate after he was married, was because (according to William’s son Bryan), of the continued embarrassment William felt about his mother’s abandonment of her first four children and her affair with another man. In those days, Wellington was a small town, and Charles and Assunta originally lived together not far from where Francesco and his children lived. William remained a very shy man who hardly spoke. Bryan told me that when he was a child, he rarely heard his father speak, and as a consequence he didn’t utter a word either.
LIFE IN TASMANIA
Assunta and Charles Barnett eventually left Wellington New Zealand for Tasmania on 10 December 1910, after the birth of 11 of their children. Another two children were born in Tasmania. The Barnett family had owned land in ‘White Man’s Valley’ near Wellington but had sold most of the farm when they decided to move to North Eastern Tasmania.
The Barnett family eventually became closely associated with the development of Bridport for the following seventy years after their arrival in Tasmania. Initially the family lived in Scottsdale for two years after which time they purchased one thousand acres in the Cuckoo Valley area. They cleared the land and bought livestock for their new farm.
When the Forester Mill was being established, Charles helped install some of the machinery and lay the railway track to the mill. The tramway extended from Mt Horror to Bridport from where the timber was shipped. After five years working in the Mt Horror timber industry, Charles built a boarding house, now the town’s hotel. In 1929 he built more rooms onto the boarding house and later built eight houses. Charles built the first store in Bridport.
When the First World War broke out in 1914, the couple’s oldest son George enlisted and took part in the landings at Gallipoli. In a twist of irony, Francesco Frandi’s three sons Menotte, Ricciotti and William, also enlisted.
In 1912, Charles purchased one of the blocks offered for sale in the then new part of Bridport, near the Timber and Tramway Company’s jetty. On this he built a substantial family home. Charles was also credited with starting the town’s fishing industry in 1915 and he also played a large role in the establishment of Bridport’s holiday ‘Canvas Town’. Today, the Barnett family remains closely linked with the fishing industry and descendants own and run a well known restaurant there.
See Family Tree at bottom of this page……
ASSUNTA MARY PIEROTTI FRANDI
1-Assunta Mary Pierotti FRANDI b. 15 May 1872, Leghorn Italy, d. 20 Apr 1949, Tasmania
+Francesco Garibaldi FRANDI b. 10 Jan 1866, Lugano, d. 20 Jul 1929, Wellington Hospital
2-Bella Italia Rosina Satina FRANDI b. 13 Jul 1889, Tasman Street Wellington, d. 20 Feb 1890, Tasman Street
2-Amelia Fatima Elena FRANDI b. 31 Jul 1890, Wellington, d. 2 Nov 1967
2-Menotte Garibaldi FRANDI b. 6 Sep 1891, Wellington, d. 5 Apr 1947, Silverstream Hospital Wellington
2-Ricciotti Orlando FRANDI b. 2 Nov 1892, Wellington, d. 18 Jan 1952, 49 Devon St Wellington
2-Olivia Stella FRANDI b. 11 Feb 1894, Wellington, d. 1894
2-William Donald FRANDI b. 28 Apr 1895, Wellington, d. 29 Jul 1971, Post Office At Waimate
+Charles Thomas BARNETT b. 13 Dec 1872, Brighton, Victoria, d. 13 Aug 1963, Tasmania
2-George BARNETT b. 7 Mar 1896, Wellington, d. 23 Apr 1972
2-Rose FRANDI b. 18 Jun 1897, Wellington, d. 18 Jan 1994
2-Marcus BARNETT b. 10 Oct 1898, Wellington, d. 20 Dec 1953
2-Eli BARNETT b. 7 Jan 1900, Wellington, d. 1953
2-Charles BARNETT b. 28 Aug 1901, Wellington, d. 1956
2-Violet (Jo) BARNETT b. 3 Mar 1903, Wellington
2-Remus (Bully) BARNETT b. 20 Mar 1904, Wellington, d. 18 Dec 1971
2-Totara BARNETT b. 20 Mar 1904, Wellington
2-Avena BARNETT b. 29 Apr 1906, Wellington
2-William BARNETT b. 27 Nov 1907, Wellington, d. 29 May 1984
2-Albert (Ab) BARNETT b. 6 Jun 1909, Wellington, d. 6 Feb 1980
2-Miro (Midge) BARNETT b. 27 May 1911, Tasmania, d. 14 Mar 1971
2-Gertrude BARNETT b. 31 Jan 1913, Tasmania
CESARE AND LUISA ARMITA PIEROTTI
1-Cesare PIEROTTI b. 1842, Leghorn Italy, d. 15 Oct 1918, Wellington
+Luisa Armita PIEROTTI b. 1853, Italy, d. 12 Dec 1929, Wellington
2-Italia (Kate) Colorinda Pierotti RUSSO
2-Assunta Mary Pierotti FRANDI b. 15 May 1872, Leghorn Italy, d. 20 Apr 1949, Tasmania