The history of Giovanni & Caterina Oliveri
Giovanni Oliveri was born on the 15th November 1928 in the province of Calabria at a small village in in southwest Italy, which occupies the "toe" of the country’s boot-shaped peninsula, called Melicucca’. He was the eldest child of four born to Giuseppe and Carmela Oliveri. During the depression years Giuseppe, desperate to support his young family, sought work in North Africa where he was successful in obtaining a position as a labourer. Here he worked for several years sending his meagre earnings home to his wife who struggled to manage her family alone and in appalling conditions.
oliveri family photo 1938
Giovanni Oliveri (Far Right)
The Second World War broke out and Giuseppe ("pop") was conscripted into the Italian Armed forces. During his military service in North Africa, he and his fellow servicemen surrendered to the British and Australian forces in 1941 at the Battle of Amba Alagi. Becoming a Prisoner of War, he was transferred from camp to camp and fortunately ended up here in Australia. The War ended, and Giuseppe was released with the Australian Government offering him an opportunity to stay in Australia and bring his family here. He embraced his good fortune and immediately sent for his family. His wife and three of the four children arrived in Sydney in 1949 with Giovanni remaining in Italy to complete his compulsory military service. Giovanni was reunited with his family in 1951. The family was fortunate to be given shelter by relatives and friends until they could purchase a small market garden in Allambie Road, Edensor Park, NSW. Here they all lived and worked the small farm to make ends meet while looking for whatever employment they could find.
The Edensor Park community had many immigrant farmers and its here that Giovanni met his neighbour Caterina Cali, and they married in 1955
Giovanni and his brothers were always eager to seek new opportunities and when the local bus operator, wanted to rid himself of one of his unprofitable bus services, Route 41 – Green Valley to/from Liverpool Station, the matriarch of the family "Nonna Mela" had a vision to take on the ailing services and turn it into an opportunity. Again, with the help of family and friends, they purchased the service in November of 1954, which included one bus and the License for the Route 41 for the princely sum of £5000.
NOTE: Sydney Median House Prices in 1960 was approx. £4000
first bus 1954
growing fleet at green valley
Between the three brothers they operated the service while holding down full-time jobs in factories and working their small market garden as well. The good nature of the brothers quickly won many friends in the communities of Green Valley and Liverpool and just one year later they purchased second bus.
With the business showing a steady growth, a new base was needed to cater for this and land was purchased Green Valley in 1958. The local community embraced the brothers now married and settled in their new homes at Green Valley.
The community needed their bus service, the only form of transport that many had, and they worked together with them to build the mainly rural farmlands into the urban city it has become today.
Following good business practice the brothers incorporated their business into a company called OLIVERI TRANSPORT SERVICES Pty Ltd. This gave the nameless, yet extremely successful business an identity, which become synonymous with the community of Liverpool
first ingleburn buses
This urban sprawl was quickly moving south and the vision, guts and determination that saw the brothers venture into operating buses in Green Valley, moved to the Campbelltown area.
In the early 1930's there was only one bus operator in the Campbelltown area, this was Herbie Harrison. Mr. Harrison sold off the major part of his services, south of Leumeah, to the Baker family who in turn sold it to the Rowe family, now known as Busways.
On the 1st September 1961 Mr. Harrison sold his remaining services, Route 102 -Macquarie Fields to Campbelltown, to the Oliveri family. The depot that housed the three buses was located in Ingleburn.
The business was incorporated into a company it was appropriately named INGLEBURN BUS SERVICES Pty Ltd.
Both businesses now firmly entrenched in growth mode meant that all the family’s resources were required to efficiently manage the situation. The brothers identified their strengths and in partnership with the local communities they served, the bus services grew to become one of the largest and most innovating private Bus Company in Australia. Giovanni Oliveri controlled the bus operations for both companies until 1968 when Domenica's husband, Charlie Occhuito was appointed General Manager of the Ingleburn operation.
The family again ever vigil in their quest for opportunities ventured into property purchasing land in Green Valley, Bonnyrigg, Mermaid Beach (Qld), Macquarie Fields and Liverpool.
The new Green Valley land was developed into one of Liverpool’s best-known icons, the LIVERPOOL CITY RACEWAY, which operated successfully until the urban sprawl caught up with it in 1988.
They also ventured into Tours and Travel under the banner of RELAXAWAY TOURS & TRAVEL.