Back to blog

E22: What’s it like being a first generation Aussie?

Identity’s a funny thing. If you’ve been lucky enough to be born in Australia, it’s pretty likely that your parents or your grandparents weren’t. That’s what makes this country the diverse, inclusive and bloody fantastic place to live. Today on Life Collective Michelle Cox chats with Brenda Younes, Dean Norbiato and Raffaele D’Alisa about what it was like growing up as the children of migrants.


Links to some of the things Brenda, Dean and Raff touched on:

  • Raff’s folks come from Palermo and Napoli in Italy
  • Raff’s dad Luca D’Alisa has been tailoring in Double Bay for decades - apparently he’s got all the business he can handle at the moment but you can always pop in and say hello.
  • Raff recently went to New York and marvelled at the celebration of all things Italian food and wine at Eataly New York...yum!
  • Brenda’s mum and dad fled the Lebanese civil war and strife when they eloped as a young couple to Australia. Doesn’t stop her folks being inordinately proud of their Lebanese language and culture. Brenda’s mum will tell anyone who cares to listens that she comes from the same village as famed poet and prophet Khalil Gibran - Bsharri for the record. Looks amazing Bren. Ring a bell? Gibran’s famous poem On Marriage has become an almost mandatory reading at all weddings!
  • Dean’s people hail from the region of Treviso in northern Italy. While he’s never been to Italy, Dean plans to take advantage of Bastion Collective’s unlimited leave policy when he wracks up three years of service next northern summer and make the pilgrimage back with his mum and dad.
  • Employees at Bastion Collective can apply to do the Bastion Degree. It's an intense six-month course that teaches you about... you. It has literally transformed and changed lives. To do the course, you need to work for Bastion. Maybe one of these roles could be for you. All the details here.
  • Bastion Bridge is the Collective's intern program, giving students and recent graduates an immersive and supportive introduction to the working world. Join us.
  • Yes, Australia is a successful multicultural country...but there’s still work to do. Dean cited the Australia Day 2017 furore when a billboard featuring a young Muslim Aussie gal wearing her headscarf as part of Australia Day promotional activities was taken down due to protests from some quarters. Read the full sorry story here.
  • Who are you calling a wog? While the sting might have gone out of the word, the crew talked about how once upon a time it was part of common parlance and was used to divide and hurt.
  • Ted Bullpit, the chief provocateur of mid-80’s sitcom Kingswood Countrywould routinely call his son-in-law Bruno the ‘bloody wog’.
  • Comedians like Nick Giannopolous reclaimed the word for the wogs and went on to create theatre, TV and movies that celebrated and elevated the state of being a wog from social outsider to mainstream hero
  • Theatre - Wogs Out of Work. Watch some of it here.
  • TV - Acropolis now
  • Movies - The Wog Boy and others

Brenda Younes

Brenda Younes

Raffaele D'Alisa

Dean Norbiato

Dean Norbiato

You can email us at

Keep up to date with our latest articles

Thank you. We will be in touch soon.

E3 What are people all about?

This week Life Collective’s Michelle Cox sits down with Melbourne-based sports broadcaster and columnist Hamish McLachlan for the first instalment of a two-part chat. This time round, Hamish tells how his early beginnings in sports commentating took him from the local scrub polo club to the Royal enclosure in the UK; his brushes with depression, and why interesting and interested people light his fire.