|Famed for their welfare
and entertainment work in the local Italian community, more than 100
friends threw a party for the couple at the Appia Club, Leichardt.
The following day, the couple flew to Hong Kong to
celebrate with their children. Their two children — son Robert, who
resides in Bangkok and Rosalba who resides in Hong Kong — organised
a lavish dinner at the Conrad Hilton.
Messages congratulating the couple were received
from around the world, including letters and telegrams from Prime
Minister Bob Hawke, Federal Treasurer Paul Keating and Premier Nick
|The couple received
copious floral tributes and gifts from the community.
But for Dino and Lena, the most special gift of all was a
heart-shaped gold plaque from their family.
"People ask how I can stay with one man for so long and all I say is
'understanding' Mama Lena said.
"It has all been good, although we had a tragedy too with our first
son dying at four years of age.
"When there is trouble you just try to understand what is happening
and then pick up and carry on."
The couple were married in 1940 in the Italian mountain
|village of Azzone, where
Lena was born. They emmigrated to Sydney in 1956 and soon
distinguished themselves as journalists and radio announcers.
More than 200,000 people in Australia came to know
Mama Lena over the airwaves during the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s through
her 2CH radio program, "Arriverdici Roma," which Dino produced.
In 1967, Lena was awarded an MBE by the Queen and later the Italian
Government recognised both Lena and Dino for their tireless
contribution in helping the Italian community in Australia.
While a coronary heart bypass forced Lena to
retire from her radio program in