Old Paradian Dom Dimattina’s years of civic service have been rewarded with the Order of Australia Medal in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List.
Dom, a final year student of the class of 1954 and one of 457 most recent recipients of the OAM in the General Division, was so honoured “for service to the community of Melbourne through a range of roles”.
“I found out a few weeks ago when the note came through from the Governor-General’s office in Canberra, with an accompanying letter advising not to let anyone know until the Queen’s Birthday,” Dom said of his award.
“It was a pleasant surprise and a bit difficult not to let on I must admit.”
Essentially, Dom’s contributions have stemmed from his lifelong involvement with the Melbourne Wholesale Fruit, Vegetable and Flower Market and the Market Lions Club of which he is the inaugural and current President.
In the 48-year period since 1972, when 64 members including Dom and his friend Pat Lamanna first came together as a means of uniting the wholesale market’s five warring factions, the Market Lions Club has raised well in excess of $10million for charitable causes – amongst them the separation of the formerly conjoined twins Trishna and Krishna.
In reflecting on his core purpose in life, Dom said that he was greatly motivated by the deeds of “my dear Dad, who came out here in 1922”.
“He and my Uncle Bob Dimattina who came out here with him, were great movers and shakers in the Italian community in Melbourne through the 1920s. Uncle Bob, together with Bob Santamaria’s father Joe, set up the Società Isole Eolie (the longest running Italian Social Club in Melbourne, now in its 95th year),” Dom said.
“My Dad and his late mate Sev (Severino) De Marco were appointed the two trustees of the Italian community who bought the original Casa d’Italia in Exhibition Street in Melbourne. They managed that property for many years and subsequently sold it, with the funds finishing up in the community through clubs like the Abruzzi, Club Veneto and Club Cavour.
“Dad was heavily involved in that sort of stuff in the Italian community and I guess that spurred me a bit.”