Giovanni Gallo was just 24 years old when he left his family farm in southern Italy and sailed for 52 days to an unknown country in search of a better life. He was one of eleven children. He recognised the farm would not be able to sustain all of the siblings and his own growing family. Some of his older siblings had already immigrated to the US however Giovanni was unable to get a permit due to the US stopping immigrants entering from Europe. He had one brother and brother in law in Australia so he decided to give it a go.
Giovanni landed in Cairns in 1927. He had to borrow two and six pence so he could get to Atherton. Once on the Atherton Tablelands, he worked the land picking corn with a horse and cart. He spent three years here before making the boat journey back home to Italy.
When he returned, there was a depression and talk of war. So Giovanni packed up his wife Giovanna and their three children and decided Australia would be their new home.
He leased 32ha (80 acres) in Tolga which he had to clear by hand with a mattock and axe. Giovanni grew peanuts and vegetables. After years working the land, in 1937 Giovanni purchased his very own farm 64ha (160 acres) on the Barron River, Atherton-Malanda Road.
Begins the legacy of the Gallo Dairy business that still exists today. The farm had an existing dairy so the family continued with that alongside growing peanuts and vegetables. Giovanni would deliver the vegetables to grocery shops all along the coast from Innisfail to Cairns once a week that would supply the cane cutters.
By the early 1940’s World War II was in operation and farmers on the Barron River, including Giovanni were drafted by the Army to grow vegetables for the soldiers stationed on the Atherton Tablelands. These were hard times for everyone. After the war, Giovanni continued to grow peanuts and vegetables alongside the dairy. He helped a lot of Italian immigrants come to Australia through sponsorship and employment.
Frank Gallo (born in Australia) was one of the nine children to Giovanni and Giovanna. Frank and his wife Ann had four children of their own. Frank would often dream of converting the family’s rotary dairy farm into an integrated educational dairy farm experience.
In 2007 Gallo Dairyland opened its doors and became a reality. Gallo Dairyland is a family owned and operated business. Today the farm spreads across 1000 acres of rich red volcanic soil growing sugarcane and milking on average 350 cows twice a day.
The Cheese Factory is open to visitors. See where we make the cheese and watch the DVD presenting the factory in operation as well as footage of the dairy farm working.
At Gallo Dairyland, we source, blend and temper some of the finest couvetures in the world to achieve our own irresistable chocolate right here in Atherton.