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    Camillo Bridarolli:  Oral History Transcript Summary

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Louis (Luigi)

Mike Biollo

Father Giovanni

Camillo Bridarolli

Mr. & Mrs. Henry

John Camarta

Domenico Chiarello

Joe Fabbri

Mario Grassi

Victor Losa

Filomena Michetti

Mrs. Mamie Meardi

Tony Nimis

Giorgio W. &
Norma Pocaterra

Mr. & Mrs. John

Romano Tedesco &
Mrs. Irma Giacobbo

Angelo Toppano

Year of the Coal Miner September 2003 - 2004

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The following is a summary of the oral history transcript of Camillo Bridarolli, in which he describes his early life in Italy;  reasons for emigrating to Canada; life and coal-mining work in Coalhurst and Lethbridge; importance of family and education.

Early life in Italy:

  • came to Canada 1924

  • Italy (WWI) after 2 years in refugee camp went back to work land (1917); was "hell"

  • 1921 Mussolini came on the scene;animosity between Fascists and Socialists; was afraid of another war

  • had a good hydro-electric system, but lots of political confusion,

Arrival in Canada and work in the coal mines:

  • left Trento 1924, May 22 - arrived in Halifax 6 June, 1924; after 6 days on train (11 June) arrived in Lethbridge where uncle was waiting for him

  • strike was on; no work

  • Coalhurst - never worked in a mine before, but got used to it & liked it

  • very good money $7-$8/day (not salary but contracted based on tonnage extracted)

  • paid more and worked less hours than farming

  • 7 years (1924-1931) at Coahurst mine

  • worked for 2 years at 'gopher hole' coal mine - a new mine between Lethbridge and Mickalot (Migula?)

  • operated a mine with an Italian partner for 15 years and then sold out to him

  • some Italians worked for them - it was a small mine; pick & shovel (no machinery); everything by hand

  • goes on to describe coal industry details; $, where used, before '29 stock market crash

  • after crash, no vehicles used (fuel shortage); horses used again - too far to go to Lethbridge for coal using horses, so farmers came to their mine; sold coal for $2.50/ton between 1931-39.

  • coal used for heating & cooking - there was nothing else (no natural gas until 1942; was brought in to army training base nearby)

  • 1944 - sold to partner

Move to Lethbridge:

  • sold mine and moved to Lethbridge for sake of family

  • had three girls and one boy; too far to go back and forth to school; desired good education for children

  • bought& operated bakery for 4 years

  • 1948 took trip back to Italy; bad time there, unemployment

  • probably worst time to go there, but mother-in-law wanted to go back home before she died (died 6 months later); he has never returned since.  He said people were bitter there.

  • one daughter got married and lives in Hawaii; prefers to go there instead of Italy

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