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Bini, Elzio Luciano (1926–1979)

by Dino Ottavi

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993

Elzio Luciano Bini (1926-1979), teacher and Italian community leader, was born on 5 August 1926 at Salcano, Gorizia, Italy (Solkan, Slovenia), son of Ernesto Bini, railway worker, and his wife Lucia, née Traiber. Educated at Udine and at Gorizia, Elzio matriculated in classical languages and science. He enrolled at the University of Venice, but his course was interrupted by World War II: by 1945 he had become a liberation fighter with the Osoppo brigade in Carnia. In 1947 he studied at the Biblioteca Nationale Braidense, Milan.

Under the aegis of the International Refugee Organization, Bini arrived in Melbourne on 26 April 1950 and soon moved to Hobart. From November he worked for Cadbury Fry Pascall Australia Ltd in its milk-condensing section. Awarded a studentship in 1951 by the Education Department, he attended the University of Tasmania (B.A., 1956) while employed as a shiftworker at the Electrolytic Zinc Co. of Australasia Ltd. From February 1954 he was an assistant-teacher and librarian at Burnie High School; next year he was engaged as resident master to teach French and Latin at The Hutchins School. Naturalized in 1956, he visited Italy three years later. On 30 March 1959 at Verona he married Nerea Angela Buccino. The couple established a travel agency in Collins Street, Hobart.

Reported to have declined a career in the Italian diplomatic service, Bini assisted Claudio Alcorso and succeeded him in 1963 as honorary vice-consul for Tasmania. Despite his heavy consular and business commitments, Bini taught part time at Hobart Technical (1964, 1966), Hobart Matriculation (1965-71) and Elizabeth Matriculation (1967-71) colleges, and at the Sacred Heart School (1979). Committed to multiculturalism and ethnic welfare, he pressed for Italian language classes at secondary and tertiary levels, and for the extension of English lessons for new immigrants.

Five ft 5 ins (165 cm) tall, with dark hair and brown eyes, Bini was a gentle man with immense energy. He was widely respected for his accessibility and helpfulness. Closely involved in the cultural life of the Italian community, he was a founding member of Hobart's Australian Italian Club (1955), Juventus Soccer Club (1956) and Dante Alighieri Society (1956); he was appointed to the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity in 1967. With his brother, he edited an anthology of modern Italian literature, Dolci Inizi (1968). In 1976 Bini was co-ordinator of the Tasmanian relief appeal for victims of the earthquake in north-eastern Italy. That year he was appointed A.M.

While finalizing travel documents for Giuseppe Mampieri, Bini was fatally shot on 31 May 1979 at Hillborough Road, South Hobart; his presumed murderer Mampieri died the same day from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters, Bini was buried in Cornelian Bay cemetery after a requiem Mass conducted by the Catholic archbishop of Hobart.

Select Bibliography

  • M. di Benedetto, The Australian Italian Club, Twenty Fifth Anniversary (Hob, 1980)
  • Mercury (Hobart), 1 Feb 1967, 12 June 1976, 1, 5 June 1979
  • Giornale di Gorizia (Italy), 3 June 1979
  • E. Bini file, Education Department (Tasmania), Hobart
  • records, University of Tasmania
  • private information.

Citation details

Dino Ottavi, 'Bini, Elzio Luciano (1926–1979)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.online.anu.edu.au/biography/bini-elzio-luciano-9506/text16735, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 12 December 2017.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993

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