|Type of person|| Individual
My name is Cosie Costa
I was born Cosimo John Costa on Feb 10th 1962. As was our tradition, I was named Cosimo after my grandfather. I am third out of 5 children, two sisters older and two sisters younger. My parents are John Anthony Costa (died 20 April 2005) and Joyce Costa (Lagudi). My father was born in Mildura in September 1933 after his parents had migrated from Italy in 1932. My mother was born near Warragul in the South East of Victoria in August 1935. Her parents had migrated in the early 1920’s.
I was born in Waverley NSW an eastern suburb of Sydney. At that time my parents owned and operated a delicatessen/milk bar business in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.
After a couple of years, my parents moved to the south western Sydney suburb of Punchbowl , where they operated a similar type of business until 1969. In July 1969, we moved to the Angle Vale region on the northern plains of Adelaide, where we worked side by side on our family property forging our future. The work was hard. We spent most of our summers picking and processing apricots, almonds, tomatoes, pumpkins and/or grapes. We would start early each morning and finish late each evening. There was nothing unusual about us getting out of bed at 6:00 am changing and checking the irrigation and then heading off to school. Day after day after day. But we did not care. We knew nothing else so we just kept doing it.
I think that this was some of the most important times of my life. I learnt, self discipline, self respect, understanding, patience, tolerance and endurance. It would have been easy for us to complain, but that would have achieved nothing. It would have been easy for us to be angry, but that would not have achieved anything either. We knew that our parents did not enjoy this either and that if there was any way of avoiding this they would have. I guess as the only son, I was very fortunate in one respect. Every weekend and holiday, I was side by side with my Dad. I learned everything about running a farm. By the time I was 10, I could drive any piece of equipment, I could perform every task, pruning, watering, fertilising, harvesting, spraying and even some disease analysis.
Like so many others, my grandparents had travelled to Australia in search of a better life for their families. They endured hardship and many disappointments, but were always totally committed to their simple dreams, dreams of good fortune and opportunity for their families. They asked for nothing in return.
I was fortunate to have grown up within this environment. Enjoying the simple but necessary elements of life, which were all centred around a close family unit. I learned of discipline and respect, not by doing things that were wrong, but by witnessing what those around me were doing right. I learned of rewards for toil, not financial but family. Love, caring understanding, compassion and giving many of the elements of life required to deliver a quality of life.
Along with my 4 sister’s, I attended St Brigid’s Catholic primary school in Evanston (Gawler). Our parents were very fervent Catholics and made many sacrifices to enable us to attend Catholic schools for our education. I attended Blackfriars Priory School to complete my secondary education. I was not a good secondary school student . I did ok until around year 9 but then my interests were elsewhere. Having been raised principally on the land, I felt more comfortable outside rather than in. Blackfriars was clearly focused on academia and there was little or no provisions made for any technical aspirations.
I finished year 11 and spent that following summer on our almond orchard .
In 1981 my Dad had an accident and was unable to work for some time. That summer, whilst in the 3rd year of my apprenticeship, I took responsibility for harvesting our 47 acres of almonds. That was a big challenge.
In 1979, I was fortunate enough to be offered an apprenticeship as a heavy vehicle mechanic. I completed my apprenticeship in 1983 and achieved many credits and distinctions along my way. I also undertook extra training in applied auto electrical, heavy vehicle hydraulics and engineering automotive science. In 1988 my wife and I started our business in the back shed of our home near Angle Vale.
This was a big move and I made many mistakes over the first couple of years, almost losing our home. But we perservered. I worked many, many long days, often travelling 100’s of km to the work site, completing the required tasks and then driving home again. It was not unusual to do 16-18 hour days, but soon we were able to turn the business around. In 2001 we had outgrown our back shed and moved to larger premises in Wingfield. We currently employ 4 full time with 1 more full time and 1 extra part time employees to joins us over the coming weeks. We have done reasonably well over the past 10 or so years. I think the point here was I was not ever going to give up on my goals and beliefs. We have been very successful and have set a very high benchmark throughout our industry.
In 1984 I married my wife Maria. Maria has been a great support for me and has been strong in her support throughout our many ordeals and challenges. We have 3 fantastic children. Johnathon, born 2-6-1987, Adrian born 29-10 1989 and Daniel born 14-4 1991. In 2010 Johnathon married Lisa from Wasleys just north of Gawler. We are now also very proud grandparents of Eli Costa who was born on Jan 4th 2013 and Jude Costa who was born on January 4th 2015.
As with most children growing up, Maria and I certainly had our share of accidents and illnesses. Many trips and nights in hospitals, specialists, tests etc. I guess the most serious was Adrian who was born with a very narrow aorta. I will never forget our shock and panic when we were told he needed heart surgery just 10 days old. Thankfully, everything worked out and he is a fine healthy young man. I honestly believe that Maria and I have been very united in our approach to raising our family. Each one of our sons has their own unique characteristics but they all have a strong discipline and belief in the family unit. They are extremely respectful and are well liked throughout our community.
In early 1984, I became very ill. I had a very bad kidney infection which kept me hospitalised for some time. As a result of this illness, I had to change the way I did just about everything to ensure that I protected my kidneys as much as possible. I was not supposed to play any contact sport, but at only 22 years old, that was very difficult to achieve.
I have always loved sport and played Cricket and football through my school years After leaving school, I joined the Virginia Football Club. That was in 1979. I spent the next 17 years at Virginia Football club playing many A Grade games until my illness in 1984 and then took it a bit easier in the Reserves. I won Association leading goal kicker in 1990 and was Association runner up B/F in 1987. I won a number of club awards as well. I was very fortunate to have won 3 Premierships at Virginia, two as a player with one as captain and another as coach. These were extremely exciting and memorable for me, to be a part of a team who is united, dedicated and determined certainly is an extraordinary feeling and instills in your whole being a very valued and eternal achievement.
Looking back over my younger days and many experiences, I am now able to fully appreciate the respect and stature my grandparents and parents earned throughout our community. We were by no means financially wealthy, but we were always giving . Everybody knew that they would always be welcome at our home and that there would always be room and food at our table for them.
The calmness and wisdom with which my father in particular approached life was truly evident not only throughout our local community but also throughout the complete Italian community. A man of deep faith, honesty, integrity and dignity, he was indeed a pillar of our society.
Throughout my life I have been guided by him. I learned of the qualities you need to live your life by, from him. I approach each and every day, hoping and praying that I can emulate his wisdom and integrity.
In 2005, when he died, I found myself in somewhat unchartered territory. As a true patriarch, dad was indeed the core of our family. No longer did I have my sounding board, my guidance or my navigation for life. I had to find my own way as well as ensuring our family was secure. Each decision required was now up to me to decipher, analyse and decide on.
I feel over this time, I have grown as a man. I am a man of strong principles, strong respect and strong discipline. I am driven by my very nature. I believe I am able to analyse situations well and am able to gain an opposite or alternate perspective to my own when required. I am driven by the needs of so many of those who are less fortunate than myself. I am driven by the need to ensure that my children and their children and then their children enjoy every opportunity to succeed and to live happily and healthily.
Our family has lived in this region for over 50 years now. We have seen many changes as time has progressed. We are very proud of this area that we have called home and we have been very humbled that we have been allowed to live here and enjoy this region. We have met many people and we have made many friends here.
Over that time, we have been involved in many facets of our community. School working bees, school boards, parish functions and support, football club sponsorship and committees, community hospital support, community charities and support networks, many of the essential components of community that develops and determines a community’s character.
There is intense history here, and we interact and associate each and every day with aspects of it. The stunning architecture, the character, the people, all play an active role in our everyday lives. I cannot imagine living anywhere else.