The team photos that Stanthorpe International have been sharing on their Facebook page tell a story of a football club in transition.
For 60 years, Inter has grown from one men’s side of newly arrived Italian migrants to a multicultural club with numerous boys and girls junior teams.
The club colours have changed from the traditional blue and black vertical stripes to different combinations of green, blue, and white, to the current blue and gold.
But Livio Favero, who began playing for Inter in the 1960s, is proud that his club is still located on the same patch of land with the same family-oriented culture.
“The field that stands today was built by the original players with their own tractors and machinery,” he said.
“In my playing time, we modelled ourselves on Inter Milan in Italy and wore blue and black jerseys. Different people and sponsors got involved and changed the colour of the jerseys, but the character of the club has stayed the same.”
Livio, 73, is the patriarch of one of the largest families at International, with six grandchildren currently playing in various junior teams.
Livio’s son, Stephen, is a former player, President and Director of Coaching at International, while his daughter, Tanya, has recently become club Secretary.
“I love my children being part of the club not only because their grandfather, uncle and cousins have played there, but because the culture is so welcoming and inclusive,” said Tanya.[soliloquy id=”15335″]
The Favero family story begins in the early 1950s, when Livio’s father migrated to Australia from the northern Italian city of Treviso.
“My auntie and uncle came out in 1952 and ended up in Stanthorpe, so my father followed them because he didn’t know where else to go,” said Livio.
“My mother, brother and I came to Australia in March 1953 by ship. My father came down to Brisbane, picked us up in a ute and we came straight to Stanthorpe. We’ve never moved since.”
The International Club, which was established by Italian farm workers in 1961, allowed networks of migrant families to coalesce around a common interest.
“Football was a way for the Italians to come together in a strange country. It was for me, too, because if it wasn’t for football back in those days, I wouldn’t have had a social life,” said Livio.
“Back then, rugby league and cricket were the two main sports, but now soccer is the biggest sport in Stanthorpe.”
As International celebrates its 60th anniversary, Livio said there are plans in place for the club to better accommodate the burgeoning number of female participants.
“We’ve got to change the lights, because the old bulbs are costing us a fortune in power, but our main priority is to make sure we have some facilities for the ladies,” he said.
The changing face of the club is best encapsulated by Livio’s teenage granddaughters Brooklyn and Georgia Favero.
Brooklyn, 16, was part of the Senior Women’s side that went down to Ballandean in this year’s Grand Final, while 19-year-old Georgia Favero has played more than 100 games for the region’s NPL side, South West Queensland Thunder (see video below).
Twice a week, Georgia and her father, Stephen, make the four-hour round-trip from Stanthorpe to Toowoomba to train with Thunder.
But the Favero family will all be in attendance for the club presentation night this Friday and the 60th anniversary reunion dinner next weekend where past and present players will celebrate the Club’s history
“Because Stanthorpe has quite a strong Italian heritage around the district, a lot of Italian families are involved with other clubs as well,” said Stephen.
“But I followed in my father’s footsteps with Inter, and none of our family have ever played for another club in Stanthorpe. Football, and the International club, have been life for us.
CLICK HERE to buy tickets to the Stanthorpe International 60th Anniversary Reunion Dinner.