Maltese Community Event
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Deborah Abela hosted an event for the local Mackay Maltese Community at 5:15pm on 13 July.

She had recently published a book called Teresa: A New Australian that was inspired by her dad who was born in a cave in Malta during one of the heaviest bombing raids of WW2. Teresa is the name of her nanna, who travelled to Australia after the war with 6 young kids, including Deb’s dad, not knowing what they would find.

Her father's story resonates with the experiences of many of the local Maltese community's experiences.

Deborah said:

"A very special moment for me was during the Maltese community event when I met a woman who came to Australia on the same migrant ship as my father. She and her family had never seen a photo of the ship and we were all moved to tears when I showed them."

Kate Formosa attended the event with her family, and said:

"It was a real privilege to meet Deborah Abela and listen to her talk about writing "Teresa."

"She spoke with genuine enthusiasm and shared her family story about her father's birth in the underground tunnels during a bombing raid in WW2.
"She stated facts about the harrowing war years in Malta which was bombed mercilessly: Malta is smaller in size than Greater London. In two months in 1942 (March and April) the tonnage of bombs dropped on the island (6700 tons) was TWICE that dropped on London in the whole of the worst year of the blitz. London’s longest continual raid lasted 57 days; Malta’s lasted 154. There was only one bomb-free 24-hour period between 1 January 1942 and 24 July.
"We loved hearing about her book launch in the Grand Master's Palace in Valletta.
"I think the absolute highlight of Deborah's talk was when she discovered that an elderly lady attending her talk had come to Australia on the same ship as Deborah's father. Her delight was wonderful.

"Not only did we listen to Deborah, she learnt from the audience. We explained to her that much of Mackay's Maltese population came here between the world wars, compared to the larger populations in Sydney and Melbourne who came after WW2. We told her that the third most common name in the Mackay phone book is Vella, a Maltese name."

We are so pleased that the RADF agreed to fund Deborah Abela's costs to host the Mackay Maltese Community event. The Regional Arts Development Fund is a Queensland Government and Mackay Regional Council partnership to support local arts and culture.