Francesco Giovanni Fantin 1924

This is the best known photograph of FG Fantin. It has been published by Cresciani in Fascism, Antifascism & the Italians in Australia, where he also appears wearing a foulard in a Matteotti Club group photo [being one of the founders of the Club], by Andrighetti for the State Library of NSW in the catalogue Italians in NSW, and by Menghetti in her The Red North, an excellent study of the context of North Queensland radicalism in which Fantin operated. It is one of the images circulated during the fight for justice after Fantin's assassination. It was taken in 1924 before his emigration as a defiant assertion of his anarchism after he had been spat upon for wearing this costume in the public square of San Vito.

The red foulard was a political fashion statement, and underlines the degree to which post Great War anarchism in Italy was a youth movement which expressed itself also through personal sartorial style. The novelist Carlo Cassola has a mother tell her son in A Man Alone `Once upon a time certain things were customary...There were those that did not go to church, those who wore top hats, and those who wore bow ties. Then the fascists came along and pulled everyone into line. They couldn't bear the sight of top hats and bow ties. The masons and the anarchists were easily identified.'

In Australia 's Italians 1788-1988, Chapter 8, Fantin can be seen wearing a bow tie and tropical whites at centre stage in a group photo on the upper balcony of the Mourilyan Italian Progressive Club. Once again this is the first time that he has been identified in that image. Fantin's `accidental' appearance in two images selected for bicentennial publication [See Cane Train below] and a further two Matteotti Club group photo's is one measure of his prominence in his community, which must put paid to cavalier suggestions that he was an illustrious nonentity. Also to this effect is the photo published in Cresciani The Italians, showing a bicyclist who has come to shake Fantin by the hand, dressed in short sleeved tropical whites. 

BACK