The Faber Fantin Research Project Site



Hello. My name is Dr David Faber [Adelaide 2008] and this is my website. This is a portrait of Francesco Giovanni Fantin [1901-42] pictured just before he left Italy as an antifascist emigre in 1924. Note the foulard which was an anarchist dress symbol. Since 1985 I have been researching the biography of Fantin, an important Italo Australian anarchist activist who was assassinated by fascist conspirators whilst interned as an enemy alien at Loveday in the SA Riverland, 16 November 1942. This website contains previously unpublished photographs, supplied by friends and relatives of Fantin, and interpretative argument by me about Fantin's life and times. Fantin is presented as a significant figure in the history of political heterodoxy, emigration and multicultural diversification which were beginning to assume historical proportions in Italo-Australian relations during his lifetime. This then is the larger than life story of a grass roots activist who explored democratic notions of citizenship resolved `to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield'. It should be of interest to all interested in the history of democracy and Italo-Australian social and political history, whether they share Fantin's anarchism, or, like myself, only his socialism. Df 2008

 

THE PRINCIPAL FINDINGS OF THE RESEARCH CONDUCTED TO DATE ARE AS FOLLOWS: Francesco Fantin was not the random victim of an episode of casual fascist violence. He was the intended victim of a deliberately planned & executed assassination plotted by antagonists who recognised his standing and sought to kill him to curtail his activities. He was not mourned by comrades exploiting a fatality to invent a political martyr. Fantin was a product of one of the rural homelands of Italian capitalism, the Schio district of Vicenza Province in the Veneto region of northern Italy. He was a senior activist in Italian anarchist circles in Australia, and his loss was deeply shocking to his comrades, who were understandably suspicious of the authorities.

The case for a high level official cover-up of his death by Evatt to save the Army's blushes has been crudely overstated in the literature. Intelligence, police and judicial inquiries were properly conducted. It does appear however that the Commandant of Loveday Lt Col Dean DSO had persuaded Captain LE Verco to submit an autopsy suggesting accidental death. The conviction of his assassin for manslaughter did represent a miscarriage of justice, but due to the personal abuse of power by one middle ranking officer, not a series of state officials.

These findings overthrow the speculations of Associate Professor Paul Nursey Bray, Journal of the Historical Society of SA No.17 1989. Integrating testimony from a wide range of contemporary and secondary sources, they supercede the remarks of Cresciani in Fascism, Antifascism & the Italians in Australia 1979/80 & Bevege Behind Barbed Wire 1993, embracing also response to Venturini Never Give In 2007. Also superceded are the remarks concerning Fantin in the otherwise excellent 1992 Loveday Group Archeological Survey. For argument to these effects see above In Search of Francesco Fantin: Historical Findings Df 2008