Happy 90th Birthday to Lane Cove Local Salvatore Nicotra

Lane Cove local, Salvatore Nicotra turned 90 today (22 January 2024).  He has lived in his Riverview home in Hamilton Street since 1960 (that’s 64 years!!).

Salvatore (Sammy) is known for sitting on his veranda and watching the world go by.  He is very popular with the local dogs as he loves giving them treats.  Every year his house is lit up with Christmas decorations to delight the locals.

Assisted Passage From Sicily

Salvatore arrived in Cairns in May 1955 on an Assisted Passage from Sicily. He was 21 and didn’t speak a word of English. The ship was called the Flaminia. The passage was free, but migrants had to commit to work in the sugar cane fields.  The Flaminia was refurbished in March 1955, and most cabins had eight berths.  You can read about the fascinating history of the Flaminia here.

Salvatore worked in Cairns, and then he moved to the sugar cane fields in Ingham.


It was back-breaking work, but he met lots of mates (see photo below).

Salvatore is the second from the left (with the cheeky grin)

He was saving money to return to Sicily and bring his mum to Australia and a wife, but he didn’t want them to live in Northern Queensland due to all the rats, snakes, and toads.

Moving to Lane Cove

He moved to Sydney and lived in Paddington for a year or so; he decided to buy in Lane Cove. His friends told him not to buy in Lane Cove as it was so far away from the city, and he would regret it.

He liked living near York’s Corner (now Riverview Deli) and the convenience of the corner shop, even though he still had to travel far (by foot and bus) to be able to find some precious olive oil for his cooking.

There were houses in Hamilton Street.  However, Tambourine Bay was all bush, but soon was sub divided into empty blocks ready for housing. He liked the location as it was green, and I guess it felt like home with the farms.

After buying his house in 1960, he sent word back home that he was ready to get married. He went back to Sicily in 1964 and married Venera.  Venera and Salvatore will celebrate their 60th Wedding anniversary in October 2024.

Venera and Salvatore

After marrying Venera, the couple set sail to Sydney, where they would settle into their Lane Cove home.  Salvatore and Venera’s family grew to a family of four.  Their children went to Lane Cove Public School, and their two grandchildren also attended Lane Cove Public School.

Salvatore worked for a few years at the Lifesavers in Mars Rd, Lane Cove, and his claim to fame is that he was one of the first to help make Quick-Eze.  In their 1963 Annual Report, Lane Cove (NSW) Life Savers claimed they had the most modern confectionary plant in the Southern Hemisphere.

Christmas Lights

Each year Salvatore decorates his house (with the help of his family).  We searched our archives and found a photo of Salvatore dressed up as an elf with his famous Santa (which stopped working recently).


ITC met Salvatore and Venera today, and he was proudly telling ITC about his container of doggie treats he has waiting for the local dogs.

Thank you to his daughter, Angela, for telling us about her father and mother.  Our Cover photo is of Angela with her parents.

Angela was interested to know if any other long term Lane Cove residents existed.  Do you know anyone who has lived in Lane Cove longer than 64 years – email us at [email protected]

Help Support Local and Independent News

You can support us in three ways:

  1. Become an ITC reader sponsor – If you have enjoyed our local news coverage, please consider becoming an ITC reader sponsor. You can sponsor us with a monthly sponsorship fee. We have reader sponsors who support us for $5.00 a month and some who invest $100 a year – no amount is too small or too big. Thank you so much to those who supported us via our press Patreon account. Help Us Here.
  2. Buy the ITC  team a coffee – We now have a team, and they need to be paid – by the ITC team a coffee (or two) that will help us pay their wages. Buy a Coffee here.
  3. If you own a Lane Cove Business or a Lane Cove resident who owns a business, you can advertise with ITC. Please email us here for our rates card.