A nonna is someone special in most people’s lives and the exhibition, entitled Nonne: Images Through Generations, showcases the role of Italo-Australian nonne through historic and contemporary photographs.

The evocative exhibition, on loan from the CO.AS.IT. Italian Historical Society (IHS) and Museo Italiano, draws on the remarkable photographic collection of the IHS, as well as contemporary images and stories specifically collected from members of the Italian community.

Whether it’s a long-distance or much-loved nonna, a surrogate nonna, a masterchef or great storyteller, we all have or have had a nonna.

The 16 exhibition panels feature photos like that of Nonna Sebastiana in her garden with granddaughter Angela, preparing home-grown tomatoes for bottling, taken in Richmond, in 1957.

During the years in which Bonegilla operated, more than 350,000 Italian migrants came to Australia, many of whom spent time at the migrant reception camp.

Manager of the IHS, Elizabeth Triarico, said having a nonna in one’s life is special.

“Those children who migrated to Australia in the post-World War II period know this,” she said.

“They felt the absence of this special connection deeply.

“Today, with the new wave of young Italian immigrants to Australia, we have come full circle.

“The exhibition acknowledges these nonne and the diversity of their experiences.”

Nonne, Images Through Generations is part of the Multicultural Museums Victoria 2018 inaugural ‘Grandmothers’ project.

The project explored the accomplishments, tradition, wisdom and the fundamental familial role of Chinese, Greek, Muslim, Jewish and Italian grandmothers, through exhibitions and accompanying events.

The exhibition opened at Bonegilla Migrant Experience last Saturday and will be on display until February 1 in the Tudor Hall.