The South Australian Italian Association’s origins began in 1949 with the formation of the Catholic Italian Welfare Association, in response to an increasing Italian immigration post WWII.

The Catholic Church in Adelaide, under the leadership of Archbishop Beovich, identified the ever increasing Italian population and was instrumental in assisting the Italian community with the birth of CIWA and appointed Mr Michele Bini as the inaugural President.

The Catholic Italian Welfare Association (CIWA) provided social and welfare needs to the Italian community and in 1952 became an incorporated association. In the same year, with the assistance of the Archbishop, they purchased a house in 262 Carrington St, Adelaide, which was used primarily as a meeting room for the committee and offices for the Capuchin Priests.

In 1957, the committee of CIWA decided that it was time for the Italian community to have its own centre to host its own events. Again, with the assistance of the Archbishop who supported a loan, a hall was built and officially opened on 28 September 1958.

On 18 March 1963, other clubs were approached to amalgamate with CIWA. In 1965, there was a decision to merge with local soccer team Juventus United and with social club Lega Italiana to form the Italian-Australian Centre (IAC). Within three years further significant changes occurred and The South Australian Italian Association, as is known today, was established in 1967 and incorporated on 27 August 1968. The Association broadened its objectives and, on the 24 April 1972, the Italian Centre was rebuilt and officially opened jointly by the Italian Ambassador of Italy Dott. Paolo Canali and the Premier of South Australia the Hon Don Dunstan Q.C, M.P.

The Association, trading as the Italian Centre, became a very popular venue and is still the nostalgic home for many Italians. The Centre itself has had an evolving and rich history and until recently housed the well-known Enoteca restaurant, as well as the Italian Chamber of Commerce. Today, the Centre continues its love with Italian food and wine in the form of a functions venue. The Association and the Centre also house the offices of prominent Italian community-based organisations, providing assistance to the aged, Italian culture and Italian immigrants.

Past Presidents

Catholic Italian Welfare Association (CIWA)
  • 1949-1954: Michele Bini
  • 1954-1963: Silvio Genovese
  • 1963-1965: Giovanni Caruzzi
Italian-Australian Centre
  • 1965-1966: M Battiste
  • 1966-1966: Lorenzo Comazzetto
  • 1966-1967: Guido Voivodich
South Australian Italian Association (SAIA)
  • 1967-1968: Cav Mario Bailetti
  • 1968-1973: Cav Roberto Floreani
  • 1974-1979: Peter Brazzale
  • 1979-1981: Albert Sommariva
  • 1981-1983: Cav Michele Marinelli
  • 1983-1984: Alfredo Pozza
  • 1984-1985: Ezio Moroni
  • 1985-1986:  Mario Candeloro
  • 1986-1987: Antonio De Pinto
  • 1987-1992: Mario De Pinto
  • 1992-1994: Dominic Rinaldi
  • 1994-1995: Luciano Marchi
  • 1995-1996: Ezio Moroni
  • 1996-1999: Roberto D’Ottavi
  • 1999-1999: Mary Azzopardi
  • 1999-2004: Vic Zerella
  • 2004-2011: Frank Russo
  • 2011-2015: Carmine Zollo
  • 2015-present: Dr Phillip Donato OAM