Carlo Giorgio Domenico Enrico Catani was born on April 28, 1852 in Florence, Italy.*
He was the son of Enrico Catani, who was a merchant, and his wife, Augusta nee Geri. He was educated as a civil engineer at the Technical Institute of Florence. Carlo and his two friends, Pietro Baracchi and Ettore Checchi, arrived in Melbourne via New Zealand in September 1876, where upon they were soon to be engaged at Government Departments. Carlo was naturalised in 1892, the same year that he rose to the position of Engineer-in-Chief of the Public Works Department of Victoria.
Carlo was married to Catherine ‘Kate’ Lucy Hanley of Port Fairy on May 18, 1886 at the Free Church of England in Fitzroy, by the Reverend Nathaniel Kinsman. At the time they were living nearby at Florence Cottage, Mahoney Street in Fitzroy. They were to have six children:
Edoardo ‘Edward’ 1886 -1887
Elvira ‘Vera’ May 1888 -1947
Enrico Ferdinando 1891 - Killed in Action in France in 1916
Ettore Luigi 1893 -1967
Eugenia Anastasia 1895 -1915
Enid Marguerite 1899 -1950
The family lived at several properties after Florence Cottage, and around 1899 they settled at Glenluce in Elm Grove in Armadale. This property was demolished in 1912 to make way for the duplication of the rail line between Caulfield and South Yarra and so the family moved to Wyndham, 39 Blessington Street in St Kilda. Catani died on July 20, 1918 at the age of 66 and Kate died August 6, 1925, aged 68. They are both buried at the Brighton General Cemetery alongside Eugenia and Ettore. After their mother’s death Vera and Enid moved to Sydney. None of the children were to marry.
The Catani Centennial Commemorative unveiling of the family headstone by Greg Catani, Carlo’s great grandnephew, took place on December 11, 2018. Reverend Kathryn Watt, of Holy Trinity Anglican Church Balaclava and Elwood, the Church at which Carlo and his family worshipped, presided over the unveiling.
* Three alternative birth dates exist for Carlo Catani. They are:
- April 22, 1852 - Australian Dictionary of Biography entry
- April 25, 1852 - Commemorative plaque at the Catani Clock Tower, St Kilda
- April 28, 1852 - The official retirement birthdate as cited in his Public Service retirement address.