VALE GIOVANNI TOSCAN
9.7.1923 – 2.4.2015
John (Giovanni) Toscan was born in Cavaso, Italy, July 9, 1923, 2nd son to his parents Angelo and Dorotea. In 1924 John’s father Angelo migrated to Australia arriving in Adelaide. Three years later Angelo travelled to Griffith and in November 1928 his wife Dorotea arrived with their two boys and the family was reunited.
In 1939 John and his brother helped to build the Yoogali Catholic Church by carting stones from Scenic Hill in Griffith for the Church foundations.
During his youth John was very sporty, and as he played Rugby League with Griffith in the 1940’s and 50’s. He was a founding member of the Yoogali Catholic Club in 1948, the Hanwood Catholic Club in 1955 and the Hanwood Soccer Club in the 1950’s. John went to great lengths to help people in the 50’s and 60’s arriving as migrants, to transport them to Griffith and helped settle them in to life and work in the area.
In 1948 John married Anna Fabris and continued farming on Farm 23 Hanwood where they brought up their six children. In 1950 John began a fruit cannery on Farm 23 which continued until 1963 when he joined the newly formed Griffith Co-op Cannery. In 1969 they joined the Letona Co-op, a fruit processing cannery in Leeton.
In 1974 Farm 23 Hanwood was sold and in 1975 “Ringwood” at Darlington Point was purchased and they began large scale irrigation farming using bore water.
It was his community spirit that others saw in him that led to him being nominated for a Medal of the Order of Australia. He received that award in 2005.
John’s health began to deteriorate after a couple of strokes during his eighties. His syphon changing days came to grinding end when his limbs would no longer do what he wanted them to do. In the last year his speech was greatly hampered and for someone who loved a great discussion this was deeply frustrating for him.
John had a great love of family and friends and on April 2, with his family around him, he died peacefully. He is greatly missed by Anna his wife of 67 years, his 6 children, 15 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.