Age is no barrier to Griffith’s oldest barber, who has been cutting the same heads of hair for nearly 60 years.
Antonio (Tony) Battaglia turns 90 on Tuesday, but still makes time to see his oldest clients.
“I love coming to work,” Mr Batagglia said.
“It keeps me motivated.
“I cut someone’s hair this morning who I first saw back in 1957.”
The customer was only a boy back then, but now black hair has given way to grey.
Mr Battaglia was 22 when he arrived in Australia in 1948 and began working as a barber with Bob Evans.
Nine years later, in 1957, Tony and his father built three art-deco shops on Banna Avenue's top block and Salon Battaglia was born.
Three generations of the family had continued the craft of hair and beauty starting with Tony, his son Frank (named after his late father) and daughter Olga and his grand children Giulia, Sofia, and Caprice .
Olga and her husband Sam went on to open the Dolce Dolce restaurant next door, where they were ‘hatted’ six years in a row in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide.
The late Frank Battaglia came to Australia in 1927, when Tony, who remained in Italy, was only two-years-old.
With only five pounds in his pocket, Mr Batagglia’s efforts to establish himself in Australia led him to Sydney, then Queensland, before eventually arriving in Griffith in 1940.
Like many of his fellow countrymen, Frank worked hard and saved his money and was eventually in a position to purchase the Mirrool Cafe on Banna Avenue in partnership with Tom Apolloni. They converted the cafe into Tom’s Supermarket, a combination cafe and general store and after years of hard work Frank was able to reunite with his family, bringing them to Griffith.
Even though he’s facing his 90th birthday, Tony Batagglia still handles the comb and scissors well and said he’d been doing it in another 10 years.
“If I last that long,” Mr Batagglia said with a smile.
“The work keeps me young.”