Griffith Genealogical and Historical Society look at The Hermit.
THE history of Griffith would not be complete without mention of The Hermit who lived in the caves on Scenic Hill. Valerio Ricetti was born in the late 1890s in Italy. He came to Australia in 1915.
When he arrived in Griffith in the late 1920s a sudden rainstorm caused Valerio to shelter in the caves on the MacPherson Range, known as The Cliffs.
He decided to make the caves his home as there was a channel nearby for water and farms where he might obtain work and food.
Over the years he built pathways, stone steps and terraced gardens around his cave home. His gardens became an attraction to locals and visitors.
He was a shy and a gentle soul he shunned publicity. He became known as The Hermit.
Because he had created a district attraction Wade Shire Council staff maintained the gardens when after a bad fall he was hospitalised.
During WWII Italy became a German ally. Many innocent people were interned. Valerio was locked up from May 1942 to December 1943 in camps at Liverpool and Cowra, NSW and Loveday Camp at Barmera SA.
On release Valentino Ceccato gave him work and living quarters. He visited his former cave home only occasionally. During his internment his gardens had been vandalised and he became sad and disillusioned.
He then resided with Bruno and Nora Ceccato until 1952 when he returned to Italy, to visit his brother, where he died in November the same year.