Reimagining Italian-Australian identities through soccer: Critical notes on a history of Italian soccer clubs in Perth


  • Fausto Butta



Western Australian history, Italian migration, soccer.


This paper offers a critical contribution to the understanding of issues such as transnationalism, social inclusion, and the construction of Italian-Australian identities by exploring the untold history of Italian soccer clubs in Perth, particularly East Fremantle Tricolore and Perth Azzurri. It aims at integrating individual narratives within a broader framework that includes the historical development of multiculturalism in Australia since the end of World War II. By considering key factors such as regional origins, intergenerational gaps, gender, and the weight of personal experiences in relation to deep social and political changes in Australian society, these narratives reveal distinctive forms of culture, social practices, and a sense of belonging. This paper draws from Homi Bhabha’s (1990b) concept of “Third Space” and argues that soccer can be seen as a metaphorical place for the meeting of different identities, and that individual transnational narratives help us to reimagine Italian-Australian identities as fluid, thus avoiding the risk of accepting ideas of a fixed and predetermined migrant identity. Yet by focusing only on the historical development of Italian soccer clubs in Perth, the arguments of this paper are limited to a specific aspect of the ‘identity-building’ discourse.