May 7, 2023 | Community, Local stories

As Brunswick as it gets

Author: Barry York

Franco Cozzo - Brunswick Daily
It doesn’t get much more ‘Brunswick’ – or Footscray – than Franco Cozzo.
Franco was born in Ramacca, Sicily in 1936 to an Italian father and Greek mother. He migrated to Australia in the 1950s and established the celebrated Italian furniture store in Melbourne. The business flourished, supported mainly by thousands of Italian migrants who wanted authentic furniture in the style of their homeland.
I think Franco Cozzo was one of the first ‘ethnic’ (non-English–speaking background) faces on television based on a positive representation. He remains famous for the words “Megalo! Megalo! Megalo!” (“Grand!” or “Large”) which he repeated in his adverts. I still remember his phone number, as expressed by Franco in his ads: “Tree-oh-two-tree-double-fyff”.
He became and remains a cultural icon.
TV Ad - Brunswick Daily

Franco Cozzo. Image source: Screenshot from YouTube TV Ad

I enjoyed, and learned from, a documentary about Franco Cozzo – ‘Palazzo di Cozzo – that screened on ABC-TV last year. Congratulations to the film-maker, Madeleine Martiniello, and her team. Brunswick Daily met and interviewed Madeleine right after the first screening of Palazzo di Cozzo.
The documentary is an engaging record of an important iconic figure in Australia’s post-war immigration story. Having grown up in Brunswick, there was some nostalgia to it too, for me personally. But the strong historical-social-cultural contextualisation makes it much more than a ‘whatever happened to?’ exercise.
Today, there’s a big question mark above Franco Cozzo’s building in Brunswick standing on the corner of Sydney Road and Victoria. A new apartment complex, perhaps? That chapter of this iconic dwelling and character’s story is yet to be written.

This article was written, edited, and published on the stolen lands of the Wurundjeri-woi wurrung People, whose sovereignty was never ceded.

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