VELLA, AM, Carmelo (“Lino”)

Carmelo (“Lino”) Vella has been Editor of Australia’s national weekly newspaper, The Maltese Herald, since 1971.

Lino Vella was born at Casa Paola on 22 September 1936. The family moved to Birzebugia in 1939 and St. Julians in 1945. Lino spent his formative years at St. Julians before migrating to Australia on the liner ‘Sydney’ in November 1954. He left school in 1951 to work as a panel beater, but his father, who was a canteen manager, helped him find work with the NAAFI.

His first job in Sydney was as a trench digger for the New South Wales Water Board. He took on various jobs, including six years with the Olympic Tyre Company.

A lifelong devotee of soccer, Lino’s association with ‘Melita Eagles’ dates to the year of the team’s formation in Sydney in 1955. Lino was president of ‘Malta Eagles’ when the club amalgamated with the Melita Football Club in 1956. His commitment to the Eagles continues to this day. He served the club as president, coach, secretary and goalkeeper, and was made a Life Member. His love of soccer led him into the world of journalism. In 1957, he helped Lawrence Dimech produce a short-lived magazine called Soccer Light.

His journalism took a further step in the late 1950s when he was Sports Editor for the Sydney-based Malta News. In 1961, when the national newspaper, The Maltese Herald, commenced publication, Lino had his own column, ‘On Target’, and sports’ section. By the mid-1960s, the Maltese Herald had expanded from an 8 paged monthly into a 20 paged weekly. In 1971, when its first full-time editor, Laurie Dimech, was appointed Consul for Malta in New South Wales, Lino took over as editor. He has been sole owner of the newspaper since 1983.

In 1999, Lino Vella was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the Maltese community.

He is married to Barbara Platel, and have a son, Paul, and a daughter, Annette.

[Provided by Dr Barry York, May 2004]

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