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This is the 2014 funeral notice of Queensland Racing Minister Grace (Gee Gee) Grace’s mother Concetta Farfaglia, nee Bellino.
Concetta Farfaglia was the loving sister of four brothers.
Their names were Guiseppe (Joseph), Vincenzo (Vince), Antonio (Tony) and Geraldo (Gerry) Bellino.
Giuseppe Joe is not well known.
His younger brothers Antonio (Tony), Geraldo (Gerry) and Vincenzo (Vince) are.
Tony, Gerry and Vince are the Bellino’s,
You know, that unholy trinity of adaggio dancing, marble quarrying, restaurant and bar running brothers who ran the Queensland Branch of the multinational import/export/wholesale/retail corporation known as the Mafia, even though it’s actually not, but rather a joint venture between Cosa Nostra (the Sicilian Mafia) and ‘Ndranghetta (the Calabrian ‘Honored Society’).
The Bellino brothers are the fellas that many good judges say were the organisers and controllers of the Queensland drug, prostitution and illegal gambling trade from at least the 1970’s to the 1990’s and quite probably beyond.
Vince, Tony and Gerry Bellino are our Racing Minister’s Mum’s brothers
Gee Gee’s uncles.
In 1998 the nephew of Gee Gee’s mum Connie Farfaglia – her brother Tony Bellino’s son – Tony Vincent Bellino (known as Vincent) was jailed for eight years after being found guilty of trafficking commercial quantities of the illicit drugs Ecstasy and Heroin.
The trug trafficker Tony Vincent Bellino is Gee Gee the Queensland Racing Minister’s first cousin. Nice bloke too by all reports, if you don’t mind what he does for a living.
Do you find this information slightly alarming?
Tell me that you are not fooled by the b*llshit some folk cast about saying that ecstasy is just a harmless party drug that doesn’t do anyone any real harm, and is safer for a kid than getting on the piss.
Are you aware that drug traffickers have been washing their black money profits from drugs through the racing and gambling industries for decades?
Remember the Underbelly mini-series?
Those characters ‘Aussie Bob’ Trimbole and ‘Fat Tony’ Mokbel?
Narcotics dealers, money launders and racing men. A bit like our own once upon a time Sir and later guest of the old Queen – quiet tip in the St Leger Bar is that he wore a tiara himself when Hazel wasn’t around – Terry bloody Lewis, the crooked Police Commissioner and commission taker.
Little fish are sweet, Terry was innocent, drugs are good, racing’s on the level, the gambling industry’s straight, Joh was too and the Bellino brothers are respectable and legitimate businessmen who are very much misunderstood.
Come in spinner.
Fast forward to the 7th of March 2008 and a bloke named Todd Filippa is jailed for 13 and a half years after a jury found that he was the mastermind of a syndicate that variously schemed, scammed, stole and slipped through customs a sh*tload of pseudo ephedrine, cooked it into meth, and then trafficked millions of dollars worth of the killer drug out and into the suburbs to fry a lost generation of f*cked up kids brains.
Something grabs a hold of me tightly
Then I flow like a harpoon daily and nightly
Will it ever stop? Yo — I don’t know
Turn off the lights and I’ll glow
Ice ice baby.
Ice, ice baby.
Filippa – who had earlier changed his surname by deed poll from Bellino – must have really loved his Auntie Double Grace, because he’d refused to enter a plea and thus rendered the whole matter sub judice, meaning that the media could neither report about his arrest and trial, nor about his connection to his Auntie Gee Gee.
It also meant that young Todd the meth making narcotics trader had to spend a couple of years inside on remand, but hey you pay your money you take your chance don’t you? And family matters, especially when you’ve been brought up in The Family.
Fate takes funny twists and turns doesn’t it?
At the same time that Gee Gee’s cousin was having a spell inside awaiting trial Queensland’s Premier Peter Beattie suddenly, a stable mate of Gee Gee’s in the ALP Old Guard faction yard, suddenly declared himself a late scratching resigned both from the big job and from his electorate seat of Brisbane Central.
All manner of back room Labor party deals were cut after the bookies took the market down, and by the time the satchel swingers put it up again our girl Gee Gee had been gifted the Labor Party preselection for Beattie’s seat and was a red hot favorite at tomato sauce odds to take the prize. When the Liberal and National Parties (these were pre-merger into the LNP days) decided not to run candidates in the by-election it became forecast betting only and Gee Gee duly proved the odds correct by bolting home in the softest win you’d ever see and Gerry Bellino’s niece Gee Gee was now an MP.
Six months later her cousin the Ice King Todd Filippa, who had been secretly recorded by the cops saying all manner of things that didn’t make his future look too flash, and had the form analysts declaring him a moral to do twenty years or more on a million different charges, fronted up to the Supreme Court and nodded his head to the single, solitary count of trafficking that the DPP headed by soon to be made Judge Leanne Clare strangely elected to solely lay against him.
Fillipa, who could have received life if they’d thrown the book at him, instead copped thirteen and half years and was out and back strolling the streets of Fortitude Valley in just eight.
You can choose your friends I suppose but you can’t choose your family, so I am not for a moment suggesting that Grace Grace has any involvement whatsoever in any criminal endeavor involving illegal narcotics, or indeed in any other type of illegal enterprise.
After all Gee Gee’s immigrant family were good, hard working new Australians living the honest new Australians recently arrived from Sicily’s dream.
The Great Australian Dream .
According to the family history told by our ever-modest Great Racing Minister her father Sam was a barber who arrived on Australia’s shores in 1952 and brought her mother over a year later to join him.
With the missus at home in the kitchen looking after things Sam the Barber went looking for a bigger earn than 8 hours a day doing short back and sides could give, and gave his all to a succession of low-paid jobs including cutting cane up north where the green grass grows fast and working in the Golden Circle Cannery packing tomatoes into cans, much like his countrymen the Barbaro boys from Griffith were to do half a decade later.
Unfortunately when he was in his early 40’s Mr Gee Gee Snr suffered a terrible injury while working at the smelly old Northside tannery on Stafford Road, Stafford where the Bunnings Warehouse now lives. and was never able to work again. Well not in a normal job in Squaresville Brisvegas anyway.
Now 99 punters out of hundred would find themselves without a punting bank for the weekend if they lost their only source of weekly income and would be holding a rope in their hand and looking for a tree to swing it from come the first at Flemington on Saturday arvo, but not old Gee Gee’s Dad, because despite the lack of any visible means of support he actually kicked and found himself – in his daughter’s own words – doing ‘extremely well’.
Now God only knows how a poor immigrant who has worked in low-paid jobs all of his career could possibly make his fortune after taking forced retirement in his early 40’s, and Gee Gee has never really elaborated on the secrets of her old man’s success.
Of course it’s as sure as eggs that there’ll be coat tuggers running around the track suggesting that it might have helped to have ever-loving brother-in-laws running cash businesses who might be eager to help out their sister’s hubby by flicking him a bit of light casual work.
The same cynics will be pointing you to the unusual fact that after he lost his job Gee Gee’s old man did the opposite to what most blokes who are broke and bereft of a wage do, and instead of moving in with the parent-in-laws actually moved out, shifting his young family’s camp down to the Valley a stones throw from where the Bellino boys earned their daily bread.
You’ll find these types of knockers in every betting ring on every race course in every city around the world though, and sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong, but I’m the sort of sportsman who always likes to give a wog whose relatives are mates with blokes who shoot guns and burn down nightclubs the benefit of the doubt, even when the doubt’s somewhat larger than normal and twice as big again.
So all I’ll say is that like many blokes in Brisbane in the 70’s and 80’s who did remarkably well without seeming to do anything very much at all, I;m sure Mr Gee Gee Snr simply had a long golden run on the punt.
The Sicilian luck must run down through the bloodlines too I guess, because hid daughter’s done pretty bloody well for herself too, particularly for a bird who spent her pre-parliamentary working life as a mid-range earning political hack and union Johnny, and the proof’s there for all to see,
Take a Captain Cook at that maroon colored fence in the picture below and the nice big house behind it – that’s Gee Gee’s joint.
Wow! Two million bucks worth of hardwood and tile.
I never realised that union officials earned that much money, particularly ones who worked in the trade at the exact time that I did for all those years. What the hell did I do wrong? I must have been looking for the pot of gold in all the wrong places.
And to think, just 3 decades ago Ignazia ‘Grace’ Grace was just a simple stenographer.
Don’t we know someone else who used to be a stenographer? Two people in fact, one of them was quite well known to Gee’s Gee’s uncles too, but we won’t talk too much about them now ‘cos that’s a story for another day.
What’s my read on the form punters?
I reckon Gee Gee is just bloody good with her money. It’s probably a skill she picked up as a kid from her uncle Gerry when he was living with her family and their grandparents for all those years. just like it shows in the 1968 electoral roll.
Monkey see, monkey do you know?
Yeah, that must be it.
How else could she have bought the other two houses too if she wasn’t good with her dough? Or all those shares in Steve Wilson the Racing Queensland honcho she appointed’s investment company?
Maybe I’m overthinking it. Perhaps Gee Gee just got lucky. Real lucky.
Whichever was you look at it though, it’s an Amazing story Grace.
Don’t you worry about that.