Our story begins in the mid-1920s with two brothers, Francesco and Agostino Torre. Life was very hard in their home town of Messina in Sicily, so they made their way to Palermo hoping to find work. They had a vision of a better life in Australia
and needed to save a small amount of money to secure a one-way passage on a ship sailing from Italy to Western Australia
Seventeen year-old Francesco (Frank) arrived in Fremantle in 1927 and three generations of artisan butchering came with him. Frank left his old world behind, but his passion for the traditional and much cherished Sicilian way of life remained undiminished. The Torre family had always believed in the importance of a highly cultured personal dignity and the value of hard work and perseverance in the face of adversity.
Frank married a young woman by the name of Carmela Raffaelle and, in 1930, they purchased a home in Northbridge
located just behind the current Lake Street
store. Both the Torre and the Raffaelle stories are interwoven within the rich historical tapestry of Western Australia
Carmela’s family is still remembered as one of the pioneers of the local cray-fishing industry. In fact, upon the outbreak of World War I the Raffaele crayboat assisted with the Australian
war effort. Frank and Carmela raised three children - two sons, Carl and Antonino and a daughter, Sylvia.
Twenty three years after first stepping onto Western Australian
soil, Frank’s vision was transformed into the Lake Street
store you see in front of you today. In early 1950, the first customers walked into Torre Brothers. It was a butcher shop with a distinctly European sensibility within a wider Northbridge
community consisting of Greeks, Italians, Yugoslavians, Macedonians and Afghans. The old
world had travelled to the new and Northbridge was never the same again – the ‘other side of the line’ became an exciting place to live, work and play. Illegal gambling dens, ale houses and brothels nudged against workers’ cottages and the large, noisy establishment that fed the city of Perth
- the Metropolitan Markets. The sheep and beef carcasses which would eventually find their way to the newly named, Frank Torre and Sons were off-loaded from railway carriages, taken to the market and hung from hooks to be sold to the highest bidder. Frank Torre and his son, Carl would arrive early and inspect the fresh carcasses always keen to source the best produce for their customers. When the auctioneer crashed his gavel down and pointed to the successful bidder, the finest cuts of meat had begun their short journey to the Torre
family helped to introduce a vibrant Sicilian culture to Northbridge
and they’ve always prided themselves on giving something back to the local community. Carl Torre
’s wife, Maria was a Deputy Lord Mayor of Perth and Carl has served on numerous boards, charitable organisations and business councils.
In 1994 the most celebrated butcher shop in Northbridge was renamed, Torre Butchers
and it was very much a family affair. Carl and Maria’s five children – Frank, David, Paul, Luke and Alexia – loved working alongside their father and seeing the familiar faces coming through the door.
David Torre took over the reins in 2007 and is writing another new and exciting chapter of the Torre story. David and his wonderful team of highly skilled butchers are continuing the Torre passion for premium quality produce and unsurpassed customer service.
David and Anna Torre and their young sons, Massimo and Alessio look forward to continuing the rich heritage of Torre artisan butchering.