My Baba and Dida were born in Zaton, near Šibenik,Croatia. Dida left behind two sisters, Zdenka, Anka and a brother, Gabro and came to Perth with other Croatian immigrants by ship in 1960. His wife, my baba Andjelka Mrsa and two children, Branka and Mladen came about three years later. A few years later Dida’s nephew, (Zdenka’s son) Roko Ajdukovic, came to Perth to live with my Baba and Dida.
Dida’s went back to Croatia about 40+ times and travelled around the world, worked on a navy ship as a welder and as a market gardener where, with wife Anda Mrsa, won many awards from the Wanneroo Agricultural Show and the City of Stirling Osborne Park Show with the best collection of fresh fruit and veges in the 1970’s. He also got to travel to America with many other Croatian Market Gardeners from Perth.
One of his first jobs in Perth was working at a Jarrahdale sawmill. He also got his tradesman certificate and has worked as a qualified welder in a factory.
Their close friends were Milivoj & Dara Milic and family on the Gold Coast, Ante & Lenka Loncar in Tasmania, and their close friends and family in Perth from Zaton were Roko & Anka Cvitan, Ratko & Vanda Cvitan, Peter & Dosija Jurleka.
When Baba Anda came to Perth they learnt how to Market Gardening on Mc Donald Street Osborne Park on the market garden of Kuma Millie Bumbak. Then they bought their first market garden on the corner of Lancaster Street & Wanneroo Rd, in Wanneroo.
Then they moved and bought approx. 20 acres at 1156 Wanneroo Road Wanneroo, where I was pretty much raised on the farm with my uncle Mladen’s kids Jaryd ( and later Jimmy and Ebony) and our German shepherd dog, Max. I remember we grew carrots, parsnips, swedes, zucchinis, cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, spring onion, parsley, rockmelon and watermelon. Plus for the family we had strawberries, grapes, figs, loquats!
Just after I was born baba and dida began spending more time in Croatia I think they moved back for a year or so as the built a house in Vodice, bought a Mercedes and boat named Andelina! That was around 1984!
My Mama and Tata had the back half of the farm and Baba and Dida and Mladen had the front half. I always remember going down to the Canning Vale Markets in our old red dodge truck with my Tata to drop of produce each week and we take some fruit for the drive back home!
For one year, in about 1992 we lived in the house at the market garden and Dida set up a fruit and vege shop for my mum to look after and run!
Dida Marko is a “pravi Dalmatinac” (true Dalmatian). He absolutely loved his fishing especially his favourite fishing spot off the Lancelin jetty, where baba and dida built a holiday house. He also bought a boat 50/50 with stric Roko Ajdukovic as well as being a long time active member at the Stirling Adriatic Centre on Jones Street, Balcatta where he was a big part of the Stirling Bowling Club with many other Croatians.
In 2013, April we celebrated Baba and Dida’s 60th Wedding Anniversary with a limousine to pick them up and bring them to our house in Balcatta where we put on a pig on a spit with all our family friends!
Baba Anđa passed away 2-6-2017 at My Vista Aged Care Home in Balcatta
Dida Marko Mrsa passed away 16-5-2020 at Joondalup Hospital
Počivaj u miru bozjem Kapetane moj, Dida Marko i Kraljice, Baba Anđa.
Marko and Anđa Mrsa celebrating 60 years together
Contributions by grandson, Danny Vujcic.