To preserve the memory of my grandfather Mate, with great affection and nostalgia let me tell this brief story of his life and story of his home. I hope that the story will be shared with the same spirit by visitors of this website and visitors of his house.
Captain Mate Nola was born on 1st of January 1905 as the second of six children of Pere, born Letica and Joze Nola. He spent his childhood with his grandmother in the Letica family in Vruja where he assisted in agricultural work, primarily around the vineyards.
In year 1927 he goes to the army of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, first in Brcko, and then to Skradin, where served his military service for two years.
After the army Captain Mate returned to Porat, harbor area of Podgora, returns to the house of his parents and begins to work as a machinist at a local olive oil mill and becames its shareholder as some other people form Podgora who worked there as well. With his brother Petar he also worked on the family land. From his father they inherited boat Mandalina which was their first start-up capital with which they started business and first bigger project in 1922, stone transportation for hotel Primordia construction in Podgora. Together with Ivan Vodanović they invested the earnings from this business into purchase of a ship named Uspomena (Memory), 20 meters length, with motor engine, designed for trade and fishing. This business and the partnership lasted until 1971.
In year 1930 he attended training for the captain at the Port Authority of Split, by which he got himself the title of captain and sailing permit for the Adriatic and Ionian Sea.
In 1936 Captain Mate marries Anka Vela of Šimun Vela family, whose family was also engaged in shipping and trading business.
In year 1938 he entered into a new business partnership with Luka Nola, by buying a boat named Uranus, wooden motor boat, 10 meters long, designed for sardines fishing as a seasonal summer job that he combined with trade and fishing.
Period prije Drugog svjetskog rata karakterizira dobra tržišna konjuktura u kojoj se poduzetništvo i trgovina odlično razvijalo. 1940. kapetan Mate Nola, zajedno s bratom Petrom i poslovnim partnerom Ivanom Vodanovićem, kreće u još jedan poduzetnički projekt, gradnju drvenog motornog broda „Labud“ u brodogradilištu na otoku Ižu. „Labud“ je bio moderan brod na motorni pogon namijenjen turizmu i prijevozu putnika, a povremeno i prijevozu tereta. Brod je uglavnom plovio po srednjem Jadranu od Zadra do Metkovića, a povremeno i do Albanije.
Interesting passengers on board in 1939 were the students from Sarajevo, members of theater groups who organized the trip with theatre performances as well as left oriented political propaganda on central Dalmatian’s islands. Evidence of this event is recorded in the documentary movie named Uspomena (Memory), filmed in 1962 where Rato Dugonjić, organizer of the operation, interviewed the participants. Captain, Mate Nola witnessed this event in the said movie.
The period before the Second World War was characterized by good market conjuncture in which business and trade were developing very well. In year 1940 Captain Mate, along with his brother Peter and Ivan Vodanović, started another entrepreneurial project, construction of a wooden motor boat named Labud (Swan) in the shipyard on Island of Iž. Labud was the modern motor boat designed for tourism and the transport of passengers and occasionally freight. The boat sailed mainly in the central Adriatic Sea from Zadar to Metkovic and occasionally to Albania.
Start of the Second World War in 1941 and occupation of Dalmatia and Podgora by Italy brings a new episode. Labud was confiscated and became a ship for passengers transport within the area from Split to Metkovic. During this period in Podgora a strong anti-fascist movement was formed, which combined with a strong maritime tradition lead to the formation of first Partisan maritime detachments in 1942. The first naval anti-fascist action took place as the rescue of the wounded that had to be translated from Promajna to partisan hospital in Baćina lakes, more precisely to Striževo location on the coast near Baćina lakes. Action was carried out by boat Uspomena and captain of that naval action was Captain Mate Nola.
During this period Captain Mate was mobilized twice by partisan forces while much of that time actively helping the partisan movement by catching it and supplying them with fish. He did this with the help of his family and neighbors who transferred the fish into the mountain slope of Biokovo where the partisan forces were stationed. As captain of the ship he had rank of commander of troop. In year 1944 due to illness he joined a large mass of refugees who, with help of partisans and allied forces, brought 33 000 people from central Dalmatia to Egypt, i.e., to the military tent camp in the desert near the town of Suez in the Sinai. More about refugee camps can be found at http://www.geni.com/projects/El-Shatt-WWII-refugee-camps.
Life in the camp was difficult primarily because of climate conditions in the desert, but very well organized by the camp administration, which was composed of refugees from Dalmatia. Beside hospitals, schools for children, foreign languages educations and various working groups, camp had been publishing the newspapers and generally tried to provide decent life. Captain Mate during this period worked as a guard in the refugee camp and he often spent his leisure time on the Suez canal by catching shellfish with local residents with whom they grew close.
In year 1945 and during retreat from Makarska, German forces droped bombs on board of the ship Labud, which was burned and completely destroyed. In the period form 1943 to 1945 family home was used as the port authority and remained intact.
Returning to Podgora, in the fall of 1945, renovation and a generally a different economic era began in which small-scale family businesses and small entrepreneurship were allowed and family continued with fishing and sailing.
In year 1946 family sold ship Uranus and in year 1949 ship Uspomena was transformed into the ship with pointed bow and the rounded stern. After the Second World War and in the fifties of the last century family is mainly engaged in fishing. At the beginning of the sixties of the last century construction activities in and around Podgora began and the Uspomena gets converted for trade and transport of gravel for construction, which lasted until 1971. The Uspomena was sold and new ship was bought, Sinji galeb (Seagull), fishing boat, 15 meters long.
Sons Josip and Petar continued to fish with Sinji galeb by the end of the nineties of the last century. Sinji galeb is still in Podgora’s harbor in memory of family tradition.
The Captain Mate experienced old age and often talked about his travels and memories.
Diana Nola Živković