Jim Brigginshaw
Jim Brigginshaw

Book embraces pioneers



DOCTOR Brian Pezzuti, a descendant of an original New Italy pioneer, will launch a new book to mark the 125th anniversary of the highway settlement.

Other descendants from around Australia are expected to be among the big crowd at the April 9 anniversary celebrations.

The historic novel is the work of former newspaper editor Jim Brigginshaw, now of Iluka.

Titled The Dream that Wouldn't Die, the novel has been in Mr Brigginshaw's mind for more than 30 years, ever since he first came to the Far North Coast and heard of New Italy.

"What happened had been published as historical records but I felt it had all the ingredients for a novel," Mr Brigginshaw said.

"There was the confidence trickster who sold battlers in Italy a dream ... where he deluded them into believing he had provided houses, roads and other facilities when in fact there was nothing but death and disaster.

"The settlers died from starvation and tropical diseases, a number were eaten by cannibals. Despite this, those who survived made it to Sydney and eventually to Woodburn."

The historical site on the Pacific Highway, visited each year by thousands of tourists, remains as a museum and Italian pavilion full of memorabilia.

"I wrote the story as a novel to accentuate what these gallant and determined people went through," Mr Brigginshaw said.

"In the book I have mixed real pioneers with fictional characters and taken liberties to make an exciting account ... meant as a tribute."

He said he was indebted to Dr Pezzutti for launching the book.

Dr Pezzutti is a surgical anaesthetist and former MLC in the NSW Upper House.



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