FROM left, Spencer Spinaze, Tricia Sanotti and Americano Melchior.
FROM left, Spencer Spinaze, Tricia Sanotti and Americano Melchior.

New Italy celebrates an old link

ITALIAN descendent Spencer Spinaze reckons there's nothing better than a good homemade pasta.

Mr Spinaze, of Casino, joined more than 1000 people to sample a great continental fare on offer at New Italy's 125th anniversary celebrations yesterday.

Around 80 kilos of pasta and 100 litres of sauce was boiled up by Lismore cook Americo Melchior.

The day marked the arrival of the Italian immigrants, who established the New Italy settlement, south of Woodburn. Many descendents of the original settlers attended to acknowledge the triumph over adversity of their forebears.

There was also live music, markets and bocce at the New Italy Museum Complex.

Mr Spinaze, who helped establish the New Italy complex, was 'satisfied to see so many here'. Another descendent Dr Brian Pezzutti compered, launched two books about the Italian immigrants ill-fated expedition and introduced guest speakers.

Sil Gava, of Casino, also a descendent, said the day was 'absolutely unbelieveable'. He said it was explosive when that many Italians got together.

"Italian philosophy is wine, women and song," he laughed. And that's what today is all about."

NEW Italy's history provided Jim Brigginshaw with all the ingredients of a great novel.

The Walkley award-winning journalist and former editor of The Northern Star launched his novel, The Dream that Wouldn't Die, at the New Italy celebrations.

The novel, based on factual events, brings to life the journey of the Italian settlers to the North Coast. It mixes real pioneers with fictional characters to tell the extraordinary tale of survival and determination.

Mr Brigginshaw said he aimed to make the novel an interesting read 'but also to raise public awareness of what the historical society of Woodburn is all about'.

The settlers' story intrigued Mr Brigginshaw when he first came to the North Coast. It's available from Dymocks for $24.95.

nONCE Rosemary Harrigan started documenting the pioneer settlers of New Italy, she couldn't stop.

"It took two months short of eight years to put together," she laughed.

Ms Harrigan, of Melbourne, launched her historical book titled They were expeditioners: The Chronicle of Northern Italian Farmers ? Pioneer settlers of New Italy, at the New Italy 125th anniversary celebrations.

Ms Harrigan, from the Nardi and Spinaze families, said she wrote the book 'primarily so that the next generations would have some knowledge of their Italian heritage'.

She delved into original records from the state archives and newspapers from the 1880s.

"So it was in-depth research," she said.

"I had a curiosity thing about it and it was the curiosity part that made me look for the detail associated with the Marquis de Rays and his expedition.

"Once I started I couldn't stop."

Copies of her chronicles sold for $20 at the anniversary celebrations yesterday.

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