CO.AS.IT ITALIAN FAMILY HISTORY GROUP visit to ‘NEW ITALY’
In the 1880’s over three hundred men, women and children left the poverty of Northern Italy on the ill-fated Marquis de Rays’ expedition to make a new life in a supposedly tropical paradise east of Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, there was no promised colony, and after enduring disease and starvation, the 217 survivors of the original 340 were eventually brought to Sydney. A substantial number of them reunited over the coming years on poor bushland in Northern NSW, establishing a community they called “New Italy” in Woodburn.
The Co.As.It Italian Family History Group (IFHG) organized a coach tour to visit “Carnevale Italiano” held on Sunday 12 April at “New Italy”. A contingent of forty-three enthusiasts enjoyed a three-day weekend to visit this historical site and join in with the festivities. Mervyn Cardelli, one of the founding members of IFHG, together with his son John, were special guests, as they are both direct descendants of one of the early pioneers of “New Italy”.
Our Coach driver Domenic kept our happy group entertained on the drive up to ‘New Italy’, and the return trip home, with plenty of funny stories and Italian music and movies. Some of our passengers also joined in with their jokes! The breaks for morning tea and lunch all held a delicious Italian theme with longtime favourite Sfinci supplied by Anna, and complemented by our driver Domenic who provided lots of Italian delicacies to have with our espresso coffee and for our “Paesano” lunches.
The day’s activities at Carnevale were emotional and reflective on the one hand when attending Mass and visiting the Museum and Italian Pavilion, but filled with joy and laughter at other times, especially when the entertainment started. There were young girls and boys performing spectacular acrobatic feats, a whip cracker, and the St. Augustine Choir. This was followed by the magnificent opera singer Simone Nicole, with last but not least Fortunato Isgro and Tony Pantano, who really put everyone into party mode with lots of Italian music, singing and dancing, as only the Italians can do it!
And what would any Italian festivity be without all the different varieties of delicious Italian food and wine. The annual ‘Carnevale Italiano’ event is a memorable occasion not to be missed by anyone.
A grand finale to our coach trip was listening to Bruno, a fellow passenger and one of our members, singing some lovely songs on our homeward bound.