In 1959 Councilor A. Nardi himself ‘a son of New Italy’, opened an exhibition of relics and records from the settlement prepared by the Richmond River Historical Society. Following this a committee was formed to explore ways and means to have a permanent memorial erected.
The land for the memorial site was donated by Mr. Alex Roder and has an interesting history being located on the site of Luigi Antoniolli’s original 1882 selection. The Antoniolli family were members of the de Rays expedition and built an imposing two storey mud brick house on this site. Their house also served as a wine shop and in later years the Antoniollis’ mud brick house still ‘offered summer drinks and refreshments and ice to weary travelers’ who were making journeys along the Pacific highway. The house was demolished in 1950, leaving a mound which became the natural dais for the Monument to the Pioneers.
The committee successfully raised monies for an obelisk type monument with Italian white marble plaques attached to each of the four sides. The story of New Italy is inscribed on these plaques (in both English and Italian), as are the names of the original settlers. Some time after the monument was built a flagpole to the north of the monument was erected which supports the flags of Italy and Australia. The flags are constructed of metal and are hand painted.
On the 8th of April 1961 the monument commemorating the pride, strength and courage of the Italian settlers and their contribution to the North Coast community was unveiled. The function was attended by approximately 1500 people, including the Consul General for Italy Dr. G. Carnevali, Mr. Ian Robinson MLA for Casino, and local Mayors and Councilors.
Monument to the pioneers showing both the
Australian and Italian flags
Stroll on to The Antoniolli Well