Mr & Mrs Lorenzo Spinaze settled in New Italy, Richmond River in 1883 members of the ill-fated Marquis de Rays Expedition* Lorenzo Spinaze, born at Codogne, Northern Italy, 23rd July 1844, son of Antonio & Lucia Spinaze nee Federigo. Maria Spinaze [his wife] born at Codogne, Northern Italy, 17 June 1845. She was the daughter of Pietro & Teresa Gabriel-Zanette nee Modole. Married at Codogne, 25th November 1868. Lorenzo Spinaze was a farmer in Italy. He joined the Marquis de Rays Expedition and with his wife and six young children sailed in the steamship India from Barcelona, Spain, on 9th July 1880.

In all, there were about three hundred intending colonists on board the India, under the French Captain M. Le Prevost, and their destination was Port Breton, New Ireland in Oceania. Port Breton was reached in October 1880, after a very trying and eventful voyage.Owing to the awful conditions at Port Breton and the complete failure of establishing a settlement among the naked and hostile savages of New Ireland, after four months there, the remaining members of the Expedition [about a third had died owing to the inhuman conditions prevailing on board ship and at Port Breton] left on 20th February 1881, bound for New Caledonia, where the India was condemned as unseaworthy. On appealing to the New South Wales Government to settle in Australia, the Premier, Sir Henry Parkes, made available the steamship James Patterson and the immigrants arrived in Sydney on 7th April 1881.

Lorenzo Spinaze remained in Sydney a year-and-a-half, working principally at gardening and factory work. Early in 1883, he brought his wife and family by boat to the Richmond River, and selected 80-acres of virgin bushland at what is now known as New Italy. New Italy is situated in the Parishes of Evans, Donaldson and Bungawalbyn, in the County of Richmond. It is eight-miles from South Woodburn near the Clarence Road and is sixteen-miles from the Clarence River. The boundaries of the Richmond and Clarence are divided by a spur of the Richmond Range which traverses New Italy between the eighth and ninth mile. The Spinaze’s first home was a bark hut which the whole family helped to build with material hewn from the bush on the selection. Later, all helped to improve the selection and build a comfortable home.

In the early years, facilities were the crudest. There was no transport to the nearest village, Woodburn, eight miles away, except by foot and provisions were obtained the hard way. However, the many difficulties were overcome, and in a few years things began to improve and a comfortable home was established. Although New Italy country was, and is, of the poorest quality, Lorenzo & Maria Spinaze reared a family of five girls: Lucy, Jane, Lena, Mary & Louisa, and three boys: Antonio, Joseph & Peter. The adverse journey on the India, the bad four-months at Port Breton and the strenuous work in establishing a home at New Italy, undermined the strong constitution of Lorenzo Spinaze, and he died at New Italy on 2nd January 1893, aged 49-years.

His wife bravely carried on with the family, who lived in New Italy for twenty-years. The family left in March 1903. Then, dairying was carried on at Tuckurimba, Wyrallah & Tullera. She died at her eldest son’s [Antonio] home at Tullera on 22nd February 1934, at the age of 89-years. For many years of her widowhood, Maria Spinaze lived with her eldest son, Antonio, who died 30th July 1956, while his wife Florrie, died 4th October 1948 √± and their family: Lucy, Jane (died 23rd October 1938), Lena, Mary, Louisa, Joseph and Peter (died 11th May 1955), have paid tribute to Tony, more especially Florrie and their family for the way they always looked after Granny. When poet W.R. Cameron wrote his famous lines, he, no doubt, had in mind women like Granny and Florrie.

¨Our land was won by womenfolk, Whose frail, soft shoulders, bore a yolk, Too hard for any man, Recording Angels, if you ask, will say:Wives finished off the task, The Pioneers began”

© 2023 New Italy Museum Inc.