This time line shows important Historical and Contemporary events at New Italy.

1880: July 7th. New Italy settlers leave Barcelona on the Marquis de Rays expedition to New Ireland.

1881: April 8th. Immigrants arrive in Sydney. Sir Henry Parkes allows them to stay in the country.

1882: Rocco Caminotti and Antonio Pezzutti visit Swan Bay and select land on the South Woodburn, Chatsworth Island coach route at the site now known as New Italy.

1883: By the end of this year more than twenty families from the de Rays expedition have taken up land in the New Italy area.

1884: The area is named New Italy after Mr Lang, a member of the Woodburn School Board writes to the Inspector of Education, on behalf of the immigrants, asking for a school to be built.

1885: The first School is opened. The first teacher is a M. Jean Le Cheminant, a frenchman, fluent in Italian.

1887: Antonio Nardi donates a portion of his land at the junction of Forestand Mahogany Roads for the erection of a church.

1890: The Inspector General of Forests, J.E.Brown, with Reginald Champ, visits New Italy with the view to establishing a silk industry. Later that year Champ returns to New Italy to officially establish a silk industry.

1891: The Henry Parkes led NSW Government falls and a request to the incumbent government to purchase a reeling machine, to assist with silk production, at the settlement meets with no response.

1892: The NSW Parliament votes against further sericulture experimentation at New Italy. Despite this Mr Pezzuti and Mr Martinuzzi built their own reeling machine, which was praised by the Director of Agriculture F.S.Campbell when he visited New Italy in November of this year.

1893: Production of silk declines at New Italy but a sample of silk is sent to the NSW Government. A fire occurs at New Italy.

1894: Silk produced by Giacomo Piccoli at New Italy wins a gold medal at the Great Chicago Exhibition.

1899: Fred Chudleigh Clifford publishes a book on “The Early Days of New Italy” in which he praises New Italy as a model settlement.

1900: Mr Piccoli sends silk to the Government and it is exhibited at the Great Paris Exhibition. Sir Earle Beauchamp visited Woodburn and meets children from the New Italy School, he also speaks to Mr Piccoli, who presented him with some raw silk.

1903: The New Italy Progress Association commences meetings.

1906: Mr Piccoli wins a medal for his silk at the Great Milan Exposition.

1907: A new timber church is built on the site of an earlier church, which was damaged in a hailstorm.

1909: A Ball is held at New Italy to raise money for the Campbell Hospital at Coraki.

1910: A Public Holiday is declared for the New Italy School for a Sports Demonstration day and a gathering of the Pioneers of the settlement. This event is reported in the Sydney Mail.

1917: A major flood is experienced at New Italy.

1918: Giacomo Rosolen sells his sawmill on Bungawalbin Creek, and this industry ceases at New Italy.

1931: Jubilee celebrations to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of the survivors of the Marquis de Rays expedition in Australia are held at the New Italy School.

1933: The New Italy school is closed as a State school. It briefly becoming a subsidised school.

1936: Giacomo Piccoli establishes a Park of Peace on his property.

1942: New Italy’s sixtieth anniversary celebrations are held at Giacomo Piccoli’s property.

1945: A cyclone blows St Peters Church off its stumps.

1954: Floriano Volpato arrives in Lismore.

1955: Death of Mr Giacomo Piccoli, aged 87 years. Reports that an old mud house at New Italy should be preserved.

1961: A Monument to the Italian Pioneers of the New Italy Settlement erected adjacent to the Pacific Highway.

1980: Centenary Celebrations of New Italy are held at the Lismore Show Ground, 8000 people are reported to attend and ABC TV produces a documentary on New Italy for its programme ‘A Big Country’.

1983: The New Italy Committee purchases part of the original Antoniolli farm at the intersection of the Pacific Highway and the Swan-Bay/New Italy Road.

1984: A new Park of Peace is opened at the New Italy Museum Complex. The first stone is laid by Italian Consul General, Dr Alvise Memmo & Minister for Natural Resources, Mrs Janice Crosio for the project of New Italy Museum Complex.

1989: Museum Restaurant and Mud brick house opened by the Italian Consul General, Dr Guido Scalici. Officials from the World Expo 1988 visit the Italian Pavilion and Museum. Italian Government representatives include; Deputy Commissioner, Dr Antonio D’Apice, Commissioners, Dr Luigi Turchi and Dr Roberto Falaschi and Dr Manuela Ghiglia (representing the Italian Consul General)

1990: 109th Anniversary of New Italy, Tree planting in the Park of Peace by Valeria Mirisciotti (representing the Consul General).

1991: Monument to Father Miazzi unveiled in the new Park of Peace by Fr Francesco Lovatin of Sydney, Fr Lorenzo Scremin of Rome and Bishop of Lismore, Dr John Satterthwaite.

1992: Gurrigai Aboriginal Arts Centre opened at the Museum complex by Bundjalung Elder Mrs Eileen Morgan. Unveiling of the Monument to the Pioneers of New Italy by Italian Consul General, Dr Fabio De Nardis.

1993: Opening of the Italian Pavilion by the Governor General of Australia, Mr Bill Hayden.

1994 The former New Italy School and Residence site is established as a Crown Reserve Trust for public use. Delegation from Italy visit New Italy including, Bishop of the Italian city Treviso, Monsignor Paolo Magnini, Fr Camillo Toso and Bishop of Lismore, Dr John Satterthwaite.

1996: Opening of the Community Hall at the Museum complex, with Italian artists from South Australia (Piccolo Teatro Co.) featuring the play “Festa di Nozze” aka “The Wedding Feast”.

1997: The New Italy Museum complex wins a “Cultural Tourism Award for NSW”. Presented by Minister for Tourism, Mr Brian Langton and special guests, The Hon. Brian Pezzutti (MLC), Alitalia Airlines CEO Mr Chris Hanks, Italian Consul General, Dr Francesco Catania and the Italian Ambassador to Australia, Dr Marcello Spatafora. Visit from the council of Italian city Cassino. Guests include, Dr F. Petrocone (mayor of Cassino) and Sil Gava (representing the mayor of Casino, NSW).

1998: Australia Day celebrations with Australia Day Ambassador, Bernard King.

1999: 118th Anniversary of New Italy. Italian Ambassador, Dr Giovanni Castellanetta presented the medal “Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiano” (conferred by the Italian Government) to Dr Floriano Volpato. Guests include; Dr Francesco Catania (Italian Consul General), The Hon. Brian Pezzutti (MLC), Mayor of Lismore, Bob Gates, The Hon. Thomas George (MLA), The Hon. Ian Causley (MP), Mayor of Richmond Valley Council, Mr Col Sullivan and The Hon. Harry Woods (MP).

2000: A special memorial mass and dedication of the Italian Pavilion to the memory of Floriano Volpato is held at the community hall. Australia Day celebrations with Australia Day ambassador, Mr Lex Marinos.

2001: Australia Day Celebrations are held at New Italy to remember 120 years since the arrival of the immigrants, and 100 years of Federation and thereby acknowledging the role played by Sir Henry Parkes in the history of the New Italy Settlement.

2002: New Italy Museum Complex is listed with the NSW Heritage office as an item of State Heritage Significance.

2004: New Italy Museum website official launch on Descendants day in April.


(Sources: Clifford, 1889; New Italy Museum Committee Files, 1985 – 2001; Northern StarNugent, pers. comm., 2002; Marsh & Wise, 1881; Pryor, 1986; Richmond River Herald, 1931; Sydney Mail, 1910; The Sydney Morning Herald, 1881; Thompson, 1980; Tinker, 1988; Volpato F., pers. comm., 2001- 2002.).

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