CANCELLED: Popular Italian festival not happening next year
THE traditional Carnevale Italiano at New Italy has been cancelled for 2018 due to the upgrade of the Pacific Highway.
The New Italy Museum Inc announced the news to its members via a newsletter this week.
Carnevale Italiano is a celebration of Italian heritage conducted at the museum, located on the Pacific Highway at Woodburn, which attracts around 2000 people every year.
The organisation's secretary, Peter Blackwood, said the committee made the decision based on the advice provided by the highway's contractors.
"We were advised that work in the area around New Italy will commence in the first quarter of 2018," he said.
"Rather than going ahead, we decided not to hold it and to defer it to 2019.
"We decided not to engage and book entertainers so instead of the big carnevale, we will have a smaller celebration."
Asked if there was a chance of moving the carnevale to a date later in the year, Mr Blackwood said the event coincided with the date of the arrival of the settlers to Sydney after their disastrous voyage through the Pacific.
"We will have a small ceremony in April to mark the completion of the renovations in the museum, but the big carnevale will be back in 2019," he said.
New Italy had its beginnings in 1880, when families of farmers from the region of Veneto, in Northern Italy, were beguiled by the Marquis de Rays to purchase homes and fertile land in a phantom paradise of the Pacific named La Nouvelle France (an imaginary kingdom in the Bismarck Archipelago).
An estimated 50 families boarded the 'India' in Barcelona in July 1880.
They were the third expedition to leave for the shores of Port Breton and were reassured with claims that two shipments of other people from elsewhere in Europe were already settled.
In October of that year, after a disastrous voyage, the expedition arrived at the promised land, Port Breton , only to be confronted with deprivation and death.
The Italian's spent four months at Port Breton, suffering the constant rain and impenetrable vegetation, struggling to find food and create shelter.
On the 20th of February 1881 the 'India' departed Port Breton.
The Italian Consul in Australia heard of the emigrants' misadventure via his colleague in Noumea and requested assistance from Sir Henry Parkes (the then Premier of NSW).
As a gesture of goodwill, Sir Henry Parkes arranged for their rescue and chartered the 'James Paterson' to collect the survivors.
On April 7, 1881, 217 of the original 340 emigrants arrived in Sydney, destitute and in poor health.