Swiss Italians of Australia

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Swiss Italians of Australia are Italian-speaking Swiss that settled in Australia during the 1850s and 1860s. The Swiss Italians initially settled in the area around Daylesford, Victoria. The Swiss settlers were from the canton of Ticino and the southern part of Graubünden.

The influence of Swiss Italians in Australia, Italian-speaking Swiss from the cantons of Ticino and Grison and northern Italians, is still present in the township of Hepburn Springs through the names of its residents, the names of its springs (Locarno) and buildings (Savoia Hotel, Parma House, Perinis, Bellinzona), and the annual Swiss-Italian Festa.

The heart of the Italian-speaking community was the area around the Savoia (Spring Creek) Hotel and the Macaroni Factory. The Savoia is named after the royal family of unified Italy. An Italian reading library was located at the hotel and pasta was made opposite in Lucini's Macaroni Factory which was also home to the Democratic Club. Lucini's moved from Lonsdale Street, Melbourne in 1865, where they had set up as the first pasta factory in Australia in 1864. Vanzetta's bakery supplied bread to the community and Crippa, Perini, and the Gervasoni's (Yandoit Creek) produced wine.

In 2007, the Melbourne Immigration Museum featured a display entitled Wine Water and Stone reflecting the Swiss and Italian heritage of the area.

Swiss Italian food and culture[edit]

The Swiss Italians loved sport, food, and music. Their influence on local culture is celebrated annually during the Swiss Italian Festa. Swiss Italians of Australia have made their mark in spheres of art, music, literature, journalism, sport, education, science, and engineering.

A local delicacy is bullboar, which is a sausage made from beef, pork, garlic, and spices. Local families jealously guard their recipes. In 2005 Daylesford Secondary College came in second place in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Young Gourmets by making bullboars from the Gervasoni and Sartori recipes, which gained much media attention over the fate of Charlotte the pig, with little concern for the steer involved. The bullboar has been named an endangered recipe by the Slow Food Movement.

Swiss Italian heritage places[edit]

Swiss Italian places of significance[edit]

Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm [1] located in Shepherds Flat, Victoria (about 10 km north of Daylesford) was originally a dairy farm set up by Aquilino Tinetti (b. 1835 d. 1905) in the 1860s. He eventually married Maria Virgilia Martina Capriroli (b. 1850 d. 1932) and had 13 children. The dairy farm ran from 1860 until about 1975. The property and its historic buildings was eventually purchased by Carol White in the late 80s. The buildings were restored and the property was given a new lease of life as a lavender farm and European-style gardens. Besides being a working farm, the property now boasts a number of attractions including guided tours of the original stone farmhouse and a history room.

Swiss Italian Festa[edit]

The Swiss Italian Festa was first held in 1993. The Festa is an annual event to celebrate the history, culture and lifestyle legacy to Hepburn Springs of its Swiss and Italian settlers. The theme of the Festa is supported by the community to acknowledge our history, celebrate our lifestyle and to nurture our cultural heritage for tomorrow.[1]

Notable Swiss Italians of Australia[edit]