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Display highlights stories of survival


Brigid Veale
2 September 2011
A new display highlighting the stories of survival, food production and cooking from the early days of the New Italy settlement will be a feature of NSW History Week which has the theme EAT History.

The display, developed by Southern Cross University’s School of Arts and Social Sciences in collaboration with New Italy Museum descendants and volunteers, will be installed at the New Italy Museum on Monday, September 5.

History Week 2011 aims to bring to the table the edible, appetising and tasty history of food. Who ate what and where in the past? How did we cook and where did our food come from?

Southern Cross University visual arts students Martha Beasley has been working in collaboration with food historian Dr Adele Wessell and designer Leonie Lane, both from the University’s School of Arts and Social Sciences, and local historian Dr Jo Kijas, to research and design the temporary display for the New
Italy Museum at New Italy (south of Woodburn).

The display, titled ‘Food at New Italy’, will feature stories of survival, food production and cooking from the early days of the New Italy settlement to today with acknowledgement of the current Italian community spread across the Richmond River region.

Members of the public are welcome to view this new display and other offerings at New Italy. Come and talk to food historian Dr Adele Wessell as well as Martha Beasley, Dr Jo Kijas and museum volunteers on Monday, September 5 at 10am, at the New Italy Museum. ‘Food at New Italy’ will remain on display until next year’s History Week.

The project is part of an ongoing engagement between Southern Cross University and New Italy Museum Inc.

Ms Lane, who lectures in visual arts at Southern Cross University, said the project provided benefits for all those involved.

“The New Italy Museum benefits from the professional input, new ideas and energy, while our Southern Cross University students gain a valuable opportunity to apply research and design skills around a broad spectrum of themes while getting to know a vital part of this region’s history and community,” Ms Lane said.

Information about the New Italy Museum is available at Information about History Week is available at

Photo: Mr Giacomo Piccolo and his grape vine, New Italy.