Clare Gervasoni brings us stories of Italian-speaking communities on the Victorian Goldfields. Join her for a tour through Victoria’s early Italian heritage and learn of the famous bullboar sausage and more!
Often neglected in written histories and collections it surprises many that Italian speakers were active on Victoria’s goldfields. In the Hepburn Springs region alone 10% of the population spoke Italian during the 1850s, and an Italian reading room was in operation by 1864. With intimate knowledge of Italian Spa Centres such as San Pellegrino, they sought to save Hepburn’s mineral water springs from mining. Remnant architecture in the area is reminiscent of their homeland with many examples listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, including the amazing Macaroni Factory, Villa Parma, and the Gervasoni homestead. Though classified as foreigners, their foods, wine, and community broke through many barriers and became more profitable than gold.
Clare is the Curator of Federation University’s Art and Historical Collections and a Director of Ballarat Heritage Services. She is the author of ‘Bullboar, Macaroni and Mineral Water: Spa Country’s Swiss and Italian Story’. Her research into Italian speakers in Australasia broadened from family history to serving on the committee of the Italian Historical Society and the Hepburn Springs Swiss Italian Festa Committee. Clare co-authored the award-winning Eureka Encyclopedia, and with Dorothy Wickham makes all contributions to Eurekapedia.org. In 2021 Clare received the prestigious Martin Hallett Award for individual contribution to Community Heritage.
Attend Talking History in person at the Eureka Centre (no booking required). Past lectures can be viewed on YouTube by clicking this link.
Image: Supplied by Clare Gervasoni