Italian consul revives cultural links
By Jamie Brown
PRIMO SANTIN didn't mind expressing his Italian heritage during a recent fleeting visit by Italys's Consular General Benedetto Latteri.
He sang opera and waxed lyrical about his life in Australia, talking all the while in the musical language of his birth.
It was just as well, because Mr Latteri had one message for our Italian community: Keep your culture alive as well as your lyrical language.
Since the arrival of pioneers to New Italy in 1881, Italians primarily from the province of Terviso or nearby have been coming to the Northern Rivers to work hard and establish a bountiful life.
Take Oliver and Teresa Dardengo for instance. Oliver travelled to Lismore in 1949, at a time when Italy was in a post war shambles.
Oliver was sponsored by his uncle, Jack Perin, who ventured out in 1926. Mr Perin also sponsored Teresa's father, Innocente Moras. They were all from Albina in the northern province of Terviso.
As if to underscore the close bond between immigrating families, Mr Perin was sponsored by a man named Guiseppe Nardi, who hailed from the same small district. Mr Nardi arrived as a New Italy founding pioneer in 1881.
But recent North Coast resident Luciana Trojer said more can be done to encourage Italian culture. "I come from Sydney and there Italians are proud of their heritage. There is more cultural awareness," she said.
Now Mr Latteri is offering support to Lismore's Italian community, to promote film festivals and the like.