They couldn't go pasta New Italy
ITALIAN Cowgirl - Mullumbimby-based Italian-born country singer Clelia Adams - helped draw a magnifico crowd to the celebrations of 131 years since the founding of New Italy yesterday.
Two thousand people helped mark the arrival of the Italian immigrants who established the New Italy settlement south of Woodburn, a 30% increase on previous years.
Ms Adams, who has had a couple of her songs chart high on the European country music charts, recorded some of her lyrics in Italian for her latest album, River Valley Dreaming.
She told the crowd that this was a "no no" in the country music world, but she couldn't resist celebrating her Italian roots.
Ms Adams, who moved to Australia at four years of age, said there was still a lot of Italy flowing through her veins.
"I couldn't leave my pasta and lasagne behind to go outback," she said.
Event organiser John Barnes, the president of New Italy Museum Incorporated, said greater historical awareness, better facilities and more exhibitions had helped attract a bumper crowd this year.
Mr Barnes said it was still remarkable to consider the hardships endured by those original 30 Italian families who undertook a treacherous voyage from their homeland in 1881 which eventually saw them arrive in the Northern Rivers.
"They came from absolutely nothing and carved something from the bush," Mr Barnes said.
"They were a good example of hard work, perseverance, family values, thrift and commonsense."
The Monti family from Casino and Bendigo - direct descendants of Dr Monti who lived in the New Italy region between 1890 and 1920 - were among those paying homage to their ancestors yesterday.
Pat Monti said the event was not just a lot of fun but important.
"It's nice to have these things to let people know that we do remember our ancestors," Mrs Monti said.