Welcome to Historic New Italy!
New Italy museums and facilities stand on acreage that was once part of the original New Italy settlement, on the Pacific Highway in Northern NSW, between Byron Bay and Grafton. Historic New Italy is a great place to rest, enjoy an excellent coffee at their Café and an Italian experience in the Australian bush land.
Dedicated volunteers wanting to preserve the memory of the pioneering Italian families built the mud-brick Museum/Café, Italian Pavilion, Gift Shop, Community Hall and Glass Art Workshop buildings during the 1980s and 1990s.
This quiet stopover off the highway has ample free parking and space for caravans, picnic areas and room to walk your leashed dog. Often kangaroos can be seen lying about watching the site’s visitors.
New Italy had its beginnings in 1880, when poor farming families from the Veneto region in Northern Italy were beguiled by Frenchman, Marquis de Rays, to purchase land in a phantom paradise in the Pacific named La Nouvelle France (an imaginary kingdom east of Papua New Guinea).
On their arrival they found there was no promised colony. After enduring disease and starvation in the festering tropics, the survivors were eventually brought to Sydney in April 1881. Over time the majority reunited at what is now called New Italy on some of the last land available for selection in northern New South Wales. As the community grew, establishing a fledgling silk industry, it embraced the diverse cultures of the region. We commemorate the stories of the expeditioners and those families who established the vibrant community of New Italy, carved out of the Australian bush.
Lots to see and do
The New Italy Museum tells the pioneering story of the New Italy settlement while the Italian Pavilion showcases the broader history of Italian migration to Australia and our Northern Rivers region.
The volunteer-run Casa Vecchia Gift Shop, situated in a replica of Antoniolli’s old mud brick house and wine shop, has a stunning array of Italian and Italy-inspired gift items as well as artwork by local artisans. Revenue raised from here goes towards the site’s heritage development and its ongoing maintenance.
At the New Italy Glass Art Gallery, glass blower Ian O’Driscoll crafts intricate figures and colourful jewellery.
If visiting in early April, join us for Anniversary Day. On or around 7 April, descendants of the pioneering families gather for a day of celebration and plant a tree in the Park of Peace to give thanks … with much good food, wine, music and dance for all to enjoy!
9am – 4pm, 7 days a week.
Pacific Highway, 15 kilometres south of Woodburn.