Linda's Six Expeditioner Forebears

This page comprises two parts:

A Brief Summary of the Expedition of 1880-81
whereby Spinazes and Capelins sought 'Nouvelle France', but found 'New Italy'

In the late 1870s, a French aristocrat who had fallen on hard times hit upon a scheme to make a fortune. He sold fares to people who believed that they were going to be overseers on coffee plantations in New Ireland (off the NE coast of New Guinea, beside the Equator).

Even by the standards of the time, the scheme was outlandish, and he was banned from using Italian and French ports. However he succeeded in collecting money from hundreds of people, many of them peasants from the plains of Veneto (east of Conegliano, north of Venice).

Linda Spinaze's father's father (then aged one) and his parents, and Linda's father's mother's parents, all travelled on the 3rd of the Marquis del Ray's 4 ill-fated expeditions, on the 885-ton India, ex Barcelona on 9 July 1880, arriving in 'Port Breton' (a fanciful name for the southern tip of New Ireland) on 14 Oct 1880.

After 4 months of privation on-ship and ashore, the c. 250 survivors (of the original c. 320) prettymuch forced the captain to sail the India to New Caledonia/Noumea, leaving Port Breton on 20 Feb 1881.

After 2000km / 1000nm in 20 days (i.e. at about 2 knots), they reached Noumea in a no-longer-seaworthy vessel, without any water or food, on 12 Mar 1881. The c. 30 French migrants stayed in Noumea.

On 2 Apr 1881, the 200 remaining Italians sailed on the 387/388-ton James Paterson to Sydney, thanks to intervention by the NSW Premier, Henry Parkes. (I've not clear how a request was sent, a decision was made in Sydney, and – and the ship – got back to Noumea, a mere 3 weeks after the India had arrived in Noumea. But clearly someone had made submissions in advance). They arrived on the night of 7 Apr 1881 – another 2000km / 1000nm, this time at 7-8 knots.

The families were initially housed in the Agricultural Hall adjacent to the Garden Palace in The Domain, and then dispersed. Here's Lorenzo Spinaze's story within the expedition's broader frame.

During the mid-1880s, many of the families bought land in a small area between Grafton and Lismore in Northern NSW, variously referred to as La Cella Venezia and New Italy.

There have been several histories written, including one by Lorenzo Spinaze's grandson, Spencer. See below.

One has come to light that was written in 1965, in florid Italian, by an Italian Embassy staff-member (Eric da Rin c.1925-2006, who later held several Ambassadorial posts, was Deputy Secretary-General of NATO 1981-85, and in 1986, was Italian Ambassador to Australia). A copy is in the State Library of Queensland. A second copy was held by the secretary who typed it, and passed into the hands of a neighbour, who was descended from two of the families who came on the India and the James Paterson in 1880-81.

This scatalogical tribute to the crook, the Marquis de Ray, who sent the contadini to 'Nouvelle France' was written by Western Australian Anthony Robertson (a great-great-grandson of expeditioner Antonio Feletti - see Geoff Robertson's history), and performed by Solo Sidekick, in 2015.

Known Publications (chronological order)

Niau J.H. (1936) 'The Phantom Paradise: The Story of the Expedition of the Marquis de Rays' Angus & Robertson, 1936, 1980

De Stefani H.T. & Craven S.M. Eds. (1980) 'Our Italian Heritage' Centennial Celebration Committee, 1980, 263 pp. (popularly referred to as 'The Stud Book')

Thompson A.-G. (1980) 'Turmoil – Tragedy to Triumph: The Story of New Italy' International Colour Productions, Stanthorpe Qld 4380, 1980, ISBN 0 86774 000 0, 56 pp.

Jenkins L. (1993) 'Power of the Land / Il Potere della Terra: A Social History of Italian Settlement in Lismore' Northern Star Printery, 1993

Harrigan R. (2006) 'They Were Expeditioners: The Chronicle of Northern Italian Farmers – Pioneer Settlers of New Italy' Rosemary Harrigan, Werribee VIC 3030, April 2006, 188 pp.

Phelps B. (2007?) 'The Piccoli and Belotti Families: Accidental Migrants to Australia', after 2006, at New Italy, and mirrored here

Spinaze S. (2009) 'The Spinaze Family' New Italy Museum, Woodburn NSW 2472, November 2009, at

See also: 'New Italy Settlement', created then withdrawn by the Heritage Council of NSW, in the Internet Archive, and mirrored here

Linda's Expeditioner Forebears

This section provides a list of Linda's forebears who travelled on the 'India' from Barcelona to Port Breton in 8 July - 14 October 1880, and on to Noumea in 20 February - 12 Mar 1881, and (with one exception) on the 'James Paterson' to Sydney 2-7/8 April 1881. This list does not include all of the relatives (uncles and cousins) who travelled, nor those who later married into the family.

[Antonio Spinaze (1820?-<1880?) [Linda's G3F], b. ?Orsago Veneto, d. ?Orsago not an Expeditioner]
Lucia Federigo / Spinaze (1822?-1881) [Linda's G3M]
, b. Orsago Veneto, d. Port Breton, New Ireland

  1. Lorenzo Spinaze (1844-1893) [G2F], b. Codogne Veneto, d. New Italy NNSW
    Maria Gabriel-Zanette / Spinaze (1845-1934) [G2M], b. Codogne Veneto, d. Tullera NNSW
    1. Lucia / Lucy Spinaze (1871-1964), b. Orsago Veneto, d. Lismore NNSW
    2. T(h)eresa / Jane Spinaze (1873-1938), b. Orsago Veneto, d. NNSW
    3. Regina Spinaze (1875-1961), b. Orsago Veneto, d. NNSW?
    4. Antonio / Tony Spinaze (1877-1956), b. Orsago Veneto, d. Tullera? NNSW
    5. Giuseppe / Pop Spinaze (1880-1971) [GF], b. Orsago Veneto, d. Lismore NNSW
      [Maria / Nan Capelin / Spinaze (1886-1979), b. [Linda's GM], b. New Italy, d. Lismore – not an Expeditioner]

[Giacomo Perin (?1810-?) [G3F], b. Cavolano Veneto, d. ?Cavolanonot an Expeditioner]
[Teresa Cattai (?1815-?) [G3M], b. ?Cavolano Veneto, d. ?Cavolanonot an Expeditioner]

  1. Lorenzo Perin / Capelin (1837/38?-1915?) [G2F], b. ?Orsago Veneto, d. ?Sydney/?Lismore NSW (Chn 4-5 are half-related, as they're Lorenzo's children with his first wife)
    Maria Lucon / Tome / Capelin (1848/49?-1939/1945) [G2M], b. ?Cimetta Veneto, d. Lismore NNSW (Chn 1-3 are related only through Maria's re-marriage)
    1. Giracomo / John Tome (1868/1870-1946), b. ?Orsago, d. ?NNSW
    2. T(h)eresa Tome / Duffy (1872-1938), b. ?Orsago, d. ?NNSW
    3. Anna / Netta Tome / Tome (1874-?), b. ?Orsago, d. ?NSW
    4. Marietta / Maria Perin / Capelin / Spinaze (?1867/1868/1874??-1954), b. ?Brugnera Veneto, d. ?Pomona Qld
    5. Dominico/Domenico/Domenic Capelin (1872-1946), b. Codogne Veneto, d. Lismore NNSW
      Children 6-10 were of Lorenzo and Maria together, all born in Australia, incl.
      8. Maria / Nan Capelin / Spinaze (1886-1979), b. [Linda's GM], b. New Italy, d. Lismore – not an Expeditioner]

In the List of Immigrants in Appendix 1 of Anne-Gabrielle Thompson's 'Turmoil – Tragedy to Triumph: The Story of New Italy', ICP, 1980, all 14 arriving Expeditioners appear, i.e. without Lucia, who died en route. She says that this List was compiled from a contemporaneous and authoritative source – a list in the Report of the Italian Immigrants Inquiry Board, 1881).

On the Passengers Arrival List (p.1, p.2, p.3) – copies provided by Sylvestre Buoro:

(The Arrivals List omits 10 other people who appear in Gabrielle-Thompson's list, but over-counts children in almost every family).

This a page within Linda Spinaze's Family Web-Site
Contact: Roger Clarke and Linda Spinaze
Created: 13 February 2013; Last Amended: 17 February 2013, 17 Oct 2016 (the expedition summary), 10 Nov 2020 ('Thank God for Marquis de Ray')