The Upper Spinaze Line – The Expedition Generation– 1844-1934

Linda's Name-Line

This page is mainly concerned with Linda's Father's Father's Father, who migrated to Australia in 1880-81.
Some information about the 10 month expedition is included here.
Here's a list of Linda's 6 Forebears who were Expeditioners.

Lorenzo Spinaze (1844-1893) [G2F]
Lorenzo was b. 25 Jul 1844, Codogné
For Lorenzo's forebears, see the page for Antonio Spinaze (1803-1875)
m. Maria Gabriel, dette Zanette (1845-1934) [G2M]
Maria was b. 17 Jun 1845, Codogné, Veneto
m. 25 Nov 1868, Cimetta di Codogné
By 1880, they had children 1-5 in Italy, all of whom survived childhood.
They were living at Orsago, when child 5 was born in February 1880.

In Jul 1880, in Barcelona, they boarded the 3rd of the Marquis del Ray's 4 ill-fated migrations to New Ireland, on the 885-ton India. (The Italians wouldn't let it sail from Genoa, nor the French from Marseille).
On 14 Oct 1880, they arrived at Port Breton, on the southern end of New Ireland (also called Latangai).
Contrary to their expectations, there was little there apart from dense vegetation to water's edge, and head-hunters.
On 20 Feb 1881, the c. 250 survivors (of the original c. 320) sailed on the India to New Caledonia/Noumea,
They arrived in a no-longer-seaworthy vessel, without any water or food, on 12 Mar.
The c. 30 French (and 20 others?) stayed in Noumea.

On 2-7 Apr 1881 the remaining Italians sailed on the 387/388-ton James Paterson to Sydney.
The ship's manifest, unsurprisingly, is a bit inadequate.
It does include "Lorvenro and Madame Capelin", but the children are even more difficult to find.
There were c. 40 families, comprising c. 200 people – 130 adults, 60 children and 10 infants.
Apart from three carpenters, a tailor and a bookmaker (?), all adult males were agricultural workers.
However, Steve Capelin's uses a source (the ship's manifest?) says 182 people.

On Thu 7 Apr 1881 at 11:30pm, the vessel arrived in Sydney harbour and moored at Pinchgut Island.
At dawn, 2km to the South, they would have seen the Garden Palace, in the SW corner of the Botanical Gardens.
Built for the 1879 Exposition, it was the largest building in the Southern Hemisphere – 3.5ha / 9ac.
This photo, sourced by Steve Capelin, was taken between its completion and its destruction by fire in 1882.

On Fri 8 Apr 1881, the vessel was moved to Bradley's Head (where Taronga Park Zoo was to be opened 35 years later), cleared by Quarantine Officers, then moved to Circular Quay, in front of the Australian Steamship Navigation Buildings (since obscured by the main terminal).
By 5pm, the passengers had disembarked, and been moved to the Agricultural Hall in the Domain, immediately east of what was then an Infirmary and became Sydney Hospital, 300m S of the Garden Palace and 300m N of St Mary's Catholic Cathedral. Here's a map of the Exposition area

The N.S.W. Governor, Henry Parkes, visited the vessel at the Quay, and the colonial government and local Italians provided considerable funding to assist in the re-settlement. His name was remembered very positively by the families, even though, aided by the report of the Italian Immigrants Inquiry Board (also mirrored here) that he had appointed, Parkes made clear that the families needed to disperse. Despite their preference to remain together, the immigrants began accepting contracts for work.

On 20 Apr 1881, 30 families signed up to work for various landholders scattered around southern NSW. For example, Lorenzo Perin / Capelin signed with William Mosel(e)y of Pennant Hills, for 12 months, for Stg 26. Generally, the deal was that the hirer also provided board, lodging and transport.

On 22 Apr 1881, Lorenzo's daughter Lucia / Lucietta (age 10) was engaged by F. Vogel of Newtown as a 'nurse girl'. Lorenzo Spinaze signed her contract with an X. (So he couldn't have read it, even if it had been in Italian).
On 23 Apr 1881, Giovanni Spinaze signed up for 6 months at Stg 36 p.a., with the Smythe family in Parramatta.
On 18 May 1881, Domenico Spinaze signed up with James Gobb of Berthong (via Young) for Stg 25 p.a.
Finally, on 27 May 1881, Lorenzo Spinaze signed the family up for 6 months as 'generally useful labourers' – but at the bargain-basement price of Stg16 p.a. – with George Byerl(e)y of Botany Bay (also in Harrigan p. 110).
On 31 May 1881, Lorenzo and children 2-5 (girls 8 and 6, boys 3 and 1) were the last to leave the Agricultural Hall.

During 1882, Lorenzo was in Sydney, principally in gardening and factory work.

In early 1883, Lorenzo and family reached La Cella Venezia / New Italy.
This was a stretch of very poor country 30km north of Maclean and 8km south of Woodburn.
An associate of the immigrant families had discovered it was available.
The 3 Spinaze families and 2 Nardi families took up selections ranging from 40 to 80 acres.

The Spinaze family began by building a bark hut, but gradually improved it.
Is this the remnants of the hotel – shot in 1962. Georgie?
They had three further children, numbers 6-8, born in Australia.
Lorenzo farmed, but also had a contract to clear the school playground in 1891.
c. 1883-1893?
Maria c.1890-1900
from Kerrie Sheather

Lorenzo d. at New Italy on 2 Jan 1893, aged 48.
(1893 was the midst of the drought and recession, and there was a fire in New Italy as well).
Lucia remembered 7-8 mile walks to Woodburn along a bush-track (which is now the Pacific Highway), including having to negotiate Oaky Flat swamp.

Faded school shot
from 1887
New Italy Community
Photo of 1899
Legend - 1899 Photo
(Joe's writing?
New Italy Scholars
Photo of 1901
Legend - 1901 Photo
(Kate Capelin's writing?)

Maria, then aged 57, joined her 4th son Tony in March 1903, at Gundurimba, 30km north of New Italy.
In Maria Capelin's report of Joe's wedding in 1907, widow Maria Spinaze is referred to as "of Coraki".
Coraki is 10km south of Gundurimba (and 20 km north of New Italy).
(The New Italy school closed in 1933, and the settlement was all-but deserted by the 1940s.
Linda said the hotel was 'active' until at least 1942, because her mother Gina knew it.
The sole remaining resident died in 1955. The soil is so poor that the area remained empty for some years).
Maria was naturalised in 1911, aged 66.
Maria later moved to Tullera (20km north of Gundurimba, north of Lismore).
All of the children remained in the Richmond River area, generally between New Italy and Lismore.

Maria Spinaze in 1926, aged 80,
with her dau. 1.Lucia aged 55, Mary Wakeley and Isabel
Maria Spinaze on the left, with Maria Capelin, in perhaps 1928, aged 82 (also on p. 217 of the Stud Book)
Maria's 80th, in 1925, at 4. Antonio's property at Tullera (now Modanville)

Maria d. 22 Feb 1934, at Tullera, aged 88.

Lorenzo and Maria's children are documented on a separate page:

  1. Lucia / Lucy Spinaze (1871-1964)
  2. T(h)eresa / Jane Spinaze (1873-1938)
  3. Regina Spinaze (1875-1961)
  4. Antonio / Tony Spinaze (1877-1956)
  5. Giuseppe / Pop Spinaze (1880-1971) [Linda's GF]
  6. Pietro Spinaze (1882-1955)
  7. Maria Spinaze (1885-1969)
  8. Louisa Spinaze (1882-1972)


For the information about the Spinaze line's origins and early years in Australia, this page draws heavily on the following publications. Four of them (i.e. all except Niau) in turn draw heavily on Giuseppe's memories as captured by the next generation, especially Spencer Spinaze of Piora.

In addition, Barry Summerlad's research and conversations with Antonio Perin in Orsago have added several items of information about Lorenzo's parents, Antonio and Lucia.

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

This a page within Linda Spinaze's Family Web-Site
Contact: Roger Clarke and Linda Spinaze
Created: 26 April 2011; Last Amended: 12 October 2013, 5-6, 25 Feb 2014, 22 Mar 2015, 17 Oct 2016 (Steve Capelin's additions re their arrival in Apr-May 1881)