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18 May 2005

Italian Museum

Meet Peter Kenny, and discover how he's working to be the voice of the bush.

Griffith's population remains about 60 per cent Italian -- or of Italian extraction -- and the community wants to see that history preserved.

GEOFF SIMS: It's a blend of two cultures -- or what looks more like the dominance of Italian culture over your average, non-irrigated, garden variety Anglo-Celtic Oz.

But the Italians say their grasp on Griffith is slipping.

JULIAN RACCANELLO, MUSEUM & CULTURAL CENTRE: The idea came from a group of Italians back in the mid-90s.

They felt that they needed to leave a legacy of their heritage.

GEOFF SIMS: The museum they conceived has itself been history in the making.

But now the rock-solid masonry part is pure Italian, the corrugated iron look quintessential Australian.

The contents will be the stuff of a people uprooted -- and simple human endeavour.

TONY ZORZANELLO, MUSEUM & CULTURAL CENTRE: This is one of the earliest pieces of a ravioli maker -- device, brought over by a family in a suitcase when they immigrated to Australia, and the idea is that is they have their pasta laid down and they laid their layer of meat, minced meat or whatever they want to put as ingredients, then put another layer of pasta and then they'd roll that over.

JULIAN RACCANELLO: It's really to remind them of what their backgrounds are.

Because as time goes on, a lot of those cultural differences, I guess, are being lost.

GEOFF SIMS: Not all of them.

Some things have been adopted as part of daily Australian life.

TONY ZORZANELLO: This is something you can buy in the boutique shops now, in the coffee shops.

But in the early days this was like your coffee grinder, where your coffee went in there and you ground it, turned the handle and out came the coffee and they usually had some kind of percolator.

They would have brought that over from Italy as well.

GEOFF SIMS: The stove didn't come from Italy, but it cooked for multiple families in the Italian way.

But before the migrants could afford to make coffee or ravioli, they had to earn some money and make somewhere to live.

And the Italians were not just farmers but tradesmen, builders and artisans. They brought the stuff to build the building blocks of their own future.

Some things they brought were transformed as much as transplanted.

In Italy this bicycle carried an elegant young lady.

At Griffith she became a farmer's wife.

The bicycle still carried her, but onions as well.

There were also openings for skilled Italians.

Boot makers seized the opportunities.

They put their best, ahem, feet forward and didn't rely on their feet alone.

TONY ZORZANELLO: This is an old antique-style of wine press they used to put over a vat and bring in the baskets of grapes and pop them in there and the younger guys would be turning these handles with these old hand-made cogs.

The rollers are all made out of timber.

GEOFF SIMS: The rest, they say, is history.

story notes

Grifffith is a town in new South Wales.

Came is the past tense of the irregular verb come.
more information: come

Here felt is the past tense of the irregular verb feel.
more information: feel

The word legacy refers to something left behind from an earlier time, usually from your ancestors.

Heritage refers to history and culture of a society and can include the language, buildings and other customs.

The word contents refers to things contained within something. Here, the contents are the things contained within the museum.

be the stuff of a people uprooted
To phrase to be the stuff of something means to have the qualities of, to show the important parts of something.
The phrase a people uprooted means a group of people who have all moved to a new place, in this case, a new country.
So the museum will contain the many important things that show what life was like for the Italian people of Griffith.

Endeavour refers to an attempt or effort to do something.

brought over
To bring something over is to take something from one place to another.

Farmers are people who own and run farms.

Tradesmen are people who have a trade that requires them to do skilled work with their hands.

Builders are people who build houses and other buildings.

Artisans are people who do skilled work with their hands.

The rest, they say, is history
The phrase the rest is history is used to indicate that you donít need to finish a story, because everyone knows what happened.