Monday, May 25, 2009

Primo Italiano 2009. Romeo and Juliet. Stanley, Yurong, Riley streets

It's amoure !

More than 40,000 people attended Primo Italiano 2009. It is a popular annual event in the festival calendar of the City of Sydney. Primo Italiano celebrates Sydney’s original little Italy and the rich Italian history of East Sydney. The day was extra special for East Sydney couple Liesel and Johnny who have played as the love-struck Shakespearean couple, Romeo and Juliet at Primo Italiano for the past 3 years got legally married at this year's Primo Italiano in a ceremony involving the whole community.
Neighbourhoods of Stanley, Yurong and Riley Streets were convereted to a giant wedding reception “hall” to host the big Italian wedding party with a giant wedding cake, Italian music, dancing and other entertainments. Three streets offered the visitor with taditional Italian food and drinks from the stalls as well as from the restaurants in the neighborhood.

Italians began migrating to Australia en masse after World War II. It was a time when Europe was war ravaged; many infrastructures were badly damaged and employment was low. It was a time too when Australia was realising that, to have a secure and viable future, it needed to populate. The Australian Department of Immigration was newly formed, created by a Labor government in 1945. In March 1951 the Australian and Italian governments signed the Assisted Migration Agreement. Enduring the sometimes gruelling application process, hundreds of thousands of Italians took the opportunity, and risk, of assisted passage and set off for a new life in Australia. The majority of Italian immigrants came between 1945 and 1972. There were almost 400,000 of them, a significant number given that Australia's population in 1945 was only 7.5 million. After the British, the Italians were the next largest group to migrate to Australia. Although there doesn't seem to be an official list of towns which the Italians left behind, it appears that specific regions were targeted by Australian immigration officials. A case in point is the valley running inland from the seaside city of Chieti in Abruzzo, which is dotted with Australian connections. (this paragraph is courtesy of

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