Sydney and the Italian Touch

In less than two generations, Sydney has been transformed from a smallish Anglo-Celtic town on the “wrong” side of the world to one of the most interesting cities on Earth.

The fact that the second largest ethnic group (after the British) living here is Italian is indeed significant, for in many ways it has been Italians who have shaped the way the city now looks, the way we eat, the pastimes we follow and the way we see ourselves.

Italian presence in Sydney predates the First Fleet and by the late 19th Century, Sydney was “improving” itself by the conscious addition of Italian traces especially in its city buildings, with Italian architects and engineers helping to build them and Italian artisans to decorate them.

The large wave of Italians migrated to Australia in the period between 1945 and 1980 and these immigrants became the greengrocers and fishmongers, the bakers and barbers, the boot makers and market gardeners of a growing and changing city.

By the 1970′s Sydney was blooming and “Italian” was becoming synonymous with “style”. In the wake of the popularity of films like “Roman Holiday” and Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”, the appeal of Italy and of all things Italian increased. Sydney’s bohemians emulated Italian style by drinking late-night espressos at Comati’s Piccolo Bar in Kings Cross, or early morning cappuccinos with boxer Luigi Coluzzi at his Bar Coluzzi in Darlinghurst.

Gradually the city became multicultural and by the 1980′s Italian in Sydney were becoming prominent in many fields. From business to art, from jewelry to fashion design, Italian names began appearing at the top of the list and their contributions enriched immeasurably Sydney’s cultural and community life. A generation of shopkeepers and market gardeners profited and invested, becoming an integral part of the fabric of this vibrant city. An educated younger generation began to fill the ranks of the professions and soon Italian names were appearing in politics, sport, film, print and even on Government Boards.

Italian’s have thus contributed a great deal to make Sydney what it is today to the point that the boundaries are now blurred. A cultural fusion has taken place and there is now no longer a clear “us” and “them”.

The Italian-Australians who, appear in this book have all contributed in their own way to making Sydney the rich cultural mix that it is today. The intention of this book is to celebrate their achievements by recording their memories for posterity.


A collection of fascinating personal memories and fragmentary life-stories of former “new Australians” in an attractive coffee table book (28×20 cm, 185 pages)

Yours for only $45.00

To order your copy today call 9712 0380