Ingham embodies ‘the sweet life’ in more ways than one! It’s a thriving sugar town in FNQ (Far North Queensland) and is the service centre for many sugarcane plantations. Victoria Sugar Mill, the largest sugar mill in Australia and one of the largest in the southern hemisphere, is located close to the township of Ingham (Approx. 6km).
It also celebrates it’s Italian heritage originating back in the 1890’s when Italian migrants came here to work on the sugar plantations.
The Australian-Italian Festival is held in Ingham the first weekend in August each year and is one of the most popular events in the region, with thousands of people attending the event. The festival celebrates Ingham’s cultural background, dating from the 1890s, when the first Italian immigrants came to the region. More than half the population of the town are of Italian descent. The town is known as “Little Italy”. Wikipedia
I’ve been lucky enough to be in Ingham for this years Italian Festival, a celebration of good food, good music and good fun enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
There was something for all the family and it did indeed have a wonderful family atmosphere…. lovely to see young teenagers being ‘kids’ rather than playing the bored young adult. One of the challenges was a Slippery Pole competition, the first to reach the top a young, very agile, girl. Some participants never made it off the mat. I decided it would need a lot of upper body strength and as mine isn’t at its peak I gave this activity a miss. Fun to watch though!
The Gondola Races also proved popular – and chaotic – but once again a lot of laughs.
Along with spaghetti eating competitions, cooking demonstrations, fabulous food and wonderful singers crooning everything from Volare to opera it truly was a feast for all the senses.
The first time I was in Ingham, on my way north to a Christmas in July celebration in Mareeba, I had a wander around town and discovered this fabulous laneway of mosaics and murals telling the story of Ingham. I’ve put them together in this slide show with some of the explanations for the panels to ‘put you in the picture’, so to speak.
The Italians who came to Australia so long ago to chase opportunities for a better life for themselves and their families have certainly built a wonderful culture in Ingham.
La Dolce Vita – The Sweet Life………………………………………………… Perhaps not always ……
August 15, 2017 at 10:05 am
Lovely blog Rosemary. I have very fond memories of Ingham. I worked there in the sugar mill at Macknade, and also spent time at Victoria Mill, 40 years ago as a young trainee engineer. No Italian festivals back then, but lots of Italian families of course. Looks like you really enjoyed your time there. I loved the photos of the mosaics!
August 19, 2017 at 9:49 pm
Isn’t it a great town and those murals are a delight. Did you check out the Italian deli? I’m told that the Italian cemetery is quite something…just so much to see. Enjoy!