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Canecutters Memorial

Fitzgerald Esplanade, Innisfail

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Canecutters Memorial (1999); Heritage Branch

Canecutters Memorial (1999)

Canecutters Memorial (2000); Heritage Branch staff

Canecutters Memorial (2000)

Canecutters Memorial Innisfail (2000); EHP

Canecutters Memorial Innisfail (2000)

On the esplanade at Innisfail, overlooking the river, is a memorial commemorating the contribution of Italian cane farm workers. It was erected in 1959, marking the centenary of Queensland. The first Italians came to the Johnstone River area as tenanted farmers during the 1890s. Italians specifically seeking cane cutting contracts arrived around 1907-8. Immigration from Italy increased dramatically after WWI, when the Australian and Italian governments agreed on a chain migration program. Italians already living in Australia could nominate the emigration of relatives and fellow villagers. This led to the strengthening of Italian communities, further enhanced after WWII. Although other migrant groups including the Maltese, Yugoslavs and Spanish also worked the cane fields, the Italians were the largest ethnic group. After encouragement from the Queensland Government to commemorate the centenary of separation from New South Wales, the Italian community of Innisfail commissioned a statue based on photos of cane cutters working in the district. A design by Renato Beretta of the Carrarra Academy of Arts was made in Carrarra, Italy, costing £5000, and shipped in pieces to Innisfail. It was erected by Italian migrant sculptor Pietro Bertolani and unveiled by the Premier, the Hon Francis Nicklin on 4 October 1959.

Featured in this trail:

Coordinates: -17.52384602, 146.03256626

Full details of this heritage-registered place are in the Heritage register.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
28 February 2023