The Swiss Italian Festa Committee is delighted to announce the appointment of Anna Burke AO as the Patron for the Hepburn Swiss Italian Festa. The Festa returns in October 2021.

Anna is a descendant of the Adami and Rolleri families who arrived in Australia to find their fortune on the Victorian goldfields. Striking gold, the Rolleris purchased Parma House and the nearby hotel, running a successful guest house for many years. The Adamis established vineyards, bringing a touch of their previous life to their new homeland. Anna’s maternal grandmother Nina Millman (née Rolleri, daughter of Ernest Rolleri and Kate Adami) entertained her grandchildren with tales of growing up in and around the guest house and vineyard.

Anna spoke at our successful fundraising dinner last year, telling some of these fascinating stories about her family and memories of life in Hepburn Springs.

“The Springs have been an important part of my life, since childhood visits with my grandmother, to recent visits with my own children. It has been a joy to see the area preserved, enhanced and thriving. The Festa has become a key part of the area’s history, a great opportunity for descendants to learn more of their heritage, for others to experience the rich culture, produce and beauty of the springs, and at the same time boosting the local economy.
I always love coming to the Festa bringing my mum who has a deep connection to the place, catching up with relatives, experiencing a sense of belong a precious thing – that is what the Swiss Italian Festa means to me.”
Anna Burke AO, Patron, Hepburn Swiss Italian Festa

Besides being a descendant of one of the first Swiss Italian families to settle in the area, Anna is a former MP and Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, and she continues to work in the government sector today as a Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.  Anna has continuing ties to the area and a high public profile, both of which the Committee felt were important in the selection of a Patron.

We are very grateful that Anna has accepted our request to be our Patron and look forward to working with her throughout the coming year. We’re planning lots of great activities and events for the return of the Festa in 2021, after the COVID cancellation this year. Locals and visitors can expect a fantastic four days including traditional and artisanal food and wine, parades, performances, art shows, heritage tours, bocce tournaments and fireworks.