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Colonia Independiencia 9th July

July 10, 2014

It’s not widely known that Australia has a strong tie with Paraguay. In 1893 over a thousand Australians left their country and headed to Paraguay to start up a new Utopia. It was after the shearers’ strike and the way that was viciously put down  convinced the group to start afresh. William Lane was the leader but his authoritarian methods including no liquor and no consorting with the attractive Guarani women helped to break up the community fairly quickly..

The settlement was named ”New Australia’ and is situated some 137kms  east of Asuncion a few kms off a main road. At some stage they decided to change the name to ‘New Canberra’ and wrote to the AU government to get permission. On receiving no reply and as some Engliish migrants were also joining the colony they decided to call the place Nueva Londres.

The town is quite small, consisting of a main street wiith a few off shoots. The town’s name was not shown on entering the main street so unsure this was Nueva Londres, I went across and asked a shop keeper standing outside his neat shop. ‘Si! This is Nueva Londres, my name is Hugo Smith.’ All this was said in Spanish of course. It appears his generation seem to be the first that doesn’t have some knowledge of English. Hugo and his wife Dori innvited us in we sat and chatted as best we could with the language problem, then Dori insisted we stay for lunch, a typical Paraguayan meal of meat, ensalada, meat, chipa guasu, meat, rice and more meat. Hugo is a butcher and has a farm a short distance away. The meat was delicious, better than Argentinian Hugo insisted. As we were leaving a carr pulled up, the driver’s name was Kennedy, he was a descendant of the Engliish miigrants. Cows roamed the main street and dogs reluctantly moved as we drove along, but it was a neat village and Australia’s only colony. And not a gum tree in sight!


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