Il Porcellino is the bronze statue that graces Macquarie Street at the entrance of the Old Sydney Hospital. The statue, surprisingly not known to many sydneysiders, was donated to the City of Sydney by the Marchioness Clarissa Fiaschi Torrigiani on 16 December 1968 in memory of her father, Dr. Tommaso Fiaschi. Dr. Fiaschi was an extraordinary gentleman who in 1896 founded the Dante Alighieri Society Sydney, but he is also and maybe better known as a surgeon who introduced sterilisation techniques to Australia, as a member of the medical core of the Australian army during the Boer War, and during the WWI in which achieved the rank of general. He also served in the Italian army during that war. One additional achievement was the establishment of a vineyard “Tizzana” on the Hawkesbury River with cuttings he brought from France and Germany. The vineyard is still active, albeit in different hands.
The 16th of December marks the 50th anniversary of the placement of the statue of Il Porcellino, as it is known, in Macquarie Street and the descendants of Dr. Fiaschi celebrated the event with a well attended ceremony in the courtyard of the Old Sydney Hospital. Mr. Jim Robertson, a Sydney great great grandson of Dr. Fiaschi, reunited several members of the family, some had not seen each other for many years and had arrived from Italy, in the presence of the Deputy Mayor of Sydney, Mrs. Linda Scott who welcomed the guests and relatives of Dr. Fiaschi. Present were Mr. Lanfranco Secco Suardo from Bergamo, Tom Yates, Nigel McCarthy who narrated recollections of the family and Fabio Carosone, president of the Dante Alighieri Society Sydney, who introduced a brief history of the Society and the present condition of the learning of the Italian language in Australia and, in particular, in Sydney.
After refreshments and appetisers, a cake with the image of Il Porcellino was cut by Jim and the deputy mayor Linda Scott and enjoyed by all. All the guests then assembled by the Porcellino for photos and coin donations to the statue.