Larger text size icon Smaller text size icon

Place Names Register Extract

Ruffino Park

If you know of any information about this place name which does not appear in this extract, please let the Place Names Committee know by completing a submission form.

Print Extract | Search Again

Name Ruffino Park
Type Designation Urban Park
Place Id 24858
Place Type Park or Cemetery
Status Registered
Date Registered 13 February 2018
Locality / Suburb  
  Kilgariff
Local Government Area  
  Alice Springs Town Council
History/Origin Luigi (Papa) Ruffino (1926-1999) arrived in Australia (Perth) from Randazzo, Sicily, aged 25 years. After various jobs in WA, he came to Darwin, circa 1955, where he eventually opened a restaurant which was the start of a success story spanning more than 30 years.

In 1958, Luigi left Darwin with his new bride, Vera, intending to go to Mt Isa to feed the miners. But after a delay in Alice Springs, and bumping into a customer from his first restaurant, they were convinced to stay in Alice. Luigi pioneered the restaurant and catering business, changing the face of Alice Springs in the process. He ran various restaurants, a bistro and deli as well as becoming the proprietor of a bakery and various supermarkets in both Alice Springs and Tennant Creek. He was innovative in his thinking and nothing was impossible for him. The word 'can't' was not in his vocabulary, he always found a way of doing what he envisioned. He brought his own culture to Alice Springs, along with things Alice Springs had never seen before a Delicatessen with fresh cold meats, Italian delicacy imported from Italy, and many foods that hadn't reached the middle of Australia before. Luigi was famous for his Granita and Gelato, the first in town, which was an icy treat for the locals in the hot weather that is still talked about today.

Luigi and Vera made a great team, one had the ideas and the other created the means. Papa Luigi, as he was affectionately known as, was a respected member of the community and his contribution to central Australia was recognised in 1979 when he was awarded the MBE.

In 1986, Luigi and Vera retired to the Gold Coast Hinterland which reminded Luigi of his homeland. Luigi died in 1999 survived by his widow Vera, their 2 daughters, Sarina and Angela and 4 grandchildren.

Register & Gazettal information

Date Gazettal Comment
13/02/2018 Date added to the Register (Certified Plan - S2018/001)
Print Extract | Search Again