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                                                                                                   affairs newsletter

December 2009                                    Affairs newsletter
         Message from the Chief Minister
      As Minister for Multicultural Affairs it has been      of grants and assistance
      a pleasure to see the ongoing efforts of our           which include Harmony
      multicultural community in maintaining what I          Day Grants, the
      believe is the most cohesive, diverse and vibrant      Cultural and Linguistic
      multicultural society in Australia.                    Awards, the Ethnic
                                                             Communities Facilities
      The year has provided us with a range of exciting
                                                             Development Program,
      and interesting activities and events staged by
                                                             the Multicultural Affairs
      the multicultural communities of the Territory.
                                                             Sponsorship Program and the Charles See Kee
      These have included events such as Glenti, India
      @ Mindil, the Barrio Fiesta, Islamic Awareness
      Week and a host of Harmony Day activities in           This year the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA)
      schools throughout the Northern Territory. These       completed a review of their grants program and
      are just some of the activities that highlight the     processes.
      multicultural diversity that makes the Territory a
                                                             I would like to take this occasion to wish everyone
      great place to live.
                                                             the very best for the Festive Season and please
      My government remains committed to continued           have a safe and happy time and we look forward
      support for multicultural activities through a range   to working with you in 2010.

           Office of
        This year has been very busy for the Office of
        Multicultural Affairs (OMA).
        We have assessed overseas tertiary qualifications
        from the Philippines, Italy, China, Liberia,
        Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Taiwan,       Meeting with the Mabuhay Multicultural Association
        Estonia, Nepal, Norway, Myanmar, Columbia,         of Alice Springs
        Uganda, Malaysia, Chile, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe,     Flobamora Indonesian Association, Papua New-
        the United States of America, Pakistan, Ghana,    Guinea-Australia Social and Cultural Group,
        Timor-Leste, Krygstan and Nigeria.                Fijian Association, Kiribati Association, Sri Lanka
        As part of our community engagement program,      Association, Nepalese Association of the NT,
        we have met with members from Balai Indonesia, Tamil Society, Australian Karen Organisation-NT
        Alice Springs Islamic Society, Persatuan          Chapter, Te Whanu
        Indonesia-Darwin Inc, Alliance of Congolese,                               Continued page 2

affairs newsletter

          Anula Primary
          School Intensive
          English Unit

            OMA would like to thank the Intensive
            English Unit at Anula Primary school for the
            loan of their beautiful artworks. The artworks
            were made as part of the Harmony Day
            activities this year.
            The artworks have been admired by many of
            our clients as well as the Department of the
            Chief Minister’s staff.
            OMA looks forward to displaying more
            masterpieces in the office.
                                                                    Artworks were produced by Anula Primary School,
                                                                    Intensive English Unit.

     Continued from page 1
     Tahi Association Inc, Islamic Society of Darwin,        promote cultural diversity through a range of
     Alliance Francaise, NT Hong Kong Club and               grants programs such as Harmony Day, Cultural
     the Japanese Vice Consul. We look forward               and Linguistic Awards and the Multicultural Affairs
     to meeting with the various multicultural               Sponsorship Program totalling $759,965.
     community groups in the Northern Territory in           We have also supported a range of multicultural
     2010.                                                   events in the Territory, such as the Glenti Festival,
     Next year we are hoping to travel to Nhulunbuy          India @ Mindil, Barrio Fiesta, Harmony Day
     to meet with members from the Tongan                    events, 60th Anniversary of the Chung Wah
     Association and the Filipino Social Club of             Society, the Bhutanese Vijay Dashimi celebration,
     Gove.                                                   just to name a few.
     OMA has continued to support multicultural              OMA wishes all a happy and safe festive season
     communities in the Northern Territory to                and we look forward to working with you next year.

                                                                                              affairs newsletter

On Friday 2 October, the Chief Minister hosted
a reception at Parliament House for the Moon
Festival. Over 200 people from the local Chinese,
Vietnamese and Japanese communities attended
the event.
Chinese culture is deeply imbedded in traditional
festivals and the Moon Festival is one of the two
most important traditional events for the Chinese.
The Moon Festival, also known as the mid-            Chinese Language and Cultural Centre Dancers
autumn Festival, falls on the 15th day of the 8th
lunar month, a date that parallels the autumn
equinox of the western calendar. At this time the    ancient autumn Moon Festivals, women took
moon is at its fullest and brightest.                centre stage because the moon is considered
                                                     feminine. Only women took part in Moon Festival
                                                     rituals on the night of the full moon. Altars would
                                                     be set up in households and when the full moon
                                                     appeared women would make offerings of
                                                     incense, candles, fruit, flowers and moon cakes.
                                                     Like other ancient symbolic foods, there are as
                                                     many legends surrounding the moon cake as
                                                     there are types of moon cakes. In one tale, moon
                                                     cakes originated in ancient times to pay homage
                                                     to the moon. According to other sources, the
                                                     moon cake was invented as a way to honour the
                                                     Moon Goddess Chang-Er.
                                                     In what is perhaps the most famous tale, it is said
                                                     that during the Mongolian rule, Han Chinese rebel
                                                     Chu Yuan-Chang spread a secret message baked
                                                     in moon cakes giving the instructions “revolt on
Australia-China Friendship Society NT Dancers        the 15th day of the eighth lunar month”. On the
                                                     night of the brightest moon these revolutionary
To the ancient ancestors of the Chinese, the sun
                                                     fighters successfully attacked and overthrew the
and the moon were considered the “chief objects
                                                     Mongolian army.
of veneration,” according to records dating to the
Han dynasty Emperor Wu Di.                           The Vietnamese also celebrate the Moon
                                                     Festival, named Tết Trung Thu and their moon
In ancient Asian mythology, there is a strong
                                                     cakes are square in shape. Vietnamese families
relationship between the moon and water. The
                                                     plan their activities around their children on this
moon is said to regulate reservoirs and supplies
                                                     special day.
of water. There is a suggestion that the moon
produces fertility and freshness in the soil.        In Vietnamese folklore, parents were working
                                                     so hard to prepare for the harvest that they left
The moon’s role in bountiful harvests is widely
                                                     the children playing by themselves. To make up
recognised during autumns around the world.
                                                     for lost time, parents would use the mid-autumn
In Chinese celestial cosmology, the moon             festival as a chance to show their love and
represents the female principle, or yin. During      appreciation for their children.

affairs newsletter

         Employer Cultural
         Awareness Breakfast

     A breakfast forum for Territory employers was
     held in September by the Melaleuca Refugee
     Centre and the Chamber of Commerce NT with
     the support of key stakeholders. It promoted
     and raised awareness of the remarkable
     contributions people from refugee and culturally
     diverse backgrounds to local businesses and the         to employ people from refugee backgrounds.
     Territory’s economy.                                    Resource packs containing support material for
                                                             employers interested in employing people of
     Guest speakers from refugee backgrounds                 refugee and culturally diverse backgrounds were
     delivered inspiring first-hand accounts of how          distributed at the breakfast.
     sustainable employment had changed their lives.
     Local employers also shared their success stories,      The forum was a great success with an
     highlighting the financial, social and personal gains   encouraging turnout of prospective employers
     of employing people from refugee backgrounds.           and resulted in a number of real job opportunities
                                                             for members of the refugee community in Darwin.
     The breakfast forum aimed to break down the
     barriers that make employers unwilling or unable        The resource packs are available by contacting
                                                             the Melaleuca Refugee Centre on 8985 3311.

         The Multicultural Council of the NT joins forces with Mission
            Australia to help refugees develop small businesses

              The New Enterprise Incentive                   will be provided for the first 12 months
              Scheme (NEIS) is a self-employment             of operation of the new business with a
              program funded by the Department of            professional mentor to guide, counsel,
              Education, Employment and Workplace            and talk through concerns and ideas.
              Relations (DEEWR). NEIS helps                  The scheme also provides business
              eligible unemployed people become              plan assistance and flexible training in
              self-supporting and independent of             Certificate III or IV of Small Business
              Centrelink by establishing and running         Management.
              their own business.
                                                             The provider of NEIS in the Top End is
              In operation since 1985, NEIS is               Mission Australia. Mission Australia and
              Australia’s longest running and most           the Multicultural Council of the NT are
              successful self-employment program.            keen to assist recently arrived refugees
              More than 80% of participants in NEIS          participate in the scheme. If you are eligible
              indicate that 15 months after starting         for assistance and have a potentially viable
              their business, they are either still          business idea that is new and independent,
              operating a business, employed and/or          NEIS would like to hear from you.
              in some form of education or training.
                                                             For more information about NEIS,
              The goal of NEIS is to help eligible           contact Nerida Silva at Mission
              unemployed people set up a                     Australia on ph: 8924 9150 or email:
              sustainable business. Income support 

                                                                                                    affairs newsletter

   Batik Day
Batik is produced by using wax to prevent
colourful dyes from being absorbed into a
particular area of cloth to create a desired pattern.
The process is widely used on cotton but for more
formal occasions, silk is used.
Patterns are diverse and reflect an array of
influences. The different techniques, patterns
and symbolism in batik making are intertwined           Photo provided courtesy of the Darwin Consulate of the
in Indonesian cultural life. It is used in sarongs,     Republic of Indonesia
shirts and dresses by children, men and women.
                                                        a function at the Indonesian Garden at Charles
Batik is also popular in other parts of Asia.
                                                        Darwin University to commemorate this UNESCO
On 2 October 2009, the United Nations                   declaration.
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
                                                        The highlight of the evening was the parade
(UNESCO) declared that Indonesian Batik is a
                                                        of batik attire by the Indonesian community,
masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of
                                                        particularly the children.
                                                        For more information on UNESCO’s decision,
In Indonesia, people celebrated the decision
                                                        please visit:
by wearing their best batik attires, while in
Darwin the Indonesian community had their own 
celebrations. The Indonesian Consulate hosted           php?RL=00170

             Multicultural Council of the NT’s 2009-2010
               Multicultural Solutions Project (MSP)
The MSP, in partnership with the Tata Family            the community and how CALD communities
Centre, Karama and the Karama Community                 can engage with the police. The MSP hopes
Nurse, provide parenting support to young               to conduct the project on a monthly basis.
mothers from culturally and linguistically              Lunch will be provided.
diverse backgrounds.
                                                        The Multicultural Council of the Northern
Parenting support is provided to young mothers          Territory delivers an Emergency Relief
from the Adult Migrant English Program who              Program for migrants and refugees
come to the child care centre each Wednesday to         experiencing economic hardship.
receive support with written and spoken English,
                                                        This program, which is supported by the
avoiding the need to be separated from their
                                                        Department of Families, Housing, Community
young children. Every third Wednesday of the
                                                        Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), is
month, the MSP provides information on child
                                                        designed to assist people in financial crisis to
development, parenting and providing healthy
                                                        deal with their immediate crisis situation in a
meals to young children. Lunch is provided.
                                                        way that maintains the dignity of the individual
New program designed to provide information             and encourages self reliance.
and support to parents and their children
                                                        The recent Australian Government increase
After consultations with Culturally and                 for FaHCSIA’s Emergency Relief Program
Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities, the          provides assistance that not only deals with
MSP has launched a Parent’s Support Group.              a client’s immediate financial crisis but is also
The first session was held in the Jingili Water         designed to head off future financial stress by
Gardens on 14 November. A member of the                 providing more substantial one-off assistance
Northern Territory Police was a guest speaker at        to first-time clients to help get them back on
the event.                                              their feet.
The theme of the day reflected the concerns of          The applicant must be referred from any of the
the community around the role of the police in          community welfare service providers or police.

affairs newsletter

         Barrio Fiesta 2009

     Filipino culture and local talents in performing
     arts were displayed at the 2009 Barrio Fiesta,
     one of the most popular and largest multicultural
     events in Darwin. According to event organisers,
     the Barrio Fiesta 2009 attracted its largest crowd
     ever, a demonstration that it has
     grown in stature and dynamism.
     The Fiesta, which is in its 13th
     year now, showcased the many
     talents in the community. The
     evening commenced with the
     Fiesta games, the Pabitin and
     Piñata for the children. It was
     followed by a selection of modern
     songs and dances including
     performances by Ms Yuliana
     Pascoe and students from
     Darwin High School.
     The festival was formally
     addressed by the guest of
     honour, the Hon Paul Henderson,
     MLA, Chief Minister and Minister
     for Multicultural Affairs. This
     was followed by the Mutya and
     Lakambini ng Barrio Fiesta Pageant
     (Princess of the Village Festival),
     as the highlight of the evening. The
     beautiful candidates paraded in
     traditional, modern and gala attires.
     With the judges decision finalised,
     the 2009 Mutya & Lakambini ng
     Barrio Fiesta were crowned.
     The lively evening continued with
     performances from the Katherine
     Filipino Australian Association NT,
     which included broadway dance
     items. Filipino cultural dances,
     choreographed by a visiting Filipino
     Dance Choreographer and Festival
     Director, were followed by entertainment from
     interstate performers - Joan Cubian (Wowowee),       Filipino food and Philippine’s finest San Miguel
     Kevin Moreno (Brisbane Karaoke champion), Jai        beer.
     Monteza (Brisbane entertainer) and Darwin’s very
                                                          The Office of Multicultural Affairs is a proud
     own Brian Cubelo.
                                                          sponsor of the Barrio Fiesta 2009 and
     Visitors to this year’s Barrio Fiesta were treated   congratulates the Filipino Australian Association
     with a variety of entertainment and a taste of       of the NT for hosting this event.

                                                                                                 affairs newsletter

    The Cyprus
    Community Food
    and Wine Festival
The Cyprus community of the NT hosted the
Cyprus Community food and wine festival on 5
Darwin was transported temporarily to the
beautiful Mediterranean where the exotic smells
of char grilled delicacies and the hospitality of
                                                      Article and photo courtesy of the Cyprus Community of the NT
the community took centre stage. The event
took place at the Cyprus Community Centre and         from Adelaide, with vocal performances from
attracted more than 3000 people.                      Tsambika, Christakis and up and coming local
Visitors were treated to a wonderful display          artist Kitsa Cleanthous.
of Cypriot and Greek dancing, tasted some             History enthusiasts had the opportunity to learn
traditional Cypriot food and drank some of            about Cypriot culture and the history of Cypriots
the oldest continuous produced wine in the            in the Northern Territory at the comprehensive
world. While the youngsters were entertained          cultural display tent. Work has already begun for
by the many amusements, games and Mihalos             next year’s event and the community promises
(the festival mascot), the adults were treated        some surprises. The Office of Multicultural Affairs
with performances from the Zorbas band                proudly sponsored this event.

  Chung Wah Society – 60th Anniversary Celebrations
In 1949, several Chinese community groups             Griffiths, was held for its 48 Life Members and/
merged to form the Chung Wah Society. The             or descendants on 3 September. Invitations were
main groups were the Kuo Min Tang Society,            also extended to descendants of the Founding
the Wah On Society, and the Darwin Chinese            Executive Committee to attend.
Recreation Club; however, the latter retained its     Members were awarded life membership for their
separate identity to cater for the sporting and       dedicated service to the society and it was felt
recreational activities.                              that a special event for them would be a small
“Chung Wah” means “Chinese” and the principal         but deserving reward for their services. Each
goals of the new society were to unite the            life member or their immediate descendant was
Chinese community and to provide for its social,      handed a special life member’s badge and some
religious and cultural needs as well as fostering     personal gifts.
and establishing good relations with other            Two honour boards, one with the names of all
members of the wider community.                       life members and another with the founding
In researching the history for the 60th anniversary   committee and presidents, were unveiled during
celebrations, it was discovered the Founding          the evening.
Executive Committee read like a “who’s who” of        On 4 September, a reception for ordinary
the Chinese community in the 40s and 50s:             members was held to allow them to participate in
Founding President: Albert Fong                       the celebrations and to view the honour boards
                                                      and photographic displays. About 200 people
Founding Treasurer: George (Fong) Lim
Founding Secretary: Charlie (Fook) On
                                                      A commemorative booklet highlighting the
Founding Chinese Secretary: Leung Sing Noy.
                                                      society’s 60 years and the celebrations is being
To celebrate the 60th anniversary, a special          compiled for future publication.
dinner, hosted by the society’s patron, Mr Dick

affairs newsletter

       of Lights
     Deepavali, or Diwali, is the highlight of the Hindu
     religious calendar, which this year fell on 17
     October. The event, which is based on a lunar
     calendar, signifies the victory of good over evil. It
     is called Deepavali in South India and Diwali in the
     As part of the celebrations, lamps are lit to
     symbolise the victory of good over evil, and the
     gesture also signifies the same to the individual
     lighting the lamp. Hence it is also known as
     the Festival of Lights. Prayer, decorations and
     flowers are all part of the celebration.
     The festival is also celebrated by Sikhs and
     Jains to commemorate significant and auspicious
     events in their religious celebrations. It is widely
     celebrated in India and Nepal, and also parts of
     South-East Asia.
     While the stories behind the celebrations may
     differ from place to place the spirit of the occasion
     remains of hope and renewal.
     To celebrate this event, the Chief Minister
     hosted a reception in Parliament House. The
     Chief Minister was joined by leaders and
     representatives of the various Indian and Hindu
     community groups for the traditional lighting of
     the lamp ceremony. Guests were treated to three
     outstanding performances by the visiting Manipuri
     Dance Troupe, who displayed vibrant rhythms,
     acrobatic skills and grace through their classical
     dances and rich costumes.
     Other community functions were also held.
     The Tamil Society held its Deepavali function
     on 10 October at the Chambers Crescent
     Theatre in Malak. The evening showcased the
     achievements of the Tamil School children who
                                                             The Indian Cultural Society also held its Deepavali
     displayed the language skills they had learnt
                                                             function on 24 October 2009 at the Darwin
     through their performances in song, poetry recital
                                                             Entertainment Centre. Highlights of the evening
     and dance items. Other performances included
                                                             included cultural song and dance performances,
     the Deepavali story, group singing, flute playing
                                                             which was followed by an Indian meal. Three
     and a stick dance. Winners for a language
                                                             hundred or more guests were part of this
     competition and sports day held previously
     were also acknowledged and rewarded for their
     achievements. With the close of the cultural            The Office of Multicultural Affairs wishes happy
     program, guests were treated to a wide variety of       Deepavali and Diwali to these communities in the
     Indian food.                                            Territory.
                                                                                              affairs newsletter

    Chinese Moon (Mid-
    Autumn) Festival and
    China’s 60th Birthday

         ACFSNT dancers in the Moon Festival

The Australia-China Friendship Society (ACFS) NT
Branch based in Darwin promotes and exchanges
culture, friendship and understanding at all levels
between Australian and Chinese people.
The ACFS invited the community to celebrate
China National Day and the Moon (Mid-Autumn)
Festival with a social function on Saturday 3
October at the Chung Wah Society Hall in Darwin
City.                                                 it is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the
                                                      People’s Republic of China.
The Chinese Moon Festival is one of the two most
important holidays in the Chinese lunar calendar,     A special feature of the event were dance
the other being the Chinese New Year. This year’s     performances by the newly formed ACFS Cultural
China National Day, which is celebrated annually      Group, who purchased their costumes courtesy of
on 1 October, takes on a special significance as      a grant from the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

          Carers Week – Multicultural lunch
    On Friday 23 October, the Multicultural             Australia” reflects the unexpected and
    Council of the NT (MCNT) and Carers NT              indiscriminate nature of the caring role
    hosted a multicultural lunch for Carers Week        and focuses on the geographical diversity
    2009 to celebrate the work of carers in the         of carers. Carers come from all walks of
    multicultural community.                            life and their experiences and needs are
    Carers Week is an initiative of Carers              diverse.
    Australia and is funded by the Australian           About 50 of the MCNT’s friends, supporters
    Government Department of Health and                 and stakeholders attended the multicultural
    Ageing. The week which ran from 18–24               lunch. The 2009–10 Multicultural Solutions
    October, acknowledges the vital role that           Project was also launched at the function
    carers play in our society.                         and attendees were introduced to MCNT’s
    This year’s theme “Anyone, Anytime Across           new project officer, Lynne Fisher.

affairs newsletter

          Vijay Dashami
     Darwin is now home to a small but active
     Bhutanese community. They are recently arrived
     refugee families of the displaced Nepali speaking
     Hindu minority of the Himalayan nation of Bhutan.
                                                              Members of the Bhutanese Community
     This group has recently formed as an association
     known as the Bhutanese Community of the                  the start of a new beginning. It is one of the most
     Northern Territory.                                      important festivals in the Hindu religious and
     The Bhutanese Community of the Northern                  cultural calendar in both Nepal and India.
     Territory, Darwin Community Arts and the                 The function featured cultural performances
     Multicultural Council of the NT worked together          including stories, poetry readings, dancing and
     to present the Bhutanese community’s first               traditional food. An award was also presented for
     public function, the Vijay Dashami, in Darwin on         the best design for the “Bhutanese Community of
     Monday 28 September at the Chambers Crescent             the NT” logo.
     Theatre, Malak.
                                                              The Office of Multicultural Affairs welcomes the
     Vijay Dashami is a Hindu celebration which               Bhutanese community to Darwin and is proud to
     commemorates the victory of good over evil and           support this event.

                                                                    Office Closures
     MCNT nominated for National                                    December 2009 - January 2010
     Multicultural Marketing Award
                                                              Please note the following office closures during
     The MCNT was nominated for an award in the               the Christmas break:
     National Multicultural Marketing Awards. The
     awards are run by the Community Relations                 The Multicultural Council of the NT will be
                                                               closed from 25 December 2009 and will re-
     Commission of the NSW Government and
                                                               open on 4 January 2010.
     celebrate the achievements made in engaging and
     providing services to a culturally diverse nation.        The Multicultural Community Services of
                                                               Central Australia will be closed from 24
     The awards which is in its 20th year, is one of the       December 2009 will re-open on 11 January
     highest profile multicultural events in Australia. The    2010.
     winners of the 2009 awards were announced at
     a special Gala Presentation Dinner in Sydney on           The Multicultural Community Services of Central
     Monday 2 November.                                        Australia will be closed from 24 December 2009
                                                               and will re-open on 11 January 2010.
     The MCNT’s nomination was in the AFL Community
                                                               Anglicare NT will be closed from 25 December
     Award category. This category is open to any
                                                               2009 to 4 January 2010 and the Refugee and
     community or cultural organisation in Australia that      Migrant Settlement Services office will be open
     demonstrates the ability for marketing in a way that      3 days a week (Monday-Wednesday) from 4 to
     “makes an improved difference to the community”.          25 January 2010.
     The MCNT was nominated primarily because of the
     quality of its website.                                   The Melaleuca Refugee Centre will be closed
                                                               from 25 December 2009 and will re-open on 4
     Sahba Delshad represented MCNT at the awards              January 2010.
     night. Sahba worked at MCNT from August to
                                                               The Overseas Qualifications Unit, in the
     November 2007 on the OMA-funded “Triumphs and             Office of Multicultural Affairs, will be closed
     Barriers to Migrant Employment in the Northern            from 24 December 2009 and the service will
     Territory” project and is now living in Sydney.           resume on 4 January 2010. Please note
     Unfortunately, MCNT did not win the award.                that appointments are required. For more