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March 2010 - Multicultural


                                                                                                                                                                     affairs newsletter

March 2010                                                                         Affairs newsletter
Office of Multicultural Affairs Level 4, NT House 22 Mitchell Street Darwin NT 0800 Postal address GPO Box 4396 Darwin NT 0801 Tel 08 8999 3880 Fax 08 8999 3889 Email

                 National Harmony                                                                             Y Challenge –
                 Day – 21 March 2010                                                                          what will you do?
                 To celebrate Harmony Day in 2010 the
                 Territory Government has funded activities                                                 Harmony Day is on Sunday 21 March.
                 for over 40 organisations and schools.                                                     It began in 1999 and 11 years later
                                                                                                            community groups and others have
                 Activities and events include traditional
                                                                                                            staged over 25 000 Harmony Day events
                 dancing performances, Dragon Boat
                                                                                                            to celebrate Australia’s cultural diversity.
                 Regatta, banner making, twilight markets,
                                                                                                            The theme for Harmony Day 2010 is
                 chess, kung fu night and school based
                                                                                                            Express Yourself.
                 activities such as arts, crafts, cooking,
                 dancing, singing and sports.                                                               This year the Department of Immigration
                                                                                                            and Citizenship and the Australian Red
                 The Chief Minister of the Northern Territory,
                                                                                                            Cross are promoting the Y Challenge
                 Paul Henderson, will host a Harmony Day
                                                                                                            – celebrating diversity. This program
                 Function at Parliament House on 19 March
                                                                                                            provides information and ideas to
                 2010 and will be awarding the recipient of
                                                                                                            help young people organise their own
                 the Charles See Kee Award at the function.
                                                                                                            projects to highlight the positives of
                 For more Harmony Day events in the                                                         Australia’s rich cultural diversity.
                 Northern Territory please see the attached
                                                                                                            This Harmony Day get your group to
                 Harmony Day Calendar of Events.
                                                                                                            take the Y Challenge. You can start small
                 Promotional products such as posters,                                                      or do something big. It’s up to you. Log
                 button badges, temporary Harmony Day                                                       on to and follow
                 tattoos, stickers and balloons are available                                               the links to Y Challenge – celebrating
                 free from                                                               diversity.

affairs newsletter

         International Women’s Day
     Since the early 1900s International Women’s
     Day has been a celebration of women around
     the world; their achievements, challenges,
     contributions and strengths. The Multicultural
     Council of the Northern Territory, Darwin
     Community Arts and community stakeholders
     are organising an International Women’s Day
     lunchtime event at Chambers Crescent Theatre,
     Malak on Saturday 6 March from 11am - 4pm to
     celebrate women in Darwin and acknowledge
     their diversity.
     The question “What does it mean to you to be a
     woman?” will be explored through performance,
     art, storytelling and song. Women from diverse
     cultural backgrounds will also be invited to bring
     a plate of food to share for lunch. Participants
     from Darwin Community Arts’ successful My
     Sister’s Kitchen project will be involved to help
     promote the fantastic and fun community program
     of storytelling, food and skill sharing amongst
                                                          models and mentors who have, and continue to
     women from all over the globe.
                                                          make a difference. This is a free event open to
     This International Women’s Day event will focus      the Darwin community. To be involved or for more
     on the recognition of local migrant, refugee and     information contact coordinator Sarah van der
     Indigenous women as community leaders, role          Sommen on 0418 429 780 or

           Multicultural Affairs                             Commencement
           Sponsorship Program
                                                             of new Office of
           Round 1 is now open
                                                             Multicultural Affairs
       Applications for Round 1 of the Multicultural         Director
       Affairs Sponsorship Program (MASP) open
       1 March and close 2 April 2010.                       Adrian Curry
       MASP assists multicultural communities by             commenced
       providing funds towards innovative projects           as the Acting
       and activities (celebrations, exhibitions,            Director, Office
       migrant support projects etc) that enhance            of Multicultural
       the success of our proudly multicultural              Affairs on Monday
       community.                                            1 February
                                                             2010. Adrian is
       Applications and guidelines are available             looking forward to working with the
       on the Office of Multicultural Affairs website:       multicultural communities of the                           Territory and looks forward to meeting
       For further information contact Diane                 you all when the opportunity arises.
       Wayne on 8999 3880.

                                                                                          affairs newsletter

Chinese New
Year - Year
of the Tiger
The start of the Chinese New
Year is based on a lunar calendar,
which means that it generally
begins somewhere between
January and February, depending
on the lunar cycle.
The year of the Tiger commenced on
14 February 2010. The Tiger is one of
12 animal signs of the Chinese zodiac. If
you were born in the following years, you          Chinese Dragons
fall under the year of the Tiger: 1902, 1914,
1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, and
                                                   The land grant to the Vietnamese community to
                                                   build the Vietnamese Community Centre was
According to the Chinese zodiac, people            well acknowledged. Video clips of the land
born in these years are said to have some of       grant ceremony in Parliament was replayed
the following characteristics: friendly, loving,   and plans of the Vietnamese Community
courageous and distinguished. However,             Centre were displayed.
they are also described as ferocious and
                                                   The NT Timor-Chinese Association Inc also
as risk takers. Tigers are said to thrive in
                                                   held a New Year function on Saturday 13
leadership positions.
                                                   February which was attended by over 800
The Chief Minister, Paul Henderson was             people from the community.
born in the year of the Tiger. The Chief
                                                   More celebrations for the Year of the Tiger
Minister hosted a reception at Parliament
                                                   were held around the Territory. To name a
House on Monday 15 February to celebrate
                                                   few, the Chung Wah Society and Australia-
the New Year, the reception was attended
                                                   China Friendship Society held dinner functions
by approximately 500 people. Festivities
                                                   and the Hong Kong Club will hold a mahjong
included dance performances by the Chinese
Language and Culture Centre of Darwin,
the Pure Land and Lotus Blossom Dancers            The Chung Wah Society blessed their new
and the Chung Wah Dragon and Lion Dance            lions at a ceremony on Saturday 13 February.
Troupe.                                            The ritual involved community elders blessing
                                                   the lions by “dotting the eyes” to waken them
The Vietnamese Community in Australia-NT
                                                   and introducing them to the Gods so that the
Chapter Inc celebrated with 200 members of
                                                   lions can then do blessings and performances.
their community on Saturday 13 February. As
                                                   This was a spectacular, colourful event with
usual, children as well as their parents were
                                                   the older lions welcoming the baby lions. The
delighted to receive red packets containing
                                                   dragon also came out to play with the new
lucky money, which were distributed by
dignitaries to children under the age of 10.
Dignitaries were given a special gift by the       The Office of Multicultural Affairs wishes the all
teenagers, a Lunar New Year “card” which           communities celebrating the Year of the Tiger a
were hand-made in Vietnam.                         happy and prosperous year ahead.

affairs newsletter

          “Keeping Your Children
          Safe” interactive
          information session
          at the Multicultural
          Council of the NT

     The Multicultural Council of the NT’s
     (MCNT) Multicultural Solutions Project
     (MSP) has been running since March
     2005. Under the program Lynne Fisher
     assists refugee families identify their needs and
     increase their participation in community life.
     Settling into Australian society presents complex
     challenges for recently arrived refugee families.
     MSP schedules regular Parents Support Meetings       The “Keeping Your Children Safe” information
     as a forum to discuss issues of concern. Guest       session was well attended and very successful.
     speakers are arranged to provide information for     The focus was on reaffirming positive parenting
     refugee families.                                    skills and family strengths in the context of rights
                                                          and responsibilities.
     On Friday 15 January MCNT hosted the
     “Keeping Your Children Safe” information session     In all there were 32 adults from 8 different African
     conducted by Lesley Taylor from the National         and Asian language groups in attendance.
     Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and        Interpreters were provided and a carer for the
     Neglect (NAPCAN).                                    20 children who were happily occupied watching
     The mission of NAPCAN is to prevent child
     abuse and neglect and to ensure the safety           If you would like to be involved in future Parents
     and wellbeing of every Australian child through      Support Meetings as a participant or as a presenter,
     motivating and empowering all adults to advocate     MCNT would like to hear from you. To find out more
     on behalf of children by influencing behaviour,      about the Multicultural Solutions Project phone
     policy, practice and the law.                        Lynne Fisher at MCNT on 8945 9122.

        Stronger Families Educator Training in TIPS
                                                         Melaleuca conducts a program to support
                                                         and strengthen families which is funded
                                                         by the Territory Government. The trained
                                                         facilitators will make the Tips and Ideas for
                                                         Parenting Skills program available for their
                                                         communities. Below are some quotes from
                                                         the participants.
                                                         “The TIPS Training helped me think about
                                                         my own parenting skills”
                                                         “We parents are all learning from each other
                                                         and sharing our stories about being parents”
          Facilitators from the Burundi,                 “Helped me realise that we need to have
          Congolese and Liberian communities
                                                         more discussion about how families are

                                                                                               affairs newsletter

  New ovens for
  the Cyprus
The Cyprus Community has acquired three
new precast ovens through the Territory
Government’s Ethnic Community Facilities
Development Program.
Two of the new ovens have already been
utilised by the Cyprus Community at their New
Year’s party for the cooking of the main course
- the traditional Cypriot lamb roast, which fed
approximately 200 guests at the function.
The third oven is a designated mobile unit and a
purpose made trailer suitable for its transportation
is on order. Once installed on the trailer it will be
carted around to various functions and may also
be used to provide supplementary catering at the
Cyprus Hall. It is anticipated that the third oven
will be put to use at the forthcoming 2010 Greek
The ovens are wood fired and hail back to
the days before electricity when meals were             The preparation of the meals, the amount of
traditionally cooked over open fires, hot coals or      firewood used to preheat the oven and the
enclosed in preheated ovens. The method for             period of time the meals are left to cook is a
cooking or baking in ovens consists of loading          closely guarded secret of the chef. As there is
and preheating the oven using firewood, when the        no accessing or checking the meals during the
flames subside the resulting charcoal is removed        cooking period a good meal is dependent on a
from the oven, the prepared meals are placed            lot of good practical experience. This traditional
and sealed in the ovens for several hours and the       way of cooking is still unmatched by modern
enclosed residual heat inside the oven does the         technology and it is highly recommended that a
cooking.                                                taste of it is experienced.

New committees elected
Multicultural Community Services Multicultural Council of the
of Central Australia Inc         Northern Territory
The Multicultural Community Services of Central         The Multicultural Council of the NT held its
Australia Inc (MCSCA) held its Annual General           Annual General Meeting on 14 December 2009
Meeting on 10 December 2009. The new                    and the following committee members were
management committee members were elected               elected.
at the meeting and are:
                                                        President               Mr Sabaratnam Prathapan
Chairperson                   Paul Phyland              Senior Vice President Ms Heather Prendergast
Vice-Chairperson              Michele Castagna          Vice President          Mr Prakash Achanya
Treasurer                     David Campbell            Treasurer               Mr Yogan Sathianathan

affairs newsletter

       Volunteers needed
     If you’ve ever thought about helping refugee
     families, here’s a great opportunity.
     You can make a real difference!
     Volunteering with Melaleuca Refugee Centre will
     give you practical and valuable experience in a
     cross-cultural environment. To register, or find
     out more, contact the Volunteer Coordinator on
     8985 3311 or
     “For a little bit of effort you can get a lot of joy and
     satisfaction. You can make a positive difference
     to the lives of those who can really use your
     assistance and friendship”. (Aaron Watson,

        Sri Lanka National Day 4 February 2010
     To mark the 62nd year of Sri Lanka’s
     independence from the United
     Kingdom, a celebration was held by
     the Sri Lanka Australia Friendship
     Association (SLAFA) at the
     University Pirates Rugby Club on
     Saturday 6 February.. This year’s
     celebration was very significant
     as it was the first since the end of
     the 26 year civil war in Sri Lanka.
     The evenings proceedings began
     with the lighting of the traditional ‘oil
     lamp’, followed by the singing of the
     national anthems by children dressed
     in national costume. The Chief Minister,
     Paul Henderson was invited to partake in the
     lamp lighting ceremony.
     A welcoming speech was given by the
     president of the SLAFA, followed by the
     reading of a short message from the President
                                                                Homework club
     of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mahinda                       Need help with your schoolwork or homework?
     Rajapaksa. A scrumptious Sri Lankan dinner                 The Homework Club provides free support for
     (home cooked and prepared by the Sri                       middle school and high school students from non-
     Lankan community) followed the formal part of              English speaking and refugee backgrounds. For
     the evening. Karaoke type Sri Lankan music                 more information please contact the Multicultural
     was provided for the entertainment of the                  Council of the Northern Territory on 8945 9122.

                                                                                              affairs newsletter

Harmony Day
2009 success
Alice Springs School of the Air is a diverse
community and is one of the most famous
schools in the world. With a classroom
beaming across 1.3 million square
kilometres, the school celebrates Harmony
Day very differently.
Ms Vicki Skoss, an art teacher at the school who
does quilting as a hobby, came up with the idea
of creating a piece of art each student and
family could contribute to. She got the
idea from a cloth quilt made many years
ago, which hangs in the visitor centre
and is part of the school heritage.
Vicki wanted a new quilt and wanted
the families to make or construct it out
of unique outback materials found on
their cattle station, Indigenous community
or government outpost. She sent out
                                                        agreed that the students themselves would vote
expressions of interest and asked the families to
                                                        on the three best. Mr Doc Cunningham, local
find a piece of tin which was 40cm x 40cm. Onto
                                                        cattleman and bushman extraordinaire announced
this they could decorate their tin block to show
                                                        the winners on the evening of the gala Christmas
where they lived. They were asked to decorate
                                                        concert and graduation ceremony in December.
it with bits of wire, or use a hammer and a nail
to punch out a line of holes to ‘write’ the name of     The winners were, Kulgera Police Station,
their place on the tin. It was intended that the tin    Henbury Station and Napperby Station. All the tin
blocks would then be assembled, in a quilt like         quilt blocks were displayed on stage and for most
fashion onto the outside wall of their school.          of the families it was the first time they had seen
                                                        all the entries together.
One Mum blew some holes in her tin block with
a shot gun, another family had to run over their        In summing up the Harmony Day project for 2009,
piece of tin with a bull-dozer to flatten it out. One   Vicki stated
Dad had to buy more tin which he had reserved
                                                         “I was delighted by the way our school
for a special use as it disappeared from the shed
                                                        community leapt into this project. Welders were
and was cut up by the kids for their tin block.
                                                        lent to others, advice was shared across many
Another parent scaled an old windmill for a
                                                        kilometres on the phone, people of all ages
windmill blade for their tin block and just got down
                                                        learnt new skills such as welding, tin snipping
before a rather brisk willy willy blew in.
                                                        and horse-shoe nail art, and it was so incredibly
Families are only at the school four times a            difficult to just choose three winners. They were
year - as the tin blocks were received they were        all fantastic and truly reflected the diversity of
displayed in the studio where they were seen            place and cultures at our school.
and photographed by thousands of tourists. One
                                                        Now, where to display the quilt? It is too precious
particular visitor to the school was very impressed
                                                        to install on an outside wall of the school and
and wanted to know the story behind the tin
                                                        too special to just hang in one needs to
quilt blocks. That visitor was former Australian
                                                        be seen by everyone who visits our school. The
cricketer - Glenn McGrath.
                                                        parents are phoning me to ask what they need for
Judging proved difficult for the staff and it was       our next Harmony Day project!”


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