The region's rich multicultural heritage will be celebrated at two Bundaberg and District Neighbourhood Centre Harmony Week events this week.
The region’s population is growing increasingly diverse and this development will be reflected in cultural events, honouring Harmony Week, to be hosted at the Bundaberg Neighbourhood Centre today and the Windmill Café Bargara on Saturday.
Corrie McColl, Bundaberg and District Neighbourhood Centre manager, said this week’s events were designed to reflect the goals of Harmony Week.
“Harmony Week was originally Harmony Day, and it was started in 1999 to, in short, create increased awareness about the social inclusion of people from different cultures and countries in Australia,” he said.
“Previously, Harmony Week events were only held in a couple of places in Bundaberg, there was us and Bundaberg TAFE.
“This year, to help increase awareness, I sought funding and was fortunate to receive State Government funding that enabled us to put on some performances and cultural events.”
Corrie said he believed Bundaberg, like the rest of Australia, had grown more accepting of those migrating to our region and now realised the economic, social, and cultural advantages of welcoming residents who had migrated from overseas.
“I think acceptance of others from different backgrounds has improved in the Bundaberg Region and is at a good level,” he said.
“Bundaberg has gone from being a very traditional sugar-based city to where it is now a multicultural centre where a lot of people who work here were not born here, coming from interstate and overseas, and bringing with them many different cultures.
“Generally, in this modern day, we have grown to accept that we have a lot in common with each other.”
Corrie said the multicultural event, held today, March 16, from 10am to 2pm at the Bundaberg and District Neighbourhood Centre at 111 Targo Street, Bundaberg, would feature information displays, and art and traditional dress exhibitions from countries including New Guinea, South Sea Islanders, Germany, the Philippines, and China.
It will also showcase artifacts from Nanning, Bundaberg’s sister city in China, courtesy of Bundaberg Regional Council.
Saturday’s event at the Windmill Café Bargara from 10am to midday will feature Filipino singer Analyn Moriarty, Shalom College students playing guqins (traditional Chinese stringed instruments), and a tea ceremony performed by Trevor Green.
Corrie said Shalom College and Norville State School students were also joining in the spirit of Harmony Week in Bundaberg, hosting events at their respective schools on Thursday incorporating traditional dress, customs and foods from other nations and cultures.
Bundaberg and District Neighbourhood Centre provides support for many community groups including migrants to the Bundaberg Region.
Corrie said the centre provides information seminars and advocacy services for newcomers to Australia, along with assistance in obtaining visas, permanent residency, and Australian citizenship.
“We help people who are new to Australia and Bundaberg navigate the maze of forms they are required to complete and help with translation services – anything we can do to help people from overseas settle into our country and our city,” he said.
Additional programs including hosting playgroups twice weekly to enable children and their parents and guardians new to the area to meet other people and Culture Bites, a ‘world café’, conducted three times yearly, in which participants bring a plate of food representative of their country to share with others.
The centre also hosts a sewing group in which newcomers to the area can learn to sew, share morning tea, and meet Australians who help them integrate into the community.
Schedule of Bundaberg Harmony Week events for Saturday at the Windmill Café Bargara:
9am-10am Analyn Moriarty performs
10am-10.30am Shalom College students play guqins (traditional Chinese string instruments)
10.45am -11am Trevor Green performs traditional Chinese tea ceremony
11am-midday Analyn Moriarty performs
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