General News

14 April, 2024

CULTURAL DIVERSITY WEEK / Nhill treated to a cultural feast

Close to 100 people of various backgrounds attended the Harmony Day celebrations held at the Nhill Memorial Community Centre on March 21.

By Zoey Andrews

CREDIT Angela Watson
CREDIT Angela Watson

Close to 100 people of various backgrounds attended the Harmony Day celebrations held at the Nhill Memorial Community Centre on March 21.

In one of the largest Harmony Day celebrations in Hindmarsh to date - part of Cultural Diversity Week - attendees were treated to entertainment and performances including dancing, demonstrations, singing and talks provided by artists both local and visting.

Hindmarsh Shire Council mayor Cr Brett Ireland hosted the evening that began with a Welcome to Country by Aunty Annabelle, a Wotjobaluk traditional owner with connections to local communities.

Cr Ireland acknowledged that multicultural Australia was built on the cultures and histories of First Nations people that had continued for 65,000 years.

Young performers Vidhi and Krishna pulled on the audience’s heartstrings during their performance of the traditional Indian "shloka" which is used in Hindu mythology to connect to pure consciousness to remove fears and other negative thoughts from the heart.

Tracey Rigney, a Wotjobaluk and Ngarrindjeri woman from Dimboola, was the guest speaker and spoke about her childhood in Melbourne before moving to Dimboola as a young girl.

Short videos were screened from Hindmarsh Shire youth councillors, West Wimmera Health Services and Nhill Poe (a multicultural youth group run by Wimmera Southern Mallee Development) about what Harmony Day meant to them.

Asmita and Alana from West Wimmera Health Service then provided a demonstration on the art of dressing in a traditional Indian sari, alongside a brief presentation on the history of this iconic garment.

Ram Upadhyaya, director of infrastructure services at Hindmarsh Shire Council, presented the story of his and his wife’s journey from Nepal to Australia and the Wimmera, detailing the challenges they faced along the way and the support they received.

Sachita then demonstrated a traditional Nepalese dance to finish their presentation.

Following a break during which the audience shared a meal, including multicultural dishes supplied by members of the community, the group was treated to a high-energy haka by a local Samoan group.

Traditional Bollywood dances were then performed by Treesa and Eliza, as well as Anubha Jalla.

To the delight of the audience, the Wimmera Filipino-Australia Club sang several songs which were followed by local Nhill Karen residents performing the don dance.

The don is a traditional Karen dance originating among the Pwo Karen, who developed it to reinforce community values.

The final act of the evening was Bella from Horsham who performed a traditional Burmese dance called the ta bin daing, which in English means "lone" or "the only person".


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