News Canterbury community celebrates its 10th Harmony Day
24 March 2016 – Hundreds of local families and friends joined dignitaries and special guests at the Orion Centre, Campsie on Wednesday 23 March for a day of cultural diversity to mark this year’s Harmony Day, which celebrates inclusiveness in our multicultural communities.
This year was the 10th anniversary of the Canterbury civic event which is organised annually by the Canterbury Harmony Group under the guidance of the president of the group, Canterbury City Council deputy mayor, Karl Saleh. The Canterbury Harmony Group represents 16 diverse community groups, and the Central Sydney South Regional Participation Service.
In addition, a variety of celebratory activities took place within local schools and cultural organisations.
Harmony Day has now become an international event, which coincides with the United Nations Elimination of Racial Discrimination Day.
The Canterbury celebrations got underway with an Acknowledgement of Country by Mr Ivor Rigney and the singing of the National Anthem by all present, led by students from St Joseph’s Public School.
Cr Saleh and Mrs Reecha Dhita-Bahini welcomed the special guests, including federal member for Watson, the Hon Tony Burke; Canterbury City Council mayor, Cr Brian Robson; state member for Lakemba, Jihad Dib; member of the Legislative Council, the Hon Sophie Cotsis; and Commander Michael McLean, Campsie Local Area Police.
Canterbury mayor, Cr Robson spoke about the diversity of cultures in the area, saying that 157 countries and cultures are represented across Canterbury and that he personally had the pleasure of signing residency certificates for people from over 130 countries.
The Hon Tony Burke and Cr Saleh presented various awards for community and for promoting tolerance.
Colourful entertainment was provided by various cultural groups, including the recently-formed PAYCE-sponsored Riverwood Community Choir, the Riverwood Chinese Dancing Group and the Vietnamese Dancing Group.
Supporting the day were Canterbury City Council, Riverwood Community Centre, PAYCE, NSW Family and Community Services, Arab Bank Australia, local schools, businesses and volunteers from local community groups.