Melbourne celebrates Sri Lanka’s 76th Independence Day

Photo- SAT/NN.

MELBOURNE, 4 February 2024: Sri Lanka gained its independence from Britain on 4 February 1948, around 6 months after India’s independence. The event at the Box Hill Town Hall, Melbourne was the Sri Lanka’s 76th independence day celebration. Melbourne has a big Sri Lankan Diaspora and naturally the function organised by the Consulate General of Sri Lanka, attracted a big chunk of Lankans, others, politicians, professionals among others.

The welcome speeches were in Sinhala, Tamil and English by Vijaya Karunasena, Noel Nadesan, and Dulan Hapuarachchi respectively. The traditional lamp were lighted by prominent among the present, followed by messages by the Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and Christian  faith leaders. Sri Lanka’s President Rail Wickremesinghe’s message was read out in Sinhala, Tamil and English.

Speeches by Chief Guest Minister Gabrielle Williams, John Pesutto, Leader of opposition, Cassandra Fernando, Federal MP, Holt and by the Sri Lankan Consul General, Sandith Samarasinghe among others wished Sri Lanka well and mentioned the role of the Sri Lankan Diaspora here. Among those present were the Indian Counsel General Dr. Sushil Kumar and Lee Taralmis, MP and the leader of opposition John Pesutto, MP.

Highlights of the evening were the many dance performances that mesmerised the audience. They reflected the unity and diversity of Sri Lanka and the Diaspora. Top VCE performers were honoured.

Highlight of the day was an appreciation award for Victor Melder, a leading intellectual, who runs the Victor Melder Sri Lanka Library. Talking to SAT, a proud Victor Melder said the library had around 7,000 books, Magazines, journals  and the number keeps increasing.

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This library started in 1968 can be the best source of information about Sri Lanka, with topics that include History (Portuguese Period, Dutch Period,  British Period), Geography,  Politics, Religion, Tourism, Culture, Sports, Language/Literature/Writing, Agriculture, Economics, Art/Architecture, Dictionaries, Bibliographies, Biographies, Education, Cookery, Year Books,  Anthropology, Flora/Fauna, Ethnic Issues etc. Those interested can E-mail victor@vmsl-library.com

Though the well organised event was the observance of Sri Lanka’s independence day, it was also a great networking event. One could see people in traditional outfits welcoming each other on a day which was Melbourne’s hottest day with the mercury touching 37.5 degrees and windy conditions.

-The text, photographs and video in this report are Copyright protected. For reuse permission contact – satimes@gmail.com

 

By Neeraj Nanda

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