6 November 2019
Mornington Peninsula Shire celebrated our migrant population at a special multicultural event at the Rosebud Shire offices on Wednesday 30 October.
Attended by 50 special guests and family members, representing 13 countries, the event acknowledged and highlighted the contribution migrants have made to the social, cultural and economic development of the Mornington Peninsula.
In his welcoming address, Mayor Councillor David Gill said immigrants expanded our culture and introduced new ideas and traditions into their adopted country.
“The resourcefulness, hard work and determination of people who came from so many other countries helped make the Mornington Peninsula an exceptional place to live. We are a more connected community because of our increased mutual understanding and the breaking down of barriers brought about by people in Australia’s immigration program after the second world war”.
Many people spoke about the reason they left their original country and even talked about the boat trip and their early beginnings in Australia at immigration camps and their first jobs on the way to having fulfilling lives in Australia.
The gathering was lucky to have members of the Dowd family present who talked about Bernard Dowd who developed clothing factories on the Mornington Peninsula and helped many migrants with their first jobs. Bernard Dowd was mentioned by many for his compassion and willingness to help others.
Mayor Gill was delighted to introduce special guest speaker and Flinders resident Zig Inge. Zig arrived in Australia from Latvia in 1949.
Zig spoke about his voyage from Latvia, his work on the railways and becoming a builder who developed the first retirement villages in Australia. His success story is renowned in Australian business.
Others such as Ona Silas and her Mother spoke about their family history and working with Bernard Dowd.
Everyone spoke about their appreciation and love of Australia in what was a moving and eloquent account of immigration to Australia.