Ballarat celebrates Cultural Diversity Week with harmony in the streets

Ballarat’s multicultural communities will continue to celebrate Cultural Diversity Week into the weekend. 

Tomorrow, Ballarat City Council and the Chinese Australian Cultural Society of Ballarat will host the Ballarat Harmony Festival from 11.30am. 

Ballarat City councillor John Philips said the event would kick off with the Federation University Parade of Nations, followed by a range of a live multicultural musical performances, food and market stalls at Camp Street. 

Cr Philips’ daughter, Jess Philips, will be performing in the Parade of Nations as one of the five Chinese lions. 

“We have eight people helping out on the day, ranging in age from eight to 50 years old,” Ms Philips said. 

Ms Philips said it took a minimum of one month to be trained to perform ground work using the large Chinese lion. 

“It takes longer to learn how to roll, blink and flip (with the lion),” Ms Philips said. 

In other Cultural Diversity week festivities, 50 people of different nationalities took part in the Ballarat Harmony Day Access Tour yesterday. 

The tour visited a number of key community organisations to help new migrants to Ballarat find their way around town. 

About a dozen different nationalities were a part of the tour, including people of Sudanese, Mandarin, Iranian, Sri Lankan and Thai heritage. 

The tour was organised by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship (OMAC), Child and Family Services Ballarat (CAFS), Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre (BNC) and Ballarat Community Health Centre (BCHC). 

CAFF settlement worker Evie Dichiera said she hoped to host more tours throughout the year. 

“We hope to be able to offer it again. People will get to know more about their community,” Ms Dichiera said. “We have been in touch with the different multicultural groups about what services we offer.” 

Nyanchar Deng, from South Sudan, said she learnt a lot during the tour.

“If you have an issue with paying your bills and don’t do anything about it, it will become a bigger problem,” Ms Deng said. 

“It’s good (they had the tour) because we can get to know the different places to pay bills.” 

Pakdee “Peter” Kitisarn, from Thailand, said being shown where the library was had been helpful. 

“Now I can have free computer training,” he