Communities

Cultura is affiliated with 51 cultural communities in the Geelong region who each celebrate their diverse cultures by sharing their language, food, dress, music, art and lives together.

Some meet regularly throughout the year, others come together for special events and performances, such as PakoFesta. Most cultural communities warmly welcome new members via the individual contact details or social media pages listed below.

Explore our communities:

The Afghan Community was established in Geelong in 2011 . Initially community members were lone men waiting for families to arrive, however, more recently a number of women and families have arrived to join them and members are actively involved in the development of the association.

The ‘Austrian Club Geelong’ was founded in 1972.  Toni Baart, Rudi Hochreiter and Rudi Janda were the driving force behind inauguration, inviting all the Austrians in the Geelong area to the inaugural meeting. Subsequently an enthusiastic and optimistic group of Austrians elected the first management committee with Rudi Hochreiter the first President.

In the early years, all club functions and activities were held in rented premises. The first club rooms were established in 1974 at 99 Little Malop Street in the city. Five years later these were improved and enlarged. As the club grew, the desire to own a club house also increased.

Then in 1986 the members decided to lease land from the ‘Shire of Corio’ for the purpose of building a club house built. In 1988 the club house was completed and a liquor license was obtained one year later.

The Austrian Club of Geelong now has 280 members and is proud to be able to hold all club functions in their own premises. It is to the credit of the Austrians of the Geelong region, who have, through their hard work, commitment, enthusiasm and generous contributions, made it all possible.

ETHNIC RADIO: Augustin Devatti  and  Ida Zambelli-Hell  3ZZZ 92.3FM (Melbourne)

Find out more:

The Brazilian Association for Social Development and Integration in Australia (ABRISA) was founded in Melbourne in 2002 to encourage and support the socio-cultural integration of members of the Brazilian community and Portuguese language in Australian society.

Abrisa Geelong, a sister of Abrisa Melbourne, is a not for profit organisation created by Marcos Matsubara in Geelong in 2015, and is an active association affiliated with DiversitatABRISA continue to work on several projects addressing key areas such as information, health and education for the Geelong region, with current  services including:

Providing information related to the needs of the newly arrived immigrant, minimising the shock of social, cultural and economic transition. Encouraging and supporting the socio-cultural integration of Brazilian and Portuguese speaking people into Australian society. Promoting Brazilian cultural values, by stimulating community integration through social events. Working with Australian institutions to help newly arrived immigrants access services including english courses, health care, visa assistance and more. Promoting the health and well-being of the Brazilian and Portuguese speaking communities by providing resources for optimal health care, education and treatment.

ABRISA in Geelong also conduct activies including social barbeques, Portuguese language classes, Portuguese church sessions, recreational activities, assistance with the Brazilian Consulate and much more.

Find out more:

The Chinese Association of Geelong has been operating for over 10 years and currently has over 200 members.

The early history of Chinese Australians involved significant immigration during mid-19th century due to the gold rush. Since the advent of Multiculturalism as a government policy in the 1970’s, many Chinese from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines) have immigrated to Australia.

After the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the Australian Prime Minister of the day, Bob Hawke, allowed students from mainland China to settle in Australia permanently. Since then, immigrants from Mainland China and Taiwan have arrived in increasing numbers.

The community objectives of the Chinese Association of Geelong are to:

  • To represent a voice on behalf of the Geelong Chinese community.
  • To provide an infrastructure for Chinese families and individuals.
  • To assist Chinese families and individuals in being integrated into the Australian society.
  • To promote and maintain the Chinese language, culture and traditions in the Geelong community.

Traditional Dress: Qipao, Zhongshan Uniform, etc.

Traditional Symbol: The Celestial Chinese Dragon is considered a symbol of the Chinese race itself. Chinese around the world, proudly proclaim themselves Descendants of the Dragon”. Dragons are referred to as a divine mythical creature that brings ultimate abundance, prosperity and good fortune.

Art: Chinese calligraphy, traditional water paintings and papercut

Music/Dance: Beijing Opera, Chinese Acrobats, Dragon Dance and Lion Dance   Traditional Instruments: Erhu, Lute (Pipa) and Flute

Cuisine: Spring rolls, Fried rice, Fried noodle, dumplings and Beijing Roast Duck 

Beverages: Chinese tea and rice wine.

Find out more:

Approximately 80 Congolese have recently settled in Geelong and like many other newly settled ethnic groups, they have formed their own association which is affiliated with Cultura. The community celebrates Emancipation of Women Day and Independence Day, commemorating the granting of Independence on June 30th, 1960.

The community pledges “…to work hard and contribute to the Australian economy”, and they thank the people of Geelong “for welcoming us and supporting our settlement.” Adult members are active in English classes and gardening, while the youth participate in sports in the Northern suburbs.

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The Croatian Community of Geelong is one of the region’s biggest ethnic communities, with over 5,000 residents calling themselves Croatian. The Croatians began migrating to Australia after WW2 and have since established 3 community halls, ‘The Dom’ Australian Croatian National Hall. 101-111 Seperation Street, Bell Park,  the Croatian Community Centre. Cnr Cox and Matthews Rd, Corio and North Geelong Warriors Soccer Club. Gibbons Rd, Lara.

In 1972, the Croatian Cultural Artistic Association, or ‘LADO’ was established in Geelong, and it has played an integral role in showcasing and promoting Croatia’s rich, proud culture and heritage through music, song and dance. In 2017 LADO celebrates their 45th anniversary of service to Geelong. LADO consists of over 100 active dancers and 30 musicians and continues to strengthen with the support of over 100 volunteers. 

Find out more:

The Dutch population in Geelong comprises of 1400 people. In the early 1950’s they established the Geelong Dutch Club, which has since grown to 10 active Dutch clubs servicing the Geelong Region, they are:

  1. Swallows Karnival Club
  2. The Rocket Club
  3. Micare/ Dutchcare
  4. 50 plus Club
  5. Dutch Women’s Club
  6. Corio Card Club
  7. Geelong Card Club
  8. Dutch Choir: The Oranje Singers
  9. Dutch Carpet Bowls
  10. Geelong Dutch Clubs Inc

Find out more:

  • Contact: Geelong Dutch Clubs Inc. President – Tony van der hoeven
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Vice President – Jim Hoekstra

The Fiji Geelong Friendship Club Inc started in 1985 when a Fijian Choir from Labasa, comprising of 88 members, visited Geelong and Melbourne to promote the Pacific cultures in the Australian community. Fijians in Geelong got together to organise concerts, church services and host the group.

Every year they have participated with other ethnic groups at Pako Festa, organised get-togethers, language classes, dance classes, visited isolated older Pacific people, assisted with immigration problems, provided accommodation for visitors on medical visas, contacted tertiary students from Fiji and demonstrated arts and crafts.

Over the years, they have been funded partly from the Victorian Multicultural Commission and by the City of Greater Geelong, to whom they are very thankful.

The Filipino Social Club of Geelong Inc. was established in 1982. The primary aims and objectives of the group are, to promote goodwill and understanding amongst all Filipinos, to promote social and cultural integration with other groups and communities and to assist in the welfare and settlement of new Filipino migrants and students in the community.

A dance performance group has also been formed, to preserve and promote the traditional dances that are a popular custom and an integral component of Filipino culture.

Find out more:

The Alliance Française de Geelong is a non-profit association dedicated to the promotion of the French language and culture.

Members are made up not only of people from French speaking countries such as France, Mauritius, Canada, regions of Africa and the Middle East, they are in fact, predominantly of non-French speaking backgrounds, with a keen interest in the French language and culture.

Visit their website: http://www.afgeelong.com.au/

The German Karneval Society was established in 1955 and today have approximately 200 members. They meet on a regular basis at their Community Hall on Arunga Ave, Norlane.

The Geelong Greek – Hellenic Community was formed in 1956 by Greek migrants arriving in Geelong.  Today there are approximately 3,500 Greeks in Geelong who have migrated from various regions of the country, including Crete and Cyprus.

The Hellenic Community has a Greek Orthodox Church and Community Hall in Hamlyn Heights, from where they host  senior citizen groups, fundraising and many other community and cultural events.

The Greek Community School of Geelong was formed for students to learn the Greek language, Greek culture and traditional dance. Three age groups of children perform traditional dances, originating from various regions of Greece, in colourful national costumes that represent the regional dance origins. The school also hosts a Playgroup.

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The Geelong Indian Association Inc have approximately 30 active members. Though they are of Indian origin, many Indians may actually come from several different countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Fiji and Sri Lanka.

The talented artistic members of Geelong Maitri Inc – The Indian Social Club, under the direction of Principal dancer, Divta Pratheesh make up The Mudra Academy of Dance in Belmont. The Academy specialises in teaching Indian Dance forms, both classical and contemporary. The art form now popularly known as Bollywood dance, combines the rich history of classical Indian folk dances with contemporary elements of Western dance styles – a fusion of ‘Bombay meets Hollywood.’

The aromatic cuisine of India is also celebrated at Pako Festa each year, serving fragrant dishes and curries that warm the heart and stimulate the senses.

The Indonesian Association of Geelong (IAG) was formed in 2010 to introduce Indonesian culture, cuisine and traditions to the community of Geelong and to second generation, Australian born Indonesian children.

The group of around 100 members has also emerged as an umbrella organisation for teachers, students and Indonesian families and friends learning about the Indonesian language and culture.

The Association formed a dance group to celebrate the traditional dances integral to Indonesia’s rich cultural history. Traditional Indonesian food is also proudly celebrated and served at Pako Festa each year. 

Contact them via their Facebook page

The Geelong Iranian Society (G.I.S) is a non-profit, non-political and non-religious organisation, established in 2007 to promote better communication amongst thousands of Iranian migrants and the local community.

Their focus is to provide welfare, social services and support to the Iranian community, to promote social, recreational and sporting activities and to promote Persian culture, music, literature and arts.

Follow them on Facebook

The Geelong Irish Society was formed over 50 years ago and now has well over  100 families within its community.

The aim of the community is to promote and encourage Irish National and Cultural Heritage, and to enhance through social interactions Irish – Australian relationships. The Irish Community have a show on 94.7 The Pulse every Friday between 6-7 pm, with Irish music, news and information.

Throughout the year the community enjoys many events, including regular family days/evenings, dances, bus trips, trivia nights, BBQ’s, fundraisers and music concerts, supporting the Geelong Gael’s Gaelic Football team. Some community members visit nursing homes and hold small concerts, in addition to helping out other communities and charities.

Regular annual events include:

  • February – participation in Pako Fest street parade and food stall
  • March – St Patrick’s Day Party/ ball
  • October – Halloween celebrations
  • December – Christmas lunch

Find out more:

Club Italia Geelong “Cantiamo Insieme

Club Italia Geelong was formed in May 1995, following the amalgamation of the Geelong Italian Social Club and the Conca D’Oro Association. The club premises ‘Club Italia’ is located in Moolap where many Italian and non-Italian events and meetings are held throughout the year.

The Italian community is one of the biggest ethnic communities in the region.

Find out more:

Japanese Association of Geelong (JAG) Inc. was established in December 2017 is a not-for-profit organisation based in the City of Greater Geelong.

The association’s principle is to strengthen a friendship among Japanese residents in Geelong and develop a positive relationship of Japanese and Australian communities in Geelong and beyond, promoting positive cultural exchange and goodwill between communities.

One of their strengths is that they provide great opportunities for people to ‘shine together’, welcoming anyone who supports their principles into their association.

JAG has been playing a significant role as the only contact point in the region for those who seek information about Japanese related-events, programs and organisations since they were established.

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The Karenni come from a territory between the East of Myanmar and the North-west of Thailand, and include four main tribes, the KayahKayanKayaw and Paku.

Due to political conflict in Burma, the Karenni fled to Thailand and as a result of a resettlement program commenced in 2005, there are now approximately 200 Karenni in Geelong. Most of the adults are employed on farms in the Geelong region.

The Lao-Thai Geelong Care Inc was formed in July 2016, representing approximately 400 Lao and Thai people in the Greater Geelong Region.

As a new committee, their current activities include a community garden and promoting spiritual wellbeing, which is developed through inter-faiths dialogue. Future goals are to provide support and cultivate a sense of belonging and inclusiveness for the Lao-Thai community in the region.

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The Geelong Lithuanian Community have been operating since 1949, with over 700 people living in the Geelong region. They regularly meet at Petit Park, Bell Post Hill and celebrate cultural days such as Lithuanian Independence Day, Christmas, Easter and Shrove Tuesday.

Traditionally Lithuanians wear colourful home-woven skirts and vests, and women wear blouses and aprons embroidered with national patterns and lots of amber jewellery.

Active groups include the sports club ‘Vytis’, dancing groups Seniors ‘Linqs’ and juniors ‘Qequte’, mixed choir is ‘Viltis’, and Senior scouts ‘Zidinys’. The Lithuanian community feel very privileged to live in Australia where they’re accepted as Australian citizens without prejudice.

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The Macedonian Community of Geelong is based at the Community centre of St John’s Macedonian Orthodox Church Hall, on Ballarat Rd. Established in 1980, the community gathers here for religious and pastoral services, social occasions and cultural celebrations. There are 200 members of the Macedonian Social club and approximately 350 families of Macedonian origin live in Geelong.

The Centre is also the base for a senior citizens group and the Macedonian Cultural & Artistic Group, which includes the ‘Biser‘ folkloric dance group. The ‘Biser‘ dance group was formed in 1977 and comprises 50 dancers who represent the Macedonian Community and its rich culture through music, song and dance at various local and interstate festivals. Dancers range from 5 to 23 years of age.

The Macedonian Community have performed at many local and interstate festivals, events and concerts, and at every Pako Festa since 1981.

Find out more:

Te– Arahina, Geelong’s Maori Culture Community, was established in 2004 to continue the tradition of passing on Maori knowledge of their ancestors, history, culture and language with the next generation of Aussie/ Maori descendants and the wider Geelong community. Through song and dance, stories, plays and conversation, traditional stories of Maori culture, their songs and dances continue to transfer orally from generation to generation as is their custom.

The community’s purpose is to ensure the younger Maori generation of children have an understanding of their own cultural identity. The Maori community gather fortnightly to teach, share and learn their culture. They have a plot at Diversitat Northern Community Hub Garden with some native plants.

Find out more:

Membership of the Polish community in Geelong now numbers over 1,500 and their activities centre at the White Eagle House, located in Breakwater. Established in 1980, this venue now provides sporting facilities and activities, not just for the Polish Community, but for the wider community also. White Eagle House also operates a very popular restaurant and a successful pokies venue.

The community is also very much involved in promoting and maintaining the Polish culture within and outside its own community, through its Dance Group, Krakowiak, and by organising annual Polish concerts, traditional national celebrations and various sporting festivals. They also support the Saturday Polish School to keep their language alive.

Find out more:

  • Contact: White Eagle House, Fellmongers Rd Breakwater

The Russian community was first established in Bell Park in the 1950’s. They are a small and growing community with over 70 families united around their Orthodox church.

Russia is very rich in colourful culture and traditions that have been passed on from generation to generation.

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For hundreds of years Scots have emigrated all over the world, bringing with them their music, dance and song, ensuring their cultural heritage is preserved. Migration to Geelong peaked in the 1950’s with numbers in the Geelong community being in the hundreds.

The Geelong Scottish Community generally come together to celebrate their heritage through dance at significant festivals such as the Geelong Highland Gathering, Melbourne Metropolitan Highland gatherings, the National Celtic Festival in Portarlington and other multicultural concerts.

Well known Scottish traditions of dance, pipe, drums and tartan are alive and well in the Geelong region, keeping young people involved and proving a favourite drawcard at festivals like Pako Festa each year.

 

The Serbian Parish Youth Club has been part of the Serbian community for 30 years, bringing together Serbian people of all ages to celebrate and share Serbian culture and beliefs.

There are up to 1,000 Serbians living in Geelong and the Serbian Orthodox Community today includes a Ladies Committee, Pensioners Club, Golf Club, Youth Club and a Sunday League Soccer Club, with club rooms at 240 Plantation Rd Corio.

 

The Slovenian Cultural & Sports Association was established in November 1955, to form a social and cultural centre for the small and dynamic Slovenian community in Geelong. The club began with social gatherings, and singing and is believed to have started the first Slovenian choir in Australia.

An active drama group performs in the club and original exhibitions are organised, often for multicultural events in Geelong. In 1975 a club hall was built by members, which was expanded in 1984 and includes a large bowling alley with six lanes.

A new initiative in May 2010 launched the reintroduction of Slovenian language classes held at the club, which now runs two classes, primary and secondary to adult level, with 23 students enrolled.

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The South Sudanese have recently gained their independence, and as the situation in the country is gradually stabilising, many are returning there.  The Sudanese Women’s Group continues to meet on Fridays at Cloverdale Community Centre for cultural and educational activities. South Sudanese community members are also engaged in local sports, with younger members attending camps at Cottage by the Sea and Licola.

The Geelong Spanish Community was established in 1980, with club activities operating from a community hall at the Hope Centre in Norlane. The first Spanish started arriving in Geelong around 1956 and now have a small community in Geelong, with approximately 190 members.

The AndaLucia Spanish Dancing Group of Geelong was formed in 1978 and performed for the first time at Pako Festa 1983.

Their Flamenco and Spanish dancing classes at D.W. Hope Centre are open to all:

  • Beginners (Adults) Monday 7.00 – 8.00pm
  • Intermediates (Adults) Monday 6.00 – 7.00 pm
  • Intermediates (Adults) Wednesday 6.00 – 7.00pm
  • Advanced (Adults) Wednesday 7.00 – 8.30pm

The Ukrainian community has a long and proud history, with Ukrainian migrants first arriving in Geelong in 1948. The 65th Anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Australia was celebrated in 2013.

Through its various youth groups such as Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM), the Plast Ukrainian Scouts, The Ukrainian Community School and Rukopash Hopak – Kozak Martial Arts, the community endeavours to foster and promote the Ukrainian language, culture and traditions to its younger members and give them a sense of community identity. Dance groups such as Iskra and Lastivka ensure that young people celebrate and retain their language and cultural heritage.

The Ukrainian Women’s Association has tirelessly helped many people, both within its own community and the wider Victorian community, for over 50 years, and monthly luncheon meetings with guest speakers are hosted by The Ukrainian Senior Citizens at the Ukrainian Hall on Pakington Street.

Find out more:

Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative is a community run organisation in Geelong that provides services to families in the Wathaurong community. The name Wathaurong (Wadda-Warrung) is a recognised tribe (community) which consisted of some 25 clans (family groups) that forms part of the Kulin Nation of Aboriginal people.

Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative has been operating for over 30 years and has 350 members with the first language being English. Families in the Wathaurong community come from all different Aboriginal communities and places around Australia. For the local community, Wathaurong is a significant meeting place, as it helps keep families spiritually connected to their culture and the land, which is extremely important for our families in the community.

The Wathaurong community celebrate the following significant days, Australia Day/Survival Day (26th January), National Sorry Day (26th May), National Reconciliation Week (27th-3rd June), NAICD (National Aboriginal and Islander Children Day, July 4th) and NAIDOC week (July).

Find out more:

Website: http://www.wathaurong.org.au/