The Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Melbourne, along with the Sri Lankan community in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania celebrated the 73rd Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence by hoisting the Sri Lankan national flags in the Federation Square in Melbourne and conducting an online livestreaming event, adhering to the prevailing COVID 19 safety protocols in Melbourne.
Victorian Member of Parliament for Narre Warren South Gary Maas represented the Premier of Victoria in the celebrations while Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs Neil Angus represented the Opposition Leader. A large number of other dignitaries including Co-chairs of the Sri Lanka Friends Group in the Victoria Parliament Pauline Richards (Labor Party) and Craig Ondarchie (Liberal Party), the leader of the Green Party group in the Victorian Parliament Dr Samantha Ratnam, Parliamentary Secretary for Workplace Safety Bronwyn Halfpenny, Member of Parliament for Western Metropolitan Region Kaushalya Vaghela and the Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission Vivian Nguyen as well as the Sri Lankan community joined the event online.
Extending good wishes for the people of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans in Victoria MP Gary Maas appreciated the contribution of the Sri Lankan community to enrich Victoria socially and economically and to keep Victoria safe, connected and supported during the pandemic. Hailing from a Sri Lankan ancestry, MP Maas stated that he valued the finer qualities in the Sri Lankan culture such as the collective belonging of an extended family.
Shadow Minster for Multicultural Affairs Neil Angus appreciated the celebration as a demonstration of Victorian Sri Lankans’ sense of unity even in pressing times and admired their enduring and far reaching contribution to all the aspects of life in the State of Victoria.
After the multi-religious observances to invoke blessings to the country and one minute of silence to commemorate the national heroes, the traditional oil lamp was lit by the dignitaries while jayamangala gatha were chanted online by the Sri Lankan school children. The official statement of the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was read out to the gathering and vibrant Sri Lankan dances and drumming by Sri Lankan dance troupes in Victoria added colour to the evening.
The tradition of conferring awards on the best Sri Lankan student high achievers of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) was also maintained this year, despite the difficulties. As always, the Sri Lankan students in Victoria have performed extremely well in the VCE examination, this year as well.
The successful conclusion of the celebrations under restricted conditions was another example for the unique Sri Lankan quality of collective endeavour between the staff of the Consulate General, the Sri Lankan community and the Sri Lankan students in Melbourne.
Consulate General of Sri Lanka
05 February 2021