Sri Lanka celebrates 71st National Day in Sydney

Sri Lanka celebrates 71st National Day in Sydney


The Sri Lanka Consulate General in Sydney celebrated the 71st Independence Day at the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney CBD on 04 February 2019. A large gathering of 400 was present and notable amongst them were Mr. Scott Farlow, Member of the Legislative Council representing the Premier of New South Wales Hon. Gladys Berejiklian and the Minister of Multi-Cultural Affairs. Members of the Legislative Council Hon. Damien Tudehope and Hon. Kevin Conolly were also present.  Mr. Ryan Neelam, Acting Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Ms. Mary Lewicka, Deputy Director graced the occasion.

The Ceremony commenced with the National Anthems being sung in Sinhala and Tamil languages lead by Ms. Ishi Yogya, Maduwanthi Pahirathan and Budwini Madagammana with  music by Mr. Agra Premarathne.  A two minute silence was observed in commemoration of the national heroes who laid down their lives in the journey towards independence.

After the lighting of the traditional oil lamp by dignitaries amidst “Magul Bera” followed by traditional ves natum performed by Sanka Ridma Dance Ensemble the religious ceremony commenced and blessings were invoked by Ven. Omare Somissara Thero  of Schofield Lankarama Temple Buddhist Vihara,  Kurukkal Sivasree Kuha Mathivathanakkutukkal, Saiva Manram of Sydney Murugam Temple, Sri Lankan Chaplain, Rev. Father Chaminda Wanigasena,  and Mr. Mohomed Yassir Abdul Careem.

The National Day Messages of H.E. the President and the  Hon. Prime Minister were read out by the Consul General Mr. Lal Wickrematunge and Consul (Commercial) Mr. Abdul Raheem.

An array of  dances depicting the rich cultural heritage of Ceylon through to Sri Lanka were showcased by Mathra Dance Studio and Vidusha Suriye Dancing School.  Mr. Upul Mahen’s  “Nidahas Diyawel” “Rendition of the Beauty öf Sri Lanka” was well received and the high quality performance of Ishi Yogya’s singing of “ Maa Priyadara Jaya Bhumi” was outstanding.

Mr. Scott Farlow in his address appreciated the growing ties between the people of the two countries and the strengthening of the bilateral relationships through education, sport and culture.  He noted that the Australians of Sri Lankan origin were contributing towards the economic and social upliftment of Australia whilst retaining their cultural values which also adds to diversity of the Australian people.

Mr. Ryan Neelam, Acting Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated that it was a pleasure to work with the Consulate of Sri Lanka and the people of Sri Lankan origin in Australia and also noted that trade and tourism were improving between the two countries whilst people to people ties were strengthening. He noted that there is growing co-operation between the two countries within the Indian Ocean and fostering common values with mutual respect.

Consul General Lal Wickrematunge addressing the gathering, appreciated the expatriate Sri Lankan community of all ethnicities for coming together as Sri Lankans to ensure that national events such as this was possible at a very high level.  He also thanked his staff for the efficient service extended to the people of Australia.

Mr. Peter De Almeida, the Guest Speaker recounted Sri Lanka’s history since independence and the gains and losses made on the way.  He noted that Sri Lankans have a high degree of resilience in facing setbacks.  He pointed out three areas i.e. education, engineering and Medicare as three disciplines that Sri Lankans have shown a great aptitude.  He urged Sri Lankans to scale heights through determination and not be dependents on State handouts.  His speech was received extremely well and many interactions took place with Mr. Almeida on the side-lines after the event.

Consul Pramuditha Manusinghe concluded the presentation by thanking all who attended, sponsored and supported the function as well as those who volunteered to perform entertaining the large gathering.

Consulate General of Sri Lanka
8 February 2019


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