Tonight we went to the breakup party at Diversitat at the Hub in North Geelong. For nearly thirty years we have been associated with the Geelong Migrant Resource Centre, now called Diversitat; and value the input into the Geelong community of this organisation which helps to make our city value diversity and multiculturalism and care for the stranger in our midst. Tonight we sat with friends who had once upon a time migrated from Spain or Philippines. I was delighted to meet up again with Petra who is now 89. We once had been in a writing group and I helped edit a book of migrant stories.
From the Geelong Advertiser, Michael the CEO writes:
MicHael Martinez: Geelong's people deserve a pat on the back for
are many things we learned about our city in the past 12 months. Here are 10 to
1. WE are global. The opening in June of
Carbon Nexus, Deakin’s $34 million carbon fibre research centre, has attracted
interest around the world. It is the kind of research and development centre
that will drive innovation and new technology for our region and beyond.
Great to see Jane den Hollander win the
Committee for Geelong Leader of the Year award as Jane is an absolute
inspiration and tireless advocate for our city.
2. WE are innovative. The construction of
the new six-storey, state of the art Geelong Library and Heritage Centre will
be a wonderful centrepiece for our new arts precinct.
This is the kind of design for which we want
to be known. This excellent public amenity incorporates a flair for the new and
edgy matched with a functional design for all to enjoy. I can’t wait to see it
when it’s opened.
3. WE are vulnerable. We have seen this in
light of the loss of Alcoa and Ford production and the thousands of related
Yet despite this devastating news we are
still strong and united and optimistic about this city’s future.
4. WE are caring and compassionate. Our
citizens have shown this on many occasions this year, including the outpouring
of grief after the tragic death of young asylum seeker Leo Seemanpillai and the
generous amount that was raised to support his family in a refugee camp in
southern India. Likewise the great support given to Rory Wilson after his
5. WE are creative. The inaugural Mountain
to Mouth and Geelong After Dark showcased many of Geelong’s artists and went on
to win the Best Community Event at the prestigious Australian Event Awards and
also VicHealth’s Building Health through the Arts Award.
6. WE love Christmas. This is clearly
evident with the thousands who have flocked to our brilliant new floating
Lighting up Geelong for Christmas is a great
idea and even better when we know that this project was built here by a great
Geelong company like Hanlon Industries, a typical Geelong quiet achiever that
often goes unrecognised but makes a really positive contribution to our city.
Full marks to our mayor Darryn Lyons for this idea.
7. WE are proud. We don’t like being called
zombies or Sleepy Hollow, as evident in the outpouring of anger over the short
clip by Geelong Tourism.
Justifications aside, Geelong people are
rightfully proud of our city and region. The resulting debate after the video
was testament to the reality that we are concerned about our reputation and
count! We saw during the recent election that Geelong was a priority for both
the major parties, with Labor launching its campaign here.
The pledges from all sides were welcomed and
we need to see more as we know things are not getting any easier on the
With our two new state ministers and member
for Geelong we expect big results for Geelong.
9. WE are welcoming. The inaugural Welcome
to Australia walk, which we held in Geelong on October 25, was well attended
for a first event and it will surely grow over time.
This is on top of the generous support and
acceptance that newly arrived people receive every day from the majority in our
10. WE are resilient. Although we don’t have
the resources and opportunities Melbourne has, Geelong is a better place to
Martinez is the chief executive officer of Diversitat.
More and more people from outside our region
are finding this out as they move to our fair city and surrounding districts.
Our community is working hard to transform this city through difficult
circumstances and together we will succeed.