I was asked by the Maltese Community Council of NSW to conclude their “Thank You Australia Day” ceremony held on Sunday 25th January 2015. I share my words with you below…
I was very fortunate to have been asked by the Maltese Community Council of NSW to conclude today’s ceremony, I feel very honoured and privileged to be standing here in front of you today.
I am not sure how I am going to top all those who spoke here today, as I agree and you all illustrated the way I feel to be Australian of Maltese heritage living in Australia.
I have the pleasure of knowing one of our local Maltese researcher/historian, where he challenges me sometimes with particular questions, and recently, one of his questions to me was whether I loved Malta more or Australia more. I never really thought about it into that much detail, but I guess… I love them both the same. I love Australia because I was born here and I love Malta because it is where my parents were born. I put this question to my parents and they both love Malta and Australia just as much; Malta because it will always be their mother country and Australia because of the opportunities it has given them. I am sure I speak for all the Maltese here today, that they feel the same way also.
I guess today, in a nutshell, we want to show how grateful we are for this place we call home. Not only for my parents, but many generations before them that migrated here for a better future.
There are many angles you can view why the Maltese are just as proud to be Australian as they are Maltese – I guess one in particular that I am grateful for, is living in such a multicultural land where it allows us to keep the culture and traditions that my parents had when they were younger. Hearing the stories of my parents from back home to how they adapted to Australian life makes me appreciate the opportunities I have come across in my 26 years of age and the person I have become today.
I think it is important to keep those ‘stories’ alive, whether it be by continuing those traditions or even just meeting as the community we are, like we are today. Many say our community here in Australia is dying out, but it is far from it, we are very much alive, it’s evident today that we are very much alive! – It is trying to continue events like these, engaging the younger Maltese-Australians, and keep up with what our elders have achieved up until now, rather than having to re-invent the wheel in the future.
Last year we formed the Maltese-Australians’ Youth Committee (NSW), a group that have a strong sense of pride in their Maltese and Australian heritage and culture alike. I have always been involved with the Maltese community growing up with Australian culture around me, but even more so now in the last year, I have been very fortunate to meet people that have been part of the Maltese community since it started here in Australia – I have learnt so much from them all and realised just how much work our elders have done to get to where they are today. A lot of people tend to think that the older Maltese community are resistant to pass onto the younger community, but this is far from true. I have never been so encouraged and so praised for the work that we do. It is important that we keep the connection between the past and the future and move forward together. And we can do that, because we are so fortunate to live in a beautiful country we call Australia.
I am so proud to be Australian, and in a few months’ time even more proud, standing on Maltese soil, representing the Maltese Australians in Australia at the Convention for Maltese Living Abroad, moving one step closer to keeping our community just as alive for many years to come.
On behalf of the Maltese Community Council of NSW, I would like to thank our guest speaker Dr Barry York for coming today and speaking to us all, and speaking to us all, as well as all of our other speakers here today. Thank you to our beautiful Marisa, for not only MC’ing today’s ceremony but also coordinating the Maltese Cultural Association Choir, and A-Lee for leading the choir.
The Maltese Community Council would like to thank you all for attending in keeping that flame very much alight. Thank you to the Maltese Community Council for putting together such a beautiful ceremony in recognising Australia and thanking her for all the opportunities she has given us.
Lastly I thank you, all of you – the Maltese community for everything you have done so that we may have what we have today. I thank this beautiful country I call home, for giving the opportunities it has for not only my parents, or myself.. But to all of you too.
© Copyright Charmaine Cassar 2015