Harmony Day 2024

Published on 25 March 2024

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Approximately 100 people of various cultural backgrounds attended the 2024 Harmony Day celebrations held at the Nhill Memorial Community Centre on Thursday 21 March 2024, marking it as one of the largest Harmony Day celebrations in Hindmarsh to date. Attendees were treated to a range of entertainment and performances including singing, dancing, demonstrations and talks that were provided by local and visiting artists.

Hindmarsh Shire Council Mayor, Cr Brett Ireland hosted the evening that commenced with a Welcome to Country from Aunty Annabelle, a Wotjobaluk Traditional Owner with strong connections to local communities. Cr Ireland acknowledged that multicultural Australia is built on the cultures and histories of First Nations people that have continued for 65,000 years.

Young performers Vidhi and Krishna pulled on the audience’s heartstrings during their performance of the traditional Indian ‘shloka’ which is used in Hindu mythology to connect to pure consciousness to remove fears and other negative thoughts from the heart.

Tracey Rigney, a Wotjobaluk and Ngarrindjeri woman from Dimboola was the guest speaker and spoke about her childhood growing up in Melbourne before moving to Dimboola as a young girl. Tracey is now a renowned storyteller, a published playwright and filmmaker. Tracey has many other honorable mentions, recently achieving being named as AFTRS artist-in-residence for 2024. Tracey has joined forces with her colleagues to establish the company Pink Lake Creative and she is currently completing the script for a full-length film that will be filmed around the Wimmera Region.

Short videos were screened from Hindmarsh Shire Youth Councillors, West Wimmera Health Services and Nhill Poe (a multicultural youth group run by Wimmera Southern Mallee Development) about what Harmony Day means to them.

Asmita and Alana from West Wimmera Health Service then provided a demonstration on the art of dressing in a traditional Indian Sari, alongside a brief presentation on the history of the Sari.

Ram Upadhyaya, Director Infrastructure Services at Hindmarsh Shire Council, presented the story about his and his wife’s journey from Nepal to Australia and the Wimmera region, detailing the challenges that they faced along the way and the support that they received.

Sachita then demonstrated a traditional Nepalese dance to finish their presentation.

Following a break, during which the audience shared a meal, including multicultural dishes supplied by members of the community, those in attendance were treated to a high energy Haka dance performed by a local Samoan group. The group returned later in the evening to perform additional dances.

Traditional Bollywood dances were then performed by Treesa and Eliza, as well as Anubha Jalla.

To the delight of the audience, the Wimmera Filipino-Australia Club sang several songs which were followed by local Nhill Karen residents performing the Don Dance. The don dance is a traditional Karen dance originating among the Pwo Karen, who developed it to reinforce community values. The dance is a series of uniform movements accompanied by music played from traditional Karen instruments.

The final act of the evening was Bella from Horsham who performed a traditional Burmese dance called ‘Ta Bin Daing' which in English means ‘lone’ or ‘the only person’.

Hindmarsh Shire Council Mayor, Cr Brett Ireland, thanked everyone who had helped make the night a huge success and particularly thanked the people who performed. Cr Ireland said “What an evening of cultural experiences we have all just witnessed. I am thrilled with the level of talent we have within the community”.

Harmony Day will be back in 2025 with more fantastic acts and different cultures to experience.

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact our Community Development Team on, on 03 5391 4444 or email info@hindmarsh.vic.gov.au.

Ram Upahyaya
Acting Chief Executive Officer