A record number of people attended the Sri Lanka Day Food and Multicultural Festival at Rocks Riverside Park, Seventeen Mile Rocks on Sunday, October 15.
The event, organised by the Federation of Sri Lankan Organisations of Queensland and its member associations, showcased the cultural heritage and culinary tastes of Sri Lanka to the wider multicultural Brisbane community.
There were 14 food stalls, one food truck, coffee and ice-cream vans and 10 business stalls. Other attractions were a children’s section with jumping castle and face-painting corner.
Crowd numbers were strong throughout the sun-drenched day. The event was praised in the Senate by Queensland Senator Paul Scarr on Tuesday, October 17. See his full statement below.
The line-up of special guests included State Minister for Multicultural Affairs Leanne Linard, Opposition Leader David Crisafulli, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner, Senator Paul Scarr, State Member for Mount Ommaney Jess Pugh, Brisbane City Councillors Angela Owen and Sarah Hutton and FSOQ patron Anton Swan and wife Bronwen.
In his address, FSOQ President Jay Weerawardena said: “With the support of our institutional partners and corporate sponsors the event has grown from strength to strength over the last three years.
“Today, Sri Lanka Day is considered a notable event in the multicultural events calendar in Queensland and a partner of Brisbane’s vibrant city programme.
He gratefully acknowledged the funding support of the Department of Multicultural Affairs and Brisbane City Council. He also thanked Ms Pugh, and councillors Angela Owen, Sarah Hutton, and Charles Strunk.
Dr Weerawardena thanked the new corporate sponsors who had joined this year, namely the Centenary Memorial Gardens, Top Lenders and American College, for providing much-needed funding support.
“In the coming years we will continue to mobilise our community to engage with others who make up the multicultural diversity of Queensland’s community
State Minister for Multicultural Affairs Leanne Linard said: “The Sri Lanka Day festival helps celebrate the multicultural diversity in Queensland, educating the wider community of the benefits multiculturalism brings to our community.”
Lord Mayor Schrinner said he was happy to see the Brisbane Sri Lankan community was growing and their community involvement was growing too.
“Sri Lankan engineers are making a notable contribution to building a better Brisbane and it is a fact that most of the engineers in Brisbane are Sri Lankans,” he said.
He acknowledged the 33 years of continued service of a true Sri Lankan, the former Hon. Consul Anton Swan and wife Bronwen.
An added feature this year was the felicitation of three community service champions Bill Deutrom, Jayantha Pathikirikorale and Scott Walker. See the special report at https://www.fsoq.com.au/news/fsoq-honours-founding-members-and-a-friend-of-sri-lanka-with-special-presentation/
Thanks to our corporate sponsors
Centenary Memorial Gardens – https://cmgcc.com.au/
Top Lenders Australia – https://toplendersaustralia.com.au/
American College – https://americancollege.edu.au/
Sri Lanka Day Festival praised in Senate
Statement from Senator Paul Scarr (Queensland – Deputy Opposition Whip in the Senate)
Extract from Hansard Pink 17 October 2023
I rise to tell a good news story, and that is in relation to the Sri Lanka Day Multicultural Food and Cultural Festival 2023 celebrations held in Brisbane. I want to congratulate all of those involved in a very successful event. I congratulate the president of the Federation of Sri Lankan Organisations of Queensland, Dr Jay Weerawardena, and his team for such a successful occasion. It was a celebration of Sri Lankan culture. It was a celebration of the contribution which is made by our wonderful Sri Lanka diaspora here in Australia, over 130,000 strong. And overall it was a celebration of the deep link and bond between Sri Lanka and Australia, between the peoples of Sri Lanka and Australia.
Those in the chamber may not be aware that, going all the way back to World War I, there was a contribution made by the people of Sri Lanka to the Anzac landing at Gallipoli. As the fleet left Australia to go to the Middle East, ultimately landing at Gallipoli, they stopped in Colombo in then Ceylon and picked up the Ceylon Planters’ Rifle Corps. Members of that corps were actually with the I Anzac Corps when they hit the beaches at Gallipoli on Anzac Day. That bond between Australia and Sri Lanka continues to this day, and the people who attended this event over the weekend are the human bridge between Australia and Sri Lanka. I thank each and every one of them for the contribution they make to our beautiful country.