Celebrating Harmony Day at Carlton’s “heart”

Celebrating Harmony Day at Carlton’s “heart”
Jack Hayes

Carlton will be awash with a festival of multicultural celebration this March with the return of Harmony Day at Carlton Primary School. 

Running from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday, March 23, Harmony Day sees more than 15 stakeholders combine in uniting Carlton’s public housing residents and the wider community in a day filled with music, dance, food, and fun.

Khadra Omar, community facilitator at Our Place, a not-for-profit organisation that partners with local education stakeholders to provide services to families, told Inner City News Harmony Day was a great opportunity to bring the two sides of Carlton together. 

“It feels like there can often be a hidden divide between the families we work with and the other areas of Carlton,” Ms Omar said. “Seeing the two communities together, it is just beautiful.”

“We will have food from over six different countries, community stalls providing information and services for families, live music and performances, and spaces for attendees to relax and enjoy the day.”

“It is a place where we try to make all services available for families, we have school information on site, we have early learning, we have immunisation, we have social workers … this community hub is the heart of Carlton.”

Among the stakeholders responsible for bringing Harmony Day to Carlton is Our Place, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Drummond St Services, Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre, cohealth, City of Melbourne, La Mama Theatre, The University of Melbourne, and Church of All Nations.

The day of celebration will also include a particular focus on First Nations culture and storytelling, which, according to special projects officer at Drummond Street Services Helen Remington, was particularly poignant following 2023’s failed Voice to Parliament referendum. 

“We wanted to make Indigenous arts, culture and human rights a theme for this year,” she said. “There will be a chance for kids to learn about different cultures and cultural art workshops.”

“It [Harmony Day] is a chance for public housing residents to showcase their cultures and gifts and get to know the other residents of Carlton. They play the host, and it is lovely to see the response from the general community. Equality for all is a good thing.”

A group of University of Melbourne Executive Master of Arts students will return as project managers for the event, organising the event in partnership with local stakeholders. 

University of Melbourne lecturer Dr Anna Kosovac said with many of her students studying in Australia from overseas, the event “provides a great chance to learn about the community from the ground up”.

“Understanding the issues experienced by public housing residents and understanding Australia in terms of its history and the issues that has brought to our Indigenous population has been incredibly important,” Dr Kosovac said. 

“It’s also a great opportunity for the University do more with the local community and recognising their importance as our neighbour.” •

For more information: ourplace.org.au/our-sites/carlton

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