Hullaballoo of Harmony: Carlton embraces diversity on Harmony Day

Harmony Day Carlton

Harmony Day made a triumphant return to Carlton Primary School on March 23, uniting the community in a multicultural celebration.

Harmony Day saw 15 stallholders take over the school to bring Carlton residents together with a diverse range of food, fun and activities for all to enjoy.

A highlight of the festivities, the crowd was treated to a performance by Amanda Testro, renowned for her engaging children’s performances with Hullaballoo Music.

Working with local organisations Drummond Street Services and the Gowrie Centre, Amanda’s work transcends mere entertainment, conducting music programs and sessions for early childhood services.

“Initially I was doing one-off music sessions, and it just grew from that – I formed Hullaballoo pretty much from my association with Drummond Street Services,” Amanda said.

Her groundbreaking “primary prevention program” tackles sensitive issues head-on, championing gender equality and fostering respectful relationships.

“More than one woman a week is killed in Australia by their former or current intimate partner, so this is absolutely directly to try and prevent violence against women starting at the very baby’s age and going all the up,” she said.

For Amanda, the best part of performing is “feeling like you make a difference”.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time, so I know that if the adults get bored, they’ll start looking at their phones and as soon as the adults lose their engagement, their children will lose their engagement as well – I learned a long time ago that it’s really important to keep the adults interested as well,” she told Inner City News.

“You want it to be an enjoyable experience for everyone and the more the children enjoy it, the more fun they have and the more the messages get through – it’s all fun and music and movement and everything, but it’s packed with incidental messaging and learnings.”

In a world that sometimes feels “more divided than ever”, Amanda envisions events like Harmony Day as catalysts for lasting change, emphasising the need for year-round inclusivity and support.



“I think Harmony Day and everything that it represents is absolutely vital. It’s a pity it only happens once a year,” she said.

“It needs to be consistent; it can’t just be something that’s brought out on special occasions. As far as getting these important messages out, it needs to be multicultural and multigenerational.”

As well as running in partnership with various local stakeholders, a group of University of Melbourne Executive Master of Arts students also returned as project managers for the event.

“Harmony Day provides our students and staff a great opportunity to connect with our neighbourhood,” community engagement manager at the University of Melbourne, Aun Ngo said.

“This year we had dozens of students from multiple faculties involved in performances, health information booths and event management. We look forward to building stronger ties with the local communities and organisations.” •

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