Monday, 15 February 2021
St Sava College
I was honoured to be invited to the opening of St Sava College in Varroville last month with my colleague the member for Macarthur, the state member for Macquarie Fields and the member for Hughes. St Sava College will be an open, friendly and inclusive educational institution. The student body of the college will predominantly come from the Serbian community, who have a large presence in the south-west. However, it is anticipated that students will come from the Greek, Russian and Arabic Orthodox communities and the broader community in surrounding suburbs. The college is named after the patron saint Sava, who was a Serbian prince, the first Archbishop of the Serbian Church and widely considered to be the founder of Serbian medieval literature.
Although the idea of establishing an Orthodox college in Sydney was conceived in the early 90s, the project was postponed due to the war in the Balkans. After the purchase of the land in 2003 and the laying of the foundation stone by the Crown Prince of Yugoslavia in 2005, building approvals were finalised by Campbelltown City Council in 2007. It is due to the many years of hard work and the labour of love of volunteers and workers that the college is now open for K to year 2. I congratulate the Serbian Orthodox community and wish the college a fantastic inaugural year of schooling.
It was a joy to celebrate Lunar New Year this weekend at the Mingyue Lay Buddhist Temple in Bonnyrigg. Mingyue Lay Temple is one of the most significant cultural buildings in south-west Sydney. It is also home to one of the largest Chinese Buddhist congregations in the southern hemisphere. Lunar New Year has been celebrated at Mingyue Lay Buddhist Temple for nearly 30 years. It has been my privilege to join the president and secretary, Vincent Kong and James Chan, on so many occasions to share the celebrations and milestones of this community. Lunar New Year celebrations are always special. This year, not only were the colours and movements of the daytime fireworks and lion dances COVID safe, but the rain did not dampen the spirits of the community. I'd like to commend all the volunteers that ensured that the temple held another great event this year.
The temple also maintains a strong sense of community. Volunteers and staff conduct major fundraising activities for humanitarian causes such as floods and bushfires, and we as a community can't appreciate that more. When they heard about the loss of firefighters Geoffrey Keaton and Andrew O'Dwyer, from the Horsley Park Fire Brigade in 2019, they raised an amazing quarter of a million dollars for the bushfire brigade. This not only provided material support but also emotional support for those left behind.
To the Chinese and Vietnamese communities celebrating Lunar New Year at the moment: happy new year. (Time expired)