Australian story – celebrating 125 proud years of migration

01/11/2012

Australian Kfarsghab Association News Story
Kfarsghab from Ehden, North Lebanon.

A public exhibition of historic images and other treasures is being held in Parramatta to celebrate 125 years of migration to Australia from a tiny rural village in northern Lebanon.

More than 15,000 Australians - including rugby league great Ben Elias, the Bishop of Wagga Wagga Gerard Hanna and former NSW Government Minister Barbara Perry - trace their ancestry to Kfarsghab, a town of just 700 in the Lebanese mountains.

Australian Kfarsghab Association (AKA) spokesman Len Norman said the stories told through the images are just one part of Australia’s rich migrant history.

“An unbreakable bond was established 125 years ago between our small town and our adopted home, Australia, when seven Kfarsghabi men left their olive groves and orchards to board a ship for Adelaide, eventually making their way to Broken Hill to find work,” he said.

“That bond will be illustrated in the 500 plus photographs and other artefacts provided generously from family collections to make up our Heritage and Cultural Exhibition, which is open to all members of the public.”

The exhibition will be open from Saturday 24 November to Sunday 2 December at AKA By the Park, 2a Amos St, Parramatta.

Mr Norman said the images portray the adventurous and pioneering spirit of the early Kfarsghabi families, many of whom settled in rural and regional NSW and Queensland with little English but plenty of determination.

“The pictures also show the love and loyalty they have for their adopted nation, including a proud record of military service for Australia. Our people always felt a deep responsibility to defend the nation that embraced us.

“Today, Australians of Kfarsghabi heritage live in Sydney’s east and west, as well as in Brisbane, Adelaide, Armidale, Inverell, Moree, Toowoomba and many other regional centres in NSW and Queensland.”

Mr Norman said the Kfarsghab community has used its successful integration to help new communities adjust to the Australian way of life.

“For example, almost a third of the players in our AKA Crusaders cricket teams are from other cultural and religious backgrounds.

“We embrace and contribute to Australia’s pluralism and hope that this exhibition keeps the flame of our heritage alive by sharing it with the wider Australian community.”


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