Marie Pietersz

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray – Story and pics by Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

Denver (Deno) Keegel, popular identity within Sri Lankan social circles, celebrated his milestone birthday on 15th March at the Grand on Princes in Mulgrave.You could be forgiven for thinking you were at a Collingwood finals dinner or awards night, with the venue elaborately decorated in Collingwood colours and memorabilia and 250 guests dressed in the black and white theme for the occasion requested by birthday boy and ardent Collingwood fan, Denver.

The party kicked off with a grand entrance by Denver dressed in club colours to a rendition of the club song.  Laughter followed roaring applause from guests when spotted with Denver in a sea of black and white, were three of his grandchildren wearing the colours of rival club, Hawthorn, adding to the fun and excitement of the night’s activities to come.

Denver was born in Colombo in 1949 and following his schooling at Carey College, joined the Royal Ceylon Air Force in 1970 at the age of 21. He married the love of his life, Patricia (Patty) Gray in 1975, and migrated to Melbourne in 1976. In Australia he held many top management and key personnel roles in tyre company Goodyear, footwear designer J Robins & Sons Pty Ltd, and aged care specialist Dial an Angel, retiring from full time employment in 2018.

Denver and Patty’s family grew in Australia and continues to grow, with two children, Melissa and Daniel and five grandchildren, Declan, Lucas and Jett (Daniel and Tara) and Joceylon and Jovan (Melissa and Darren Junkeer) and another on the way.

Guests at Denver’s 70th birthday celebrations were entertained by a number of guest singers backed by popular band for the night, Next Generation. Singers included Derrick Junkeer (also compere) and dancers, daughter Melissa, and friends Reg Bartholomeusz and Esric Jackson, not least of all, the birthday boy himself.

Among the other notable items of the night was the sumptuous buffet by Tony and Tania Walles, Collingwood ice carving by Desmond Foulstone, elaborate slide show by brother Travis Keegel (U.K.) and very large screen back-drop designed by Ishan Bahar (Sri Lanka). There was not only one birthday cake, but two large ones, made and decorated in the Collingwood themes by Cake Point.

Speakers for the night included brother Gordon Keegel (all the way from Mill Park, LOL), Indrani Keegel (presiding over grace and thanksgiving), son Daniel, daughter Melissa, and close friends Bertie Ekenaike and Joyce Senn. There was even a special Collingwood chair for Denver to sit in and savour the adulations of the speakers.

In his speech, Denver thanked guests, helpers and entertainers, visiting family from Queensland, and venue management Jude de Silva and staff.  The air was charged with emotion when Denver shared his happily married status and acknowledged his loving and dedicated wife of forty-four years, Patty, and was visibly moved when she presented him with a gift of an airline ticket to Sri Lanka and England to visit his family.

From many accounts, a wonderful and fun time was had by all, who I am sure will join me in congratulating Denver and wishing him a happy and healthy septuagenarian decade. Happy 70th birthday, Denver!.


Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70 hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray


Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray


Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Deno is 70, hip, hip, hooray

Read More →

Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka, 2019 –Contributed by Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

Marie PieterszThe 71st anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka was celebrated in Victoria at the Box Hill Town Hall, Box Hill, on 4 February 2019, following the official flag-hoisting ceremony in the Office of the Consulate General in Melbourne. Sri Lankan flags adorned Federation Square.

The celebration commenced with the singing of the national anthem in Sinhala and Tamil and observance of two minutes silence in memory of those who sacrificed their lives for the country. The traditional lighting of the oil lamp was followed by multi-faith religious observances conducted by clergy representing four religions in Sri Lanka to bless the nation and its people.

Among the distinguished guests attending were senior government officials from both sides of Parliament, the Hon Josh Bull MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs, representing the Premier, and the Hon Craig Ondarchie MLC, Member for Northern Metropolitan, who extended the felicitations of the Government and Opposition respectively.

Other dignitaries included Hon. Bruce Atkinson MLC, Member of the Legislative Council of Victoria, Hon. Jason Wood and Hon. Julian Hill, Members of the Parliament of Australia, Victorian politicians, Mayors and City Councillors representing Local Government, Commissioners of the Victorian Multicultural Commission, University academics and members of the Consular corps.

A significant item on the agenda was the felicitation of a group of twelve students with Sri Lankan heritage who achieved high academic excellence in the Victorian Certificate of Education 2018 examination. Senior academics also of Sri Lankan heritage from Universities in Victoria joined the dignitaries and the Consul General for Sri Lanka in felicitating these students.

A highlight of the event was the cultural show of dances performed by young Melburnians with Sri Lankan heritage, depicting the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka, to an audience of over six hundred guests.

The celebration was organised by the Office of the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Melbourne with the assistance of the Sri Lankan expatriate community and the State Government of Victoria.

Ref: CG Sri Lanka

Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka1

Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka2

Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka3

Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka

Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka

Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka

Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka

Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka

Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka


Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka

Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka

Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka

Marie Pietersz

Read More →

Miss South Asia Australia Pageant 2018: Story: Marie Pietersz, Melbourne; Pics: courtesy Hiru Photography

Marie Pietersz

Story: Marie Pietersz, Melbourne
Pics: courtesy Hiru Photography

When VIPs keep attending your events year after year despite their busy schedules, you know they value and are acknowledging your efforts. This is what happens with Dilkie Perera’s Miss Sri Lanka Australia (MSLA) and Miss South Asia Australia (MSAA) Pageants.

Among the number of VIPS who attended this year’s double Pageant held at the Savoy Vibe Hotel in the Melbourne CBD on 16 September were Julian Hill MP, Federal Member for Bruce, stopping by on his way to Canberra, and Inga Peulich MLC, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, leaving a family party early to attend. VIPs from all countrie represented by participants were also present in a solidarity show of support.

The impressive line-up of other dignitaries included:

Liz Beattie, former Victorian MP
Marianne Lau, Vice Chair ECCV
Kaushalya Vaghela, Advisor to the Victorian Multicultural Minister
Praveen Kumar, Advisor to Peter Khalil, Federal MP
Donald Betts, Former US Senator
W G A Prasanna, Consul General for Sri Lanka in Victoria
Bandu Dissanayake, Former Consul for Sri Lanka in Victoria
Ayesha Bux, Former Trade Consul, Pakistan
Jennifer Yang, Former Mayor, Manningham City Council
Chandra Bamunasinghe, Former Deputy Mayor, Hume City Council

Community Leaders –

Bom Yonzon and Ram Kumar Sheshtra from Nepal  
Aloke and Aakash Kumar from India, and
Molina Asthana and Mustafa Hasan from Bangaldesh.  

Keynote speaker Julian Hill MP compared this Pageant, where all participants are winners and encouraged to value and be proud of their individuality, to some of the other beauty pageants around the world where participants are expected to conform to certain stereotype expectations. In this Pageant, in contrast, participants are not expected to parade in swimwear, rather in traditional, formal and casual wear only.

In its second year, the MSAA Pageant didn’t fail to dazzle and glitter with the vibrant colours of the traditional costumes worn by participants from the six South Asian countries of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The Pageant attracted a large number of interstate contestants from SA, WA, NSW and ATC as well as from the host State, Melbourne. Contestants hailed from many professions including doctors, chartered accountants, financiers, health and legal industry professionals as well as tertiary students, which says a lot for the excellent reputation of the Pageant and Pageant organisers. The Miss Sri Lanka Australia Pageant also included teenagers.

For the second consecutive year the MSAA Pageant was dedicated to promoting awareness of domestic violence. Contestants underwent a mandatory half day training session on the subject conducted by the Dr Manjula O’Conner, Director, Australian Centre for Human Rights and Health.

The highly esteemed judging panel included Ms Reena Koak (Managing Director of Miss India Australia Pageant, from Sydney), Mr Tek Kirant (Head stylist and choreographer of Miss Nepal Oceania Pageant, from Brisbane), Miss Emily Thomas (International Model) and Jay Randeniya (former Mr Sri Lanka Australia winner).

Dilkie is the entrepreneur behind these Pageants, seeing a need for young first, second and even third generation Australians with Sri Lankan and South Asian heritage to have a platform to showcase their inherited cultures through integration and participation in the cultural and community fabric that is the Australian essence, which includes a comprehensive career-enhancing training program with public speaking, networking, community and media exposure, and high end catwalk exposure for a year following participation in the Pageant. Dilkie is ably assisted in her work by daughters Savindhi and Vishni and Consultant Tania Betts and Assistants Nishni and Yashodhi.

Winners in the 2018 MSAA Pageant are:

1. Miss South Asia Australia 2018
Winner Namitha Susan Kurian (India)
1st runner up  Nazanin Hosseini (Afghanistan) from New South Wales
2nd runner up Shajuty Islam (Bangladesh)

2. Mr South Asia Australia 2018
Winner – Nishan Joseph (Sri Lanka)
1st runner up Yath Karun (Sri Lanka)
2nd runner up – Niraj Thakker (India)

3. Mrs South Asia Australia 2018
Winner Tarini Fernando (Sri Lanka)
Runner up Poonam Shetty (India) from Western Australia

4.Ms South Asia Australia 2018
Winner Anmol Sagar (India) 
Runner upZaiba Musa (Pakistan) from South Australia

5. Ms South Asia Australia 2018 
WinnerAnmol Sagar (India) 
Runner upZaiba Musa (Pakistan) from South Australia 


Read More →

Colombo No.7 (London Dry Gin) – A TASTE LIKE NO OTHER

Marie PieterszStory and pics: Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

For the second year running, Colombo No.7 Gin was selected by organisers Caroline Childerley, the Gin Queen (Australia) and Olivier and Emile Ward (co-owners, Gin Foundry, UK) to showcase their brand of spirits at the Juniperlooza Melbourne 2018 Gin Festival held at the Meat Market, North Melbourne on 27 and 28 October.

Juniperlooza (Juniper = berry, the main ingredient in Gin, and Looza = festival or celebration) Melbourne made its debut in 2016 and this year again was a sold-out, over-subscribed event with some 2500 gin lovers eager to sample the variety of international and local Gin products on offer by established distillers and newcomers to the industry.

Olivier confided that when choosing exhibitors for these famed gin festivals held in the Spring in Melbourne, London and Hamburg, they look for the characters and the spirit of the gin producers because they believe these passions are reflected in the spirits they distil, which no doubt is the case when it comes to Colombo No.7 Gin, listening to its fourth generation founder Amal de Silva Wijeratne explain how this special blend came into being.

Gin tasters at the festival standing three to four deep waited their turn to sample this premier spirit drink distilled to a unique recipe using seven spices and botanicals grown in Sri Lanka, making Colombo No.7 Gin a distinctly Sri Lankan take on a London Dry Gin.

Amal was busy explaining to enquiring samplers the special taste of his company’s Gin and the seven botanicals that make up the recipe – native ingredients cinnamon bark, curry leaves, ginger root and coriander seeds and base ingredients juniper berries, liquorice and angelica – to create a beautifully balanced, subtly spiced Gin, and in case you are wondering, no, it does not taste like curry. On the contrary, it is Gin at its best.

 He tells me that this year he has brought more stock as they sold out on the second day of the festival last year, so popular was this spirit at its Melbourne debut. Also at the stand helping Amal to pour and story-tell were Bryce Jamie (Australian Distributor, Exquisite Liquors), and British-born and Sri Lankan resident Graham Merricks (International Marketing)

This beautiful Gin story started in Sri Lanka 70 years ago during the British occupation of Sri Lanka. The Rockland Gin company (the first distillery in Sri Lanka and maker of Ceylon Arrack) was commissioned to supply the British with their spirits, which were manufactured in Sri Lanka using European botanicals, but during the Second World War, when these ingredients were hard to come by, the spirit makers were forced to turn their minds to a recipe derived from local Sri Lankan ingredients. Thus was born Colombo No.7 and the rest is history.

Colombo No.7 Gin is the first Asian-made, handcrafted Gin of its kind, which at the time of its concoction, stunned the British Excise Officers at the realisation that such a good Gin could be produced outside of the UK, so much so that they passed a law “Ceylon Made Foreign Liquor (CMFL)” allowing non-native spirits to be made in South Asia and exported around the world.

Today, Colombo No.7 Gin is produced in the UK, but the Gin remains true to his grandfather Founder Carl de Silva Wijeratne’s original recipe, still handcrafted in small batches using copper pot stills. Over the years the company tried to improve the recipe but found that Amal’s grandfather had already perfected it, and so the original recipe remains today.

Like me, you will be blown away with the aroma and the subtle spices that will tantalise your taste buds until the smooth flavours of the juniper and other ingredients of this beautifully balanced Gin kick in to hit your senses and linger. You know then you are on to something special.

Tasting note: Good accompaniment with spicy foods, G&T and other bitters. Recommend garnishing with citrus/orange peel, even peppercorns, and serve on ice.

Bottling note:  500 ml and 700 ml sizes, 43.1% ABV, costs range from $47 to $55 for the small size and $67.50 to $75 for the large size. Prices may vary due to promotional offers and shipping costs. Available at all good wine stores. For full listing visit the importer’s website and to purchase online from Nicks Wine Merchants and Melbourne Wine Store. Also listed and served in popular Sri Lankan Restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney.

Watch out for Colombo No.7 Gin soon to be available at Dan Murphy’s.

Graham ponders a question

Gin tasters are pleased with the result

Olivier (Gin Foundry UK) takes on queries


Amal, Graham and Bryce staff the exhibit stand

Gin fans waiting their turn to sample

JuniperLooza Festival Reception

Read More →

Sri Lankan Consuls meet 

Marie PieterszContributed by Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

During a recent visit to Melbourne, Hon Consul for Sri Lanka in Queensland, Mr Anton Swan, and wife Bronwen, made a courtesy call on the Consul for Sri Lanka in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, Mr W G S Prasanna, at his offices in Melbourne.

A cordial meeting and informal time was spent together, with both Consuls discussing matters that will improve the services to Sri Lankans in the respective States under their jurisdiction as well as nationally in Australia.


L to R: Hon Consul Mr WGS Prasanna, Bronwen Swan, Hon Consul Mr Anton Swan

Read More →

Sri Lankan for Victorian Parliament – Virosh Perera –
Contributed by Marie Pietersz, Melbourne




“With the Victorian State Elections to be held on Saturday, 24 November 2018, it is important that you know your Candidate and what he/she stands for making a difference in shaping Victoria,” Virosh says.

Virosh Perera is a proud Australian from a multicultural background, and honoured to be the Liberal candidate for Dandenong. Virosh is seeking your vote and has this message for the constituents of the City of Greater Dandenong about his political platform and what he can do for you and for the State of Victoria if elected.

“It’s a great honour and a privilege to be your Liberal Candidate in Dandenong; the 5th biggest city in Victoria, where I started my new life in Australia nearly two decades ago.

“I was born in a country town in Sri Lanka called Moratuwa and then moved to UK to complete my postgraduate studies. I started serving the community at the age of 10 at the local church.

“Current policies in Victoria have resulted in rising drug-fuelled crime, punishing cost of living, including electricity prices, congested roads, inadequate public transport and loss of local jobs caused by anti-business policies. As lecturer and entrepreneur, Virosh understands the importance of our children getting a good education and having policies which encourage businesses to employ.

“As a community Advocate, I would like to make difference in the lives of people.

“I was Born in Sri Lanka, Bred in the United Kingdom and Made in Australia.

“When I moved to Melbourne, my first job was as a sales person for Telstra – door knocking. At the same time, my desire was to establish a business, so I remained connected with my roots, which saw my former partner, Geethika, and I started Serendib News in 2000, the first free Sri Lankan newspaper in Australia. The newspaper soon became the backbone for the Serendib Awards, a platform to honour and acknowledge the people who make up the numerous hard-working Multicultural Communities, especially Indians, Fijians, Bangladeshi, Sudanese, Nigerian, Vietnamese, Afghanis, Turkish, Pakistanis, Iranians, Iraqis, Cambodian, Chinese, and others, in this wonderful country.

“Through all these initiatives there were so many opportunities to serve the community and to become an advocate for issues including domestic violence, community integration and of course employment opportunities.

“To support these initiatives, I have lobbied government agencies, charities, Councillors and local government, State Government and even the Federal Government of the day. In addition, I became a Community Ambassador for the AFL, Cricket Australia, Melbourne Stars, the Commonwealth Games, Real Madrid and more, ensuring that multicultural Victoria is considered when it comes to garnering its support and engagement for Sport as a catalyst to nurture and grow young migrants and to integrate them further into the general community.

“I am currently Director Diversity at the South Asian Link Group, a platform for the celebration of culture, diversity and inclusion among multicultural Victorians. As a Head of the Business faculty for the Australian Education Academy in Springvale, I lecture International students in the areas of Business Marketing and Management and offer Career Counselling, Consulting and Mentoring for a range of constituents.

“I am currently involved with a real estate start-up, which is aiming to be next the big innovation in real estate apps in Australia.

“My experience in the community and business world spans 20 years and over three continents.

“I see myself as making a difference to my own child’s future in the areas of Safety, Education and timely Infrastructure and playing a role in making Dandenong even more liveable for our diverse community and preserving it for the future of our children’s children.

“Let’s walk the path with me to make a difference in Victoria especially for the City of Greater Dandenong and endeavour to make this the most vibrant, multicultural Municipality in the world where our differences are nurtured, celebrated and supported.”

Please note if you are an Australian citizen, 18 years and over, you must enrol to vote and be on the Electoral Roll by 6 November. It is compulsory that you vote in the Victorian State Elections. There are a range of options for casting your vote to have your say and make a difference.



Read More →

Be Real – Be You!

Fathima Zeenath

Marie PieterszStory and pics by Marie Pietersz, Melbourne





Fathima ZeenathFathima Zeenath, young entrepreneur, title holder in the Miss Sri Lanka Australia Pageant in 2017 and owner of Style by Zee styling service and fashion event organiser is holding an inspiring styling and networking event to celebrate the uniqueness of women. She invites you to join her on the 10th November at The Manningham, 1 Thompsons Road, Bulleen, from 10 am to 3 pm where you will be inspired to celebrate your own uniqueness.


“When I tap in to the styling world, I find it so hard to find events that are inspiring and focus on feeling beautiful both inside and out. Keeping that in mind, I started to host styling events that inspire women and men to do better. This is so far the best styling collaboration I have put together and I am so looking forward to meeting you all at the event,” says Zeenath. 

Most of the money from ticket sales will go towards supporting Make A Wish Australia, a charity partner she has chosen because she can identify with the charity’s mission of granting children’s wishes. She is reflective as she ponders on her mission for women.


“How many times as women have you been told to look a certain way, act a certain way, and be a certain way? But do you ever wonder what will happen if you don’t follow any of these rules and let your authenticity make you true to yourself?” Zeenath asks. “What will happen if you choose to look at your life story in a completely different way and start celebrating your own uniqueness? If you are one of those incredible people who wants to make this change, then this event is for you!”


Your ticket will include-


Inspirational talk by keynote speaker

Molina Swarup Asthana, is a respected Victorian lawyer and winner of the Victorian Multicultural Award for Excellence 2014-2016 and many other community awards for her work with the Indian community in Melbourne and women’s leadership. Molina will share her wisdom and inspire you to act on finding your true potential.

Inspiring and Educational Styling workshop

Lucy Owens is a woman with a great styling knowledge and has worked for international styling brands like Kathmandu, French Connection and Just Jeans. She will inspire you to upgrade your styling game for life.


Health and wellbeing workshop

Shavita Kotak has a great understanding of how to live a mindful life. She gave up her lucrative business role to find out her true alignment of life and will inspire you to live a happy and healthy life.


You will also have the opportunity to mingle with like-minded people and check out skin care products, have your photos taken by professional photographers, choose from a variety of food options from The Manningham, and even showcase your business merchandise.


For all enquiries, contact the Style by Zee team at

Text: 0469861542

Tickets are priced at $20 and also available through Eventbrite.


Fathima Zeenath

Style by Zee services include:      

Motivational workshops

Styling and networking workshops 

Styling and organising for fashion events 

Personal styling / wardrobe upgrades. 





Read More →

CoffeeHead by day turns PizzaHead by night – Story and pics: Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

Camberwell’s 1961CoffeeHead launches PizzaHead, its pizzeria menu of gourmet wood-fired pizzas for every palate, inspired by New York’s funkiest pizza joints, at its Happy Hour last week.

Gourmet pizzas made under the expert eye of pizza dough expert Dario Lo Nigro kept marching out the kitchen at a steady pace throughout the evening to a packed café of guests eager to sample CoffeeHead’s new range of wood-fired pizzas, keeping owners Ash and Shiroma Nathan and Bill Sibonis delightedly busy. Adding his special touch to this favourite Italian fare, Ash showcased his pizza creations, the Bee Sting, Little Mermaid and Beastmaster, a real hit with diners, his tasting platters of risotto, gnocchi, calamari and salted watermelon salad, also a huge success. Bar staff were run off their feet with thirsty patrons eager to wash down some of the hot and spicy pizzas. ‘I am delighted with the response,’ said Shiroma. ‘Camberwell diners have been wanting a new line of pizzas to add to their already amazing variety of gastronomical experiences.’ CoffeeHead hosts happy hour from 5-6 pm on Fridays when its range of wood-fired pizzas are on the menu. To dine in at this delightful café in the heart of Camberwell with indoor and outdoor seating, book on 9882 6441 or through Open Table and be pleasantly surprised with the friendly service and seriously good food. Walk-ins are welcome. Take away service and Uber Eats available. CoffeeHead is located at 8 Railway Parade, Camberwell, open for night trading on Fridays and Saturdays until 9.30 pm.


pizza oven pizza
Wood-fired pizza oven New range Gourmet pizza
Ash-Shiroma-Bill busy-bar
Owners Ash, Shiroma and Bill Busy bar
diners family_dining
Bustling with diners Family dining



Marie PieterszStory and pics: Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

12 October 2018


Read More →

Aus-Lanka Business Council and Deakin Uni Business School form partnership

Aus-Lanka Business Council


Marie Pietersz

Story: Contributed by Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

Photo: Courtesy of Aus-Lanka Business Council


The Aus-Lanka Business Council and Deakin University Business School signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 4 April 2018. Signatories to the partnership are Ms Dilkie Perera, National President of the Aus-Lanka Business Council (second from left) and Prof Michael Ewing, Vice Chancellor of Deakin University (second from right).  Also in the picture are Mr Mohan Perera, Vice-President of the Aus-Lanka Business Council (extreme left). and Dr Luckmika Perera of Deakin University Business School (extreme right). The MoU provides a framework through which the two organisations hope to work together to achieve their mutual objectives.

Read More →

Dilki receives State Award for Outstanding Community Service 

Marie Pietersz
Story: Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

Pictures: Courtesy of Savish


Balwyn resident Dilkie (Dilrukshie) Perera is the latest recipient of the coveted Victorian Government’s Multicultural Award for Excellence – Meritorious Service to the Community. This award recognises her 20 years of outstanding service to the community, her leadership and dedication towards the promotion of Sri Lankan culture in Victoria, her work in uniting South Asian communities in business, cultural celebration and fundraising initiatives, and her support and empowerment of multicultural youth.

She was presented with the award by the Victorian Multicultural Commission Chairperson Helen Kapalos, in the presence of the Governor of Victoria Hon Linda Dessau AC and the Minister for Multicultural Affairs Hon Robin Scott MP. 

Dilkie immigrated to Australia in 1987. A Chartered Accountant, she held many prestigious positions in Sri Lankan businesses and was Finance Manager of the Sugar Corporation before migrating to Australia and gaining her title of Certified Practising Account (CPA).  In Melbourne Dilkie worked as a financial controller in private organisations and chartered accountancy firms such as PKF Australia and HLB Mann Judd.

In the past 25 years Dilkie has dedicated her time to promoting business between Sri Lanka and Australia and providing​ a platform for the business community to enhance its knowledge on business matters, taxation and commercial law in Australia. She served on the executive committee of the Sri Lanka Australia Council, and was head-hunted to lead the Auslanka Business Council as President, a post she held for seven years, and is currently the National President. 

She extended her service to the South Asian community by joining  SAPAC (South Asia Public Affairs Council) and served on the Committee for Sri Lanka for over two decades, involved in cultural and social activities in the community and assisting with organising the Sri Lankan Independence Day celebrations in Melbourne, which she still does, lately working working closely with the Sri Lankan Consulate in Melbourne on this event. ​

Seeing a vaccum in the involvement of young people in community events, she started the Miss Sri Lanka Australia Pageant with the objective of creating community leaders of young adults with Sri Lankan heritage with the many training opportunities and exposure to community events they receive through participating in the Pageant. In the past two years she has extended this Pageant to the South Asian community and has now run five Miss Sri Lanka Australia Pageants and two Miss South Asia Australia Pageants. As part of the Pageant training program, she has participated in the Australia Day parades in Victoria and SA with the winners from both pageants for the past five years.

She created her own cultural fashion label Savish to promote traditional Sri Lankan garments and designs for the young, especially bridal wear. She provides advice on cultural celebrations for those who like their Melbourne weddings to be conducted in traditional Sri Lankan style. More recently, Dilkie joined the South Asian Designers in Australia and has conducted over 25 cultural bridal and fashion shows, also for the purpose of promoting cultural wear among young people.  

Dilkie’s South Asia Pageant is dedicated to promoting awareness against domestic violence. This year the pageant held on 16 September included a compulsory two-hour session on the problem. The program is run in partnership with the Australasian Centre for Human Rights and Health (ACHRH). The Centre uses interstate coordinators for the program and participants in the Pageant from other states will have the opportunity to become interstate coordinators for the ACHRH. 

Dedicated to serving the community, Dilkie is supported by husband Hilmey Jainudeen and daughters Savindi and Vishni, who have been involved in community service from their early teens. Older daughter Savindi has already received many community service awards and has recently been appointed to the South Asian Ministerial Advisory Committee of the Victorian Multicultural Ministry. 

Dilkie now devotes her time to promoting South Asian youth as the next set of community leaders. Dilkie has demonstrated commendable service to her heritage and the Australian community and is a very worthy recipient of this award. Congratulations to Dilkie with best wishes for her enjoyment of the public recognition bestowed to her through the award.

Dilki (Dilrukshie) Perera

Dilki (Dilrukshie) Perera
Dilki and husband with Sri Lankan community leaders

Dilki (Dilrukshie) PereraReceiving the award from Helen Kapalos

Dilki (Dilrukshie) Perera

Dilki with family

Dilki (Dilrukshie) Perera

The award

Dilki (Dilrukshie) Perera

Dilki and family with Robin Scott MP

Dilki (Dilrukshie) Perera

The Governor oversees proceedings

Dilki (Dilrukshie) Perera

Dilki (Dilrukshie) Perera

Recipients of the award

Also posted on eLanka Facebook page – Click here to visit eLanka Facebook page

Read More →