Marie Pietersz

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

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Thursday night is Street Food Night at the Walawwa – Story and pics: Marie Pietersz, Melbourne


Click here or on the photos below to view the full album of photos on eLanka Facebook page

Thursday night is Street Food Night at the Walawwa  Thursday night is Street Food Night at the Walawwa

Thursday night is Street Food Night at the Walawwa

Thursday night is Street Food Night at the Walawwa

Thursday night is Street Food Night at the Walawwa

Thursday night is Street Food Night at the Walawwa

Thursday night is Street Food Night at the Walawwa

The Walawwa “The Bungalow” Restaurant and Bar at Sandown Regency, 477 Princes Highway, Noble Park, is seeing a resurgence in popularity under the capable management of Walter Perumal and his team. Walter is a patient listener when it comes to discussing  potential clients’ complex needs and nothing is too much trouble in his attempts to accommodate and cater for events to suit the customer. Team members Chef Saman and Food and Beverages Manager, Suranga, will make sure your appetite is satisfied and your thirst is quenched. 

Friday to Sunday are busiest for private functions at the Walawwa, but Manager Walter has created a special theme night for walk-in guests, so Sri Lankan food lovers can kick off their weekends earlier – on Thursdays – and eat out at the Walawwa, and for that he promises you a  Street Food Night when the Walawwa dedicates its catering to Sri Lankan village cuisine, the only one of its kind in Melbourne. 

On the deguatation menu you will find mouth-watering Sri Lankan fare. Main meals include hoppers, pittu and babath (tripe), kothu roti, egg roti, pol (coconut) roti, parathas and stringhoppers, served with the usual complementary accompaniments and your choice of curries of either chicken, beef, pork, mutton (goat) and fish – all for the very affordable price of $15 and under. Desserts like wattalappan and creme caramel will cool you down after your hot and spicy dinner. You can BYO wine, but spirits and soft drinks can be purchased at reasonable bar prices.


Although Thursday night caters for walk-in diners, bookings are recommended from the full house I encountered on my recent visit. It appears Street Food Night is gaining popularity from reviews about the delicious food at affordable prices and ample servings to be had.  Friendly staff and efficient service add to a pleasant dining experience, and speculative diners are now trying out this Noble Park restaurant, joining regulars to check out what makes Thursday nights at the Walawwa so popular.


So unplug yourself from the day-to-day work routine, leave your late night shopping for Fridays and go and tantalise your tastebuds with family and friends on Thursdays at the Walawwa. Join the Sri Lankan food lovers set at either the first sitting from 7.00-8.30 pm or the second from 8.30-10.00 pm. Call 9548 2798 for more information or to make a booking.


Restaurant and function centre

The Walawwa is the place for tasty eastern/western food at reasonable prices. Great ambience and venue for celebratory occasions and dances, and offers two function rooms.  The downstairs room can seat 130 people and the venue can be configured and decorated to fit the occasion, serving both buffet and a la carte. You can pick from a variety of live music options. It is open from 10am-10pm. 


For your next function, consider the Walawwa and call 0424 299 226 and discuss your needs with Walter.


Other services offered by the Walawwa are:

Friday nights buffet with live music, $25 pp, 7.30 pm-10 pm

Weekends lunch buffet $18 pp 12 noon-4 pm

Cafe opens week days for lunch until 4 pm – choose from tasty snacks to mini buffet to village fare (game kema) for $10-12 pp.


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Sri Lankan bridal designer launches Indian collection – Story: Marie Pietersz, Melbourne, Photos: courtesy of Savishaus

Click here or on the photos below to view the full set of photos on eLanka Facebook page

Sav Jainudeen chose India Day celebrations at the Mint-O-Mustard Indian Restaurant, Docklands, on 17 August, to launch a preview of her Indian collection, ahead of her full showing at the Brides of Asia Melbourne show on 18 August.

Amidst the riot of colour and array of the costumes worn by guests, this Sri Lankan designer captured the essence of Indian couture with her runway designs, which stood out with the Savish hallmark of beauty and elegance. 

A spokesperson for Festivals of South Asia Inc, organisers of the Brides of Asia, Melbourne show, said they couldn’t wait to unleash some of the masterpiece sarees and bridal flower pieces by favourite Sri Lankan Bridal Designer, savishaus.

Petite and pretty, Sav is fast gaining a reputation as the darling of Sri Lankan bridal couture, with invitations from many South Asian bridal show organisers to preview her collections at their events. 

Savish’s latest launch was in Perth, Western Australia, adding to her expansion in Colombo, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane and New Zealand.

Also celebrating India’s 72nd Independence Day were special guest speakers Matthew Guy MP, Leader of the Victorian State Opposition and Inga Peulich MP, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, who encouraged guests, who are migrants like themselves, to take up positions in the community to help shape Australia. 

Dilki Perera, President of the Australia-Sri Lanka Business Council was also there to support designer daughter, Sav, and to announce her initiative, the Miss Australia-Sri Lanka Pageant, which will again take place on 16 September this year, and to invite potential participants to take advantage of this platform of opportunity and training.

Savish is able to produce and supply all your Sri Lankan wedding needs, from traditional Sri Lankan Kandyan wedding sarees and groom’s national and Nilame outfits, to a draping service, hire of traditional jewellery, hair and make-up and flower bouquets. Savish also welcomes and caters for South Asian customers. 

For more information and to enquire about the on-trend services Savish can provide for your traditional nuptials, visit her Facebook page where your enquiries will typically be responded to within the hour.

Click here or on the photos below to view the full set of photos on eLanka Facebook page

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From dream to reality, a new haven for Sri Lanka

Story contributed by: Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

Pictures: courtesy of Project BEAP

Foundation Supporting a National Trauma Service in Sri Lanka

Australian members of the Foundation Supporting a National Trauma Service in Sri Lanka Inc (Foundation) recently returned from a visit to Sri Lanka where they joined Sri Lankan dignitaries and people of the township of Batticoloa to witness the opening of the new Accident & Emergency Treatment Unit (A&E) within the General Hospital on Hospital Road, Batticaloa, on 17 June 2018.

Hon Rajitha Senarathna, Minister for Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine (MOH), and his deputy Mr Faizal Cassim, together with Dr David Young, President of the FSNTSSL, who represented this Australian initiative, declared open the new facility with the singing of the National Anthem and unveiling of a commemorative plaque.

The building was funded with the Sri Lanka MOH outlaying Rs.547m and the Foundation subscribing Rs.260m plus the architectural drawings and supervision of the construction.

It took seven years since the plan was conceived and three months since the stone was laid for the three-storey, 80,000 sq.ft. building to be constructed by the Central Engineering & Consulting Bureau under the watchful eye of the Architect, Dr Locan Gunaratna, of Gunaratna Associates.

The Foundation was established in Melbourne in 2011 to provide the Sri Lanka healthcare sector with leadership and motivation to construct A&E Units to cater for the burgeoning need for this service lacking through the Sri Lankan public sector. The Foundation is spearheaded by Dr David Young, prominent Melbourne Orthopaedic Surgeon with a keen interest in Sri Lanka, derived mainly from his involvement in sports medicine with the Sri Lankan Cricket team and other faculties of sport. The Foundation’s Patron is Dr David de Kretser, former Governor of Victoria, Australia, who has Sri Lankan heritage.

Foundation CEO and Coordinator Nihal de Run, past pupil of Royal College and former employee in the Sri Lanka tea industry, recruited a team of volunteers and business specialists to assist with fund-raising activities and liaison with Sri Lankan government officials. Committee members include Jerome Adams (Deputy CEO), Dave Paramanandan, Lorraine Fernando and Kirupa Sathanantha (Treasurer). The Foundation has a membership of over 300 and pledged over US$2m for the building and US$1m for medical equipment and furniture. Nalin Pathikirikorale (Vice President SL), Jayantha Jayewardene, Indrajith Fernando, Bobby Jordan Hansen, Chandi Page and Bill Deutrom also assisted with raising these funds through donations from both Sri Lankan and Australian corporates, including an individual donation totalling Rs.45m. 

The Foundation provided the following data:

This new A&E Unit is the second in a series of 14 modern state-of-the-art  units to be constructed throughout the island to cater for the rising demand for healthcare in this category. Karapitiya in the south was the first, Batticaloa is the next and it is expected that twelve more will be constructed soon. Work has already started at the Jaffna, Polonnoruwa, Kalmunai and Matara hospitals. The MOH is to be congratulated on taking the advice that A&E Units are vitally important not only for citizens of Sri Lanka, but also for the growing number of tourists that visit.

Road accidents is the number one reason for people seeking admittance to A&E units. The better the roads the faster people tend to travel and the abundance of road traffic vehicles is causing a rapid increase in accidents. Other reasons people seek assistance in these A&E facilities are dog bites (anti-rabies treatment) snake bites, stings, poisons, burns and industrial and domestic accidents.

In the calendar year 2017, 21,654 people were admitted for surgery. Of this fifty percent was for major surgeries. Now, with the addition of three new operating theatres, the Batticaloa Teaching Hospital will be in a better position to deal with the patient demand.

An inspection of the new facility revealed, on the ground floor, a spacious reception area for incoming patients and their family members, an Ambulance Transfer area, Triage, Burns Decontamination room, Poison Treatment room, Rabies treatment unit, Resuscitation Unit, Treatment room with 20 beds, Procedure room, Radiology Room, Ultrasound Scanning Unit, and a CT Scanning room.

The first floor has a sixty-bed male & female short stay ward and six high dependency beds.

The second floor has the three operating theatres, one for general surgery, one for orthopaedic surgery and one for specialty surgery including eye surgery, with accompanying preparation and recovery areas.

Nihal attributes the success of this initiative to the public-private partnership (not for profit) between the Sri Lanka MOH and the  private sector, a partnership he believes can and should be repeated in Sri Lanka to help grow the country’s health care sector quickly and efficiently. He says this needs special arrangements in key government departments and fast communication lines between public sector organisations as the private sector is accustomed to prompt responses and more written communication.  He believes this partnership model can work well anywhere in the world. 

“The Foundation’s goal now is to fund a CT Scanner, w​hich will cost US$600,000,  and the wheels are already in motion to do this within this year, said Nihal. 

For more information, or to make a donation to support the Batticoloa Emergency Accident Project (Project BEAP), contact Nihal on +61-419382142 or Skype: dderun.


Foundation Supporting a National Trauma Service in Sri Lanka

 Foundation Supporting a National Trauma Service in Sri Lanka

Foundation Supporting a National Trauma Service in Sri Lanka

 Foundation Supporting a National Trauma Service in Sri Lanka

Foundation Supporting a National Trauma Service in Sri Lanka

  Foundation Supporting a National Trauma Service in Sri Lanka

Foundation Supporting a National Trauma Service in Sri Lanka

Foundation Supporting a National Trauma Service in Sri Lanka

Foundation Supporting a National Trauma Service in Sri Lanka

Foundation Supporting a National Trauma Service in Sri Lanka




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Oh What A 70’s Josephian Night – Story: Marie Pietersz, Melbourne ; Photographs: courtesy Bryan Perera et al

Please click here or on the photos below to view the full album of photos on eLanka Facebook page

  70s Josephian Night-Melbourne

70s Josephian Night-Melbourne

70s Josephian Night-Melbourne

70s Josephian Night-Melbourne

70s Josephian Night-Melbourne

The Josephines’ Club of Australia Inc held its 2018 mid-year soiree at the Sacred Heart Church Hall, Oakleigh, on Saturday, 7th July, in true hippy 70’s style.

The Josephines’ theme-oriented mid-year functions are always a sell-out because of patron feedback that they are “fun”, represent “value for money” and provide “superb food and decor” and this reputation is spreading. In the past five years the dress-up themes have included Sri Lankan, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Back to School, Bollywood and the Groovy 70’s. 

Once again this year’s event was a load of fun and you could be forgiven for thinking you were back in the 70’s or on a 70’s movie set, with a roomful of 255 guests, all dressed in costumes from this era – famous bell bottoms, Annette Funicello sunglasses, peace pendants, glamorous beehive and Afro hairdo’s, hippy headbands, loud shirts and flower-power chains and accessories. Past pupils travelled from Queensland and NSW for the event.

In its very popular format, the soiree commenced with the entrance of the newest Royal, Megan Markel, a.k.a. Committee member and MC, Delreen Cramer, with her hilarious send-up of the Duchess of Sussex, attracting loud cheers.  Music from the 70’s was provided by DJ Jeremy Ekanayake, with Jolly J’s catering serving up their usual sumptuous food. 

The highlight of the evening was the fancy dress competition. With so many beautifully dressed people, the judges had a hard job choosing the winner, with Tessa Meyn (Queensland) and Shirin Arulanandam (Victoria) crowned equal female winners and Hamish Scully the unanimous male winner.

President Danielle Gunatilaka provided an insight into the club, its activities and the causes it supports:

“St Joseph’s Convent, Sri Lanka, as it was previously known, is now a government school and barely receives funding from the government. In fact the government is only able to pay the teachers’ salaries. These dances are a way to fund-raise to help keep the school functioning on a day-to-day basis. 

“The St Josephine Australian chapter was instituted in 1997 by a small group of past pupils with a present membership of 160. The club is always on the look-out for more past pupils to join for a mere membership fee of $10 per annum. 

 “The club holds three events per year: a major end-of-year dinner dance, a mid-year dance and a celebratory lunch at the Feast of St Joseph. 

“Monies raised from these events go to fund school projects in whatever area we have learned requires funding. This year we are concentrating on an electronic whiteboard and much needed refurbishments of the toilets. We have funded the stocking up of brand new books for the whole of the Junior School Library. We have funded the refurbishment of the St Joseph’s statue to continue the element of it being a Catholic school. We have upgraded the school band with instruments such as trumpets, saxophones, drums, music stands and band uniforms.

“Every year we send funds for St. Joseph’s Feast day in Sri Lanka to give the 2200 children in school a treat on this significant day. This year also saw us contribute $500 to the Children’s Cancer Ward (in SL) in dire need of milk powder. We also support an Australian charity each year with a donation of $500. We are currently in discussion with authorities of the school re sponsorship of a couple of underprivileged girls attending the school in regards to their school fees, school books and uniforms. 

“If finances permit more could be done. Attending our functions means you are helping us to help. Thank you for your past support and please support our worthy cause with your presence at our future events. Next year’s mid-year dance will definitely be themed again, so we do hope you will attend and join the dress-up for a night of fun.”

The club is to be congratulated on such a tremendous philantropic effort from such a small organisation.

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When wedding dreams can come true… 

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Marie PieterszStory: Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

Photography: courtesy of Shevan J Photography and Jessica Prince Photography

The wedding of Hannah Shan and Themiya Dissanayake which took place on Saturday 26 May 2018 could be up there with some of the best weddings of the year. Careful planning saw this wedding play out like a well-rehearsed orchestra from start to finish. Nothing was left to chance, with every detail taken care of, none of which was plain or mediocre – on the contrary, everything was exquisitely personalised and themed, from the  wedding invitations to the Order of Ceremony handouts to wedding bell bombanaries to serviettes, guest lists, place names and more. 

The bride is the daughter of former Miss Sri Lanka 1981 Renuka Jesudhasan and Marlon Namasivayam Shan, and granddaughter of Dr Edward and Arlene Jesudhasan and Jetliners sound technician Bala Namasivayam and late Dulcie (nee Bertus) Namasivayam. The groom is the son of Ruwan and Bimba Dissanayake.

The bride went for her full dream of the perfect wedding – professional services and designer labels were the order of the day. She wore a beautiful full-skirted princess dress by Sydney designer Leah La Gloria for the formal wedding ceremony and a mermaid shaped dress for the reception, to make it easier for her to sit and dance in, also be Leah La Gloria, inspired by Ja’ton Couture, Berta Bridal Dress 1509 and Craig Braybrook Couture. The bridegroom wore a custom-made suit of specially chosen fabrics. Bouquets, corsages and nosegays were by Feather Bud. The bridal hair and make-up artist was Simone Clark. The bridesmaids’ dresses were from White Runway and their tresses coiffed by the bride under her label Hairstyling by HS. With four bridesmaids and four groomsmen attending the couple, it was a full bridal set.

There was standing room only at the nuptials in the big, beautiful St Mark’s Anglican Church in Camberwell, reminiscent of Sri Lankan weddings when churches are packed with guests and well-wishers. The officiating celebrant was Ben Johnson, a friend from the bride’s Youth Group days. The church hall played host venue for the lavish afternoon tea which followed the marriage ceremony and once again, the place was packed to the rafters with guests and the decadent food was high tea style, plus.  This was the bridal couple’s idea of including extended family and friends not attending the wedding reception. Kings Parade, a band of young musicians, provided music for the afternoon soiree.

A gala evening reception for 200 special guests was held at Peninsula C, Atlantic Group, Docklands. “The beauty of our reception venue was that we could fill it with exactly what we wanted. It was like a blank canvas for me,” Hanna confided. We had to bring in our own table centrepieces, twenty of them, and so I theme-created them, inspired by all the things we like and I loved seeing everything fall into place.” Guests were matched with their tables by the centrepiece creations dedicated to RX-7, dining-out, New York (place of engagement), Lollies, Tony Bianco (Australian shoe designer), Japanese ‘Anime’, Chess, Maths, Pasta, Disney, ‘Muay Thai’ kick-boxing, the colour Pink, Travel, Movies, Dog ‘German Shepherd, Champagne and Wine. 

“I also wanted a ‘food truck’ feel so the reception centre was commissioned to do pasta and Sri Lankan cooking stations, providing guests with their choice of entree cooked on the spot.” Excellent service meant that there were no long line-ups for the food and it worked like a dream. To top it up, the venue also provided main meals, while desserts comprised a vast array of exquisite delicacies. The cake was a magnificent five-tier tower designed by Vindya & Co.

“I wanted a wedding that was personal and all about “us” and to give something personal to my family and guests – something out of the ordinary,” Hannah said about the wedding, discussing the other personalised touches she had organised, like thank-you boxes for the bridal party filled with gifts and hand-written notes and personalised cufflinks with images of the grooms’ favourite cars, while fathers and grandfathers wore cufflinks made up with baby pictures of the bride and groom. 

DJ Naz provided music on a night where everybody dazzled and everything glittered. The speeches and skits were humourous and the bridal dances moving. It was indeed a magical night. At the end of the night individual, hand-written thank-you notes were presented to appreciative guests already touched by the generous and thoughtful gestures experienced throughout the whole event.

Following their dream wedding, the bridal couple will honeymoon in the Greek Isles, followed by a family reunion to celebrate with relatives in Sri Lanka before they return home to start their new life in their own home.


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ACF celebrates its Diamond Jubilee – By Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

Marie PieterszStory: Marie Pietersz, Melbourne

Photographs courtesy of: various (Scroll to the end of the article to view Photos)


The Australia Ceylon Fellowship (ACF) celebrated its 60th year since inauguration with a fine food and silver service Gala Dinner Dance held at The Grand on Princes, Mulgrave, on 23 June 2018. The event was well patronised by members and guests and an impressive line-up of VIPs representing the governments of Australia and Sri Lanka were also present to help celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. Among them were: High Commissioner of Sri Lanka HE Somasundaram Skandakumar, Sri Lankan Consulate-General W. G. S. Prasanna, Hon Julian Hill Member for Bruce, Hon Craig Ondarchie MP, Ann-Marie Hermans Member for Cranbourne, Gary Maas Member for Narre Warren and Dilkie Perera, President Australia-Sri Lanka Business Council. I was so proud to meet the many Sri Lankan Burgher Parliamentary candidates,” said Dilkie Perera, who was a special guest on the night. 

Music for dancing was by No Limits, the sumptuous banquet by Cha’s Cabin, a bevy of Kandyan dancers entertained, keynote speakers added flavour, and raffle prizes came from generous sponsors and donors. 


The ACF was founded by Ceylonese from the Burgher community who migrated to Australia over sixty years ago from Sri Lanka. In her speech, the new President Jenny Waduge touched on these beginnings. “I have a vision to assist people who really need our help here and in Sri Lanka,” she said. 


She paid tribute to the members gone before who contributed so much in time and resources to the establishment of the ACF and laid the foundation for where it stands today. She said the ACF is currently mainly focused on keeping its members together and providing them with opportunities to socialise and enjoy themselves with family and friends at special events organised for that purpose, but there is more to do. 


“The new focus of the ACF under the current committee will be to address the needs of the senior members through social and recreational activities such as outings, luncheons and visiting the elderly,” she said. 


“We will also focus our attention on attracting new members from the younger generations of Sri Lankans in Australia to ensure the longevity of the association. The ACF Hall known as the Ceylon Centre which provides a tremendous service to the community is an ideal venue to hold functions such as birthdays, anniversaries, christenings and meetings, and it is booked just about every weekend. The Hall needs updating to improve its facilities and ensure it remains attractive to potential hirers. This updating requires funds which our members cannot afford, so we will be seeking funds from the government assistance programs for community services.” 


“I am both honoured and excited to have been given this tremendous opportunity to lead this wonderful organisation into its next chapter and I look forward to working with a team of hardworking and dedicated individuals for the good of the ACF.”


The Rev John Blaze is a Founder Member and Life Member of the ACF and shared with guests his personal reflections and account of the founding of the ACF:

As one of the four remaining founder members of the Australia-Ceylon Fellowship I write this brief account of its genesis. In 1956/1957 I shared a dream with my parents and others. The reality somewhat differs from the dream. As part of the diaspora of Ceylon, the land of our birth and heritage, we were fluent in English and most of us had grown up with strong Judeo-Christian family values. Australia held the promise of future opportunities.

Migrating to Australia was expensive and difficult. In place were stringent, restrictive immigration policies. In those days travel by ship rather than air was less costly and also a would-be immigrant could bring more necessities by ship. Migrants had to comply with the “White Australia” Policy, evidence of ready employment and accommodation, good health and good character. Many could not meet all these criteria, particularly the cost.Immigrants from the United Kingdom and parts of Europe received government financial assistance, but there was no hope of such an agreement with the Ceylon Government, who made it even more difficult by introducing strict currency regulations. Those leaving Ceylon were only able to take 300 rupees per adult over 18 years and 150 rupees per person under 18 years. A very meagre amount for a family to start life in a new country.

After discussions with the Australian Minister for Immigration we were advised that if there was a sponsoring body to take the place of the Ceylon Government we may overcome some of the difficulties. Through my contacts in the Presbyterian Church I met Rev. Alan Stuart who introduced me to Miss Margaret Holmes the then Secretary to the Australian Council for the World Council of Churches, which offered an interest free loan of £100,000 to enable us to pay the passages of those who qualified to migrate to Australia. The agreement was that people pay back the loans as they gained jobs, so that we could bring more migrants to Australia. All loans, with the exception of one, were repaid.

In 1957 eleven of us met, to form the sponsoring body, at the home of Dorrit and Benjamin Blazé. They were: Mr Hugh and Mrs Ione Aldons, Mr Halroyd Keegel, Mr Richard and Mrs Viola Paulusz and their son Pieter, Mr Benjamin and Mrs Dorrit Blazé and their son, John, Mrs Kitty Kalenberg and Mr Gerard Paulusz. Our average age was 35 years.We contacted other Ceylon migrants and Members of Parliament, Clergy and Councillors and invited them to our first AGM. Mr C. E. Foenander, was elected President. After much discussion we settled for the name Australia-Ceylon Fellowship. Multi-gifted Dorrit Blazé was requested to create the emblem.

Many friendships were built in the early days with Members of Parliament and other community leaders.

Many of our people from Ceylon have made valued contributions to Australian society and we expect that our descendants will continue this legacy. We welcome distinguished guests, members of the ACF and all here present tonight to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Australia-Ceylon Fellowship.

Rev. John Blazé

Founder Member and Life Member


If you want to belong to one of the oldest Sri Lankan organisations established in Australian and be part of this community family, Secretary Ingrid Rulach says membership is very affordable and costs $15 per year for seniors and $20 for others. An application form is available on the ACF webpage  or by contacting a committee member. The ACF has monthly events at a reasonable cost to its members and their guests.

Congratulations and thanks must go to committee members for what, from all accounts, was a memorable night of Diamond Jubilee celebrations and camaraderie had by all. 


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Animal SOS Sri Lanka has friends in Australia – By Marie Pietersz

Marie PieterszFathima Zareen is a caring young adult who has become an ambassador for young Australians with Sri Lankan heritage. Graduating as a finalist in the Miss Sri Lanka Australia Pageant 2016, she has taken her training in raising awareness of her heritage and working in the community space to another level. 

The most recent demonstration of her passion and dedication to community causes was her decision to put her efforts behind Animal SOS Sri Lanka, a UK registered charity (1119902) dedicated to improving the lives of suffering stray cats and dogs in Sri Lanka. She was instrumental in organising the Kindness Project, a fund-raiser high tea at the Manningham Hotel, Melbourne, on 7 July, with Maheema Lansakara, Medical Scientist at the Peter McCallum Cancer Institute, who lives by her motto of love and kindness.  The event was sponsored by Archie Argawal (SpecialCandles4u) and patronised by  40 guests representing Sri Lankan and Australian communities in Melbourne. Keynote speakers were Melonie Taylor (Professional and Personal Develoment Mentor), Emma Romano (Family Freedom Coach) and Maggie McGuire (Teen Miss Universe Australia).  

“I am so delighted to let you that that the event was a huge success and I want to share it with you,” stated a very happy Fathima, model, hair stylist and make-up artist, based in Melbourne (

“SOS Sri Lanka takes in sick and critically injured animals and nurses them back to health at its 4-acre free roaming sanctuary in the south of Sri Lanka. The animal population at the sanctuary is 1300 and are those whose lives have been saved by the charity’s work. It also operates adoption schemes to home, rehabilitate and care for some 120 disabled dogs. Its outreach programs provide free neutering, rabies vaccination and many other treatments to stop the spread of diseases and deaths. The charity also funds free English classes to poor children in the local village and incorporates animal welfare education and teaches the importance of kindness and compassion in the education which help the children with their chances in life. The charity feeds 1400 animals a day which include those resident animals in the sanctuary and strays. This feeding program is a constant upward struggle for this small charity and proceeds from the raffle held will be directed to the charity to feed the animals,” explained Fathima.

“There will be more events in the future to help contribute to this worthy cause to give these poor animals a lifeline,” she said, “and we need your help to do this.”

For more information about the charity and how you can donate, please visit 

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Isipathana OBA Vic – Green Breeze Dinner Dance 2018 – Story by Marie Pietersz, Melbourne | Photography courtesy of Blue Tulip Creative

Marie Pietersz

The 19th Annual Dinner Dance of the Isipathana College OBA Vic Inc,  Green Breeze 2018, held at the Box Hill Town Hall on Saturday, 2 June, was a sold-out event. 

Rarely had this gracious hall looked more splendid than with the decor created by Melbourne Glee – silhouettes of dancers in shades of green, stood atop elegant table centrepieces, while flashing strobe and disco lights gave the venue a fairyland feel. 

The Pathana boys were well represented on the night, looking resplendent in their double green College ties (formerly Greenlands College), proudly displayed during the line-up for singing of the College anthem in Sinhala.  

There was no doubt that President Manoj Fernando, ably assisted by his OBA Committee of 2017-18, had excelled in their efforts to provide an all-round quality event for members, families, well-wishers, and friends, supported with generous financial and non-financial donations from OBA sponsors and associates. 

Past President Randy Pietersz was a guest of the President, while Amal Edisooriya, President of the Isipathana OBA UK sent greetings on behalf of the UK contingent. Brother school, Thurstan College representatives reserved a table and were seen enjoying the tremendous night.  

A violin sonata set the mood to start, building up to a packed floor of 360 energetic guests dancing all night to the sounds of vintage crooner Desmond de Silva backed by Tantra and support act DJ Warren J. Singing his usual irrepressible English evergreens and Sinhala bailas, Desmond drew loud applause and interaction from the crowd with his ability to mix both styles of music. Tantra and DJ Warren worked their music well to please the crowd.

Relatively new to the Sri Lankan dance scene, caterers Vindhi Foods provided an unusual and sumptuous buffet and pre- and post-dinner refreshments.

The major prize was a return airfare to Sri Lanka donated by Dhammika Sanjeewa of Sri Lankan Airlines. Auctioned by Compere Tyronne Seneviratne, active bidding achieved a price for the ticket well above expectations. Ladies’ gifts and raffle prizes were the generous donations of sponsors, as was the impressive souvenir.

Issipathana College has a lot to boast about, with its OBA members achieving professional heights in Australia, not to mention the College’s academic and sporting successes in Sri Lanka, Pathana boys continuing to maintain high standards in all of their endeavours.

The Isipathana OBA Victoria remains very active, organising family activities to nurture and strengthen ties with Alumni and their families and conducting fundraisers to help support their beloved College in its programs to excel in studies and sport. 

From all accounts, the Green Breeze 2018 revellers had a wonderful time, taking with them memories of the night, made possible by the stunning images created by Blue Tulip Creative, photographers and cinematography. 

Congratulations to the President and his Committee for a successful night.

Click on the Photos below to view the full album of the Isipatha OBA Vic – Green Breeze Dinner Dance 2018 on eLanka Facebook page – or Click here

President Manoj Fernando

Past President Randy Pietersz and wife Marie


To view the full complement of pictures, visit or

The OBA Victoria invites you to visit their Facebook Page at to share with you historical and current news of the College.

Greenlands (Isipathana) College – Colombo School Anthem …

Isipathana college, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka.



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Gary and Dalrene win Gold – Story by Marie Pietersz | Photographs courtesy of the family


Gary Joseph and Dalrene Sharelle (nee Achilles) Pompeus celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary with a grand party at the Melrose Reception Centre, Airport West, on Sunday, 11 March 2018.  

A thanksgiving ceremony preceded the celebrations and was presided over by celebrant Deacon Pou’kesi Vaka’uta. It included a blessing of rings and thanksgiving prayers led by the five grandchildren and god-daughter, Jeanine Pompeus, one of three god-children present.

Dalrene was very excited as she described how Gary and she had waited so long for this special day and a further declaration of their love for each other. Special moments of the evening that moved her included the rendition of the love song, I found lasting love, by Sal Mineo, sung to her by Gary, the speeches by her grandchildren and the specially choreographed dance performed for them by three of the grandsons. 

The 165 guests were entertained to a packed agenda. Highlights included a rendition of O My Papa by Dalrene’s older brother and trumpeter Dallas Achilles, a love song by Steve and Ann Furtado, and speeches by younger brother Delmer Achilles, Gary’s sister, Carol Raymond, and bestman Ralph de Zilva.

It all started when Dalrene and her sister Orianna met Gary and a friend at a dance at the 20th Century Dance club. Gary claims Dalrene played ‘hard to get’ which spurred him on to pursue her and love blossomed. However, Dalrene’s father, Vernon, was opposed to the friendship at first as Dalrene was Anglican and Gary a Catholic. However, love won and the couple were married at the All Saints Church, Borella, on  12 March 1968, and were blessed with a son, Dodwell, that same year.

The couple migrated to Australia in September 1972 and have lived in Melbourne ever since. They became Australian citizens in 1974.

When they first arrived in Melbourne, they shared a home in Broadmeadows with kind friends Bunny and Therese Joseph, who themselves had eight children, but made room to fit them in, until Dalrene and Gary were able to rent a house in Glenroy and then purchase their home in Gladstone Park in 1976 where they have lived for 42 years.

In Sri Lanka, Dalrene learned shorthand and typewriting at the Pitman’s Shorthand and Typewriting Academy, going on to become a teacher at the Academy before progressing to the position of Secretary.

In Australia, Gary worked at the Ford Motor Company at Broadmeadows for 29 years and Dalrene worked as a Stock R/Typist/Invoicing Clerk at Ericcsons, the well-known communications company, also for 29 years, temporarily resigning when daughter Maria was born in 1974 and rejoining the company in those days when maternity leave was not part of employment agreements.

The couple have five grandchildren whom they adore. Son Gary married Tania Fernando and have two children Jacob (17) and Chloe (15) and daughter Maria married Parrick Iosefo and have three children, twins Zyon and Dre (12) and Maxym (9).

Since arriving in Melbourne, Gary and Dalrene have been intimately involved with the Parish of Good Shepherd, Gladstone Park and regularly attend and assist at Sunday and weekday Masses. They are also the organisers of the weekly Novenas to Our Lady of Perpetual Help held at St Fidelis Church, Coburg for over 31 years, together with 23 years of dedication to weekly devotions to the Holy Miraculous Infant Jesus of Prague organised by Gary.

Gary and Dalrene are very busy in their retirement with their significant involvement in church activities and as ardent supporters of their grandchildren who are making names for themselves in the sporting field among other things.

To know this couple is to know their love for the church, each other and their family. Congratulations Gary and Dalrene on this significant milestone and best wishes go with you for many more years of a happy and healthy wedded life together. 

 MC for the Evening:  Godson Perry Amarasingham 

Catering: Melrose Receptions

Cake: Ayisvy Miral 

Bombanier wedding cake: Joan Fernando

Special mention guests: Carol and Melessa Raymond. Eden and Jeanine Pompeus (Sydney) and school mates Ralph and Vilette De Zilva (Queenland), Dylan and Christine Modder (Canada), Roy and Ingrid Parsons, Peter and Marguerite De Niese, Jermyn and Joan Dekker, Johnny and Daphne Van Sanden, and three godchildren.

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