Celebrating Ballarat’s diversity advantage

Photo of four winners holding up their framed certificates at the Intercultural Awards in 2023

Last night the City of Ballarat recognised individuals, organisations and businesses who have contributed to Ballarat’s diversity as active members of the city’s intercultural community.  

Held during Harmony Week, the 2023 Intercultural Recognition awards recognised the following twelve community organisations and individuals for their outstanding contributions: 

1. McAuley House Ballarat 

McAuley House Ballarat is a provider of accommodation and case management for homeless women, especially for those affected by family violence.  The staff at McAuley, support women to rebuild their family and community connections, develop their independent living skills, and begin their journey towards independence.       

2. Ballarat Interfaith Network  

During the past 20 years, the Ballarat Interfaith Network has successfully connected different faith groups in Ballarat from diverse backgrounds and commenced interfaith dialogues to bring harmony and peace in our city. 

3. Ballarat Keralites’ Foundation of Australia Inc 

The Ballarat Keralites Foundation of Australia, with members from Kerala, a state in India, have initiated many social projects aimed at providing a helping hand to those who are in need. Just recently as part of Harmony Fest their ‘Taste of India’ dinner was sold out with all profits going to the Soup Bus. 

4. Filipino-Australian Association of Ballarat Inc 

The Filipino-Australian Association of Ballarat, also known as FAABI has delivered a range of services and activities to the Ballarat Filipino community for over 32 years. 

FAABI has united members to provide support to those in need, visiting new mothers, delivering meals to people who are sick as well as providing emotional support to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.   

5. Ballarat Rural Australians for Refugees 

Ballarat Rural Australians for Refugees has been supporting refugees in our community, by holding many events such as picnics, fundraising, and rallies. They are always there to show their support publicly.  

6. Nivashini Neelavannan  

Nivashini is a volunteer at an information centre with her mum, helping kids with their homework during the lockdown and still teaches English and maths to some kids in Sri-Lanka online.  

7. Albert Mumba 

Albert is a youth worker, who volunteers with 6 multicultural groups and organisations and works 4 to 5 days a week visiting and helping youths across Victoria with his own money. He also assists drug addicts in the African community and youths that were suicidal. 

8. Rachel Muir 

Rachel is a proud Aboriginal woman and Anti Racism Activist. She is a proud Yorta Yorta woman who has been in Ballarat on Wadawurrung land her whole life, growing up around her culture and always showing up and stepping up to address the injustices that her people face. 

9. Tashkah Lloyd 

Tashkah works for Settlement and Engagement and Transition Support ‘SETS’ and the Humanitarian Settlement program HSP. She has gone above and beyond to support refugees and migrants and making sure they feel at home in Ballarat. 

10. Deepa Kuriachan 

Deepa is an ABCD project coordinator and BMA community member. She organised a workshop for multicultural parents with young and school going children, breaking down barriers amongst multicultural parents to come forward and interact with others regarding their difficulties which they face in their daily life.  

11. Marianne Hendron 

Marianne is the CEO of Women's Health Grampians, who has been steering this organisation over many years and is a respected community leader, whose strengths in collaboration, partnership engagement, advocacy and building community capacity, have contributed to positive outcomes for many women in our community.   

12. Jack Yang 

Jack has brought our community together, both young and old, and has given us a positive experience through Tai Chi.  Some of his Tai Chi students are in their 70s, Jack has given them a purpose to get out and be part of the community again, by performing at Sovereign Hill or even taking part in the Begonia Parade. 

In addition, there were three major category winners on the night: 

1. Ann Foley for her Outstanding Contribution to the Intercultural Community 

Ann Foley is the past CEO of Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council (BRMC) and is a passionate champion for multicultural communities in Ballarat and beyond. She is also a mentor for individuals and organisations and a human rights advocate.  Ann has championed projects and partnerships that have led to positive outcomes across the community, including women, youth, new and emerging communities, the wider Ballarat community and the BRMC workplace.  

2. Haoliang Sun for his Outstanding Community Initiative 

Haoliang Sun set up the Chinese Library in the centre of Ballarat in 2022.  The Chinese Library is functioning as a regional education centre for the study of Chinese history, a centre for the regional Chinese cultural activities, a regional Information Centre and Book Museum, and a Ballarat Intercultural Community Hub. He has created the largest Chinese Library in the Southern Hemisphere, housing over 200,000 books. 

3. Frank Williams for his Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to the Intercultural Community of Ballarat  

Frank is known to many in the Ballarat Intercultural Community, often working in the background and taking part in many intercultural events, having had many roles in the past such as: Mayor of Ballarat (1991-1992), President of the Eureka Stockade Memorial Park committee, part of the original BRMC Steering Committee, Chairperson BRMC (2007 – 2009), Chairman of the Ballarat Japan Community Committee, Member of the Intercultural Advisory Committee of the City of Ballarat which includes being one of the driving forces for the Intercultural Garden and currently he is the Media Officer for FAABI. 


City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson presented the awards and said, “The Intercultural Awards are an important part of our city’s Harmony Week celebrations and demonstrate why we have been recognised as the first Intercultural City in Australia.” 

“As I said at the start of the week, we want Ballarat to be a place where diversity is viewed as the norm and we feel we have done a tremendous amount of work to get to that point,” Cr Hudson said. 

“Harmony Week is about celebrating all the different cultures, including First Nations cultures, that have contributed so much to making Ballarat the place it is today.” 

“We might have different backgrounds and cultures, but we all share the one city together and this week is about celebrating how we can live together in a vibrant, diverse and harmonious community.” 

Harmony Fest aligns to the City of Ballarat’s Intercultural City Strategic Plan 2022-26 which promotes responsive service delivery, active citizenship, leadership and advocacy, maximizing and valuing diversity. 

For the full program of Harmony Week events and for more information, visit the Harmony Week page on the City of Ballarat website or the Harmony Fest Facebook page.  

The week concludes on Sunday 26 March 2023 with a free community picnic with music, dance and activities for families and everyone at Lake Wendouree.