Culture and heritage

Heritage of NSW

A celebration with the Indian community

In October over 12,000 people attended the festival of Deepavali which was celebrated by the Hindu Council of Australia at Fairfield Showground. The Heritage Office attended this day of enormous cultural significance to talk to Australians of Indian origin about their cultural heritage and its contribution to the heritage of NSW. The festival of Deepavali has its origins in the coming home of Lord Rama after 14 years away from home and victory over evil king Ravana. On that day the citizens of Ayodhya celebrated his homecoming with dance, music, food, decorations and the whole town was lit with earthen lamps.

Mr Rajeev Maini with his daughter Prugya, Ms Rosalind Strong, Mr Vince Sicari at the festival of Deepavali in Fairfield. Photograph by Vijay Badhwar.

Mr Rajeev Maini with his daughter Prugya, Ms Rosalind Strong, Mr Vince Sicari at the festival of Deepavali in Fairfield. Photograph by Vijay Badhwar.

A recent study based on the relative positions of various stars and planets described in the epic Ramayana estimated this event to have happened on the 6th December 7272 B.C. Since then all Hindus have celebrated the festival of lights in commemoration of that historic event.

At the Fairfield Showground the Heritage Office spoke to festival-goers about the concept of heritage significance and the State Heritage Inventory. An article in the festival souvenir gave a brief history of the Indian community in Australia and information on how their heritage in NSW can be conserved. The write-up was received with great interest by the community.

Heritage Officers, Rajeev Maini, Sarala Chalsani and Vince Sicari, were present at the festival, along with Director of the Heritage Office, Rosalind Strong.

"We are looking forward to working with the Indian community in NSW to identify those places that have heritage significance for them," said Ms Strong. "This is an important step in recognizing their contribution to the history and culture of NSW."

Page last updated: 01 September 2012