The sound of harmony in housing
The event began with residents being asked to write onto large pieces of orange card their answers to questions like: ‘what does Harmony Day mean to you?’ and ‘what country were you born in?’. Represented at the event were people with cultural backgrounds from Eritrea, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Indigenous Australia, England and the Philippines.
Residents agree that the event was a success in fostering a sense of belonging and inclusiveness. Community Engagement Coordinator Sue Hughes said that the event, a part of the Neighbourhood Event series, was a chance to bring everyone together with other community service providers.
“At Wattle Apartments we have a number of culturally diverse residents and we thought it’d be a great opportunity to get everyone together and celebrate the meaning of Harmony Day,” Sue said.
There was plenty of time to socialise and browse through the stalls set up by other community and service providers, including Thread Together, The Public Trustee and Uniting Care Community, before residents and service providers were treated to a free lunch.
“An event like Harmony Day is about helping people to form connections. We don’t get a lot of opportunity to do this in life anymore”, says Uniting Care Community Resource Officer, Peter Dorsett.
“Forming connections is what bridges the gap between multicutural people”, he said.
Wattle Apartments resident Aileen Sommer said that events organised by Churches of Christ were important because, “They get people together no matter what race or religion they are”.
Aileen is a strong advocate for getting out of your home to meet other people.
“If you don’t get out, you become part of the furniture and people dust you off”, Aileen said.
A fellow resident said that it was because of Aileen’s encouragement to go the Harmony Day Celebrations that she chose to attend the event.
“I like it here [at Wattle Apartments] because it is very community orientated. You don’t feel lonely. Having the community centre makes this possible”.
“It’s peace, without isolation.”
Nimal Sedera, who is originally from Sri Lanka, moved into Wattle Apartments three years ago and was proud to identify himself as a Buddhist happily living at Wattle Apartments. He describes his experience of living in his apartment as being like, “a university for me to study life”. Talking about why he thought the Harmony Day was successful he said, “It gets people together, to talk, to share and to have a meal together without being inside your apartment”.
“You have to realise the nature of life and be good to people all the time.”
Wattle Apartments is an affordable living development for over 55s and is a part of our Acacia Ridge Campus alongside Brig O Doon retirement village and aged care service.