President George Vella commended the Maltese Community in New South Wales for their commitment in keeping the Maltese identity alive. “I am sure you will also instil the same sense of pride and belonging towards the Maltese Islands to the younger generations”, said President Vella whilst encouraging this community to keep their contacts and networking among themselves, even through social media.
During an event with the Maltese community of New South Wales, President Vella remarked that this community is active in organising traditional events, most notably “our beloved festas”. They celebrate the Our Lady of Victories feast close to St Mary’s Cathedral in the heart of Sydney, as well as other renowned feasts like Our Lady Queen of Peace, San Gejtanu and San Nikola, amongst others.
President Vella encouraged the Maltese community in Australia to visit Malta regularly to revive the roots of the Maltese identity that they inherited from their respective families.
Referring to his visit to Australia, the President said that the past few days were an excellent opportunity to further strengthen the very close and long-standing relations between Malta and Australia. “These relations could not be so special were it not for the contribution which you – the Maltese community here – have made along the years”, noted President Vella.
The President added that all the dignitaries he met during the visit referred to the Maltese community in Australia with the highest possible praise. They all mentioned the particular characteristics that made the Maltese stand out as a community, such as their perseverance, their strong sense of community, their generosity and the way in which they have contributed to Australia’s growth through their hard work.
Accompanied by Minister Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi and his delegation, the President also held a meeting with the Governor of New South Wales, Margaret Beazley. Discussions focused on the role of the Maltese Diaspora in New South Wales and their access to education in the 1950s and 1960s, the community’s priorities to preserve the Maltese language and culture, as well as the need to document the history of Maltese migration to Australia. President Vella remarked on the developments of Malta since 1964 and how, as an independent state, it has maintained excellent relations with Australia. Reference was also made to shared global challenges such as marine pollution, climate change, and the need for renewable energy to replace fossil fuels.
The two interlocutors discussed the relevance of the Commonwealth on the political level and in education, as well as the role of Malta and Australia in international and regional bodies. In light of the recent developments in the Middle East, President Vella and Governor Beazley expressed their hope that there would not be a regional overspill.
President Vella also attended mass at MSSP De Piro House, celebrated by Fr Tarcisio Micallef, where he had the opportunity to meet with the Maltese community. Afterwards, the delegation visited the Ħamrun Club in New South Wales.