Gala Ball for 25 years of Australian South Sea Islander Recognition

Published on 09 August 2019


Rockhampton Regional Council will be supporting a major Australian South Sea Islander Community event later this month, thanks to a $7,500 grant from the Community Assistance Program.

Chair of Council’s Community Committee, Councillor Rose Swadling, said the week of events running at the end of August, culminating in a Gala Ball, are to mark 25 years since the Federal Government officially recognised the Australian South Sea Islanders as a distinct cultural group.

“This event will draw together hundreds of people to remember and celebrate a historic hard won victory.

“ASSI are the descendants of islanders who were forcibly brought the Queensland to work in the sugar cane fields in the late 1800s and did not receive proper recognition until 1994.

“As well as ASSI based in Rockhampton, there will also be people attending from across Queensland and even visiting from Vanuatu.

“The ball will be one of a number of events throughout the week, with the program also including a flag raising ceremony at City Hall, language workshops, and an Elders morning tea.”

Christine Evans, a member of the Australian South Sea Islander United Council Rockhampton and District Independent Inc., said the money would really help make the week a success.

“The week is all about bringing the community together. Without the support of Rockhampton Regional Council ASSIUC would not have been able to invite significant guest speakers, or support other Australian South Sea Islander events that are occurring during the week.

“It is so important for us to respect and recognise our elders within the South Sea Islander community and the significant role they have played in the history of Central Queensland.

“The events are open to everyone and we still have some tickets for the ball left, so come along to learn all about the history and contribution of the Australian South Sea Islander Community.”

The Major Sponsorship element of Council’s Community Assistance Program granted $7,536 to the Australian South Sea Islander United Council Rockhampton and District Independent Inc. Tickets for the Ball, which will be held at Korte’s resort on Saturday August 24, are available here.