By Brendan Rees
Huge crowds have turned out for Cranbourne’s Australia Day celebrations to showcase its rich and diverse cultural heritage.
There were vibrant colours, laughter, food, and plenty of music and dance – as hundreds of people united as a community to the Passport to Casey’s Cultural Heritage Showcase event at the Balla Balla Community Centre in Cranbourne East.
The event was run by the Cultural Historical Association of Rodriguans and Mauritians in Victoria, (CHARM), in collaboration with other community organisations.
The doors opened at 11am and Casey’s 2019 Young Citizen of the Year Nancy Loomba and Casey mayor Susan Serey addressed the gathering before Jacques Mario Gentil sang a rendition of the national anthem.
A tribute was also made to the late Darrel Hayward – a local performer, passionate artist, and community volunteer who entertained many for the 10 years singing popular classics and Australian songs.
The day was filled with performances by local artists, stalls, a barbecue hosted by the Endeavours Hills Lions Club, a jumping castle, face-painting, and a farm animal petting zoo.
A diverse menu served up by volunteers celebrated the nations of the world, featuring vegetable quiches, sausage rolls, samosas, and spring rolls.
Among the performers on the day was Mauritius-born Sego Lebrasse of Hallam who was joined by three generations of family.
“Love it here; beautiful,” he said. “Only one grandchild missing today … dancing wise there was three generations dancing at the same time,” he said.
Mr Lebrasse’s family – who are a part of the Kanasuc Group performed the ‘Sega’ – the traditional dance and music of the beautiful island of Mauritius.
CHARM vice-president Patricia Kimtia, was one of many volunteers helping on the day, said the event was about “celebrating together.”
“CHARM has always had a focus on exchanging cultures and values so we can learn to respect each other and learn about each other,” Ms Kimtia said, who came to Australia from Mauritius as a teenager more than 30 years ago.
Casey councillor Amanda Stapledon said the event “was the best yet”.
“There was so much wonderful entertainment; it was welcoming and friendly,” she said.