Friday, October 23, 2009
You know how I said this week's suburb would be the one most requested? Well, thank you to those
who made suggestions, I was all set to follow your lead. Until I discovered that the Indian Diwali
Festival was on in Harris Park - and I am a sucker for anything Indian.
Harris Park? Never heard of it before of course but a quick flick of the street directory revealed it's
just east of Parramatta. In fact, used to be part of the suburb of Parramatta (hence the image above)
and still is part of the City of Parramatta.
Super quick history lesson this week:
• The Burramattagal clan of the Dharug people were the first residents in the area
• Then came the Europeans and the convicts (James Ruse ring a bell?)
• Then the Lebanese
• Then the Indians.
There's still an Aboriginal presence in the area and large numbers of Chinese too. But the Lebanese
and Indians do seem to dominate.
On my way to find the Hindu temple I passed by an amazing structure - Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite
Church, built in 1972.
Now I realise I'm revealing my ignorance here (nothing new) but I always associate the Lebanese
population with Islam. Turns out there's a large Christian Lebanese following too - and this was their
I should also mention there are several historic buildings in Harris Park, all of which I completely
ignored. I'm sure they're worth a visit but I was too focused on the fascinating mix of the Indian
and Christian Lebanese cultures/religions - in an area so important in Aboriginal history - for anything
else to get a look in.
As it was I only caught the tail end of the Diwali Festival so I can't show you any fireworks or houses
lit with 'diyas', tiny clay-pot candles. But the tail end was still pretty good. I left Harris Park laden
with Indian sweets, new knowledge and a camera full of holy crosses, Aboriginal 'art' and saris...
Part 1: Searching for the light
A description I read somewhere of the Diwali Fesitval - a “Christmas-New Year-auspicious beginnings
festival rolled into one”. While Diwali is popularly known as the "festival of lights", the most significant
spiritual meaning is "the awareness of the inner light".
Isn't that what all religions are about, at their core?
light :: 1
light :: 2
light :: 3
light :: 4
light :: 5
all life needs light
Part 2: Oneness
oneness :: 1
oneness :: 2
oneness :: 3
oneness :: 4
oneness :: 5
stop and think
Part 3: We all live on borrowed land
borrowed land :: 1
borrowed land :: 2
borrowed land :: 3
borrowed land :: 4
borrowed land :: 5
borrowed land :: 6 (Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church)
borrowed land :: 7
Part 4: Yum
yum :: 1
yum :: 2 - before and after
yum :: 3
yum :: 4
Part 5: And ...
shiny shiny in a not so shiny world
So much beauty in the mix and such obvious passion for their respective religions and cultures.
But you can feel the tension. A microcosm of the world right there in Harris Park.
You might like to visit...
Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church, 40 Alice Street, Harris Park.
Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (BAPS), 40 Eleanor Street, Harris Park.
Sweet Land Patisserie, 55 Wigram Street, Harris Park.
Festival of the Olive - on this weekend at Elizabeth Farm, 70 Alice Street, Rosehill.
See you next week.