Friday, October 23, 2009

suburb No. 8: Harris Park (Parramatta)

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

bright spirit

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 ...

southerly buster

traffic stopping

shiny shiny in a not so shiny world

old style


those eyes

hey, charger!

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.


  1. These photos are my favourite so far - I love love love the indian bindi shots alongside the indigenous dot paintings.
    I adore this blog and I'm already awaiting the next installment...bravo!

  2. Oh, I also love the borrowed land series - my favouite this week though are the two the bright spirit shots.
    I love juxtapositions that you create.

  3. Amazing series! The similarities and contradictions tell a very powerful story.

  4. I think you studied the Indian traditions from close point. I am through your post. Really wonderful. Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. So wonderful!..thanks for sharing such art..

  6. I'm so glad you came to Harris Park, I've been working there for 11 years now, and the suburb has change a lot in that time.
    And recently made the map for the tension between Indians and Lebanese, largely media driven I think cause because I have never seen any issues.
    But I have to say it has only been in the last 3-4 years that the Indian population has turned this tiny suburb into there own.

    Wonderful images as always.

  7. What beautiful images.
    I have just returned from India, and just missed Diwali, but celebrated it here in Melbourne all the same.
    These photos show the beauty of the Indian culture here in Australia, something I have always wanted to see.
    Now I want to go to Harris Park!
    Thank you for the inspiration.

  8. Thanks and glad you all like the post. I keep thinking about what I saw in Harris Park - and what I ate! The thali was so good. Interesting Mel Bomba what you say about how recently the suburb has become 'Indian'.

  9. Your photos are gorgeous. I love the juxtapositions. I particularly love the Indian photos as I spent time growing up in Fiji as a young girl and always remember the magic of Diwali.

    Thank you for sharing such wonderful images.


  10. thanks. I live in HP and haven't seen the tensions mentioned by the media apart from those few days. I like the little heritage buildings in some of the streets too

  11. Gosh what fabulous photos! I think you captured Harris Park quite well even if you didn't make it to Elizabeth Farm.

    Come back and do Parramatta properly or North Parramatta - we even have a lake!!