The joy of living in strong communities.
Strong communities bring the hope of a great future. I know this isn’t photography related, but last weekend we attended the Leukaemia Foundations Mildura, Light the Night event.
Held in parklands centred on Nowingi Place on the Mildura waterfront. Light the Night was a spectacular success. Not just as a fundraising effort for the Leukaemia Foundation. But also as a celebration of all the great things about being part of a community.
While a multitude of lanterns did indeed light the night. For me, the brightest light came from the sense of community that existed in this place. People of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds. coming together as one community.
I sometimes think we as Australians fail to notice the obvious. Especially in rural and regional areas. We basically all get along together. Sure there is friction from time to time. When one or another of our little sub-cultures rubs another group up the wrong way. But generally, we get over this and get on with doing what we do best. Being Australian. Giving a mate a hand and looking out for each other.
Nearly 20 years ago. Robyn and I spent a delightful day with friends. Cycling along a group of tracks and roads in the general area between Brighton and St Kilda. Overlooking a wonderful body of water the white fella’s call Port Phillip Bay. Earlier settlers called the area Euro-Yroke. Which apparently described the red-brown sandstone along the beach and not the body of water.
Back to the point. During our day riding along the beach, taking in the sights and sounds of an Australian summers day at the beach. we couldn’t help but marvel at the plethora of different cultural, ethnic and religious groups all using the beach, water and abundant sunshine to relax and be with family and friends.
Our own friends, being well travelled but not Australian born. Made a comment to us at the end the day.
It went something like this. “You Aussies really don’t get how lucky you are. How many thousands of people did you see today? All enjoying the sun, sand and water. Living peacefully together in one place. Did you notice how many people of different colour and religions there where? Do you also remember how many police you saw?” The answer to the last question was easy. Two for the entire day.
The final kick in his little Q and A was this. “I have travelled the world a lot. There is nowhere else I know, where so many people with such a variety of backgrounds can be in one place, without the need for police with automatic weapons keeping law and order.
Which brings us back to Nowingi Place. A place where, as the sunset, hundreds of people gathered quietly, on a beautiful night. To share, as strong communities do. Hope and support for each other. To recognise each others and our own various journies with a blood cancer, known as Leukaemia