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40th anniversary of the recognition of the Croatian Language in Victoria, Australia celebrated

40th Anniversary of the recognition of the Croatian Language in Victoria

On the 2nd of November 2019, the Association of the Croatian Language Teachers organised a concert to mark an important milestone for the Croatian Language – the 40th Anniversary of the recognition of the Croatian Language in Victoria, Australia.

The Croatian Language was recognised in the state of Victoria on the 27th April 1979.

The celebration was held at the Croatian Community Centre in Geelong.

Guests were:

    • Her Excellency the Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia Mrs. Betty Pavelich-Sirois
    • Hon. John Eren Member for Lara
    • Consul General Of the Republic of Croatia Mr. Joseph Gene Petric
    • Councilor for City of Greater Geelong Mr. Eddy Kontelj
    • Area Manager from Geelong, Ms. Zlata Matskarofski
    • Mrs. Katica Nalis and her granddaughter
    • Mr. Joe Pavlovic and Mrs. Marija Pavlovic
    • Teacher of Croatian Language from Croatia Miss Sara Klanfar
    • Croatian Language Teachers
    • Sponsors of the Croatian Teachers Association of Victoria
    • Parents Committee

“Language establishes a nation’s identity. Throughout the centuries the pride in our language has been intertwined with our cultural existence, and so we have retained a strong national identity. It has travelled with us into many countries around the world, and thus the love and pride we have in our heritage has continued in this multicultural country of Australia,” organisers said.

Recognition of the Croatian language was achieved through the tireless efforts of the Croatian community who knew that language is a measure of their identity.

“As a community we should be proud of this achievement as this puts us into the history of the Croatian community abroad. Nowhere in the world was this possible or achieved at the time it was recognised in Victoria and across Australia, not even in our homeland.”

The Association of the Croatian Language Teachers has acknowledged the individuals who have taken the wishes of the Croatian community and made it reality.

Mr. Jozo Pavlovic was a teacher of Croatian and an executive member of the Institute of Croatian Language. Mr. Pavlovic worked tirelessly with both sides of the Victorian Government and the Department of Education to recognise the Croatian Language.

The late Mr. Arthur Nalis was a teacher of the Croatian Language and an executive member of the Institute of the Croatian Language. Mr. Nalis worked tirelessly with government Institutions and Universities to recognise the Croatian Language. Mr. Nalis continued to work on the subject of the Croatian Language and is seeking apologies from the Institutions which have discriminated against Croatian Language and the Croatian Community.

Mrs. Pavlovic is a teacher of French and an active member of the Croatian Community. She was also an executive member of the Institute of the Croatian Language. Mrs. Pavlovic wrote the first curriculum for the Croatian Language and Culture for years 11 and 12. She was required to defend her actions to various government bodies, university faculties and the education department. On the basis of this curriculum the Croatian Language and Culture was accredited as a VCE subject.

Mrs. Stipanovic was a teacher of Croatian and an active member of the Croatian Community. She was also an executive member of the Institute of the Croatian Language. Mrs. Stipanovic was responsible for selecting appropriate teaching resources for the Croatian Language and Culture for years 11 and 12.

Her Excellency the Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia Mrs. Betty Pavelich-Sirois presented the Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the Republic of Croatia to Mr and Mrs. Pavlovic, Mrs. Katica Nalis for her late husband Mr. Nalis.  Mrs. Stipanovic was unable to attend, so the Association of the Croatian Language Teachers in Victoria will post the award to her.

Her Excellency, the Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia Mrs. Betty Pavelich-Sirois also addressed the audience, she spoke about her love of maintaining the language for future generations. Among the other speakers was Hon. John Eren, Member for Lara, Ms. Zlata Matskarofski, who was representing Mr. Frank Merlino, the Principal of VSL, and Mrs. Katica Perinac, President of Association of the Croatian Language Teachers in Victoria.

In honour of the 40th anniversary of the recognition of the Croatian Language, the students from North Geelong, Keilor Downs Centre and Altona North VSL centres had been relentlessly working on a play called, “The Greats of the Croatian Literature”. The play was written by Miss Sara Klanfar.

The play is bilingual to cater for the whole audience and of course educational to improve our students knowledge of our Croatian history and literature.

In attendance were more than 120 students and around 450 parents, grandparents, teachers and special guests.

“The play was very educational and entertaining. Students and their teachers should be extremely proud of their work. The audience was captivated by the storyline and the amazing performance.”

“The Association of the Croatian Language Teachers in Victoria would like to thank the Croatian Community Centre for all their hard work and the support for this event, from setting up everything on Friday night to coming in early to cook the food for our children that was delicious. Also for the Poetry competition which was held at this venue earlier this year. Again, the Croatian Community Centre cooked up a feast and sponsored the food for 150 students. We are always appreciative of the continuing support that you provide for our organisation.”

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