Harmony Day set to be marked in Nowra

Wil Osgood and Tobey Hooke with Jiah King.
Wil Osgood and Tobey Hooke with Jiah King.

Jiah King is a wise young man and his view on life is refreshing.

The proud indigenous young man just read about what Harmony Day stood for and was ready to embrace it.

“I think it’s a great way to share information and lots of cultures have different experiences in different areas,” he said.

“They (all cultures) have got meaningful things and different information to share.”

Jiah is a St John the Evangelist High School student and is proud of his culture because he says it's the oldest continuing culture on the planet.

The 15-year-old Year 10 student would attend a Harmony Day event and share his culture.

Held every year on March 21 Harmony Day a celebration of cultural diversity – a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home.

The message of Harmony Day is ‘everyone belongs’.

Jiah knows that some people just don’t get the Harmony Day message.

Jiah has been racially vilified in the past and thinks education and Harmony Day events are ways stop such abuse from happening.

“For a lot of those people, (who racially abuse others) they have got their vision of what indigenous people are and that has been portrayed over the media, passed down from their parents and that is just how they see us,” he said

“They have never likely encountered a positive indigenous person because there are stunning examples of indigenous people's achievements - same way there are indigenous people on the bottom.

“However that in the same in any culture but some people have just been exposed to people on the bottom rung of the quality of life.”

Jiah would speak politely and confidently to people who have the wrong view of indigenous people.

“I don’t agree with their position and I would debate the fact with them,” he said.

“It would be upsetting but if you get angry you are proving them right.”  

He added people have bad ideas on other cultures - not just his and believes Harmony Day could educate people on many cultures.

Jiah King is proud of his culture.

Jiah King is proud of his culture.

Jiah is definitely growing into his leadership role.

“I wasn’t always so proud - I was more of a shy and reserved type of person,” he said.

“Then from school’s indigenous office, I have been provided with opportunities to grow as a person.”

He is now the teacher and leader of didgeridoo and Gudjargahs dance group at St John.

“That is where a lot of the pride and confidence comes from (being the group’s leader) it’s simple at that,” he said.

He takes leadership role extremely seriously.

Towards the end of 2015 he started to started to learn how to play the dig a bit more seriously than he did in the past.

His father Mark King, a renowned didge player and maker, taught him.

Mr King has performed at Parliament House many times, played for and met Nelson Mandela.

Jiah plays the didge at school events, like Anzac Day.

He is also proud to wear the white ochre and encourages the dancers to have patterns depicting their people’s totems.

He is already planning life after school.

He wants to continue playing the didge and dancing, get involved with a dance troupe and go into a business/strategy management area.

Jiah also loves to play tennis and like his dad makes didgeridoos.

About Harmony Day

March 21 is Harmony Day

Our diversity makes Australia a great place to live. Harmony Day is a celebration of our cultural diversity – a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home.

Held every year on March 21 the Day coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The message of Harmony Day is ‘everyone belongs’, the Day aims to engage people to participate in their community, respect cultural and religious diversity and foster sense of belonging for everyone.

Since 1999, more than 70,000 Harmony Day events have been held in childcare centres, schools, community groups, churches, businesses and federal, state and local government agencies across Australia.

How to celebrate?

Let’s come together with friends and family and through schools, workplaces and our wider communities to celebrate our diversity on and beyond March 21.

Getting involved can be as simple as hosting an event or attending a local celebration.

Why orange?

Orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Day. Traditionally, orange signifies social communication and meaningful conversations. It also relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect. Australians can choose to wear something orange on March 21 to show their support for cultural diversity and an inclusive Australia.

Our cultural diversity

Australia is a vibrant and multicultural country — from the oldest continuous culture of our first Australians to the cultures of our newest arrivals from around the world.

Our cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and is at the heart of who we are. It makes Australia a great place to live.

Multicultural Australia is an integral part of our national identity. All people who migrate to Australia bring with them some of their own cultural and religious traditions, as well as taking on many new traditions. Collectively, these traditions have enriched our nation.

Facts and figures

There are some fascinating statistics about Australia’s diversity that can be good conversation-starters:

Nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was

We identify with over 300 ancestries

Since 1945, more than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia

85 per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia

Apart from English, the most common languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Tagalog/Filipino, Hindi, Spanish and Punjabi

More than 70 Indigenous languages are spoken in Australia.

These facts are taken from ABS 2016 Census Data. Check out the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.