About SMECC - Our History and Members
Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council (SMECC) is proud to have reached its 30 year milestone in 2012 and since that time has continued to grow.
The organisation, of which helps settle new migrants and refugees into the area, has been known as the Sunraysia Advisory Group, Sunraysia Ethnic Communities Council and Northern Mallee Migrant Services before reaching the current title.
The initial group, Sunraysia Advisory Group, was formed on the 29th of March 1979 after heavy downpour ruined many of the grape vines the area is known for. Migrants from Croatia, Greece, Italy and Turkey (naming just the majorities) didn’t know who to turn to for assistance; so through contact with the Mayor at the time and other councillors the different ethnic groups decided one large cohesive group needed to be established to help combat the issues that migrants faced. The migrant groups recognised language as the major barrier between themselves and seeking the help needed with their properties.
Working on their blocks was and remains to be a full time job until this day (along with raising their children on their blocks) so these people did not have time to attend English classes to improve their English so that they could access mainstream services for any help they needed.
And so the Sunraysia Advisory Group was formed. Thirty years later the Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council (SMECC) is thriving as an organisation which still helps some of the same people who required the initial help thirty years ago.
Former mayor, Mr. Peter Byrne OAM is the Chairperson of the committee and the Vice-Chairperson is Mrs. Redgina Balchin from Mildura Base Hospital. The Board of Management is made up of highly qualified business people from the Sunraysia area as well as members of different cultural groups who are a vital part of the Mildura community.
The Council is made up of 17 ethnic community groups and clubs listed below.
1. Ciricolo Pensionati Italiani
2. Filipino Community of Sunraysia Inc
3. Greek Elderly Senior Citizens Club
4. Greek Orthodox Community of Mildura & District
5. Sunraysia Gujarati Community
6. Hazara Community Association Mildura
7. Heavenly Feast Sri Lankan Community
8. Mildura Fijian Community Association Inc
9. Mildura Sikh Association Inc.
10. Mildura Turkish Islamic Society
11. Noni's Tongan Multicare
12. Sanctuary of Tongans
13. Twitezimbere Burundian Community
14. Siasi Uesiliana Tauataina 'o Tonga (SUTT)
15. Medjmurski Club Mildura Inc
16. Anglican Parish of the Northern Mallee
17. Sunraysia Contemporary Alevi Cultural Centre
Associate member groups are listed below.
1. Chaffey Secondary College
2. La Trobe University
3. Northern Mallee Community Partnership
4. Sunraysia Rugby League
We have several council life members.
1. Con Demis
2. Domenico Caldarelli
3. Filomena Caldarelli
4. Gary Pearse
5. Peter Hartmann
6. Voula Kanelopoulos
7. Sisilia Puku
8. Peter Byrne OAM