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Category: Interviews »

Subject: Cultural Studies »

Starting the AMF as a Bicentennial project

Australian Multicultural Foundation.

Communities gained government support for a foundation to advance Australia's multicultural reality, instead of a "one-off" festival … and it is still going strong 20 years on.



Date Added:

05 July 2006


Australian Multicultural Foundation


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

8.7 MB


2 min 12 s


Hass Dellal

It's a legacy of Australia's Bi-Centennial. And what had happened was that at the time during the celebrations there was this idea to have a huge multicultural festival and to blow whatever money there was on this multicultural festival. There was objection from the community and FECCA at the time, saying why don't we re-look at something that’s going to be sustainable, have some sort of longevity and leave an actual legacy; rather than having this festival, and where would you have this festival, would it be in Sydney, would it be in Melbourne. So there was all sorts of objections to it. Then this concept began to develop a bit more, I think it began to develop a bit more at a particular FECCA conference. And then at that time the Prime Minister Bob Hawke appointed an interim board and appointed Sir James Gobbo as its chairman and a number of other notable Australians from around Australia to sit down and look at the concept of developing this foundation. And to see what sort of work it could do. So it undertook a year of consultation around Australia and they had this big file full of ideas and concepts, about what the foundation would do, its charter its aims and objectives and what they finally agreed, and then they advertised for a director…

James Gobbo

It had grown out of what was to have been an ethnic fiesta for the 1988 Bi-Centenary, and a number of us were quite shocked at the thought of the government would be spending $2 million on a one day fiesta and almost certainly would draw a lot of criticism from the wider Australian community. And when we criticised that we were immediately asked, "well, what do you suggest?" And we said, "Why not put the money aside and set it up as a Foundation"