The Welcome Dinner Project 2017
Thursday 9th March 2017.
With such an amazing response to Liverpool’s Welcome Dinner in 2016, held at the Liverpool MRC, The Welcome Dinner Project came together again with Liverpool MRC and Liverpool City Council to host a second.
The Venue – Casula Powerhouse
Casula Powerhouse was built in 1951 by the NSW Electricity Commission, the Casula Powerhouse (then known as the Liverpool Powerhouse), was one of a series of identical buildings erected to supplement electricity production during winter and power shortages. In 1955 the 250-foot stack was erected, replacing four shorter chimneys. Residents had complained that the smoke from the powerhouse dirtied their washing. It is now home to a wide range of exhibitions, events and educational programs and covers an ever-increasing variety of subject matter, styles, genres and art forms.
With easy access via public transport as well as plenty of parking, it seemed like the perfect choice of location to host the next Welcome Dinner.
The Guest List
As always the Welcome Dinner Project aims to connect newly arrived migrants and refugees with established Australians, creating connections through commonalities, food and the sharing of a meal. Over 80 people were in attendance coming from Parramatta, Fairfield and Liverpool as well as surrounding areas.
We also had attendance by the major of Liverpool, Wendy Waller and Uncle Steve gave an acknowledge to country.
Liverpool MRC staff were in full force with 8 attending staff and 2 volunteers. We had certainly learnt that this is a hands-on event!
Order of Events
Set up took around 2 hours, and even though the Powerhouse is very much its owns space, we managed to transform the reception’s blank canvas into a large communal dinner for 80! With rows of tables for ten, decorated by flowers, plates, cups and refreshing drinks, it became the perfect setting to welcome guests, and you could almost feel the tables calling to the delicious culinary dishes that were soon to arrive. With colourful bunting and large prints of welcoming faces, guests were sure to feel welcome and settled in this new space.
On arrival guests were welcomed and asked to include on their name tag their passion. Popular passions included music, travel and food, with some interesting ones including laughter, swimming, dancing and gardening.
After a short reception wait, guests were officially welcomed by Liverpool Major Wendy Waller followed by Uncle Steve’s Acknowledgement to Country as well as a short history lesson on Aboriginal Heritage and the land on which Casula Powerhouse is built.
Children’s Activities were provided by Liverpool MRC with an array of activities including drawing, building and problem solving, giving parents an opportunity for an always-welcome break.
It’s all about the food! With guests sharing the story behind their dish, they began to share food, laughter and recipes. From sisters cooking dolmathes to the family’s selection of rice, salads and curries. A delicious rocky road made its way from table to table and the smells of multicultural cooking are sure to still be lingering in the powerhouse’s walls!
How do you end an evening like this?
Guests were asked to capture how they were feeling at the end of the night. The very popular included:
Guests shared their experience, and their delight at having such a wonderful dinner, meeting new friends, trying new foods and learning new words in multiple languages.
By the end of the evening, the air was full of laughter and chatter, of smiling farewells and hugs goodbye.
This Welcome Dinner Project brings people together and creates connections through the sharing of culture, food and passions, and we can certainly say that Liverpool’s second dinner was a success.
A big thank you to everyone who attended and committed to taking a step outside of their comfort zone to get involved. Also a very big thank you to the Volunteers for donating your time to assist us in set-up and running of the event. These types of events are not possible without your dedication and commitment to making a difference.