Diversity that draws

Sanjeev Satgainya


The land of kangaroos is an island continent stretched across 7.7 million square kilometres and a single nation. Smallest of all the continents, Australia has its own rich culture and its original inhabitants, the Aborigines, have lived there for at least 40,000 years. Australia in the last 50 years has accepted five million people from around 200 countries as migrants and is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse nations. Today is National Day of Australia and on the occasion, Australian ambassador to Nepal Keith Gardner spoke on the significance of the day, Nepal-Australia friendship and other subjects.

“On this day in 1788, European colonists first arrived in Australia. This is summer in Australia and most prefer to celebrate this day outdoors. One of the most unique things about Australia is that we have been very lucky to have people from around the world and that makes our country the most ethnically diverse country. Today is also a day when citizenship ceremonies are organised and migrants can turn into Australians,” Gardner says.

The relations between Australia and Nepal are old and cordial. The diplomatic relationship started in 1960 and since 1985 the Australian Embassy has been in Nepal. “We are proud to share one of the strongest friendships between our two countries,” says Gardner. Community forestry is the most worked out project under Australian assistance in Nepal. “We are working on health projects, specifically in eye care in association with Tilganga Eye Hospital and we are reviewing the needs of the people to enhance some projects.” Australia, which serves people from around the world, has also developed itself as one of the best educational hubs. A number of students from Nepal, too, journey to Australia for further studies.

On this occasion, Australia observes public holiday. “We will have a small reception in the evening. Since we share this day with India as India is celebrating Republic Day today, I will be meeting my Indian friends in the embassy.” Having spent over two years in Nepal, Gardner feels that Nepal, too, is quite rich in natural resources and tapping these resources could lead this country towards prosperity. “The most valuable resource that this country has is its people. They are warm, friendly and hard working.”