The Consulate begins to interview Indonesian Elders in Darwin to recollect the history
Consul Andre Omer Siregar (AOS) invited representatives of the Indonesian elders to learn about the history of Indonesia and Northern Territory (NT) from the community's perspectives to his residence (15/06/16). This fine occasion was the start of the unveiling of a remarkable history of the two nations.
"I thank you all for accepting my invitation. This is an informal occasion where we can chat about our experiences and to remember them. Those stories will be the strengths of a longstanding cooperation between Indonesia and Australia especially between both peoples", Consul AOS opened the discussions. "These stories must be shared before they are forgotten. The Indonesian Consulate has plans to compiled the information from you all. We would like to use them with your permission as an informative piece of chapter for many readers who want to learn and understand the past for a better future", Consul AOS added.
This important occasion was attended by three Indonesian Elders who have spent many years living in this multicultural city. Mr Agus Sudjoko who is very friendly known as Pak Joko (Pak means Mr/Sir) arrived in Darwin since the early of 1970s and have been residing since then. He involved with the earliest Indonesian Community Organization called Kerukunan Masyarakat Indonesia (The Harmony of the Indonesian Community) in 1976. The author of a book titled Hikmah di balik Musibah (Wisdoms Behind the Calamities) which was published in 2007 said that one the annual community celebrations that he remembers most is the Flag Hoisting Ceremony to celebrate the anniversary of the Indonesian Independence Day. "I can recall the Indonesian Independence Day Celebration in which celebrated with traditional dances and songs. The celebration was always attended by the exchange students from Bali Province" Said Joko.
Meanwhile, Mr Frits Momuat who is now the president of Persatuan Indonesia Inc. arrived in Darwin in 1998 to work as an Indonesian Teacher at Kormilda College. He enjoyed teaching the Indonesian Language and also its culture. His involvement with Persatuan Indonesia Inc which is one of the Indonesian Community Organizations since his arrival. "I and my wife came to Darwin because of the occupation. I work as an Indonesian Teacher with Kormilda College. The needs for Indonesian Teachers at that time was very high and I was very happy to live and work in Darwin", said Frits.
In comparison with other elders, Mr Bobby Gunawan Wibisono thought that he would only stay in Darwin for a week but the fact says differently. "I came to Darwin in 1975 for 6 six months then I left. In 1979, I revisited Darwin for a week which I thought it would be but I met really good friends then decided to live here up until now", Said Bobby. "I then join the Indonesian Consulate Band as a bass player and performed on events" he added. Bobby also shared stories when he worked with the Department of Chief Minister of the NT under the administration of the Hon Paul Everingham in 1979.
As long term residents to Darwin, they have witnessed not only the community engagement with Australian and wider community and but also the cooperation between Australia especially the NT and Indonesia through the Indonesian Consulate. The Indonesian Community Involvement in Darwin has dated since before the opening of the Indonesian Representative office up until nowadays.
This occasion has provided interesting information about the life of the community in the past from a few perspectives. The Consulate is planning to organize the follow up gathering by inviting more elders and community representatives to share their stories. It is hopeful that good stories of the Northern Territory and Indonesia's engagement that have shared by the Indonesian Elders can be written.
After the exciting interview and exchange of experiences, Consul AOS led his guests to dine in. Unfortunately, Bobby could not stay for the meals as he already has another engagement. This occasion was also attended by Mrs Woro Sawitri, Consul for Economic Affairs and the Indonesian Consulate media representatives, Agung and Jherry. (JM & AP)