– SCF Management Committee, 2021
One fine day in January 1990 a group of Sri Lankans living in Sydney, gathered to discuss the need of a Cultural Forum to promote Sri Lankan Culture, Language, and heritage in Australia. Veteran Sri Lankan Musician Dr. Victor Rathnayake was to visit Melbourne around the same time with his “SA” Prasangaya. The Sydney group felt this is an ideal opportunity to act and invite him over to Sydney for a show. Their efforts made fruitful when Dr. Victor Rathnayake and the team presented “SA” Prasangaya to the Sydney Sri Lankan community on 25 March 1990.
The group led by Dr. Somaratna Dissanayake held discussions and launched the Inaugural meeting of the Sinhalese cultural Forum of NSW, on 26 May 1990. The SCF committee was formed, and a foundation for a strong structure was laid. The Sinhalese Cultural Forum Launched Sinhala Language Teaching program and started first Sinhala Language school in Parramatta on 25 October 1990.
Today, the SCF boasts 7 Sinhala Language schools in NSW, A Writers’ guild, a Youth group and most recently acquired a property for a cultural centre in Sydney. The SCF is the leading organisation to organise Sri Lankan Cultural events in NSW throughout the year, including the Sinhala and Tamil New year Celebrations, Cultural Shows, National events, and hosting Sri Lankan artists to perform in Sydney.
The Forum reached its 30th Milestone in May 1990. Due to the Pandemic situation the celebrations were postponed by over a year. Recently the past and present members of the forum gathered at the Roselea community Centre in Carlingford to celebrate the vibrant journey of 30 years of the SCF.
The Consul General of Sri Lanka, Hon. Lakshman Hulugalle attended as the chief guest. The event commenced acknowledging the owners of the land, presented by a member of the youth group Jonath Gunaratne. After lighting the traditional oil lamp, the first Item of the evening was felicitation for the founder members of the SCF. Thirtieth Anniversary souvenir medal was presented to all the members of the founder committee.
The guests were made welcome by SCF Youth group with a refreshing welcome drink and ushered to their seats. The SCF publication “Sinhala” Magazine 30th Anniversary special edition was presented to the guests.
One of the Main Items of the evening was to felicitate the Sinhala school teachers who has served the SCF Sinhala schools over 2 decades. Shayami Karunaweera, Nirmala Soyza, Manel Bandaranayake, Chithrani Arachchi was felicitated.
A special award was presented to Mr Nihal Fernando for his commitment in Sinhalese Cultural Centre Project. Special recognition awards were presented to The SLTP project team, Dance School Teachers and many other community members who regularly supports SCF Events.
The event was well organised with Cultural dance items and singing ensembles presented by the talented Sydney siders and the SCF Youth Group. We convey our Special gratitude to our performers Vidusha Surige and Vidhunarthana dance Academy, Dinesh Perera and Sankha Ridhma dance academy, Nelson Hewage, Ishara and Manuki Ranga Dance academy, Thilini Wanigatunga and Sri Lankan Dance academy, Suwanthie Edirisinghe, SCF Tharuna Youth Group. Our talented singers were Bonny Fernando, Upul de Silva, Chandrani and Champa Buddhipala, Ari Sitinamaluwa, Thisal Padukka Vidana, Chaminda Kuruppu, Iresha Gunasekara, Ruvee Nimnadi, Tanuja Jayesinghe, Dinuka Jayawardena and Ishara Manoj.
Saliya Tennakoon and Shanaka Tennakoon of Event 360 provided sounds, lighting and presented a vibrant entertainment session for the guests.
Special mention to Roy Gunaratne of RoyGrafix for Photography, Comfy Foods for sponsoring delicious snacks for the evening, Champa Uduwela for the flower arrangements, Deepal de Silva and Somaratna Uwage for the stage decorations, Deepika Pitigala and Manjula Arachchige of Digital Copy Centre for the beautiful magazine cover and printing the “Sinhala” Magazine. The guests have commended the Committee efforts for a well organised event, despite many challenges.