The humanitarian cooperation between Ukraine and Australia began long before the proclamation of the independence of our country. In 1985, H.E. Mr John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia (then opposition leader), opened the memorial to the victims of Holodomor 1932-1933 in Ukraine at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canberra.
Prior to this, September 28, 1983, the ceremonial planting a maple in one of the largest parks in Sydney (“Centenial Park”) in memory of victims of Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine was held by the initiative of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Associations. The tree was planted by Ms. Janet Peters, Chairman, Australian National Council of Women’s Organisations, in the presence of Ukrainian clergy and community organisations of Australia. A number of memorial events were held after the planting ceremony. These events were highlighted in the release of the Ukrainian newspaper “Free Thought” on November 6, 1983.
There are recent years’ positive achievements in the bilateral cultural and humanitarian cooperation. On October 30, 2003, the Senate of the Parliament of Australia passed the Motion recognizing the 1932-33 Great Famine-Holodomor in Ukraine was as one of the most heinous crimes in human history and as genocide of Ukrainians. On February 22, 2008 the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Australia passed the similar Motion condemning the 1932-33 Holodomor in Ukraine as genocide of the Ukrainian people. In the document also suggests support the adoption of the appropriate UN GA Resolution recognizing the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people. Thus, Australia became the first country in the world with both Chambers of the Parliament recognized Holodomor. In 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013 similar resolutions were passed in the Federal and some State Parliaments.
In August 2004 it was successfully completed the work on the Ukrainian-Australian project – the creation of the feature film “The Iron Hundred” of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army with the participation and financial support of the representatives of the Ukrainian community of Australia. The film won the Grand Prix in its classification in one of the Yalta film festivals.
There are two centres for Ukrainian studies in Australia:
- Centre for Ukrainian Studies at the University of Sydney (Director – Ms G.Kosharska).
- M.Zerov Centre for Ukrainian studies in Melbourne at Monash University (Director – Professor M.Pavlyshyn).
In particular, the Australian students, interested in studying Ukrainian language and culture, have also the opportunity to improve their knowledge in this area in the M.Zerov Centre for Ukrainian studies in Melbourne as well as Ukrainian higher educational establishments.
Two specific projects in the humanitarian field has been successfully carried out:
1) Opening of the sculptural composition “Shevchenko’s Thoughts”, presented by the Kyiv State Administration to the Ukrainian community in Australia in 2002, in Canberra, in the Ukrainian Orthodox Centre.
2) Set of the layout of Kyiv Andrew’s Church in Museum of Ethnography of the popular historical miniatures “Cockington Green Gardens”. The official opening of the model was held December 16, 2007.
In 2009 the Australian Research Council (the principal government agency for the distribution of funds to conduct research in Australian Universities) has allocated A$ 110 thous. for the implementation of the 2010-2012 Ukrainian studies research program, “Bilingual and Multilingual in the National Project: Ukrainian writers in the XIX century”.
June 5, 2010 the Petro Jacyk international Ukrainian language competition for children aged 9 to 21 years was held in Australia. The event was prepared by thecoordinating council supported by the Ukrainian organizations in Australia.
In May-June 2011, Australian Professor T. Karmil together with his colleagues visited the Medical Scientific and Practical Centre of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and other medical institutions and gave lectures.
A number of events on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster were held in April 2011 in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and other parts of Australia. Australian journalists from “Nine Network” visited Ukraine for coverage of the anniversary and other Chernobyl matters.
Some examples of collaboration in 2013:
1. Conference “Language, culture and identity” with the participation of specialists from Ukrainian, Australian, Canadian, Italian and New Zealand universities and the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (February 2013, Melbourne).
2. Participation of Ukrainian Folk Choir of Moscow in the Festival of Slavic Culture (March 2013, Melbourne).
3. Participation of the team of the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine in the international academic Olympiad in Informatics (July 2013, Brisbane).
4. A trip of a group of children from Ukrainian school of St. Andrew (Sydney) to Ukraine at the invitation of the Drohobych secondary school of Ivan Franko (June-July 2013).
5. Presentation of Australian higher education institutions at the international exhibition of foreign educational institutions «Education abroad» (November 2013, the National Center for business and cultural cooperation “Ukrainian House”).
February 19, 2014 at the University of Monash, a round table on the topic "What awaits Ukraine?", Dedicated to the events on the Maidan.
In 2014 the community wide celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Taras Shevchenko. Sydney’s St. Andrews Ukrainian school students held an event to commemorate the poet. Melbourne museum opened the exhibition "Two centuries of the birth of Taras Shevchenko" and conducted a "whole world reads Shevchenko." On the same day is a holiday celebrated community Newcastle.