USQ 2014 Harmony Day Celebrations In Toowoomba

Harmony Day is a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home – from the traditional owners of the land to those who have come from countries around the world.

The USQ community marked the occasion on Wednesday, 19th March with dancing, singing, food stalls, sporting activities, cultural games and a fashion show. The campus was a sea of colour with students wearing cultural attire, and exotic fragrances filled the air from an array of international cuisine .

When Yanerle Kimmins and her sister Elizabeth designed her University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Harmony Day outfit, they wanted to represent the diversity of the Milne Bay culture.  The Kimmins sisters were among hundreds of people to visit USQ Toowoomba for the celebrations.

With jewellery and clothing items hailing from different areas across the Papua New Guinea province, Yanerle’s outfit certainly impressed. “You wouldn’t find this outfit in one area of Milne Bay – we wanted to mix it up to show snippets of the region,” Elizabeth said.

Yanerle Kimmins proudly shows her outfit
Yanerle Kimmins proudly shows off her Milne Bay outfit
Sangita Bhandaiu Thapa
Sangita Bhandaiu Thapa performs at USQ Harmony Day

Yanerle, who will soon start a USQ Tertiary Preparation Program, said she chose to get into the spirit of Harmony Day because of her pride in her culture. “It’d be a shame not to share it with other people and I also wanted to educate others about our culture,” she said. “There are many cultures in Australia so it’s good for us all to understand where each other are from.”

USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas said it was great to see many different ethnicities come together to celebrate Australia’s cultural, social and religious diversity. “Crowds surrounded stalls and demonstrations by people representing places including Saudi Arabia, Japan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Korea. “The 2014 Harmony Day theme was ‘everyone belongs’ and that was certainly on display today.”

For more information about multiculturalism at USQ visit

Submitted by:
Rhianwen Whitney
University of Southern Queensland


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