The Australian Asian Association was the brain child of like-minded groups who came together in 1956 with the vision of creating and establishing an association promoting mutual understanding between the Australian people, nearby regional neighbours, and peoples of the world.
By embodying a positive exchange and understanding of cultural, educational, social and trade opportunities to the mutual benefit of all the Association has maintained a high degree of cultural interchange over the years.
Today membership derives from over 110 diverse ethnic, cultural, welfare and corporate groups drawn from global regions such as Africa, Latin America, The Far East, South East Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Indian subcontinent, Europe, Oceanic Island nations, and Australia. The current composite membership numbers in excess of 15,000.
In the years since its inception the AAA has provided a range of services free of charge or at low, heavily subsidised rates which are not available from any government body, Federal or State or Local. In today’s atmosphere of where ‘user pays’ this highlights the unique position and value of the AAA within the community.
In recognition of the valuable assistance to the communities that the AAA caters to through these services the Association has been granted exemption from Income Tax.
The track record of the first 50 years of cooperative aid and services provided by the AAA to the Western Australian multicultural community has exemplified the immeasurable niche that is being filled for those who request and require information/assistance. Numerous grants for specified projects have also supplemented the work done by the AAA to keep it vibrant and viable to society. With foresight and a strong sense of future directions the AAA will continue to expand the range of its services for its members.
Incorporated in 1956 the Australian Asian Association had very small beginnings. Operating from rented premises, the Association catered to the orientation, social, cultural and accommodation needs of Asian students coming to Western Australia under the Colombo Plan Scheme, which trained over 300,000 students from 26 nations of South East Asia and the Pacific.
When Australia opened its doors to non-Anglo Saxon migrants, it resulted in the formation of small welfare and ethnic association. The Australian Asian Association then took over the role of an umbrella organisation to cater to the needs of these groups and expanded its scope to embrace not only migrants from Asia but from around the globe. The Australian Asian Association today boasts of 98 member groups from Africa, South America, Asia, the Asian Sub-Continent, South-East Asia, Europe, Eastern Europe, New Zealand, Australia and the Islands.
In the early to mid sixties the Association saw a need to set up a "Centre" Through the efforts of the office bearers at that time, a small house was purchased in Ord St. which in turn was sold and 275 Stirling St. and 75 Bulwer Street acquired. Thirty five years down the track the visions and dreams of the founder members have come true. With a generous grant from the Lotteries Commission of W.A. a new complex, the largest ethnically diverse multicultural edifice in Western Australia, stands proudly in the corner of Stirling and Bulwer Streets - a tribute to the hard work of all the Presidents and committees who held office over the years.
Australia Asia reminisces the Past with its early Migrants
The Australia-Asian Association (AAA) was awarded a grant by the Lotterywest and the Office of the Multicultural Interests to document the History of the Association for the first 25 years since its early beginnings in the 1950's. The Association which spearheaded the welfare of the Asian Students in the aftermath of the Colombo Plan became the peak body for all the Asian communities, a role that has now extended to over 115 ethnic and welfare groups from all over the world. The fact that the AAA is a unique body in the whole of Western Australia is a deserving organization to document its beginnings, its changing composition, its phenomenal growth and the contribution it has made to the Western Australian Community. Included in this, we have also taken on board an oral history project of early migrants to Western Australia from the Asian countries, who were involved with AAA over a 25 year period.
We have selected the pioneers of the AAA, namely, the early migrants from Pakistan, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) India, Malaysia, Singapore and Burma. The illustrated story of the early migrants from these 5 countries will be the focus of the study. We are hoping to probe the experiences of these groups from the decision making stage in the country of origin through to settlement and finally to the successes and failures of their life in Western Australia. We are hoping to collectively celebrate their lives.
The enormous contribution that the Asians have made to enrich the cultural heritage of this State will be recorded in detail. How Australia has contributed to their success and how they have in turn succeeded in making their Home a rich multicultural entity, will be living testimony to the far sightedness of Australia. This research project is designed to be a collective celebration for the Australian Asian Association members, friends and well wishers.
Printed copies of the History are able to be purchased through the Australian Asian Association for a price of $10.