Origins of the Moomba Festival


Indigenous culture influences Melbourne’s most famous Festival! Moomba is a three-day event has its origins in 1951, on a day chosen to celebrate 50 years of Federation. Along with a parade there was a play staged called “An Aboriginal Moomba: Out of the Dark.” That production was meaningful not only because there were still heavy restrictions on Indigenous Australians in the 1950s but also because this play would lead to the cheeky name of the first official Moomba festival in 1955. Continue reading Origins of the Moomba Festival

Festival Land

In this next installment of visual sociology, we journey from January to February 2015 with many festivals in between. A celebration of Aboriginal resilience, public art of Summer Salt, the Lunar Festival, and Melbourne’s White Night Festival. We also revel in a little international art and the irreverent David Shrigley. Let’s begin with the sociology of play.

Jam Master Jay

Jam Master Jay, Run-DMC. Street art in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia. 3 January 2015

Continue reading Festival Land

Share the Spirit: Survival Day 2015

The 26th of January is Australia Day and a national holiday. Various events happen all over Melbourne, but some of these recognise that this day raises important issues about Indigenous culture in Australia. Protests over colonialism have been ongoing since Europeans settled in Australia in 1788. On the 26th of January 1938, 150 years after the decimation of Indigenous people began, William Cooper (leader with the Australian Aboriginal League) together with Jack Patten and William Ferguson (the Aboriginal Progressive Association) declared the first “Day of Mourning,” a day recognising the history of colonial violence and dispossession. Survival Day events represent the resilience and contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who collectively make up the world’s oldest, continuous culture.

I attended the Share the Spirit festival, hosted by Songlines Music. This event has been running at the Treasury Garden since 2002. Together with similar events in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and elsewhere, they are amongst the biggest Indigenous cultural events in Australia. Continue reading Share the Spirit: Survival Day 2015

Iranians in Australia

There are almost 34,500 Iran-born people counted in the last Australian Census in 2011. Most arrived in the early 1980s as a result of the Iranian Revolution that began in 1979.

The largest proportion of these early arrivals are highly educated Baha’i who were granted special asylum status under our humanitarian migration program. Later in the 1990s arrivals have been predominantly Shi’a Muslim and they largely came as under the skilled migration program. A sizeable proportion of Iranians have migrated since 2001.

Iranian Australians are incredibly interesting sociologically as they are a relatively upwardly mobile group who outperform many other refugee groups who arrived since 1980s. The early arrivals who settled in Sydney in particular do well along many socioeconomic measures.

In the first two pictures, a group of Iranian-Australians in Melbourne are happily chanting in Persian about Iran’s greatness in soccer. In English they are talking about Australian scores in sports.

Latin Summer Festival

In the 2011 Australian Census, there were over 107,300 Latin-Australian migrants. The majority were born in South America (almost 87,700 people); the second-biggest groups were born in Central America (14,900 people); and a smaller proportion were born in the Caribbean (4,7000 people). Continue reading Latin Summer Festival

Visual Sociology of Art in Melbourne

Visual sociology of Melbourne’s art for August-November (filmed on my Vine!).

Street art in Melbourne. 31 August 2014

[Video: street art featuring original comic characters. Public takes pictures]

Continue reading Visual Sociology of Art in Melbourne


People lining up outside Taiwan Cafe, Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Taiwanese-Australians are the second largest Chinese migrant group in Australia. Most of them arrived during the 1980s as highly educated professionals who were relatively well-off overseas. The vast majority arrived under business visas. Continue reading Taiwanese-Australians