Alex Chernov

Governor of Victoria

Message from the Governor of Victoria

Good morning everyone.

It is a great pleasure for Elizabeth and me to join you in celebrating the historic, first Korea festival of Korean culture; contemporary and classical. I repeat my written condolences that I passed on to the Consul-General in relation to the tragedy that occurred when the ferry sank and my condolences to the victims and all the people of Korea.

The importance of this morning's occasion is marked by the presence of here of so many of the leaders of the community to which the consul general has referred and I will not repeat at the moment.

I also acknowledge the cultural factors of the traditional custodians of this land and pay my respects to Elders, past and present.

Victoria's relationship with Korea has grown significantly since its humble beginnings in 1888 when Australian missionaries first landed in Busan. Over a century later in 1994, the state of Victoria and the city of Busan formed a sister city relationship which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary and I hope to attend those celebrations. Today our two countries enjoy a flourishing relationship underpinned by a strong trade partnership, shared values and cultural exchange.

Elizabeth and I had the great pleasure of visiting Korea in October last year, more particularly Seoul and Busan. To say we are impressed with the people of Korea, their generosity, their culture and work ethic and their great economic development since the devastation brought about by the Korean War and their warm hospitality would be an understatement. We enjoyed our visit and learned much from it, and look forward to returning. Given our relationship with Busan I am happy to learn that the Busan Metropolitan Music Orchestra will perform at the Festival and of course there will be various other aspects of Korean culture that will be displayed here as the Consul General has already mentioned.

But the Korea Festival is also a wonderful testament to the Korean community in Victoria that numbers over 25, 000, I believe, most of whom arrived in the past two decades. It is a hardworking and ethical community that contributes so much to Victoria's knowledge economy. It is also one that takes pride, justified pride, in its cultural heritage and is prepared to celebrate and share it with Victorians.

So from the perspective of all Victorians events like these make an invaluable contribution to our multicultural society, especially in the city. Here in Federation square which has become a cultural hub in Melbourne, cultural celebrations are held frequently that reflect the diverse communities which make up and made their home in Victoria. And the celebrations such as this, the Korea festival adds so much to the cultural vibrancy of our city and state.

As Governor of Victoria, and on behalf of all Victorians, I congratulate and thank the Korean Consul General and the Korea Festival Committee for their tireless work in organising what I am confident will be a wonderful event. In conclusion, I wish the festival great success.