Twenty-two newly arrived refugees embraced local culture on Australia Day by attending the women’s final at the Australian Open, as part of the Western Bulldogs’ Settlement Grants Program.
As part of Tennis Australia’s initiative to “Do Something Australian on Australia Day” the new arrivals from Burma enjoyed their first taste of the Australian Open, with the adults and youth participated in Cardio Tennis, while Australia’s next generation of Tennis superstars were busy refining their skills on the Hot Shots courts.
After a hit on the Melbourne Park showcourts, the new arrivals were part of a 200-strong crowd who witnessed a unique tennis-themed Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony conferred by Senator Kate Lundy, Minister for Sport and Multicultural Affairs.
The event was capped off with the group joining in the packed Garden Square crowd to watch the Women’s Final.
Although the refugees from Burma were disappointed to see their favourite Li Na defeated, the Australia Day fireworks made their day.
It was the first time many of the refugees – some of whom were born and raised refugee camps - had seen fireworks in the lives.
Each participant also received a Tennis Australia showbag at the conclusion of the event, which included a brand new tennis racquet that was in most cases immediately out of the plastic and into action.
This initiative is part of the broad range of community engagement activities the Bulldogs provide for new arrivals in the western region as part of its Settlement Grants Program - funded by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
The Western Bulldogs would like to thank Tennis Australia and Tennis Victoria for their ongoing support of the Settlement Grants Program.