NORTH PERTH was the scene of a remarkable celebration this month as the Macedonian Community of WA marked its 75th anniversary.
Two hundred people gathered at the Macedonian Community Centre in North Perth for the anniversary ball.
Community vice-president Chris Angelkov told the Guardian Express the event included ceremonies that “acknowledged all our past presidents and Life Members who were present”.
“We also received plaques of recognition for our 75th Anniversary from each of the Macedonian Communities of Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Wollongong plus from the City of Stirling,” he said.
“The plaque from the City of Vincent is on its way too.”
Immigrants from what is now the Republic of Macedonia began arriving in WA in earnest in migration booms after both world wars.
Many of the first wave in the 1920s initially intended to make their fortune before returning home but WWII and the Civil War in Aegean Macedonia saw them embrace Australia as their new home.
At the end of those conflicts, family reunions saw the Macedonian community grow and become a vital part of the state’s economic, social and cultural life.
The first formal Macedonian organisation of Edinstvo (Unity) began in 1941, grew rapidly after the end of the war and became the Macedonian Australian Community of Perth, Western Australia, formally registered in 1964.
Today, Edinstvo is the Macedonian Community of W.A. (Inc.) and is just over 75 years old.
Many of the early Macedonian Australians came as child refugees who had fled the Civil War in Aegean Macedonia between 1946 and 1949 to neighbouring countries like Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Russia.
By the 1950s, life in those countries had become untenable for many and they came to Australia to settle permanently.
These young Macedonians marked the dawn of a new era for the community in WA and together with the older pioneering Macedonians began to build a strong and vibrant community.
In 1969 the Macedonian Community Centre and Macedonian Orthodox Church of St Nikola was officially opened after six years of effort from the Committee and many members who donated their time and labour.
In 1985, the Macedonia Park sporting complex in Balcatta opened with its own licensed club, sports facilities for soccer, cricket, tennis and netball.
Nine years later the community built the stately Macedonian Orthodox Church of St Nikola in North Perth.
The main aim of the Macedonian Community of W.A. (Inc.) is the promotion of Macedonian language, culture and history for present and future generations of Macedonians in Australia while encouraging a productive commitment to the Australian community as loyal and proud citizens.