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As a long-term resident of Clayton South, I have lived among the people who share their stories with us in this extraordinary book for most of my life. I have had the pleasure and privilege to see with my very own eyes the adventures, hardships and successes described in these tales. As a young boy living in Hopkins Court, Clayton South, our street was filled with ‘new’ and ‘old’ Aussies. We had ten houses in our street with families from ten different backgrounds. Every year we celebrated New Year together as one big happy family.

This book tells tales of everyday people living in the suburbs of Oakleigh South, Clarinda, Clayton South and Westall. This is an area that is a living advertisement of how people from all parts of the globe can coexist in peace and can work together to unite our country. Likewise, by instilling respect and open-mindedness in our children, and by teaching them to love and respect one another, we will make Australia a better place.

Some of the stories in this book will give readers a shiver down their spine. Other stories will make readers think they are reading about their own lives. These are the stories of real people and how they have become part of Australia. We are privileged in the City of Kingston to have such stories to tell as this City truly represents the many benefits of multiculturalism in Australia.

Having grown up in these suburbs, and later having the honour and privilege to be Mayor of the City, I can say that this city embraces multiculturalism. From Carrum to Clayton, Moorabbin to Patterson Lakes, people have embraced and celebrated the fact that a son of migrant parents represents this city. I am truly proud of my ancestors, heritage and culture but am also vigorously proud to be Australian. The people in this book show us that we can all contribute positively to Australian society. This is our home. This is our country. And these are our stories.

Arthur Athanasopoulos
City of Kingston Mayor
September, 2001

Article Cat. Blended Voices
Article Ref. 172

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