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Family enjoys spirit of Rocky

Ramola Christopher and Christopher Chelliah with their daughters Jennifer and Katherine Christopher will celebrate Harmony Day.
Ramola Christopher and Christopher Chelliah with their daughters Jennifer and Katherine Christopher will celebrate Harmony Day. Chris Ison

WHEN Christopher Chelliah and his family migrated to Australia in 2004, it was the first time they had ever left India.

Now, eight years later, the family is happy to call Rockhampton home, becoming Australian citizens this year.

Today they will celebrate national Harmony Day, recognising the multiculturalism of Australia and reflecting on their own journey.

"My uncle was living here in Rockhampton and he kept asking us to come over," Christopher said.

"We wanted a change of the standard of living and knew there were a lot of opportunities here for our kids."

Within a year of applying for a skilled migration visa, Christopher, his wife Ramola and their two daughters Jennifer and Katherine were here.

"It was a bit scary but we settled in well," said Ramola.

"It was strange coming to a new place, it's a totally different culture."

From opening a bank account to learning what a lawn mower was, Christopher said they couldn't have made the transition so smoothly without the support and encouragement of the friends they had made.

"We just love the Aussie way of life - there's so much space and time to spend with your family," Christopher said.

"We love barbecues and we really appreciate sausages."

Christopher, who has worked in sales for 25 years, is now the manager of Grace Records Management, while Ramola works as a carer for the Salvation Army.

Katherine and Jennifer are studying at CQUniversity and will perform a number of South Indian dances at today's Harmony Day ceremony (see factbox).

"There's a lot of multicultural people here in Rockhampton," Ramola said.

"It's wonderful to celebrate that."

HARMONY DAY

When: 4pm - 7pm today

Where: Salvation Army Park Street Centre, North Rockhampton

What: Come and enjoy cultural dance, song, food and friends from many nations.

Cost: $2 entry, children under 7 free

Topics:  australian citizenship, family


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