Australian Slovenian Cultural Festival 2002 event

Descendants of Slovenian world Oldest vine in Australia

Australian Slovenian Cultural Festival 2002 event

Descendants of Slovenian world Oldest vine in Australia

(1st celebration of planting of OLD VINE in Australia.)


Final report on  2002 Yarra Ranges The Oldest Vine Cultural Festival:
Dear friends!

It is my great pleasure to present to you this final report on promotional project with the future: Australian Slovenian Yarra Ranges The Oldest Vine Cultural Festival 2002.

This year’s 1st Anniversary celebration of planting of the graft of the oldest vine in the world from Slovenia in Australia was a fantastic promotional and cultural success. As most of you do know, our Old Vine is doing really well in McWilliams Lillydale Vineyards in Seville East. After a lot of work and fantastic collaboration we can proudly say, that Yarra Ranges Old Vine Festival turned into a national promotional tour for our region – Yarra Ranges.

Our special promoting guest artists from Slovenia were a young Ensemble – Vesele Stajerke – Happy Girls from Stajerska. They covered over 4400 km, they sang and played to the oldies, not so old and to our young generation. They performed in total 19 times to well over 4000 enjoyable audiences. Our Yarra Valley project was presented thru media in Wollongong, Sydney, Berry (SA), Adelaide and  Melbourne. Happy girls performed in primary and High Schools in Adelaide and Melbourne to over 1300 pupils. The response was just overwhelming. We could organize many more concerts for the school kids if we had more time and certainly sufficient financial  resources. We are extremely proud to have 11 promotional concerts, 7 dinner dances and the final performance; a great celebration at McWilliams Lillydale Vinery in Seville on 22nd September 2002 with over 600 guests attending.

Certainly all that will not happen without some extremely enthusiastic and hard working individuals and leaders of organizations in our community.

Special thanks to Bev McAlister and Dandenong Ranges Music Council, for their marvelous cooperation and I do hope that many more of that kind of people will get involved in our Shire of Yarra Ranges decision making team, as it is of absolute priority for our Shire to have a Prominent Cultural Center in the Shire’s of Yarra Ranges region and a vibrant cultural life.

Great thanks to all principals and their staff for their commitment in participation and their hospitality as all concerts were, for my judgment, very successful and well accepted. Some comments from the young ones were: I will never wash my jumper again as all 4 girls put their signature on it or another one: I had my say on SBS as I like them to run a …and… I like the most of it the way they started the concert with national anthem, it was so impressive…yes it was impressive and most enjoyable for all of as taking part in it.

Thank you to: Upwey South Primary School -Principal Ralph Holland, Upwey High School – Principal Greg Holman, Monbulk College – Principal Pam Glover & Kerry Bennetto & David Chipman, Kallista Primary School – Principal Terri Obree & Margaret Brooks, Marryatville High School, Marryatville SA, Walkerville Primary School Walkerville SA – Stephen Tce and thanks to our SA coordinator Adrian Vatovec.

Ones again thanks for their great support and participation to many Australians of Slovenian origin and their clubs, special thanks for financial support to Ministry for Culture of Slovenian Republic, Biro for Tourism from Slovenia, City of Maribor and their Biro for Tourism, SISS P/L for free Internet presence, Vodusek Meats Cobram, Slovenian Embassy Canberra, Shire of Yarra Ranges for moral support and thanks to Councilors Ian Smith and Alan Fincher for their financial contribution and to Councilor Monica Keane to spend an hour with us and for the nice words she had to say. Special thanks to McWilliams Lillydale Vineyards and their team for their involvements on the project and finally welcome on board to Slovenian Ministry for Education and Biro for Slovenians abroad from Foreign Ministry of  RS for their willingness to also take active roll in our future activities.

As 4th Sunday in September has been declared the official date for the final function for Australian Slovenian Yarra Ranges Old Vine Festival, I am advising you please take note of the date and the week before. In the same time we do hope, that many of you will take part in next year event and will join as with your ideas and suggestions.

Slovenia is a small country with a great tradition and strong drive for surviving. Many of our Australians of Slovenian origin are also great achievers in our Australia.

In the year 2001 there were only two representatives from European countries recognized and honored for their achievements in tourist industry promoting their country in USA. One of them was Slovenian representative a lady with a great vision driven by Slovenian tradition for success. Slovenia is climbing high on the destination list for American tourists and Australia is on the very high list as a visiting place for Slovenian travelers and many of them are excited to see our great Yarra Ranges, a place were the grafts of the oldest vine in the world are doing so well. Already now some groups in NSW are organizing themselves to join us on our next year celebration. … More then 15 hours of digital video recordings has been recorded on Yarra Ranges Old Vine national  tour and will be shown on many of Slovenian TV programs.…and it all started with planting a small graft of Velvety Black grapevine on the embankment of river Drava in Central Europe some 450 years ago…..

Thank you for your time. We‘ll see you again next year.


Kind regards
Vinko Rizmal – Project Coordinator