Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson


    Minister helps children sow the seeds of harmony

    17/01/2001 10:00 AM

    Children from an array of different cultural backgrounds have helped plant Western Australia’s first ‘Harmony Garden’ at Perth Zoo.

    The Harmony Garden, situated alongside the Variety Special Playground, features plants from each of the earth’s five continents and is set to become a permanent fixture at the zoo.

    The garden will officially open as part of Western Australia’s Harmony Day celebrations on Wednesday, March 21.

    Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Rob Johnson, children and members of the lay Buddist organisation,
    Soka Gakkai, began planting the Harmony Garden today.

    March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and since 1999, it has been set aside for all Australians to celebrate the many cultures that make up Australia’s unique and harmonious community.

    “Western Australia has led the way with the development of the inaugural Harmony Day and now the entire nation celebrates the benefits of our multicultural society on March 21 every year,” Mr Johnson said.

    “The Harmony Garden is a particularly important project because it will be a permanent symbol of our commitment to maintaining a vibrant and diverse culture.”

    Mr Johnson’s portfolio agency, the Office of Citizenship and Multicultural Interests (OCMI), will co-ordinate WA’s Harmony Day celebrations.

    A number of Harmony Day celebrations will take place at Perth Zoo, including the official opening of the Harmony Garden and the launch of a Harmony Global Village, which will be open to zoo visitors from March 21 to March 23.

    Other Harmony Day events include:
    • Harmony Day assemblies and community celebrations in schools and local government areas. OCMI has provided special small Harmony Day grants to facilitate these events;
    • an essay writing competition for high school students with the theme: ‘Harmony in Schools and the Community: There’s No Room For Racism’;
    • the inaugural Harmony Day oration at Murdoch University by former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser;
    • the WA Music Industry Association Awards concert in Fremantle on the evening of March 21, featuring One World and Harmony categories; and -
    • a special Harmony Day series of productions featuring multicultural artists at Kulcha in Fremantle.

    “I would encourage all Western Australians to think about how they can celebrate and acknowledge Harmony Day on March 21,” Mr Johnson said.

    “Simply wearing a Harmony Day orange lapel ribbon to show your support for harmony in our community is a great way to participate.”

    For further information about Harmony Day activities contact OCMI on 9426 8690, visit the OCMI website at or send an e-mail to

    A full calendar of Harmony Day events will be posted on the OCMI site from February 1.

    Media contacts:
    Minister’s Office: Fran Hodge 9215 4800
    OCMI: Linda Bolton 9426 8690