There are moments when time stands still and people go awe in wonder. This was such a moment. The Goan Overseas Association (GOA) of New South Wales (NSW), Australia was celebrating their Grand Ruby Anniversary.
Reminiscing the past, Tony Colaco, the President of the GOA NSW, took centre stage and narrated the story of the founding of the association which was not known to many.
In the 70’s, after the Australian Government abandoned the White Australia policy and relaxed immigration rules, Alvito Coutinho threw a party for his relatives and friends over his daughter’s birthday. After initial pleasantries and banter, everyone realized and spoke of the lack of social life in the big metropolis of Sydney. To connect with other fellow Goans they decided to throw a dance and test if it would bring the community together. To their surprise, they were inundated with bookings. The dance was a grand success and led to the formation of the GOA NSW on 27th February 1977.
Acknowledging the founding members, Tony Colaco led the guests in saluting these stalwarts. He went on to speak of the great men and women who through the years took it upon them to serve the community with distinction, and his Executive Committee for their dedication and love for the Goan community. What started with a simple dance, the GOA over the years conducted Christmas and Anniversary dances, Australia Day picnics, Karaoke and Fish Curry Nites (KFC), annual sports day and golf tournaments amongst others. Awards such as the ‘Goan of the Year’ and HSC awards were launched to honour academic excellence and showcase the contribution to the wider community respectively. To prepare the leaders of tomorrow, the GOA Toastmasters Club was formed to foster better communication and leadership skills.
Sponsored by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Stephanie Noronha and Kelly-Ann D’Sylva won the GOA NSW High Achiever HSC awards.
Reflecting on her experiences, Lizanne Sequeira, who recently visited Goa through the ‘Know Goa Program’ organized by the Government of Goa, shared that Goa is not just the land of beaches or xhitt-kodi. It is an experience and feeling that lingers on and makes us unique.
Dr. Clinton Colaco, the President of the GOA Youth group, spoke of how fortunate he feels to lead his fellow youth in learning and celebrating the Goan culture. Through various events, Clinton and his team are steering the youth in continuing the legacy of the great people before them. With Konkani language classes, they would ensure that Konkani would continue to live on.
Raising the toast, Tony Colaco, celebrated the past, cherished the present and welcomed the future. The dance floor was thrown open and swaying to the beats of the live band and DJs, 400 guests showed off their moves well into the night. With the band, Moon Shine Drive, playing their golden oldies repertoire, DJ Raj with modern hip-hop music and Malcolm Britto with the golden oldies Portuguese/Goan songs the dance floor felt small. Sipping on some great spirits and a delectable 3 course meal, everyone ensured they made it a night to remember.
The official start to the winter was a few days away. But the feeling of Goi, Goenkar ani Goenkarponn or Goa, Goan and Goanness as a whole, ensured that winter would be warm and cozy.
The party was over but the celebration had only begun. GOA NSW’s ace photographer and Executive Team Member Aaron Braganza ensured that the moments would be treasured for a lifetime, and the slideshow of pictures of the GOA NSW from 1977 till date, which ran in the background, would never end for years to come.
Viva GOA NSW! Viva Goa!