A brief history of the AIAV
The Australian Indonesian Association of Victoria Inc (AIAV) was formed in 1956, following on from the formation of the AIA of NSW in 1945, and adopted the same goal: “To foster and promote friendship, understanding and good relations between the peoples of Indonesia and Australia”. One of its first activities was to provide host families for a number of Indonesian engineering and architecture students who were in Australia under the Colombo Plan.
Another early activity of the Association was to entertain members of the Indonesian Olympic team who were in Melbourne to compete in the 1956 Olympic Games. Nearly 50 years later, this tradition was repeated, with AIAV members assisting a visiting schoolboys’ cricket team from East Java.
For more than six decades AIAV has had a commitment to the teaching of the Indonesian language (Bahasa Indonesia), holding weekly evening language classes from beginner through to advanced levels. These classes continue to be at the core of the Association’s activities.
In addition, there is a long history of informal conversation evenings (malam ngobrol) held once a month, with an annual daytime event (siang ngobrol) held in conjunction with the Bendigo Australian Indonesian Klub (BAIK). These enable Australian and Indonesian members to meet socially and provide an opportunity for learners to practise their language skills.
Over many years, AIAV has made financial contributions to non-government aid programs in Indonesia. These have included projects at Cilandak in West Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara (south-eastern Indonesia). Traditionally, AIAV has also provided a channel for response to natural disasters, including the devastating tsunami of December 2014. In 2015, the committee agreed to form a partnership with the Nusatenggara Association, providing funding over the three years specifically for NTA’s work in enhancing libraries and providing librarianship training in under-resourced schools in Nusa Tenggara Timur. You can read a report on this project here.
Social & Special Events
From time to time, AIAV hosts dinner meetings, often at Indonesian restaurants, with guest speakers who present on topics ranging from Indonesian architecture and traditional crafts to current politics, education, geology and law. Recent eminent guest speakers from Indonesia have also discussed human rights and language education.
In 2007–08, AIAV introduced a number of in-country language courses for secondary students and adults. These have since expanded to include:
- a southbound exchange program, for Indonesian secondary school students to spend 6 weeks living and studying in Victoria
- a northbound exchange program, for Australian secondary school students to spend 6 weeks living and studying in Indonesia
- a student immersion program for students who have just completed Year 10 or 11
- an adult immersion program.
While most participants in the student exchanges are self-funded, AIA NSW, through the Commonwealth Bank, offers a scholarship for a NSW student to participate in the northbound exchange, while AIAV sponsors an Indonesian student to take up the exchange in Victoria.
The following statement was adopted by the AIAV committee at a meeting on 12 August 2015:
“The primary purpose of the Australian Indonesian Association of Victoria (AIAV) is “to foster and promote friendship, understanding and good relations between the peoples of Indonesia and Australia.” Both countries are home to people from many national and ethnic origins. In keeping with its primary purpose, AIAV opposes any form of racial vilification and fully supports the integrity of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act 1975, including clause 18C, which defines offensive behaviour, and clause 18D, which recognises the extent to which exemptions may apply. We consider this stance to reflect the views of our members and not be aligned with any political party.”