Slovenian Language in Australia
These are the students who attended the Slovenian language classes at secondary level at the Victorian School of Languages from 1977 to 2005. Altogether 504 students, of these 82 students completed the Higher School Certificate for Slovenian language (matura iz slovenskega jezika).
The series of articles marks the process of events, issues, and information that Aleksandra Ceferin wrote for the Slovenian community since 1976, and published for the most part in the monthly journal Misli, later also in Glas Slovenije, Rodna Gruda, Slovenščina v šoli, MLTAV Newsletter (Modern Language Teachers Association of Victoria).
The document is a description of the contents of ISSV Archives in 1976 – 2002. It was sent upon request to historian and researcher Aleksej Kalc for the information and records of the Scientific and Research Centre Koper of the Republic of Slovenia in December 2002.
The first attempt that led to a continuous teaching tradition took place in 1960 at the Slovenian Religious and Cultural Centre in Melbourne with the support and encouragement of Fr. Basil Valentin, the Franciscan priest, whose efforts for the Slovenian community became legendary.
The archives of the Institute consist of over 2,000 documents. The archivist is Aleksandra Ceferin who has collated and maintained documents of the activities connected with the teaching of Slovenian language in the school system in the state of Victoria from 1976.
Misli of those early years also reported on Slovenian traditional festivities. New Year, Easter, St. Nicholas, and Christmas were celebrated with all the traditional icons – the religious rituals that gave the event meaning and all the other ways of marking the occasion, Christmas tree and manger, traditional dishes and potica, music and dancing. Above all it was the Slovenian togetherness that gave comfort and made the new country less alien.
Life was hard for the migrants in the beginning. Many had to do physically demanding work to which they had not been accustomed. There was a great shortage of accommodation in the cities. Families were separated. Men were employed wherever needed, and lived in hostels. Families were placed in family hostels elsewhere, often at a great distance from the men. Such was the family hostel in Mildura, in the middle of the grape growing country on the Murray River.