The history of AGBU in Australia, and of Alex Manoogian Saturday School, trace their roots back to the historic day in 1906, when the visionary Boghos Nubar Pasha and others stablished what was to become a global Armenian philanthropic organisation.
The AGBU became a source of comfort and strength for the generation orphaned by the 1915 Genocide, equipping survivors with a sense of purpose and a motivation to rebuild their lives. Through its service to our nation, the AGBU bore witness to the old axion that ‘unity is strength’.
In over a century of fulfilling its mission, the AGBU has become the largest Armenian philanthropic organisation, supporting, serving standing with and dedicating itself to the needs of the Armenian nation through wide range of activities.
The AGBU has tried to keep in step with the needs of the times, and has been flexible in adjusting to changes in the political and economic landscape. And so, in 1924, the AGBU Headquarters moved from Cairo to Geneva and from there to Paris, eventually finding its resting place in New York City, USA.
Through its many chapters in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora, the AGBU continues to fulfil its educational, cultural, scientific and sports mission.
Often, the decline of one diasporan community heralds the birth of a new one. Over the past 100 years, the fate of the Armenian people has (interruptions notwithstanding, especially in the Middle East) followed the same pattern of community-formation inherited from the Ottoman Empire in 1915. As Armenians started emigrating from the Middle Eastern to faraway Sydney, they brought with them the familiar trilogy of community structures: church, school and community centre.
Armenian migration to Australia began in the 1850s, in particular with the arrival of businessman from India and the Far East. The next phase of settlement came with the survivors and orphans of the Armenian Genocide in 1915, who gave birth to the Diaspora as we know it. Finally, following World War Two, and in particular beginning in the 1960s, large number of Armenians chose Australia as their new destination, forming the Australian-Armenian community as we know it.
In the midst of the struggles facing Armenians in different parts of the world, 1963 was a year of celebration for the AGBU family as its Sydney Chapter commenced its work. The Chapter had been inaugurated in 1962 under the auspices of His Eminence, Bishop Assoghig Ghazarian, and with the active support and efforts of Rev. Father Aramais Mirzaian.
The AGBU Sydney Chapter’s first committee was as follows:
Honorary President: His Eminence, Bishop Assoghig Ghazarian
Honorary Vice President: Rev. Father Aramais Mirzaian
Chairman: Mack Hagopian
Secretary : Vahan Hannesian
Treasurer: Armen Apcar
Advisor: Edgar A. Edgar and Nahabed M. Nahabed.
Tamzara, back to our origins
Tamzara Armenian Dance Group are thrilled and excited to announce the line up for our huge and spectacular concert on December 22. All the way from Armenia we have the world renowned and hugely talented Levon Tevanyan from the ensemble of State Philharmonic of the Republic of Armenia, Arshak Sahakyan & Hamlet Peloshyan from The National Dance Ensemble of Armenia. We also welcome and look forward to sharing the stage with our brothers and sisters from Azad Gharibian Dance Group from Melbourne and a special performance by our Tamzara kids...read more
2018: Our Year of Open Hearts, Open Minds
According to the 2011 census there are 16,723 Armenians in Australia, with most of them residing in Sydney. Yet only a small portion of those people are involved in Armenian community. The reasons for this are many and varied. Some were part of a community once upon a time and have moved on amicably with different priorities. Some have had bad experiences and don’t want to return. Some have only heard of those bad experiences and that is enough to deter them. Some feel excluded after marrying someone who is not Armenian. Some prefer to ‘be...read more
History of the Duduk
From the Society for Safeguarding of the Armenian Folk Music In 2005 the Armenian Duduk music was proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO Introduction The duduk and its music as it is known today, has been developed over many centuries. Throughout history, music of the duduk has come to encompass the wisdom and emotions of the people who have created it. Traditionally inseparable from the cultural identity and social celebrations of all Armenians, its’ sound and physical shape have been...read more
Tavle Competition 2017
Tavle, nardi, or backgammon, has been a favourite of our Armenian ancestors dating back many centuries. In the spirit of keep thing long held leisure activity alive, on Saturday 8 April, 2017, AGBU Youth ran its first ever competition night. There was a big bounty on the line with the top prize of a 55” 4K TV and the runner-up prize a 45” 4K TV for these backgammon-board warriors as they headed into battle. With a room of keen entrants, ready to roll the dice, the round robin began. Plenty of games were enjoyed alongside the delicious...read more
Buddy Bag Collection Drive
AGBU Youth has decided that 2017 is our year of benevolence! Our first initiative towards this is to partner with The Alannah and Madeline Foundation (AMF) to provide children in need with basic necessities that we all take for granted. The AMF work to provide as many children who are forcibly removed from their homes due to violence or neglect with a little something to call their own. Most children supported will have nothing in their possession but the clothes on their backs when they are taken from their parents/caregivers. If you would...read more
My Birthright Experience
By Johannes Michaelian At the beginning of 2016, coming out of my undergraduate studies I yearned to finally return to the land of my ancestors and discover for myself what it means to be Armenian. A desire to learn the language better, its incredible history, geography and also devour copious amounts of gata (Armenian pastry) were all high on my priority list. Birthright Armenia went beyond my expectations and provided me so much more than I could have imagined! when it came to meeting these expectations, and more! The excellent program...read more
2017: Our Year of Benevolence
There is something very human about being benevolent. Everything from a simple act of kindness to large-scale philanthropic endeavors can inspire something common in all of us: the very human need to connect. This was a topic of discussion at our latest AGBU Youth meeting earlier this year. Sitting at the same table we sit around each month for our regular meetings, we found ourselves sharing stories about how happy it makes us that AGBU provides the space and structure for people to meet and to socialise. The key, we concluded, was having a...read more
Armenian Student Societies
Recently there has been a movement amongst the Armenian youth in the Australian diaspora to form Armenian societies across several University campuses in Sydney. It all started when a group of young adults came together at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and realized that there is a need to unify the young Armenians present on campus. Their action was followed by students at Macquarie University and The University of Sydney. Although there has previously been Armenian societies on some of these campuses they were unfortunately...read more
Let’s talk about community (in the Armenian Diaspora)
A sense of community is central to members of the Armenian diaspora around the world. It is what soothes the pain of a lingering and unacknowledged history of genocide. As a result of the machinations of war, and a still palpable series of war crimes in 1915, Armenians today find themselves on a very short list of ethnic groups in the strangest of predicaments: most of the people in the world who identify as Armenian do not live in Armenia. It is this background that propels so many Armenian people from around the world to get involved...read more
Dhol lessons at AGBU
AGBU is excited to get its latest magical adventure under way, Dhol lessons! Come down to the AGBU Agoump and learn all about the wonderful double-headed drum and how to play enchanting Armenian music! Classes are open to the whole community, Armenians and non-Armenians alike! For more details please contact us on:...read more