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.
On the night of Saturday, April 30th, AGBU’s Tamzara Armenian Folk Dance Group had the pleasure of joining Hamazkaine Nairi and the Azad Gharibian Dance group in an evening of wonderful performances. The concert was a first of its kind, with three different Armenian dance groups sharing the stage to celebrate one of the most important aspects of Armenian culture, dance. Before the night got under way Tamzara dancers were welcomed with open hearts and arms by their gracious hosts. Nairi director Asadour closed a long day of rehearsals with a...read more
Adventures at Tamzara Penned by Lisa Jebian After having my second child I wanted to do something for myself, get fit, and lose weight. A close friend suggested that a new dance group was forming in Sydney and to try it out and see how we go. I went, nervous, unprepared and anxious about dancing in front of strangers (my youngest was only 5 months old!!). Nazarena, our great Argentinian Armenian choreographer greeted me so warmly it was infectious and while in my head I kept saying ‘this is just a trial’ my body was in need for...read more
AGBU youth has recently undertaken a new project – Tamzara Kids. Under the guidance of Tamzara’s dance teacher and choreographer Nazarena, this project was established with the intention of igniting a passion within our youth for Armenian dance, as well as to provide the opportunity to pass on the rich culture and history that is weaved throughout these ancient pieces. During a typical Tamzara Kids practice, the children learn about the various types of traditional Armenian dances as well as modern Armenian dances. Armenian dancing...read more
Music is an integral part of Armenian culture. Over the centuries music has defined Armenian people, history and tradition. Armenian people rejoice, remember and mourn with music. Regardless of their situation: whether free or oppressed, the Armenian people have always been expressive and extremely talented in the arts. They especially have always expressed themselves with music: from the century old shepherd playing his flute, to the drumming of the dhol accompanying war-time dances or the jovial music and dances from each village to...read more
From its inception, a major goal for AGBU Youth was to successfully form young adult teams to get the club’s wheels into motion. Four years on, not only do we have 4 senior teams, but , we are also in the fortunate position of having many more hands on deck, working very hard behind the scenes to succeed in more ventures and accomplish more as a club. So in 2016, the time is right to turn our attention to our future, our next generation: our kids! As a club our intentions and objectives are aligned across the board. Our immediate goals are...read more
Life is unpredictable and full of surprises, both good and bad. That surprise, in my case, was an ugly war that started in Syria, my birthplace. This war spread through the entire nation until it reached my hometown, Aleppo, which forced my family to make difficult decisions that would mark the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. Like many other Armenian families, we travelled to Yerevan, Armenia to get away from the chaotic situation, until it was safe for us to return, as we thought it wouldn’t be too long. However, the conditions got...read more
Sunday night’s results are in! We had a few tough game with the boys both taking a lose, and the girls with a great victory! Women’s Division C Final score 20-14 Men’s Division E 19-29 Men’s Division C Final score 25-35 Here’s a happy snap of the victorious ladies with their manager and new coach! Good work...read more
On Friday 24 April, AGBU Alexander Primary School held a wreath laying ceremony at the Armenian Genocide and ANZAC memorials in ‘Memorial Park’ at Meadowbank. In attendance were City of Ryde Councillors Sarkis Yedelian and Artin Etmekdjian joined by parents, graduates and members of the community. Photos by Albert...read more