The Burgher Association (Australia) was founded on 2nd February 1980. The world at that time and the world today are certainly two different places, in terms of the evolution of technological, socio-economic and societal changes we Burghers as an ethnic group have had to experience. Despite these changes the Association remains a focal point and major service organisation for the community, both in Australia and overseas.
Australia, arguably, has the largest Sri Lankan Burgher Community in the world. As a group, Burghers have had to adapt to accommodate and accept the many challenges that these changes have brought. The Burgher Association (Australia), being aware of these changes, realised that if it was to continue to have relevance as part of the wider Australian community it intended to serve, it was necessary for appropriate changes to occur; thus major changes to its original Constitution were proposed and accepted by the Membership at an Annual General Meeting in October 2005. Amongst the many changes that took place and made the Association contemporary and relevant were two important amendments. These two changes made us THE representative organisation of the Burgher Community in Australia.
As a representative organisation we will also continue to be ever vigilant and respectful of the laws of Australia our adopted country, in order that unscrupulous anti-social elements that necessitated our exodus from Sri Lanka do not create conflicts and thereby adversely affect our integration into this wonderful country!
The Burgher tradition of family and wholesome enjoyment of life continues to be entrenched in all our activities and we believe and hope that this will continue in the generations that follow. In that context, we also recognise that those of us who are the pioneer settlers of the Burgher Community in Australia are an ageing population. As such the Association has dual responsibilities. One responsibility is to be of service to these pioneer settlers and older members of the community while the other is to encourage and assist their children and grandchildren to maintain aspects of Burgher culture and traditions worthy of preservation and compatible with their primary loyalties as Australians.
Governments of all persuasions attempt to provide services to help seniors to spend their retirement years in happy productive ways. The Burgher Association believes that a community organisation such as ours has a significant and useful role to play in complementing the work of Governments. Hence, the Association instigated the Friendship & Care group to provide such services as minimising the loneliness that ageing brings to some of our elders by home visits, visits to members of the community in retirement homes and meeting in fellowship at our premises at 358 Haughton Road, Clayton, Victoria, 3169, Australia.
As a group, the current Committee of Management has also acknowledged its continuing role within our Community. A three year project to provide better facilities at our premises is now virtually complete and the new BAA Centre will be opened soon. Whilst these services are targeted primarily at members of our own Burgher community, other community groups or individuals may utilise the facilities we offer on similar conditions.