The political situation in our homeland in the beginning of 1980’s forced lot of Tamils to flee Sri Lanka to go abroad. This was the period Australia also started seeing mass migration of Sri Lankan Tamils and quite a number of them settled down in Sydney. Homebush was a popular destination in those early daysdue to number of reasons including education and transport. In late 1980’s few Hartleyites were very keen to form a Hartley College Past People Association (HCPPA) Branch in Sydney.
To further achieve this goal, the first meeting was held in September 1991. It was decided that to find as many old Hartleyites as possible for an exploratory meeting at Denistone Public School. An exploratory meeting was held on 21 Sep 91 at Deniston Public School and was attended by 22 Hartleyites. There it was unanimously decided that a branch of HCPPA should be formed in NSW. An interim committee was elected and was directed to do the needful to establish the Branch.
The first formal annual general meeting (AGM) was held at Carrington Uniting Church, Strathfield on 14 Dec 91 and the Constitution was adopted. The interim committee was confirmed as the committee for 1992. From then on office bearers are elected in each AGM.
The Association was primary meant to be a social gathering. As we progressed many members strongly felt that we should financially assist Hartley in that difficult time and this led to the establishment of a development fund.
Communication was established with Hartley College and our Parent Body in Point Pedro to determine Hartley’s urgent needs and the ways and means by which we can assist the school. Over the years we have helped the school in many ways, alone and in collaboration with other HCPPA branches. In 2002 all HCPPA branches got together and established a trust at Colombo called HCPPA Trust to streamline, coordinate and monitor the PPA branches’ assistance to the school.
Until 1993 we had one social gathering for the families (a barbecue in a park in summer), and an AGM for the members every year. From 1994 onwards we started having two social gatherings for the families (a dinner in winter and a barbecue in summer) and an AGM for the members every year. Over a period there was not much enthusiasm for barbecue in summer and it was dropped and the AGM and dinner was combined into one function. Since 2010 we are having a social gathering for the families / fund raising event (Kalaizh Chuwei) and an AGM for the members after the cultural event every year.
HCPPA NSW hopes that the association grows from strength to strength and serve as a bridge between the Hartleyites living in NSW.
Hartley is in our blood, in our thoughts and in our deeds.