General Cultural Groups
Beseda was founded by a group of Czechoslovak migrants who were living in Australia since the early fifties last century. When another wave of refugees arrived in Australia after the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw pakt armies in August 1968 they decided to establish an organisation that would bring together all people of Czechoslovak origin or descent and their friends interested in mutual friendship.
Their main activity was helping newcomers to find a place to live, orient themselves in an unknown world, look for employment and assist them in their contact with authorities. Beseda also pursued cultural, social and sporting activities in endeavour to revive and maintain the languages, cultural heritage and national traditions from the old country as well as familiarise with the cultural and ethnic heritage of Australia.
By the time the Association officially registered in January 1972, a monthly journal „Beseda“ was already distributed to all compatriots. During the next years Beseda continued in the initial activities and members also founded a dance group. In close cooperation with Czechoslovak groups in Sydney came to fruition theatre performances and celebrations of memorable anniversaries. In view of Canberra‘s population, Beseda had about 160 members; presently there are 140 members. After a short pause the journal is being issued again since 1994 on a regular basis and improved appearance.
Social and cultural activities were held in the club facilities of the Polish community and since March 2000 Beseda has its own club house; it was officially opened at the occasion of the 150th anniversary of T. G. Masaryk‘s birthday. Finances for purchasing the building were provided by collecting over several years into a Building fund; almost all interior refurbishment was done by voluntary work of dedicated members.
In the Beseda club there is a library with over 2000 Czech and Slovak titles and a cosy reading room. Films are shown on a super screen in the hall with a small stage and very good acoustics are enjoyed by visiting performing artists. Beseda members have a host of activities to select from, e. g. talks on various topics, bus trips and outings into surrounding districts, exhibitions by local artists, sport afternoons, disco nights or regular Saturday get-togethers in the club.
Provides a social club for the Czechoslovakian community. Open 2:30-5pm first and third Saturday of the month. Communication support available. Bi-monthly "Beseda" journal.
Fees: Membership fees; Concessions available
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Languages Czech; Slovak
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities, Traditional and Cultural Activities