Three hours drive down the Hume Highway you’ll find a vibrant group of Ukrainians – the Wodonga branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Victoria.
Despite the average age of the community being in their 60’s and 70’s they work tirelessly to maintain the unity and spirit of a community that was founded over half a century ago.
And so it was on Sunday 18 June that current AUV president Slawko Kohut, his wife Marijka and board member Liana Slipetsky had the pleasure of meeting this group of dedicated Ukrainians.
After a church service held at the beautiful historic church of St Olya’s, we were treated to lunch prepared by Mrs Anna Uruski.
The community hall is nestled in amongst residential homes in a quiet part of Wodonga and has been owned by the community since around 1958.
Mrs Luba Slywka honoured the heros of Ukraine and gave a moving and informative speech to mark “Sviato Heroyiv”.
Current president Zenon Kachmarskyj has headed up the Wodonga branch since 2015 following the resignation of their first female president, Stephanie Simons due to ill health. Unfortunately Stephanie passed away on the 12th May 2017. Sadly missed by the local community.
The very first president was Mr Leonid Rewekun.
The Wodonga Ukrainian community is probably best summed up by one of their oldest members Mr Wowk who said: “I might be old in age but I am young in spirit”.
If you are ever passing through Wodonga it is worth letting the Wodonga hromada know in advance. Who knows, they may be holding a gathering at the hall or it might just be the Sunday that they hold their monthly church service at the beautiful St Olya’s.
The Victorian country spirit and Ukrainian patriotism is alive and well in Wodonga.