The Man who Loved his
Donkey More than his Wife

This week, Dan and Louise head to the Bull Creek Multicultural Activity Centre. Explore how celebrations of culture have created a pathway to an incredible community that gives joy, belonging, health and purpose to all those it touches.

The Bull Creek Multicultural Activity Centre [0:00]

From a community centre down in Bull Creek Chorus has created a hub of friendship, song, food and culture. Called the Bull Creek Multicultural Activity Centre, it’s a place where Chorus customers come to share their culture over a meal and enjoy a variety of activities and excursions.

Careful management and a team of incredible volunteers have seen the centre grow in both size and significance over the years. Now, up to 50 people gather for multi-course meals – and it’s not uncommon for guests to burst into song!

“In between courses, we walk around with a microphone, and we’ve got a couple of ladies that love singing and sharing their traditional Italian songs with everyone,” Assistant Activities Coordinator Kathryn chuckles. “The last one was about a man who loves his donkey more than his wife. And he’d take his donkey out and leave his wife at home!”

Consiglia ‘Connie’ singing “ciuccio bello di stu cuori’’ The donkey song! In between courses, the whole Community Centre comes alive with traditional folk songs.

To get a real glimpse of what this is like, we take a road trip to Bull Creek and talk further with Kathryn.

Kathryn (Asst activities coordinator) [2:30]

As the Assistant Activities Coordinator, Kathryn knows the Bull Creek Multicultural Activity Centre like the back of her hand.

Each day of the week celebrates a unique cultural group.

Weekly Schedule:

  • Monday and Tuesday: Asian Group
  • Wednesday: Italian / European Group
  • Thursday: South East Asian Group
  • Every Second Friday: Outings (all are welcome)

The basic format is this: get a group of people together who share a similar culture and history, have them enjoy a traditional meal together, and then break out into light activities performed in the centre. But on every second Friday, the centre acts as a starting point for outings and excursions.

Multicultural Centre Outings:

Every second Friday, guests are welcomed on an outing organised by Chorus staff. Coming up soon is a trip to Rottnest Island!

“A lot of the people going have never been to Rottnest, and a number of them have never left the Perth metro area.”
– Kathryn

A trip to Hillarys for lunch and a beach walk is planned for the near future, as is a smorgasbord lunch at the Casino. No matter the outing, the groups always have a good time.

Let’s Hear from the Customers! [6:00]

“I joined the community centre two months ago, and I must say I am very very happy. Mr. Andy is a fantastic organiser, and very friendly. The people here are very friendly, and the kitchen staff is fantastic.”

That quote is from Claudia, a lovely Italian lady who taught language, history, literature and music for years before moving to Perth to be with her two sons. Hearing about her experiences, Dan is moved to comment:

“It’s more than a service. There’s actually a little community – actually quite a big community – that grows around the centre. People feel like they belong.”
– Dan Minchin

Claudia Scotti shares her winning smile.

Speaking of community, it just so happens that Dan recently had a chance to sit down and chat with volunteer Mario during a state volunteer award ceremony – which saw Chorus volunteer Mario win an award in the multicultural volunteer category!

“I got to sit next to Mario and chat with him and it turns out he used to work with my great uncle! The community just unfolds and unfolds!”

  • Dan Minchin

Let’s Hear from Staff and Volunteers! [9:00]

“It was incredible to see 50 people gathered around. It was a three-course meal! Absolutely incredible!”

That’s from Business Development Manager Rose, who visited the centre for a meal.

“It was really good to see those people in action, to listen to them, and hear about the work they’re doing,” Rose remembers.

Next, we hear from Multicultural Activity Centre Team Leader Andy.

“Chorus provides a chance for [guests] to see each other and share their experiences, their history, their customs, and enjoy our cooking.”

The food is certainly enjoyed, but Andy – being at the heart of many centre operations – has seen through to what really matters.

“I’ve realised people don’t need a lot of [specific] activities – they love simply talking with each other!”

This is how culture forms – sharing friendship along with a communal meal.

The All-Important Sense of Belonging

Connection, communication and community. It all circles back around to these core pillars of health. This is what the Bull Creek Multicultural Activity Centre offers – and it means more than is easy to define.

“It speaks to that broader human instinct of belonging and being part of a tribe. That’s what’s so magic about the Bull Creek Centre.”
– Dan Minchin

“It’s more than the four walls and the people – it’s about what happens when you bring people together.”
– Louise Forster

And that about sums it up! We were glad to share the magic of Bull Creek with you, and we hope you’ll check us out on Apple Podcasts and tune into future episodes!

Mentioned in This Episode:

Connect With Chorus

Credits

Podcast Hosts: Dan Minchin and Louise Forster

Opening Voiceover: Ryan Burke

Opening Music: “Wattlebird” by Dylan Hatton Music

Producer: Matthew Clark

Interviewer: Judith Hatton

Special Thanks To: Claudia Scottie, Andy Lau, Kathryn Andrew and Rose Cummins.

Thanks to all the participants at the Bull Creek Multicultural Centre.