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Maltese Newsletter 85

June 2015

A UNIQUE PUBLICATION (Limited Edition) YOU MAY OBTAIN YOUR COPY NOW BY SENDING AN EMAIL TO FRANK honconsul@live.com.au This book is published under the auspices of the Maltese RSL Sub branch of South Australia www.ozmalta.page4.me/

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Maltese Newsletter 85

June 2015

MALTA AND THE ANZACS – THE NURSE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN ANZAC CENTENARY 1915 – 2015 THE NEW ZEALAND MINISTER OF VETERAN AFFAIRS HON CRAIG FOSS MP

As New Zealand’s Minister of Veterans’ Affairs I am proud to support this book – Malta and the Anzacs: The Nurse of the Mediterranean. The launch of WW1 commemorations and recent world events have illustrated to me why now, perhaps more than ever, it is so important to consider and recognise the contribution service people have made and continue to make to protect our way of life. During the protracted and devastating Gallipoli campaign of 1915, the Maltese provided invaluable support. This book rightly honours their commitment; delivering comfort and care to thousands of Anzac troops. Thanks to the Maltese, many of our soldiers were safely returned to their loved ones in New Zealand. Congratulations Mr Scicluna, this book is a tribute to all those who so graciously served the Allied war effort, as well as the 300 Anzac soldiers laid to rest on the small Mediterranean island of Malta. THE AUSTRALIAN MINISTER OF VETERAN AFFAIRS HON MICHAEL RONALDSON MP Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

This book commemorates the invaluable and lasting friendship between the people of Australia, New Zealand and Malta formed during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. Many Maltese people provided invaluable support to the Allied war efforts during the Gallipoli campaign. Thousands of wounded and ill Australians evacuated from Gallipoli were tended to on Malta during 1915. For these men, Malta was a peaceful sanctuary after the bloodshed and horror of Gallipoli. Sadly, some 300 Australian and New Zealanders succumbed to their injuries after reaching Malta and lie buried on the island. Since the end of the First World War, the Maltese people have been good friends to the people of Australia. Many thousands of Maltese people live in Australia and have brought with them their rich culture to share with all Australians. I commend the efforts of Frank Scicluna, the Consul of Malta and all those involved in this book - it is a lasting tribute to our shared wartime history, the stories of those who served and the close relationship of our countries, which continues today. www.ozmalta.page4.me/

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Maltese Newsletter 85

June 2015

THE ABACUS – THE OLD CALCULATOR An abacus has beads that slide on rods. It can be used to count, add, subtract, multiply and more. The most common abacus is split into two basic rows:  the top row for the "5"s, and  the bottom row for the "ones". There are two beads in the top row, and five beads in the bottom one. For example, 7 can be made by using one bead on the top row, and 2 beads from the bottom row, because 5 + 2 = 7 Have a play with this one: Every column represents a different digit, such as Units, Tens, Hundreds, etc. The abacus has been around for thousands of years, and is still used in some parts of the world. Sometimes blind people will use an abacus, because they can feel the numbers easily. Expert abacus users can sometimes do calculations faster than on a calculator, and can even use them to find the square root of whole numbers. Similar calculators exist in several other countries, including Russia as well as Japan, but with differentiating variations. There is no doubt that it is one of the most prominent articles of business equipment in Chinese business offices today. There is not a home or office in Taiwan where an Abacus is not found. Its use is compulsory in all primary and business schools. Of late, many a foreigner is becoming interested in the use of the Wherever a Chinese goes, be it New York, London, Bombay, Sydney or Buenos Aires, the Abacus goes with him. Chinese government officials, bankers, financiers, office clerks, junk dealers, and house wives depend largely upon it for their counting in the same manner, as a child depends on his mother. A Chinese is so dependent on the Abacus that he finds it awkward to make even simple calculations without one.

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Maltese Newsletter 85

June 2015

3 NEW CANDIDATES FOR THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE KNIGHTS OF ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL

Three candidates were admitted to the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter and St. Paul in the Grand Priory of Malta, during a ceremony held on Thursday, the 26th of June. The investiture took place at the Nadur Local Council, led by Grand Prior Dennis Mifsud, Prior Charlie Xuereb and President Chev Eddie Vella. The Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter and St. Paul, is a philanthropic organisation. Its main objective is to provide humanitarian support for those who are in less fortunate circumstances. Afterwards the Knights and Dames took part in the Novena Mass in the Basilica of St. Peter & St. Paul. The candidates are: From left to right Prior Charlie Xuereb, Dame Sue-Ellen Bugeja, Chev Joseph Zerafa, Dame Carmen Cefai – new, Dame Marlene Muscat – new, Grand Prior Dennis Mifsud, Dame Veronica Camilleri Cauchi – new, Chev Michael Camilleri Cauci, Chev Carmel Saliba and Chev President Eddie Vella. Photograph by Carmel Saliba

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Maltese Newsletter 85

June 2015

SHADY STREET WITH VIEW IN VALLETTA MALTA (the St Angelo fortress and the Grand Harbour in the background) The Fortress City, Citta' Umilissima, “a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen” is Malta's capital city: a living, working city, the administrative and commercial heart of the Islands. Valletta is named after its founder, the respected Grand Master of the Order of St John, Jean Parisot de la Valette. The magnificent fortress city grew on the arid rock of Mount Sceberras peninsula, which rises steeply from two deep harbours, Marsamxett and Grand Harbour. Started in 1566, Valletta was completed, with its impressive bastions, forts and cathedral, in the astonishingly short time of 15 years. Valletta has many titles, all recalling its rich historical past. It is the “modern” city built by the Knights of St John; a masterpiece of the Baroque; a European Art City and a World Heritage City. Ruled successively by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and the Order of the Knights of St John, it is one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world. The city is busy by day, yet retains a timeless atmosphere. The grid of narrow streets boasts some of Europe's finest art works, churches and palaces. Hosting a vast cultural programme, walking around Valletta you’ll come across an intriguing historical site around every corner: votive statues, niches, fountains and coats of arms high up on parapets. Narrow side streets are full of tiny quaint shops and cafés, while Valletta’s main streets are lined with larger international branded shops for fashion, music, jewellery and much more. The date of its original construction is unknown and may date back to Roman times. It certainly existed in the early medieval period. The remains of a tower that may date back to the 11th century when Malta was under Arab control can be traced among the more recent works. From the 14th century the Maltese Islands were under Aragonese rule and the fortification was known as Castello a Mare (Castle by the sea) and it was home to the powerful Nava family, feudal lords of the island. When the the Knights of Malta arrived in Malta in 1530, they chose to settle in Birgu, and Fort St Angelo became the seat of the Grand Master. The Knights made this their primary fortification and substantially reinforced and remodelled it. Fort St Angelo withstood the Turks during the Siege of Malta, though in the aftermath of that siege the Knights built the fortified city of Valletta on Mount Sciberras across the other side of Grand Harbour, and the administrative centre for the knights moved there. With the coming of the British to Malta the fort retained its importance as a military installation, and the fort was listed as a ship, originally in 1912 as HMS Egremont, but in 1933 renamed as HMS St Angelo. Today parts of the fort are leased to the Order of the Knights of St John. Other parts are used as a maritime Museum.

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Reskeon Maltese Association and Reskeon Seniors Group Inc. Postal address: c/- 4 Legh Street, Reservoir, Victoria 3072 Date Association founded: 1976 Date Senior Group founded: 1996 Association Objectives. The purposes for which the Association was formed are as follows:  To encourage, foster and conduct, educational, cultural and social activities for and on behalf of the Maltese Community;  To promote participation in celebrating National Festivities;  To promote and encourage sporting activities;  To undertake welfare work for and on behalf of and for the benefit of the Community; and  To provide social and Recreational activities especially for older persons of Maltese background through a group known as The Reskeon Seniors Group. Association History Reskeon Maltese Association Incorporated was founded in 1976. The late Father George Xerri, of the Missionary Society of St Paul, sent Father Victor Shields, MSSP, to help form a group of the Maltese Community in the suburbs of REServoir and KEON Park (hence the name Reskeon). A committee was formed and that was the start of the association with its first President being John Gauci. The aim of the association is to help better the social life of its members and the Maltese in Victoria, and at the same time help them to preserve and appreciate the Maltese Culture, the National Heritage and the Maltese language. Although it’s a fact that the Maltese in Australia easily integrated with the Australian way of life, it is also a fact that the Maltese Community still search for everything that is ‘Maltese’ and take part in Maltese functions such as feasts and other events. At present there are around 250 members in this association. RESKEON SENIORS GROUP In 1996, when the Reskeon Committee realised that most of their members were getting older, it was decided to form a Seniors group. It started with 45 members and it grew and grew to around 320 members today. After two years they had to change their meeting venue because of space. They meet every Wednesday for a game of Bingo, bocce. Some members gather for a chat. Members are served lunch for a very small cost. During the year members enjoy three lunches, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the Christmas Break-up. These are heavily subsidised by the group where they pay less than half the cost. They enjoy trips across the border, or the beach, restaurant day, barbecues, etc. Members enjoy a free lunch during the Seniors Week. Reskeon Seniors participate in discussions and planning for older members in the community, especially in Darebin. Members of the committee attend from time to time at special forums and study groups, both about the welfare of the seniors community, about retirement homes, health and other matters. Every three months the association publishes an eight-page newsletter which is distributed free of charge to all members and is sent as well to members of the Maltese Community around the world, in Malta, USA, Canada, UK, France, etc. It is also posted on different websites, such as allmalta.com and the MCCV website. Committee Elections. Elections are held every year in August. Committee Members for 2014/15 President Salvina Vella Secretary Paul Vella Treasurer Victor Pulis Member George Colvin Member Madeleine Vella Member Gerald Magro Member Melita Magro Member Joe Galea Member Sarah Catania Member Alfred Cachia Membership. Anyone is eligible to become a member by approaching a member of the committee and completing a membership application form. The membership rates are $5 for singles and $10 per couple. Membership queries to Secretary, Mrs Phyllis Vella (on 9395-3103 or by email to caesphyl@alphalink.com.au)

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Maltese Newsletter 85

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Charles and Camilla meet 28 living Victoria Cross and Goerge Cross veterans

The Prince of Wales, President of The Victoria Cross and George Cross Association, and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a Victoria Cross and George Cross Association tea party at the In & Out, 4 St James's Square, London: Pictured with Prince Charles and Camilla yesterday are: BACK ROW Barry Johnson GC – critically injured after tackling a set of mortar bombs next to a hospital in Derry in October 1989. Michael Pratt GC – police duty, Melbourne Australia, 1976. Corporal Ben RobertsSmith VC – the Australian became the association’s newest member after fighting off heavily armed insurgents in Afghanistan in 2006. Kim Hughes GC – defused seven improvised explosive devices, three with his bare hands, in Afghanistan. Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry VC – twice saved the lives of countless colleagues while under fire in 2004. Lance Corporal Matt Croucher GC – threw himself on an exploding grenade to save his comrades in Afghanistan in 2008. Jack Bamford GC – rescued brothers from a fire at the age of 15 in 1952. Alfred Lowe GC – Royal Navy, 1948. MIDDLE ROW Bill Speakman VC – fought off enemy fire in the Korean War in 1951 by throwing stones, shoes and beer bottles. Henry Flintoff GC – rescued a farmer from a bull at the age of 13 in 1944. Jim MacDonald – representing the Royal Ulster Constabulary (GC). Awang Anak Raweng GC – Army scout, Malaya 1951. Keith Payne VC – saved the lives of soldiers under his command in Vietnam in 1969. Margaret Purves GC – rescued scout and leader from the sea at the age of 14 in South Wales in 1949. Joseph Zammit Tabona – representing Malta (GC) FRONT ROW Stuart Archer – bomb disposal, South Wales, 1940. Henry Stevens GC – police duty, Kent, 1958. James Beaton – royal protection officer who foiled attempted kidnap of Princess Anne, 1974. Captain Rambahadur Limbu VC – Gurkha, Indonesia 1965. Tony Gledhill GC – police duty, London, 1966. Major Peter Norton GC – supervised a major bomb disposal operation in Iraq in 2005 despite having suffered dreadful injuries

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Maltese Ex -Services Association of Victoria Postal address: C/- 48 York Street, Airport West, Victoria 3042 Date founded: 1956 Association Objectives. The purposes for which the Association was formed are:  to bring together ex-services members,  to celebrate national festivities within the Australian context,  to liaise with similar associations within Australia,  to provide social activities for its members, and  to raise money to make donations for patriotic, charitable or community purposes. Association History The Association was formed in 1956 mainly through the efforts of Major Michael Vella, DSO and Charles Madiona. After a period where it was inactive, it was re-formed in 1978 through the interest of Emmanuel Bugeja, Major Michael Vella and Nicholas Chircop. It became affiliated with the MCCV in 1958, as one of its original founding affiliated associations. Among the current activities organised by the Association are the celebration of special commemorative days, including the ANZAC Day March to the Shrine of Remembrance on April 25, the award of the George Cross to Malta, the formation of a guard of honour at Our Lady of Victories church services, and, from time to time, social functions for its members and their friends. Originally the Association’s membership was restricted to veterans of World War II and any other conflict. However, due to the ageing membership of the Association, it has been opened to anybody mainly of Maltese descent. To join, contact the President Emmanuel Spiteri on 03 9338 3526 or Vice President Frank Bugeja on 03 9337 7258. Membership fee is $10 for an individual and $15 for a couple or family Committee Elections. Elections are held every year in November. The last elections were held in February 2014. Committee Members for 2014/15 President Mr Emmanuel Spiteri Secretary Mr Joseph Sammut Treasurer Mr Joseph Stafrace Members Mr Alfred Asciak, Mr Alfred Gatt, Mr Alfred Farrugia Membership. Originally the Association’s membership was restricted to veterans of World War II and any other conflict. However, due to the ageing membership of the Association, it has been opened to anybody mainly of Maltese descent. To join, contact the President Emmanuel Spiteri on 03 9338 3526. Membership fee is $10 for an individual and $15 for a couple or family. Newsletter. The Association produces a quarterly newsletter which is sent to all members. Events. The Association holds the following annual activities and events:  April (Sunday closest to 15th): The George Cross Commemorative Church Service and wreath laying at George Cross Memorial  25 April: ANZAC Day March  11 November: Remembrance Day Church Service Inhobb naqra dan il-gurnal ghax dejjem ikun mimli b’artikli nteressanti dwar Malta u l’Maltin imxerrda malerbgha t’irjieh tad-dinja. Dan il-gurnal, barra li huwa b’xejn, joqghod il-boghod mill-pulitka u jkollu biss kontribuzzjonijiet ta’ nteress ghal kulhadd u ahbarijiet pozittivi u mexxejja hafna. Dawn il-gurnali kollha jinsabu fuq il-websajt: www.ozmalta.page4.me/ I like to read this Newsletter because it is always full of very interesting articles about Malta and the Maltese around the globe. This Newsletter, which is distributed free of charge and not political, consists only of contributions which interest everyone and very positive news. All the newsletters are on the website: www.ozmalta.page4.me/ J. Camilleri - Malta

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EU plan to help Malta, Italy and Greece manage thousands of migrants to be watered down An emergency European Union plan to help Italy and Greece manage thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean could be vastly watered down. The EU's executive commission wants EU interior ministers meeting next Tuesday to endorse its scheme to share responsibility for taking in 40,000 Syrians and Eritreans arriving in Italy and Greece. The plan would require EU countries to take in set numbers of refugees based on criteria like economic strength, unemployment and efforts already undertaken to host migrants. But diplomats said that about 10 of the 28 EU nations insist the system should be voluntary, not mandatory. Hungary and the Czech Republic oppose the plan outright. Even the states supporting it want to change the terms for sharing the refugees. One EU diplomat said there's clearly not a majority needed to approve the plan. He declined to be named because he is not permitted to speak publicly about the deliberations. Around 100,000 migrants have already arrived in Europe this year, many of whom crossed the Mediterranean Sea to reach Italy and Greece. Some 2,000 are missing and feared dead, and five countries alone are handling about three quarters of those who survived. Given the frequent failure of EU nations to show genuine solidarity with front-line countries Italy, Greece and Malta, the commission had hoped that its plan would force them to share the burden. The plan has become more urgent as migrants often arrive in greater numbers between June and September. "We will defend our proposals to the last word," commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Friday. But one seasoned diplomat suggested that the compromise the ministers could agree to might not be to the commission's liking. "We will have to avoid the word 'voluntary' and the word 'mandatory' and then find a way for everyone to participate," he said. EU leaders will discuss the plan at their summit in Brussels on June 25-26. If no agreement is reached by the next interior ministers' meeting in July, the plan could be put on hold until September. The European Trade Union Confederation, which has long supported the migrantcause amid what it believes is a humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Mediterranean, expressed dismay at the lack of support. "It is outrageous that the proposals ... have now been met with a backlash using arguments that sound irresponsible and often xenophobic," a statement said.

I thank all those readers who sent me positive comments and contributions to this Newsletter of the Maltese Diaspora. Nirringrazzja lil dawk il-qarrejja kollha li jiktbuli u jghiduli kemm jiehdu pjacir jaqraw dan il-fuljett ghall-Maltin ta’ Malta u ta’ barra

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Legends and Myths in Malta Written by Adam on 21 March 2014 The response I received from my last article about Legends & Myths in Malta was so overwhelming I couldn't resist to research for more legends, myths, traditions and stories to share with you. The wealth of spooky tales, urban legends and incredible discoveries on this island is truly breath taking. The evil eye (L-Għajn) Although quite strange the evil eye (L-Għajn) is still accepted as ‘a fact’. It is a belief that a person can place a curse on you just by looking your way. The Maltese believe that making the sign of the Qrun (the bull’s horn) will deflect such evil. A line of salt on the floor behind the front door will also prevent the evil eye from entering the house. Should your house have negative energies, cleansing can be done by burning olive tree leaves at the stroke of midnight on Easter Sunday while saying prayers. Spitting on your fallen hair before throwing it away was another precautionary measure to avoid the curse. (I wouldn't suggest trying this at your preferred salon or hairdressers) Custom Ribbons Whenever there is a marriage or a new baby is born it is custom to hang a coloured ribbon on the handle of your front door. White is for marriage, blue for a baby boy and pink for a baby girl. A very sweet tradition that is unfortunately disappearing as a custom in Malta. The Quċċija On a child’s first birthday several objects are placed in front of the child on the floor. Whichever object the child picks up first is said to represent their future occupation or destiny. Objects include: Rosary Beads / Bible A Religious Person; Pen – Writer; Book / White-board marker – Teacher, Thermometer / Stethoscope – Doctor; Money Business Person; Egg - House full of things / Fertility, Spoon - Chef th

Research shows that the tradition dates back to the 18 century. The objects changed over time in relation to the skills and professions available. It was likely that the objects placed then were for traditional trades like carpenters, shoe makers and stone masons combined with army and religious based objects. In the past girls were presented with a different set of objects to boys, however this has now changed. Parents usually take the liberty to add and remove items as they wish. There is no strict set that must be present and all recognise that this tradition is purely done for fun and does not truly represent the future career of the child. Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum Tradition holds that before the British government sealed up several tunnels, one could walk from one end of Malta to the other underground. One of these labyrinths, known as the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, harboured the bones of over 33,000 people who had been sacrificed by an ancient pagan Neolithic cult. Miss Lois Jessup, while working for the British embassy, convinced a guide to allow her to explore a 3-ft square ‘burial

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chamber’ next to the floor of the lowest room in the last sub-level of the catacombs. Reluctantly he agreed and she crawled through the passage until emerging onto a narrow ledge overlooking a deep chasm. In total shock she saw a procession of giant humanoids covered in white hair walking along another ledge about 50 feet below her on the opposite wall. Sensing her presence the humanoids collectively lifted their palms in her direction and she felt a strong wind began to blow through the cavern and something big, ‘slippery and wet’ moving past her. She fled in terror to the lower room, where the guide waiting on her return just exchanged a ‘knowing’ look with Lois. In August of 1940 the National Geographic reported that a group of 30 school children disappeared without a trace inside the Hypogeum. Lois Jessup returned to the same passage after hearing that 30 school children had disappeared in the same chamber she had explored previously, only to find a new guide who denied any knowledge of the former guide’s employment. Reports however state that after the last child had passed through the burial chamber and onto the ledge, a ‘cave in’ collapsed the chamber and the rope connecting them to the lower chamber was found to be ‘cut clean’. Grieving mothers of several of the children swore that for a week or more following the disappearance they could hear children crying and screaming ‘as if from underground’. I have discovered so much that I can’t fit it all in this week. Next week I will tell you some of the more ghostly stories and sightings seen in Malta. -

THE NEOLITHIC TEMPLES OF MALTA A visit to the Neolithic and megalithic temples is a must for anyone who travels to this beautiful Mediterranean island. Malta and Gozo are home to seven megalithic temples, all of which are designated as world heritage sites by UNESCO. These megalithic temples date back 5500 years ago and are the oldest freestanding stone structures in the world, even older than the Stonehenge and the Pyramids. It is also home to more than thirty otherA visit to Malta Temple is a m temples, all of which reflect Malta’s rich past. Another interesting visit is to the Tarxien Temples which are an archaeological complex in village of Tarxien. They date back to approximately 3150 BC. The site was accepted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. The temples consist of three separate, but attached structures. The main entrance is a reconstruction dating from 1956, when the whole site was restored. At the same time, many of the decorated slabs discovered on site were relocated indoors for protection at the Museum of Archaeology in Valletta. The megalithic complex of Hagar Qim is located atop a hill on the southern edge of the Island, on a ridge capped in soft globigerina limestone. All exposed rock on the island was deposited during the Oligocene and Miocene periods of geological time. 500 metres from Hagar Qim stands the Mnajdra megalithic temple. The surrounding area is typical of Mediterranean garrigue in its starkness and isolation; it is designated as a Heritage park. A few hundred metres from the temple is one of the thirteen watchtowers built by Grand Master Martin de Redin, called Hamrija Tower.

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The Mnajdra temple complex is situated about 4km NW of Qrendi, it is located close to the sea in a little valley below the hill on which the temple of Hagar Qim stands. The Mnajdra site was first excavated in 1840 by C. Lenormant. The remains of three temples have been discovered at the Mnajdra complex, two large buildings with two pairs of apses and a much smaller building with a trefoil layout. The relative chronology of the two main buildings was fairly obvious as the northern temple is built on an artificial platform and the material of this is retained by the outer wall of the southern temple along their boundary, so the southern building must pre-date the northern. The small trefoil temple to the NE of the main northern temple was dated by excavated pottery sherds, only Ggantija phase pottery was found below its torba floor, whilst excavation of both of the large buildings produced later Tarxien phase material, therefore the small temple was judged to be the oldest of the three. The three temples are arranged in a rough semi-circle with their entrances facing into the "forecourt" space they enclose. The structure of the buildings is typical of Maltese temples, in each case there is an inner wall which decides the shape of the internal spaces, this is enclosed by an outer wall which is roughly circular. The Sun's Male-energy is also given an honored place in these temples. During the winter and summer solstices, the first rays of the sun illuminate the corners of two stone pillars in the passageway connecting the main chambers.

Philatelic postage stamp issue in the SEPAC Series Maltapost will be issuing a philatelic set of three stamps illustrating various elements of maltese culture, which include the festa, the regatta and the easter sunday procession. The stamps in this issue portray religious influences on Maltese culture as well as national feasts celebrated during the year. The €0.26 stamp illustrates the feast of St George in Victoria, Gozo, which is celebrated in summer; the €0.59 stamp captures a snapshot of the Regatta boat races held annually on 31st March and 8th September, while the €1.16 portrays the Easter Sunday procession with the statue of the Risen Christ. The €0.59 stamp illustrating the Regatta boat races will bear the official Small European Postal Administration Cooperation (SEPAC) logo and will be included in the SEPAC stamp issue folder. The theme for this year’s SEPAC collection will be “Culture”and participating states will be presenting stamps illustrating various elements of culture from their respective countries. SEPAC members include Aland Post, Faroe Islands Post, Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau, Post Greenland, Guernsey Post, Iceland Post, Isle of Man Post, Jersey Post, Liechtenstein Post Corporation, MaltaPost, Monaco Post, San Marino Post, Luxembourg Post and Vatican Post. Photographer Daniel Cilia captured the celebrations featured on the stamps which were designed by MaltaPost and issued in sheets of 10 stamps. Each stamp measures 44mm x 31mm with a perforation of 13.9 x 14.0 (comb) and bear the Maltese Crosses Watermark and the sheet measures 186mm x 119mm. Printex Limited produced the set in offset and the issue consists of 2,000,000 of the €0.26 stamp, 500,000 of the €0.59 stamp and 72,000 of the €1.16 stamp. This philatelic issue will be available as from Tuesday, the 16th of June 2015 from all Post Offices in Malta and Gozo, online at www.maltaphilately.com or by mail from the Philatelic Bureau, MaltaPost p.l.c. 305, Qormi Road, Marsa, MTP 1001; Telephone: 2596 1740, e-mail: info@maltaphilately.com.

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DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR CONTACTS MALTA HIGH COMMISSION IN AUSTRALIA H.E. Mr Charles Muscat High Commissioner for the Republic of Malta 38 Culgoa Circuit, O’Malley, ACT, 2606. E: maltahighcommission.canberra@gov.mt W: www.foreign.gov.mt/ AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION IN MALTA H.E. Ms Jane Lambert High Commissioner for Australia Ta’ Xbiex Terrace, Ta’ Xbiex, MSD 11, MALTA T: +356 21 33 8201 E: aushicom@onvol.net MALTESE CONSULATES IN AUSTRALIA NEW SOUTH WALES CONSULATE GENERAL – SYDNEY Mr Salvino Giusti Consul-General Suite 10.04, Level 10 31 Market Street, Sydney, NSW 2000 T: (02) 9262 9500 E: maltaconsulate.sydney@gov.mt VICTORIA Mr Victor Grech Consul-General Suite 613, Level 6 343 Little Collins Street Melbourne VIC 3000 T: +61 3 9670 8427 E: maltaconsulate.melbourne@gov.mt HONORARY CONSUL Dr Edwin Borg-Manché Dip. Bus. (Deakin), LL.D (Malta) Honorary Consul Maltese Community Centre 477 Royal Parade Parkville VIC 3052 (By appointment only) T: +61 3 9387 8922 E: maltaconsul.melbourne@gov.mt VICE CONSUL OF MALTA Jurisdiction over the La Trobe Valley Mr Mario A. Sammut Honorary Vice-Consul 16 Evans Street, Morwell VIC 3840 T: +61 3 5134 8963 E: maltavclv@aussiebb.com.au QUEENSLAND HONORARY CONSULS Mr George A Borg Olivier Hon. Consul Brisbane 14 “Coronation Gardens” 37 Paradise Springs Avenue Robina QLD 4226 T: (07) 5562 2627 E: gabo.data2k@internode.on.net Mr Joseph Vella Hon. Consul for Cairns 108 Mulgrave Road Parramatta Park Cairns 4870 T: (07) 4040 4444 (bus.) E: joe@jvib.com.au Ms Carmel Baretta Hon. Consul Mackay “Dawntarna” Mail Service 656 172 Habana Road Mackay QLD 4740 T: (07) 4942 1661 E: cmbarett@easynet.net.au SOUTH AUSTRALIA HONORARY CONSULS Mr Frank Scicluna OAM Hon. Consul Adelaide 12 Camroc Avenue Prospect SA 5082 T: (08) 8269 2948 E: honconsul@live.com.au Mr. John Farrugia Hon. Vice Consul Adelaide. 1 Norman Gibson Court West Lakes SA 5021 T: (08) 8243 1223 (SPD 27) F: (08) 8243 1161 WESTERN AUSTRALIA HONORARY CONSUL Dr. Anthony.V. Sciberras Hon. Consul for Perth Total Health Care 15 Old Perth Road Bassendean WA 6054 T: (08) 9279 1805 (bus.) E: malti@ausdoctors.net MALTESE CONSULATES IN NEW ZEALAND HONORARY CONSULS Ms Patricia Thake Hon. Consul Auckland PO Box 56529 Dominion Road Auckland New Zealand Home: 7/16 Mahara Avenue Birkenhead M: +64 27 2912059 F: 0015 64 9419 0392 E: patriciat@clear.net.nz Dr Carmen Dalli Hon. Consul Wellington. 20 Tanera Crescent Wellington New Zealand Tel: +64 4 970 2509 +64 4 970 2509 M: +64 21 140 9038 Email: malta.honconsul@clear.net.nz

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Maltese Newsletter 85

June 2015

L-Ghammiedi: Commemorates anniversary of St John the Baptist statue A new book has just been published to commemorate the 170th anniversary since the arrival of the statue of St. John the Baptist, in the village of Xewkija, Gozo. The statue was worked by the sculptor Peter Paul Azzopardi. This book – L-Ghammiedi – which was researched and written by Grazio A. Grech, has three main sections. These include historical descriptions, the reproduction of a large number of old photographs and documents. There is a detailed artistic analysis of St John the Baptist, by Paul Cassar, who graduated in art history. In this description Cassar also gives information on the symbols on the statue. And finally a photographic documentation of the feast activities in Xewkija, both internal and external, compiled by photographer Anthony Grech. The book was launched in the Museum of Sculpture, Xewkija Church, by the Minister for Gozo, Dr Anton Refalo, who was also presented with a copy of the book. Present for the launch were the authors and photographer, together with the Xewkija Archpriest Mgr Carmelo Mercieca. WWW.GOZONEWS.COM

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THE VILLAGE FESTA The Maltese village festa is the distilled essence of all that is Mediterranean in one event. These feasts combine colourful lights, band music, noisy and bright fireworks displays, and a crowd of hundreds spilling out of bars onto the noisy streets into one orgy of celebration. It’s an unforgettable experience of food, drink, music and fanfare. Festas are held mainly between the months of May and September, although there are a few exceptions. Every village has at least one patron saint, and this serves as the basis for the village feast. On the appointed time of the year, that village will festoon the streets with statues and banners dedicated to the saint, and throughout the entire week, locals and tourists turn up in droves to enjoy the festivities. Food stalls line the streets serving everything from hot dogs to traditional fare. Try some mqaret - deep fried date cakes.

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Maltese Newsletter 85

June 2015

These are sinfully delicious and a bag full will set you back less than 2 Euros. Another artisanal treat is nougat. You’ll find many selling this favourite treat known as qubbajt in Maltese. Sellers normally have dark wooden stalls with antique weighing scales to serve the sugary treat. Band marches are an integral part of the celebration. The local band performs festa favourites, many of which will be composed by local maestros. As they march through the streets and towards the church, the crowds often follow behind. The ceremonial highlight of any festa is the carrying of the statue. Festa devotees bid for the privilege of hoisting the statue out of the church and onto a prominent place in the village square. This is usually accompanied by a roaring crowd cheering them on. If the carrying of the statue is a ceremonial highlight, the crowdpleasing favourite has to be the fireworks displays. Malta is well known for its pyrotechnic ability, and nowhere is this better showcased than the village feast. The shows normally involve murtali, which are petards that make an exceptionally loud bang when airborne, colourful fireworks that light up the nights providing visitors with a most memorable experience.

The NEW BOOK MALTA – THE NURSE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN WILL BE LAUNCHED IN MELBOURNE NEXT MONTH. MORE DETAILS WILL BE GIVEN IN THE NEXT NEWSLETTER – SO DO NOT MISS IT

LEARN MALTESE IN MELBOURNE, VICTORIA For Travel, Pleasure or Work Join us and embrace our beautiful culture and language Classes open to both adults and adult-accompanied children Registration for Maltese Language Classes is now open. The Maltese Language classes, sponsored by the MCCV at the Maltese Community Centre in Parkville are available on Thursday nights. Students pay a nominal enrolment fee. Families pay a heavily discounted fee. Ms Edwidge Borg, a past President of the MCCV coordinates the Maltese language classes in Parkville. Other teachers include Ms Laura Schembri and Mrs S Sciberras. Classes provided at three levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Conversation Classes. All tutors are qualified LOTE Victorian teachers and attend regular professional development training in Victoria and interstate. The MCCV Education Committee overseeing the classes is composed of qualified LOTE tutors, class coordinators as well as an independent advisor Mrs Frances Bonnici. The Co-ordinator of the Maltese Language classes, Ms Edwidge Borg, is also the delegate to the Federation of Maltese Language Schools Inc. (FMLS) and President of the FMLS. She has attended various meetings with interstate Maltese Language schools teachers in Australia to organise and attend professional development for Maltese Language teachers in Australia as well as visited Maltese Language Classes for foreigners in Malta.

MCCV Maltese Language Classes 2015 Beginners(B1) Class:

6.00 PM – 7.00 PM

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Maltese Newsletter 85 Intermediate (B2) Class:

June 2015

6.00 PM – 7.00 PM

Conversation (C1) Class: 6.00 PM – 7.00 PM WHEN: Semester 1 – Thursdays from 5 February 2015 to 11 June 2015 at 6.00 pm Semester 2 – Thursdays from 16 July 2015 to 26 November 2015 at 6.00 pm WHERE: Maltese Community Centre, 477 Royal Parade, Parkville Courses are intended to provide participants with a basic knowledge of reading, writing and speaking Maltese. Courses run for one semester. Please click here to download and fill in the registration form and email/fax or post to “Att: Maltese Language Classes” at the address stated in the form by Jan 15th for Semester 1 and July 15th for Semester 2. Lessons coincide with school terms. A token fee of $80 per semester covers some expenses. The tutor will advise student of other resources that are appropriate. The classes run for one hour extended to 0.5 for student queries. Students receive guided self-learning activities equivalent to 1 hour. The total Unit context hours are 2.5 hours per week. Adults wishing to learn Maltese and require further information should contact the Maltese Community Centre during business hours 9387 8922 and leave a contact phone number or email: admin@mccv.org.au. Children accompanied by adult can attend these classes.

Victorian School of Languages The Victorian School of Languages also provides Maltese Language Classes. Currently classes are available on Saturday mornings between 9.00 and 12.30 at Taylors Lakes Secondary College. Expansion of classes in other metropolitan areas will occur if a viable number of students enrol. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RABBITS, RABBITS... AND MORE RABBITS Rabbit meat is considered "healthy" because it is very lean and contains little saturated fat, unlike red meat. In Maltese, fenek is not just a common surname, though differently spelt. It also means rabbit, and has given its name to fenkata, which is a feast of cooked rabbit. In the past, a popular local remedy for fever was to cut open a live rabbit and more popular , but they do remain a much used source of food, and many consider rabbit to be the national dish. Its popularity stemmed from its being a cheap source of meat. When wild rabbits were hunted down, using dogs which gave their name in Malta to be a breed known as the Pharoah Hound (kelb tal-fenek literally means 'dog of the rabbit'), they cost nothing but time and effort. Even now, breeding them for the cooking-pot requires little space and cost. Many Maltese families keep rabbits for their own consumption, in rooftop hutches or in a backyard, sometimes selling the surplus to friends and neighbours. The rabbit's famed ability to procreate rapidly and prolifically means that there have catastrophic results and eventually prove impossible.

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Those who cannot bear the process of killing and skinning buy their rabbit in sanitised form at the butcher's, ready portioned for cooking. But going out to eat rabbit has become an entertainment in itself. There is a number of village bars and small restaurants which specialise in preparing fenkati for large parties of merrymakers. These, for some unexplainable reason, are mainly concentrated in the northern part of Malta, around Rabat, Mgarr, Mellieha, Bahrija, Salina, and Bidnija. Because these places are often no more than village bars with a few tables, both the rabbit and the tables have to be booked in advance. Some do offer alternatives on the menu, for those who feel uneasy at the thought of consuming Peter Rabbit, Cottontail, and Bugs Bunny, but these are usually non-vegetarian, like steak. Even the pasta comes with rabbit sauce. Rabbit-bars are very popular venues for stag nights, probably because the highly informal atmosphere is conducive to rowdy behaviour. If a quiet evening is what you're after, you might prefer to check beforehand whether your booking coincides with that of the bestman at the wedding. Most bar owners have tales to tell of stag nights which turned into food-throwing matches, and ended with the bridegroom being subjected to some form of ritual humiliation. It is not uncommon to see a naked man, usually a little worse for drink, running around in the vicinity of a Maltese bar which serves rabbit. Malta still has a few wild rabbits, which are small and grey. Hunting them requires a special licence and much time, so the rabbit served in restaurants is usually farm-reared. Wild rabbits have a strong, gamey taste which many find to be less palatable than that of domestic rabbits, whose flesh is milder and paler. Rabbit meat is considered 'healthy', because it is very lean and contains little saturated fat, unlike red meat. Those who have to watch their cholesterol intake need not worry. The prices are low: spaghetti with bolognese or rabbit sauce for 50 cents, and a whole rabbit, fried in garlic or stewed in sauce (which serves three with normal appetites or four frugal eaters) for Lm8. Steak or fish is served at around Lm3. Gbejniet (cheese made from goat's milk), Maltese sausage, home-made wine, and fruit and nuts, are included in the price. Charlie believes in value for money. "After all, he says, "we would only be affecting our own popularity if we were to cheat our customers". The Selmun Bar, near the Maritim Selmun Palace Hotel, has a wider menu which includes fillet, freshlycaught fish, lamb chops, bragoli (a Maltese meat dish), octopus, and sometimes even horsemeat, which is an acquired taste but sought after by some. The main speciality is rabbit, fried in garlic and served with potato chips and cooked vegetables. A sauce is offered separately. The fixed price of Lm4.30 per head also includes spaghetti with rabbit sauce, nuts and fruit, and a glass of local wine. The bar's proximity to a popular hotel has made it quite a watering-hole for visitors. It featured in a Dutch travel program, and the young couple who own the place proudly display photographic evidence of this on the walls. Those who go there would do well to avoid food for some hours be- ittle forehand, because the owners do not believe in the accepted fenkata policy of one rabbit for three people. "It all depends on the size of the rabbit," they say. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~

SIGNIFICANT AND POWER DATES AND ACTIVATION PHASES OF 2015: Key Focal Dates: March 20th: Spring Equinox; June 21st: Summer Solstice; September 23rd: Autumn Equinox; December 21st: Winter Solstice. Eclipses during the year: March 20th: Total Solar eclipse; April 4th: Total lunar eclipse; September 13th: Partial solar eclipse; September 28th: Total lunar eclipse. 2015 is the time release all the dormant layers, for we are all, entering the gateway of creativity and the gateway of exploration and expansion. We have indeed entered a New Age, an age of Aquarius, an age of fluidity and manifestation, and an era of abundant, joyful and refined existence. You are that which you wish to experience in the year of 'Coming True.' 2015 is the age of collective consciousness, collaboration with others and Team Work. In Chinese calendar, 2015 is the Year of The Sheep - when energy shifts away from the individual and more into community endeavors. Sheep is the artist of life and is known for grace, refuge, beauty and richness of Life. www.ozmalta.page4.me/

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Maltese Newsletter 85

June 2015

THE PARISH CHURCH OF MUNXAR GOZO - MALTA The need of a church in the midst of the ever-increasing population of Munxar was felt since the mid-nineteenth century but the ball was only set rolling in 1913. Dun Mikelang Spiteri, a priest from Rabat, decided to promote the wish of the Munxarin. He got the bishop’s permission to undertake the venture. Wenzu, Guzepp, and Marija Cassar, two brothers and their sister, donated a pieceof land upon which the church was to be built. On 2 February 1914, Wigi Vella started laying the foundations of the church on a plan by architect Guzeppi Refalo. Faced by a number of obstacles, Dun Mikelang gave up his leadership and his place was taken by Dun Spir Gauci, another priest from Victoria. The foundation stone was laid on 22 March 1916 and on 25 January 1917, part of the building began to be used for liturgical functions. The dome was crowned with the cross on 21 February 1921. The church was dedicated to Saint Paul’s Shipwreck and consecrated on 18 October 1925. Il-Munxar was dismembered from the parish of Ta’ Sannat and established as an autonomous parish on 12 December 1957. The main altarpiece is the work of Maltese artist Robert Caruana-Dingli (1882-1940). It depicts the shipwreck of Saint Paul on Malta while journeying to Rome in year AD 60. The papier-mâché titular statue is by the well-known Gozitan statuary, Wistin Camilleri (1885-1979). It was blessed on 31 January 1933. Saint Paul is represented immediately after his shipwreck on the island, his eyes seemingly piercing the hearts of the Maltese, who hurried to help the ill-fated passengers. The statue was first taken out in a procession on 10 February 1951.

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Maltese Newsletter 85

June 2015

Doris Meliaq loves her garden Greystanes gardener Doris Meilak is a judge in the Holroyd Garden Awards after she first entered more than 20 years ago. Some of her top tips include: ‘‘water underneath, not overhead’’ and ‘‘grow annuals, always.’’ Picture: Gene Ramirez. Grandmother of two Doris Meilak is probably the greenest thumb in Greystanes, NSW. With the return of spring, the eight-time grand champion of the Holroyd Garden Awards, and now a judge, is reminding fellow horticulturally-inclined Holroyd residents to get their hands dirty for the annual competition. You’re doing the garden not just for you, but for other people to look at and admire, for the community to enjoy. - Doris Meilak, a Greystanes gardener ‘‘You’re doing the garden not just for you, but for other people to look at and admire, for the community to enjoy,’’ Mrs Meilak said. The regular guest garden expert on the Maltese Program on SBS Radio said now was the time to get your garden ready for the contest, and her top tip is to pay close attention to your front garden in particular. ‘‘Make it look pretty, give it a really good clean up,’’ she said. ‘‘Preparation is always the key. If you do a little bit every other day, it will not be like work.’’ Asked about her favourite aspects of gardening, the grandmother of two said it was both the sense of relaxation gained for the gardener and the increased sense of community when people stop to compliment the fruits of your labour. ‘‘You forget the world exists, it’s the best therapy,’’ she said. ‘‘And it’s nice for people to look at and admire. A person can actually stop and say hello when you’re in the front garden.’’ She said another highlight is when her two grand daughters ‘‘run wild’’ in her garden and pick broad beans to eat, ‘‘straight from the bush’’. ‘‘They love the garden,’’ she said. ‘‘When they come to visit, they just grab little containers and go around and pick what they’d like to eat or smell. ‘‘There is nothing wrong with children getting their hands a bit dirty in the soil, it’s all part of growing up.’’ www.ozmalta.page4.me/

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Maltese Newsletter 85

June 2015

BREAD ANDF BAKERS Bread plays a fundamental role in Maltese historical consciousness, forming an integral part of Maltese cultural tradition. Despite changing eating habits and a drop in the local consumption of bread, the Maltese still consider themselves to be mainly ‘bread eaters’ – very similar to the people of eighteenth-century Malta. This intriguing lecture by Dr Noel Buttigieg will explore how, in the eighteenth century, managing bread and bakers was more than just a political and economic exercise. The process of control was shrouded in a symbolic system and its importance went far beyond food and nutritional values, reaching out into socio-cultural experiences in its symbolic significance. Through an exploration of the criminal records of the Knight’s Magna Curia Castellania [civil court of justice] the audience will discover the intrigues associated with the distribution, processing and consumption of grain and bread supplies in the harbour area. This promises to bring to light important historical information on Malta’s early modern bread culture.

THE BREAKWATER BRIDGE VALLETTA MALTA This is the new breakwater bridge. The first one was destroyed during an attack by Italian E-boats in July 1941. The Eboats did not manage to enter the harbour – the guns stationed at Fort St Elmo and Fort Ricasoli (situated at either end of the harbour) made sure of this. During the attack, the bridge suffered considerable damage and was deemed unsafe. In October 2011 this new bridge, constructed in Spain, replaced the former structure. As yet, it is not accessible to the public. On a beautiful morning in mid-March we walked the winding part beneath Fort St Elmo in an attempt to get to the bridge. However we found the last part of the path to be blocked. It did not matter – we made plenty of other interesting discoveries on the way. Beautiful scenery,rusty gun posts, the blue sea, wild flowers, fossils … it would have been perfect were it not for the crumbling fort above our heads. It makes me sigh, and hope, that one day, Fort St Elmo will be restored to its former glory. Its glorious past deserves nothing less.

Early morning bliss near Valletta's iconic breakwater bridge. A big thanks to Keith Buhagiar photography for this excellent picture

If you enjoyed reading this Newsletter pass it on to your relatives and friends SAHHA – BARKA U SLIEM www.ozmalta.page4.me/

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