“Dharma” means the action of service, and “Nusantara” means unity in diversity. Dharma Nusantara is an independent cultural group involved in traditional Indonesian art and cultural education established through the request and encouragement of the Cultural & Education Section of the Indonesian Consulate General Offices in Melbourne & Darwin for the purpose of education and development. We seek to promote communication, understanding and unity between Indonesian and other Australian cultures. All the proceeds of our classes and performances goes specifically to sponsor orphans and disadvantaged children in Indonesia, Africa and Sri Lanka.

Origins


Dharma Nusantara-Australia was established in August 1996 by Mr. Wijaya Kusumah (Ron Takdare) in Melbourne-Victoria following the request of the Indonesian Embassy through the Melbourne Indonesian Consul General Mr. Wahid Supriyadi. In 1997, following an agreement between the Indonesian and Australian governments to focus on rebuilding the relationship between both countries through "people to people relationships" (ie, via education, culture and tourism) Dharma Nusantara was asked to actively promote this objective through its Indonesian cultural educational workshops for schools and other educational institutions in Victoria.

Eight years later, in August 2005, Dharma Nusantara-Australia was also established at the Indonesian Consulate in Darwin, led by Mr Vaughn Allit, an NT police officer living in Darwin, under the guidance and supervision of Bapak Buchari Bakar (Consul General) and accompanied by Cak Ahmad & Mas Faidi.

Dharma Nusantara helps to promote Indonesian cultural activities held by the Consulate General Offices, which are aimed at both the Indonesian and Australian communities in Australia especially Victoria & Northern Territory.

Relationship-Building


Since the beginning Dharma Nusantara has been focussing on the education sector by helping to facilitate and coordinate close working relationships between the Indonesian Consulate and teachers of Indonesian/Asian Studies & also introducing Indonesian Cultural Workshops for Australian schools and educational institutions. In 2006 Dharma Nusantara-Australia played an important role in the 1st ever joint educational project between the Northern Territory Dept of Education and the Indonesian Consulate-Darwin.

One of the functions of the Indonesian Consulate is to report back to Indonesia on the changing attitude of Australians towards Indonesians. The Indonesian Consulate is keen to dismiss the stereotypical view, which some Indonesians still hold, that Australia is a predominantly mono-cultural (and white) country and that Australians are largely un-Asian-friendly. Dharma Nusantara's activities go a long way to help promote Indonesian culture, and therefore the Indonesian Consulate of Victoria and recently Darwin is very interested in receiving positive written feedback as well as any publicity, either from regional newspapers or school newsletters, regarding Dharma Nusantara’s Indonesian cultural activities in Australian schools and educational institutions.

At the same time, our performances, mainly by our Australian brothers and sisters, help to change the stereotypical view of Australian to the Indonesian/Asian communities, especially with regards to the open-mindedness of Australians. Some of the Australian community festivals where Dharma Nusantara performed are:

a) Moomba Festivals - Melbourne

b) Yearly Indonesian Festival - Melbourne

c) Australia Multi-cultural Festival - Canberra

d) Pako Festival - Geelong, Victoria

e) Darwin Festival - Northern Territory

f) And other communities'/organisations' cultural festivals both in Victoria & NT.

The Teachers


Vaughn Alitt (Darwin-Northern Territory)
Tel: +61 438 641 575

Mas Ronnie (Melbourne-Victoria)
Tel: +61 412 164 276

Donald McCulloch (Melbourne-Victoria)
Tel: +61 459 037 039

Aidyl Tengku (Melbourne-Victoria)
Tel: +61 466 064 904

Charles Staa (Melbourne-Victoria)
Tel: +61 413 423 993

Marty Roberts (Melbourne-Victoria)
Tel: +61 400 568 666

All the teachers of Dharma Nusantara played an important part in setting up the Dharma Nusantara education project; They were also involved in all the activities including:

  • The implementation of "The Introduction of Asian Circular Thinking based on art and ritual in comparison to The Western Linear Thinking based on science and technology" as educational programs for Australian schools, universities, and educational institutions, using the example found in the traditional art of Pencak Silat.
  • The implementation of "The Indonesian cultural studies programs for schools and educational institutions" in Australia in cooperation with the Indonesian consulate/embassy, state schools, catholic schools, and association independent schools (based on the comparison between the Asian circular thinking and Western/European linear thinking).
  • The implementation of training program to help youth in difficulties.
  • The implementation of joint educational project between Northern Territory Dept of education and Indonesian consulate Darwin.
  • The organization for the Dharma Nusantara performances in Australian cultural events such as Moomba-Melbourne, Pako Festival-Geelong, Darwin Festival, etc.