BRMC is a not-for-profit (NFP) organisation, formed and driven by culturally and linguistically diverse community members. The creation of the BRMC was also enabled through a consultation organised by the City of Ballarat in 1999, which determined the need to provide a voice and range of culturally sensitive services and support for migrant communities throughout the Central Highlands Region.
In early 1999, a Steering Committee of 10 people was formed. BRMC constitution was drafted and the association was incorporated in December 1999.
Today, BRMC headquarters is located at the Ballarat Welcome Centre, 25-39 Barkly St, Ballarat VIC 3350.
BRMC Original Steering Committee
Dr Sundram Sivamalai
Ron Males – German-Austrian Assoc. Member
Felicity Stehlik – German-Austrian Assoc. Member
Joe Pavlovic – Commissioner, VMC
John Pandazopoulos – Commissioner, VMC
Chairpersons of BRMC
1999 – 2002 – Dr Sundram Sivamalai
2002 – 2005 – Sulaika Dhanapala
2005 – 2007 – George Fong
2007 – 2009 – Frank Williams
2009 – 2010 – Talia Barrett
2010 – 2012 – Frank Williams
2012 – 2014 – Dr Sundram Sivamalai
2014 – 2016 – Fr Constantine Osuchukwu
2016 – 2020 – Chez Dichiera
2020 – present – Joy Sawiche
BRMC Developments – Timeline
1999 – Steering Committee appointed
2000 – BRMC Incorporated
2001 – BRMC’s first office opens in Norman Street, Wendouree
2001 – Early 2001, BRMC’s first paid worker employed, HACC program
2001 – Late 2001, Mentor Coordinator Litsa Chung appointed, 10 hours per week
2001 – Late 2001 Talia Barrett appointed as English Language Tutor/Coordinator, 5 hours per week
2002 – Evie Dichiera, Cultural Officer appointed
2002 – Migration Law Outreach Program began
2003 – Award for Excellence in Multicultural Affairs/Service Delivery from the Victorian Multicultural Commission
2004 – July, BRMC relocated to 504 Mair Street
2004 – Telelink Program began
2004 – BRMC’s first Coordinator appointed (8 hours per week)
2006 – Mentor Coordinator Program became funded full time and became the SGP Program.
2006 – IHSS Program Coordinator appointed.
2008 – December, BRMC’s office at GPLACE at 102 English Street, Golden Point opens and appointment of Shigekazu Yamawaki as Chief Executive Officer
2009 – October, Talia Barret elected as Chairperson
2010 – October, Frank Williams elected as Chairperson
2012 – Dr Jeff Langdon as Executive Officer
2012 – Ann Foley hired as Executive Officer
2016 – Relocation to Ballarat Welcome Centre
2018 – BRMC office and Ballarat Welcome Centre relocation from 145 Victoria Street to 25-39 Barkly Street at Barkly Square
2020 – Joy Sawiche elected as Chairperson
Sacred Heart Convent – Sacred Heart College
Ballarat Welcome Centre 2017-2018
1872 The Ballarat Congregation had their Australian beginnings in the Victorian part of Warrnambool. Mother Agnes Graham and seven Sisters came from Ballyjainesduff in County Cavan, Ireland to make a foundation at Warrnambool.
1881 Many women joined the small band, and Mother Agnes and some companions left Warrnambool to establish a foundation at Ballarat East.
Soon after their arrival in Ballarat the Sisters began instructing the girls of St. Alipius School with the intention of establishing a select school for those who were able to afford school fees so that the Sisters could finance the education of the poor. Visitation of the poor in their homes as well as the sick and the dying in the hospital, benevolent asylum and goal made the Sisters very busy women.
The Sisters developed their Sacred Heart College for girls with an emphasis on music, languages. Although the schools prospered, poverty was undoubtedly the lot of the nuns whose apostolate was immense, but it seems their faith was greater than their poverty.
On January 1881, five Sisters of Mercy came to Ballarat East. The Sisters of this community were Mother M. Agnes Graham, her sister Sister M. Philomene Graham, Sister M. Joseph Howard, Sister M. Xavier Flood and Sister M, Brigid Cousins.
They took up residence in a cottage on the corner of King and Victoria Streets. Thus was the beginning of what would become Sacred Heart Convent of Mercy and the birth of the Congregation of Sisters of Mercy Ballarat East.
1884 Sister Mary Agnes Graham was appointed first Superioress on 5 July.
1887 The Ballarat East community numbered sixteen.
1890 Sister M. Xavier Flood was appointed Superioress of Ballarat East.
1891 Mother Mary Alacoque Connell – Born in Ireland, she entered the Convent of Mercy at Ballarat East in 1891. She was Mother-General of the congregation and principal of the school for many years. Connell House was named for her.
1898 Bishop Moore’s will – £300 was left to the Sisters of Mercy, Ballarat East. The property at Victoria Street, Ballarat East used for a girls school by the Sisters of Mercy, he left in trust to his successor and the superioress of the convent for the purposes of the school.
1906 Primary students were moved to St Francis Xavier College
1908 Eileen Mary Healey (1888 – 1966), best known as Mother Bonaventure. Eileen entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy, Ballarat East, where she was professed three years later as Sister Bonaventure. From 1952 to 1966 she was the principal of Sacred Heart College. She became Mother-General in 1956 and a member of the Australian College of Education in 1963. She was a foundation member of the Australian Federation of the Sisters of Mercy. Healy House named for her.
1960 Miss Alice Fanning bequeathed property in Mt Clear to the Sisters of Mercy.
1967 The land in Mt Clear was developed for a senior school for the girls, named St Martin’s in the Pines.
1968 The Year 11 and 12 students of Sacred Heart College moved to the campus at Mt Clear, which became co-educational in 1988.
1976 Former Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks was a Secondary Commerce teacher at the school.
2012 A Daylesford company commenced running ghost tours at the College and convent.
2017 The Ballarat Welcome Centre was established at the site. Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council became the first tenants at the Ballarat Welcome Centre.
Annual & Financial Reports
BRMC is an incorporated body under the Victorian Government Incorporations Act.
- Victorian Multicultural Commission
Information and Articles
Forthcoming Programs and Services
- Good Governance Program
- Barkly Square Training and Employment Pathways Partners
BRMC Statements and Standards
Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council respectfully acknowledges the Wadawurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung people, their elders and community leaders, past, present and emerging
– traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.
BRMC actively promotes intercultural and interfaith harmony. We help build inclusive and diverse communities and economies.
We work with members and partners to strengthen diversity and social cohesion in regional Victoria.