Wollongong Dharma Collective

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His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama

The Wollongong Dharma Collective was formed at the beginning of 2005 to assist with the promotion of issues and cultural events pertaining to Tibet and the practice of Tibetan Buddhism in Australia. It engaged in a number of activities during 2005-7, and individual members continue to support His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Free Tibet movement. The driving force behind the formation of the Wollongong Dharma Collection was Ms. Ariane Lewis (1980-2007). The ongoing work of the Collective and this archived collection is dedicated to her memory. Ariane was a deeply spiritual individual who devoted much of her life to promotion of the Dharma and social justice issues, especially in her home town of Wollongong.

Ariane Lewis 1980-2007

The 2006 Australian Year of Tibet was celebrated in Wollongong during February with the staging of the two-week long Tibetfest06. It was organised by the Wollongong Dharma Collective and presented a number of events, including the creation of a sand mandala by monks from the Namgyal Monastery, India; an exhibition of artworks by Tibetan-Australian artist Karma Phunstok at Project Contemporary Art Space, Wollongong; the Seven Paths to Tibet photograph exhibition at The Old Courthouse in Belmore Basin;  music and dance performance by Tenzin Choegyal and the Namygal Monks; a public teaching by Professor Samdhong Rinpoche; and meditations.

Tibetfest06 was a great success in raising awareness of political, cultural and spiritual issues concerning Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism. The event was recorded on video by Kathy Cox. Her work is presented here:

Official opening Tibetfest 2006, Project Contemporary Art Space, Wollongong - part 1. 16 February 2006. Duration: 26.43.

Official opening Tibetfest 2006, Project Contemporary Art Space, Wollongong - part 2. 16 February 2006. Duration: 4.13.

Talk by Professor Samdong Rinpoche, Old Court House, Wollongong Harbour, plus the creation of the Sand Mandala at Wollongong City Gallery. 19 February 2006. Duration: 35.33.

Karma Phuntsok art exhibition and interview, Project Contemporary Art Space, Wollongong, 20  February 2006. Duration: 26.45.

Performance by Tenzin Choegyal and the Namgyal Monks, Project Contemporary Art Space, Wollongong - part 1. 25 February 2006. Duration: 26.24.

Performance by Tenzin Choegyal and the Namgyal Monks, Project Contemporary Art Space, Wollongong - part 2. 25 February 2006. Duration 10.58.

Sand Mandala Dissolution ceremony, Wollongong City Gallery + Wollongong Beach - part 1. 26 February 2006. Duration 21.13.

Sand Mandala Dissolution ceremony, Wollongong City Gallery + Wollongong Beach - part 2. 26 February 2006. Duration 15.36.

One of the most positive outcomes of Tibetfest06 was the inspiration and practical assistance it provided Smith's Hill High School, Wollongong, in their staging of the 'Tibet - the Roof of the World' Rock Eisteddfod performance during July-September 2006. The 8 minute long music and dance performance, involving more that 100 students, was presented at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre before a crowd of some 5,000 people and also at the Sydney Entertainment Centre before an audience of 9,000+. 

Smith's Hill High School rock eisteddfod performance, Sydney - Tibet: The Roof of the World - 2006. Wollongong Entertainment Centre performance. Duration 7.50.

During October the school was announced as 2nd place winners in the national competition - a wonderful result for this brave and moving performance.

Smith's Hill High School rock eisteddfod performance, Sydney - Tibet: The Roof of the World - 2006. Sydney Entertainment Centre performance. Duration 12.58.

During a visit to Australia the following year, His Holiness the Dalai Lama asked to meet with the students who took part in the performance, and their teachers. They made the trek to Sydney in full dress costume and had a meeting with His Holiness at his Sydney hotel. It was a truly moving experience.

Smith's Hill High School students audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Sydney, 2007. Duration: 23.33.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the ongoing campaign to Free Tibet and join the Wollongong Dharma Collective, we are interested in hearing from you. For further information please contact Michael Organ email: morgan@uow.edu.au or mobile 0468 548 709.


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Page last updated: 23 August 2017.