Kine em: We, the Kurds

A Kurdish community elder making dow
A community elder demonstrates techniques for making dow, a traditional yoghurt drink, 1993.
Source: KAV Archives

Kurdish people in Australia trace their origins back to an ancient culture that flourished more than 10,000 years ago in Kurdistan, a wide arc of mountains and plateaus in the northern regions of the Middle East. Many waves of invasion, occupation and displacement have built upon the original culture, but echoes of it can still be found in the traditions and practices of Kurdish people today.

At the conclusion of World War I, the Allied powers and Turkey divided Kurdistan among Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. We Kurds have never accepted the partition of our traditional land, and ever since there has been much conflict and violence.

Australia’s first Kurdish migrants arrived in the 1960s and were mostly from Turkey. In the 1980s and 1990s, Kurdish refugees arrived to escape the Iran–Iraq War and the Gulf War. In recent years, Kurdish migrants have also come as refugees from countries such as Armenia and Georgia, to which they had initially fled. The largest communities are in Sydney and Melbourne, and in 2006 around 2000 Victorians claimed Kurdish ancestry. However, those of us within the Kurdish community believe this number is much higher.

As Kurd-Australians we are free to celebrate our ancient culture in a new home, and we enjoy the peace and harmony that we have found in Australia.

Image Gallery

Fidan Sengul demonstrates breadmaking techniques Murat and Ilknur The Kurdish Association of Victoria dance group The cultural tent of the Kurdistan Women’s League of Australia Young Kurds dancing A Kurdish children’s dance team