42 kilometres north-west of Sydney
In the beginning was George Johnston (12764-1823), who was granted land whereon he built a house, and he named his house Annandale after the place of his birth, Annan, in Scotland, and he saw that it was good. The people of the village also saw that it was good and they named their suburb after his house, Annandale. Then George begat Robert (1792-1882) who begat Edward Charles (1850- 1913) who also acquired land, which he named Annangrove after the house of his grandfather. And he too saw that it was good.
And it came to pass in the year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Three that in this community of devout and pious members of the Christian faith, members of a different faith, Islam, wished to establish a centre where they could offer up prayers to Allah. There was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth in the land that was known as Annangrove with some predicting it would be the End of Civilisation As We Know It, but the application was granted by the Elders of the community and in the year 2004 the Imam Hasan Centre was opened. And it came to pass that the predicted dire consequences did not came to pass, the Elder Phillip Ruddock saying in the House of the Elders in 2011, as written in Hansard:
More recently, I had the opportunity to attend another function. This time, it was in the electorate of Mitchell but organised by a constituent of mine. The constituent, Mr Abbas Aly, is a significant businessman in the Norwest Business Park, running a firm called Triforce. He was the inspiration for holding this function, which, along with Hornsby Shire Council, which became the recipient of the funds, served to ensure that the victims of floods in Queensland would benefit. This function was supported by the community of the Imam Hasan Centre at Annangrove, who, having previously supported the Pakistan flood appeal, thought they should do more for those in our own community. One hundred per cent of the funds, over $52,000, went to the Queensland flood appeal via the Hornsby Mayor’s Flood Appeal, which was a very significant occasion.
The Imam Hasan Centre in Annangrove, a suburb in my electorate, was established only fairly recently, on 16 October 2004, coinciding with the first night of Ramadan. Even though it had a fairly rocky initial path, the comments I have received suggest that it has settled well into our community. It participates in the broader community and holds regular interfaith meetings with other religious organisations. The centre was named after the first grandson of the Holy Prophet, the Prophet Muhammad. Imam Hasan was an advocate for peace, and it is said that an example of his character can be seen in his saying:
The most preferable adornment is graceful manners and height of intelligence is associating with people amicably.
The community in my electorate represents the religious diversity of Australia, something of which one can be very proud. In our community there are people of many different religions, cultures and races, who come together and support each other in a very positive way. I commend Abbas Aly and the community of the Imam Hasan mosque for their support for the people of Queensland in the horrific floods that they experienced. I am sure that, as many more people see examples of this sort of commitment to our broader community, it will make it much easier for us to be a harmonious society. In the context of Harmony Day, which we celebrated this week, I am pleased to have been able to bring these matters to the attention of the House.
Editor’s note: compare this with the racism at Camden when it was sought to establish an Islamic school
Imam Hasan Centre
42 kilometres north-west of Sydney.
Arcadia is a region in Greece that dates back to antiquity. It has given its name to a mythical idealised, utopian area of unspoiled wilderness where the people are virtous, living close to nature and unspoiled by civilisation. The name Arcadia has also come to mean “a pastoral retreat” as a flow-on from the foregoing.
The Sydney suburb Arcadia came into being in 1817 as one of a number of timber cutters’ settlements in the area. These early settlements were originally known as Upper, Middle, Lower, North and Little Dural. The name Arcadia was given to a public school that opened in this area in 1894 and was later adopted for the suburb. The school still functions.
Although some orchids and farms, nurseries and cut flower farms remain, the area is today one of residences, trees and hills, a pastoral retreat as the name suggests.
A website on the history of Arcadia the suburb and Arcadia Public School was created in 2014 as part of the Arcadia Public School 120th celebrations:
Official school photo 1897
Phillip Ruddock at Arcadia Public School