Monday, 31 March 2014


Typical Redlands park area. Refugees play soccer.. Redlands4Refugees
Asylum seekers play soccer under the
 Moreton Bay figs at the Wellington Point reserve.
Article by David Busch
for the Bayside Bulletin

More than 50 asylum seekers living in Brisbane and Logan have enjoyed recreation and hospitality at Wellington Point in the past two months, thanks to a group of Redland citizens.

The Redlands for Refugees group, formed last October at Trinity Uniting Church, Wellington Point, comprises about 30 locals keen to offer friendship and support to community-based asylum seekers.

With no refugee or asylum seeker services in Redland City, the group linked up with the Romero Centre, an asylum-seeker support agency in Dutton Park run by the Sisters of Mercy.

“One thing we felt we could offer was hospitality and recreation, where asylum seekers could come and enjoy the beauty and lifestyle of the Redlands in a friendly, supportive environment,” group member, Lyn Moore, said.

“This would not only give asylum seekers a rare opportunity to enjoy a day in a part of the Brisbane area they wouldn’t usually be able to come to, but it also enabled people in the Redlands to meet asylum seekers, hear their stories, and begin to discern what other help we could offer.”
Redlands4Refugees members with refugees.
Asylum seekers from Brisbane and Logan enjoy 
swimming at Wellington Point with their 
local hosts in red shirts.
The Romero Centre embraced the proposal, and two days have been held – on January 24 and March 21 – at the Wellington Point reserve, involving asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Sri Lanka.

“We provide bus transport to and from the Romero Centre, and we’ve had wonderful times of fishing, swimming, walking to King Island, playing cricket and soccer, and sharing food and conversation,” Lyn said.

The coordinator, Uniting Church pastor David Busch, said the group was non-political but believed that people seeking asylum should be treated with dignity, care and support.

“Many people in the community are concerned at Australia’s policies and practices with regards to asylum seekers,” he said. “The human dimension is often overlooked in the political slogans and strategies.

“Redlands for Refugees seeks to offer a practical, compassionate and local response that makes a difference to the lives of people who are experiencing such hardship.”

Rebecca Lim, community engagement coordinator with the Romero Centre, said feedback from the asylum seekers had been overwhelmingly positive. The Centre looked forward to more days, and offering the experience to a wider circle of asylum seekers.

Redlands for Refugees is also organising a public prayer vigil for asylum seekers at the Redlands Christian Reformed Church, corner Sturgeon and Delancey Sts, Ormiston, on Friday, April 11 at 7:00 pm.
Redlands4Refugees members man barbecue ib the Redlands
Redlands for Refugees members Peter Bore and
Doug Moore cook sausages for asylum seekers at
Wellington Point

Participants will include the Uniting Church state moderator, Rev. Kaye Ronalds; Anglican Dean Peter Catt, chair of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce; Tamil priest Fr Pancras Jordan; and the Scattered People refugee choir.