Reskeon Maltese Association Incorporated was founded in
The late Father George Xerri, of the Missionary Society of
St Paul, sent Father Victor Shields, MSSP, to help form a
group of the Maltese Community in the suburbs of Reservoir
and Keon Park (hence the name Reskeon). A committee was
formed and that was the start of the association.
The aim of the association is to help better the social
life of its members and the Maltese in Victoria, and at
the same time help them to preserve and appreciate the
Maltese Culture and the National Heritage.
Although it’s a fact that the Maltese in Australia
easily integrated with the Australian way of life, it is
also a fact that the Maltese Community still search for
everything that is `Maltese’ and take part in Maltese
functions such as feasts and other things.
At present there are around 350 members in this
association. Membership is $A10 per family annually
($US6.40 or 2.50 Maltese Lira).
The committee organises four Social Nights for its
members. The night commences with a Mass at the Chapel of
St Paul’s, and then onto the hall of the Maltese
Community Council of Victoria in Parkville. On these
nights, members gather to have a chat with family and
friends, over a cup of tea or coffee, with
sandwiches. A video of a documentary or a film or comedy
in Maltese is shown on the large screen. Average
attendance on these nights varies from 150 to 200. These
Social Nights are provided free of charge to all members.
Half way through the year there is the Annual General
Meeting (with an election for a new committee every two
years). A light meal with beer, wine and soft drinks, tea
and coffee is served to all those present. A Mass is
celebrated beforehand. This is also provided at no cost to
During Christmas time, the committee organises a Christmas
Get Together, once again free of charge to all members.
This is held at the Maltese Centre in Parkville, with Mass
celebrated in the Chapel. An evening meal is provided with
drinks and every year one of the members, Mrs Helen
Fenech, bakes a few Christmas Cakes to be shared by all
Other activities during the year are a Smorgasbord (buffet
dinner), a trip to the beach, some pokie trips (these are
trips across the border to NSW where members spend a few
hours at one of the clubs there, enjoying a cheap lunch or
playing the pokies). Almost every year a trip is organised
to places such as Surfers Paradise in Queensland, or to
NSW, or as the last trip we had, to Mt Gambier, Adelaide
In April of each year a dinner dance is organised for
members and friends, with an attendance of up to 350. This
is held at a reception centre, such as the Firenze
Reception Centre, with a Maltese band providing the
There are two main events organised by Reskeon Maltese
Association. These are not just for the members of the
group, but for the whole Maltese Community in Victoria.
The first one is the celebration of the Feast of the
Vitorja. On 8th September a Mass is celebrated at the
Maltese Centre, attended by around 200 plus people. The
statue of Marija Bambina is placed in the hall which is
transformed into a chapel for the day. The Mass is
normally celebrated by Father John Taliana, Provincial of
the MSSP, along with another three co-celebrants. The
Maltese Choir of Victoria takes part with Maltese hymns.
After a break of half an hour, where those present can
have a cup of tea or coffee with some Maltese food, such
mqaret, qaghad tal-ghasel, etc, the program
continues with a concert of marches and other music
provided by a marching band.
The Saturday after, the Vitorja Dance is held. Normally it
is held at La Mirage Reception Centre, a beautiful place
managed by a Maltese family (Mr and Mrs Paul Galea, with
their son David, as functions manager). Over 500 people
attended the last dinner dance where a four course meal
was served, music is provided by a Maltese band, and
around 11 pm a brass band enters the ballroom and plays
marches and creates the atmosphere as if you are in Malta
in one of the village festas. People enter the dance
floors with flags, banners etc. and dance to the music of
the brass band. A lot of distinguished guest attend this
dinner dance such as the Consul General of Malta in
Victoria, Mr Clemente Zammit and Mrs Zammit.
Then on Sunday is the day of the Feast of Vitorja. This is held at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in West Melbourne, also called `the church of the Maltese', because a great number of Maltese migrants used to make their home and live in West Melbourne. In this very church the early Maltese had their marriages, baptisms and funerals there and these early settlers remember this church very well. The church is always filled to capacity (up to 2000 and more). This year the Mass was celebrated by our new Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, Mons. Joseph Grech, with around 12 co-celebrants. All other Maltese associations take part and bring their banner with them. Young children are dressed in Maltese costumes. Members of the Order of St John of Jerusalem also take part.
The Maltese Choir of Victoria is in charge of the singing,
while The Maltese Own Band Philharmonic Society plays
marches for the occasion. If the weather is kind, as it
was this year, a procession takes place through the
streets with the Maltese Community following the beautiful
statue of Marija Bambina. After the procession and the
Benediction, a concert is held at the North Melbourne Town
Hall, where the marching band continues to play marches.
Afterwards another band plays modern music where all those
present join in the dancing.
The other main event, without any
doubt is Jum
il-Maltin. This started as a picnic for the Maltese
Community around 21 years ago. As it grew from year to
year, a larger venue was found which is the Clarke’s
Oval in Sunbury. On a good day around 6000 people attend
this day. As we said, this is like a monster picnic for
the Maltese Community in general who travel far to attend.
Some even admitting they use this day to meet family and
friends whom they would not otherwise see. People start to
gather there from as early as 5.00 in the morning. A
soccer (football for the rest of the world) tournament is
organised with each team called after a suburb in Malta.
This has proven to be very popular with some of the cream
of the players in Victoria taking part. Another soccer
tournament is organised for the ladies which year by year
is proving to be very popular with some good matches
played. Something good to see is a soccer exhibition for
the under-12 children (which will change to a tournament
next year). It is great to see these children show their
skill in the game as they are our future. Apart from the
soccer, there is a Bocce tournament in which a number of
clubs take part. This year we had an ladies’ exhibition
Bocce game, maybe it will attract lady players next year
to form a tournament. There are also other activities for
the children including races. Mass is celebrated at 10 in
There is also a band playing modern music and
dancing among the crowds. In the afternoon two marching
bands play their marches commencing from the front gate
and ending in the centre of the activities. Those
present enjoy some Maltese food such as
bigilla. This year they also had a chance
to taste the Maltese beer (Cisk Lager) and the Kinnie. The
day finished with the presentation of the trophies to the
winners of the soccer (football) and Bocce tournaments. A
commemorative programme detailing the programme for the
day, is printed by Reskeon each year. The book also
includes messages from distinguished people such as the
Premier of Victoria, the Leader of the Opposition in
Victoria, the Consul General of Malta in Victoria Mr
Clemente Zammit, MQR, and Dr Victor Borg, MQR, President
of the Maltese Community Council of Victoria.
Those were the activities of the Reskeon Maltese