AUSTRALIA: Joseph Haweil becomes first Suraya mayor of City of Hume, Melbourne

CITY of HUME, VICTORIA, Australia – The Syriac Joseph Haweil has become the first Syriac mayor in the state of Victoria, Australia. This week, Haweil was nominated mayor of the City of Hume (population 225 thousand) which is part of the Metropolitan Area of Melbourne. He succeeds Carly Moore who served for two terms. Haweil served as municipality Councilor since 2016. He is nominated mayor for two years.

Hume and Melbourne have a large community of Suraye (Assyrians-Chaldeans-Arameans) in the Hume local government areas of e.g. Dallas and Campbellfield. Most Suraye in Melbourne originate from Iraq. There are Syriac Catholic, Syriac Orthodox, Chaldean Catholic, and Assyrian Church of the East churches.

Beside Melbourne, Sydney also has a large Suraye community. In the past, the City of Fairfield, Sydney Metropolitan area, had a Suraya mayor in the past. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data for the year 2016 for the greater Sydney area (state of New South Wales) there were 9,340 persons speaking Chaldean Neo-Aramaic (2011: 5,247) and 20,316 speakers of Assyrian Neo-Aramaic (2011: 15,571).