Award for Australian Museum Official - 19 Nov 2009

‘The Hindu: Tamil Nadu News’
Special Correspondent.

CHENNAI: Peter Varghese, Australian High Commissioner in India, conferred the Indo-Australian Award for Meritorious Service 2009 on Vinod Daniel, branch head, Australian Museum, and Chairman, Aus-Heritage, at the silver jubilee and award function of the Indo-Australian Association here on Wednesday.

The annual award, consisting of a memento and citation, is given to an individual who has contributed substantially to the bilateral relationship between India and Australia.

Being an Australian of Indian origin, Mr. Daniel created awareness in the Indian media about heritage conservation issues. He was also instrumental in coordinating Australian assistance for INTACH to develop a conservation charter and for the Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai to develop an international exhibition gallery.

The citation was read out by Bernadine Joseph. Aminur Rahman, Australian Consul General in Chennai, and S. Kameswaran offered felicitations.

Mr. Varghese said: “About 100,000 Indian students are studying in Australia. We are working hard to ensure that these difficulties are resolved. We will continue to welcome them as our honoured guests.”

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Daniel said he had lived in several countries and Australia was a nice place to live in. Referring to the recent attack on Indian students, he described it as a small level of urban violence.

K. V. Mathew, president, Indo-Australian Association, recalled Mr. Daniel’s extensive contribution over the past 15 years in furthering the links between Australia and India. He highlighted Mr. Daniel’s role in repatriating several objects from the Australian Museum to the Government Museum, Chennai, and his leadership in bringing over 20 heritage delegations from Australia to India.

He said that they were in the process of setting up Australian Research Centre in Chennai and urged the Australian government to support it by equipping the centre with books, so that it could be used by the general public.

To mark the occasion, Mr. Varghese released the Silver Jubilee souvenir, which was accepted by Mr. Rahman.