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Australian participation adds to Madras Week flavour

Australian participation adds to Madras Week flavour
HMAS Success arrives in Chennai. (Photo: DC)

Chennai: In a major addition to the Madras Week celebrations, the Royal Australian Navy’s combat logistics ship -HMAS Success arrived at Chennai Port this morning.

Along with Australia’s High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu and Consul-General to South India Sean Kelly, Captain Jones will make a courtesy call on the Mayor of Chennai, Saidai Duraisamy on August 24.

Captain Justin Jones said that he was keen to try south Indian delicacies, including idli and dosa. On the same afternoon, the ship’s crew of 27 officers and 169 sailors will play a friendly match against the Prince of Arcot’s XI for the ‘Madras Week Australia-India Friendship Cup’.

With support from the Australian Consulate-General’s Direct Aid Program (DAP), members of the ship’s crew have volunteered to visit a local school to interact with students and play a game of volleyball with them.

Officers of the Royal Australian Navy will also call on the Indian Coast Guard based in Chennai. High Commissioner Sidhu said ‘HMAS Success’s visit to the city will strengthen our maritime cooperation. Australia and India held our first bilateral maritime naval exercise last year to better understand how we could work together in times of need.’

Posting his impressions of Madras

Madras Week celebrations might get big and interesting every year. But there has been one constant activity that has been happening on the city’s birthday since 9 years on August 22 – release of a special postal cover by a philatelist.

A proud Chennaiite and the founder of Madras Heritage Lover’s Forum, D Hemachandra Rao has been releasing the covers since 2007 to honour the city.
“Though I am not born in Madras, the cultural and heritage values of the city have attracted me,” the septuagenarian, who has been staying here since 1942, said.

The postal cover, which has a clone of four lighthouses, was released at Fort St George, where the city was born. Released by the chief postmaster general, the postal cover was received by Nalli Kuppuswamy.

Rao has released eight covers as a credit to the city. “When the erstwhile British government refused to offer help to construct lighthouse, merchants initiated it and completed within a year. No formal inauguration was done since there was heavy cyclone.”

Lighthouse was a monument, which benefited trade by directing the sailors, businessmen, traders and merchants, he said. Erected in 1796, lighthouse celebrates its 220th year. It was an opaque structure designed to block light from escaping, he mentioned.

His postal covers, aimed to sensitise people about the heritage structures, depict famous water bodies like Buckingham canal; prominent buildings like Bank of Madras; pleasant sights like a view of lighthouse from Madras high court.

“Many new structures were born, while 0some were destroyed. But the history of the monuments remain afresh,” Rao said. “Every Chennaiite must do something for Namma ooru. College students could involve in activities to boast their city,” he said.