One of the most memorable buildings in Sydney is the Queen Victoria Building, built in 1898, which has a monument for the queen in front of it. A section of this grand building is dedicated to all the bearers of the Victoria Cross from any war. This is why Toma Starcevich’s name can be found here as well. The building itself contains a plate which explains that the bearer of such high recognition can only be someone who selflessly sacrificed themselves for their country in the face of the enemy. That the award in question is of an extremely high standard is clearly evident from the fact that it was only awarded to twelve Australians during World War II.



A display in the Queen Victoria building, with a list of all of the bearers of the Victoria Cross









Sydney, Queen Victoria Building

The government of New South Wales founded Macquarie University in 1964, the third university in Sydney, and named it after the governor of the colony from the beginning of the 19th century. Thanks to lobbying by the Croatian community, the Croatian studies were founded here in 1983, the first of their kind in the world. Initially, they had three classes in the first year, but the program has grown over time to include eighteen classes across a three-year course of Croatian language, culture, drama, media and film. The course includes both pre and post-graduate studies, and since 2000, one can obtain a Certificate in Croatian and a Diploma in Croatian from it. Both of the programs serve as a starting point for further education in Croatia. During the time of aggression on Croatia, in 1994, the Croatian studies grew into the Centre of Croatian Studies, which was referred to as a temple of Croatian culture in Australia by Rector Di Yerbury. The foundation of the center is formed by a linguistic-cultural and cultural-historical dimension, and one of its long-term projects is the study of Croatian immigration to Australia. During its first twenty five years, the following professors and lecturers were employed by the Croatian studies: Peter Hill, Luka Budak, Boris Škvorc, Fra Gracijan Biršić, Ana Zubak (later Bruning), Irena Šmit, Vinko Grubišić, and Gordana Galić-Kakkonen, the first guest lecturer from the University of Split. Damir Buterin and Walter Lalić are in the permanent employ of the Center. [1]


Mcquarie 1           Mcquarie 2


Luka                               Vori

Professors Luka Budak and Walter Lalić

There are streets with Croatian names even in Sydney. In the Edmondson Park district, these would be Dalmatia Avenue and Croatia Avenue. According to stories from Australian Lisa Mackay, the area was inhabited by numerous Croatian families after World War II. Robert Newman, a real estate agent and also a Croatian, helped a group of forty Croatian to purchase a large farm in the area, which they could all live and work on. Ten years later, the property was divided by family, with everyone buying out their share, and the area was urbanized; water and electricity were brought in, and streets were built. One street was called Croatia, and another Dalmatia, and this is how they stayed. There is but a handful of the original group still alive today.

Lalich Avenue got its name after Nick Lalich, whose parents came from Dalmatia. Lalich has been a councilmember in western Sydney’s Fairfield municipality since 1987, and was elected mayor in 2008. He is currently a representative in the New South Wales council.



Nick Lalich (born 1945), after whom the street was named


Satara Avenue in Cabramatta, a south-west municipality in Sydney, was named after a farmer called George Satara, and requests to have two other streets in the Preston district of Liverpool renamed to Zagreb Street and Split Close. Aside from these there are also Borojevic Street, Katavich Crescent, Pavasovic Place, and in the Edensor Park area, Markovina Street, Kapovic Street, and Bosnjak Avenue, named after Fanny Bosnjak.

Salecich Place is another street named after a Croatian. In the 1930s, Joe (known as Mali, or Little) and Marija Salecich bought three acres of land from Mate and Milka Gergich, who had moved there from the mining town of Broken Hill. The Salecichs then built a house, which today, along with that small street, is located in the immediate vicinity of the largest Chinese Buddhist temple.

In Bonnyrigg, a section of Cabramatta, there is also a Savic Place and a Vukas Place, as well as Hajduk Stadium.


Hajduk stadium




Belvedere Arcade, in the very heart of Cabramatta, got its name thanks to a suggestion by Mate Gergich and George Satara, who each had a store, one on each side, of this small passage. The Gergichs, who come from Gražana near Novi Vinodolski, had a total of six. According to their son Tom (88 years old), they sold their share back in the 1950s, and the name Belvedere comes from the old country. Only two other streets share this name in the western districts.


[1] Budak, Luka. 2008. Najstariji izvandomovinski studij. (With the 25th anniversary of the Croatian Studies at the Macquarie University in Sydney, report).