Many Faces, One Wyndham

many faces

“Many Faces, One Wyndham” is a selection of Images from the "Faces of Wyndham" project that aims to celebrate the cultural diversity of Wyndham by profiling residents, the traditional owners of the land and residents from diverse nations who have emigrated to Wyndham and contributing to its community.  
As a portrait photographer, I am fascinated by different cultures. I have always felt a thrill in capturing the essence of people’s journeys through my lens. I genuinely believe portraits can make you look deep inside a person’s soul and weave an undefinable connection. And so, I want to put the spotlight on Wyndham residents to share their aspirations for life in Australia. By doing so, I desire to break the stereotype that immigrants do not assimilate with people outside their communities.
I want to show that many immigrants contribute much to the Wyndham community.

Here is a link to the Faces of Wyndham project.


Florence Shinanduku 

Democratic Republic of Congo
Wyndham is one of the most diverse communities in Melbourne. Florence is the creator of the Wyndham Women's Magazine which is dedicated to encouraging women of all backgrounds to be empowered and successful in whatever they choose to do with the support of other Wyndham women.


James Hohepa Smith

Kaitaia, New Zealand
James was the Founding President of the Victoria Maori Wardens, a youth community engagement program a team of Maori and Pacific Islander community elders, who walk the streets in uniform, patrolling the shopping plaza and surrounding transport hubs on varying days of the week. James is also an active Community Member on the Cultural Diversity and Safer Community Portfolios at Wyndham Council.


Shemsiya Waritu

 Shemsiya is a very active Community Member and she is on the Cultural Diversity Portfolio at the Wyndham Council. She has called Australia home with her family since 1995 I have met some amazing people working on the Faces of Wyndham project, I have learnt so much about their different cultures. There will always be some ignorance and fear in the community about other peoples religions and why people dress the way they do. Through this project I have found that once these barriers are broken down and people meet others from different cultures and talk freely we are all very similar, we all have the same basic desires. 


Leigh Tomlinson

Melbourne, Australia 
I  reached out to a couple of CFA volunteers to include them in the Faces of Wyndham project, to show the faces of a couple of the bravest members of our community. I wanted this portrait to be dramatic to show the situation that these brave men and women face as volunteers while protecting our homes. I usually only post one image per person. In this case, I just had to post two. Born and raised in Werribee Leigh currently lives in Tarneit. Leigh says that he was raised to always help in the community and so he became the youngest ground manager in VFL history and has been a volunteer firefighter in the CFA for the past 17years. Being apart of such a great organisation was a huge eye-opening, Leigh has been involved in the 2009 Black Saturday Bush fires and recently the 2019/2020 East Gippsland Bush fires. Thank you, Leigh and all the other CFA and other rescue service volunteers.


Gary Harding

North Island New Zealand. 
Gary is a direct descendant of the great Maori Voyager Maui Tikitiki-a-Taranga. From the tribe (Iwi) called Ngati Porou and from a sub-tribe (hapu) known as Te Aitanga-a-Mate from a small place on the East Coast of Aotearoa /New Zealand's North Island called Hiruharama. Tena koutou katoa (Greeting to all) After many years of working within his local community and tribe, Gary made the move to Melbourne Australia with his partner in 2018 so she could be closer to her family. Gary is currently Self-employed and has set up his own business called Tu Tane as a Cultural Facilitator Consultant. He currently works in the Youth Justice Precincts in Melbourne reconnecting Maori and Pacific Island youth to there culture with the hopes of expanding into the Adult Correction facilities in the near future. Gary has always been passionate about working with his culture empowering his people to reconnect to their culture and language. He proudly wears his traditional tribal markings on his face and body as a physical representation of who he is and where he comes from and most importantly who he represents. Gary was granted this prestigious honour by his mother as a gift and as a passing of Mana (family spiritual prestige) before she passed. As she also wore our traditional tribal markings before him. Maori People have a spiritual connection to their land and Gary wanted to have his Spiritual Mountain Hikurangi depicted in his portrait as it is of the highest significance to him and who he is. Although he may have moved from his homelands Ehara taku Maunga i te Maunga Nekeneke He Maunga Tu Tonu My mountain does not move Nor does his unending love for his land and people. Mauriora


Mon Bhelley

Chandigarh, India 
Mon is Sikh by religion and says that she is a true Punjabi by heart! She is Loud! Alive & a giver. Mon runs her own driving school and she love’s volunteering for a couple of nonprofit organizations which empower women & help domestic violence victims to become survivors. Mons’s a strong believer in destiny and she feels all our thoughts and decision are all made cause we were meant to make them. Mon was an education & Immigration consultant in India and that’s what attracted her about Australia. Mon migrated with her husband to Melbourne on 12th Nov 2005. Mon had her fair share of hardships. She says she migrated at a time when she felt Australia was very different. The multicultural society seemed only a word used in the books or used for advertising rather than actually personal acceptance. Her struggles were not limited to gaining employment but she also suffered two miscarriages, has been through depression and contemplated ending her life. Mon did not give up and said to herself there always light at the end of the tunnel. Mon is now a blessed Mum of two sons. Time and time Mon was hit with one thing or the other and she says the biggest one being her husband diagnosed with a rare blood disease which is non-curable. Mon, however, hasn’t given up hope and wishes for a cure for her husband. Some of Mon’s achievement -Entrepreneur of the month awarded by Indian Businesses Women Network (IBWN) -Women of Wyndham (Wow) champion award -AusMumpreneur nomination Mon thinks the real achievement is that She has become a better person and reached a place where she could help others and make a difference in other people’s life. Mon aspires to Live and let live! Accept and adapt to new and different cultures.


Ian Domoney

Kent, England
 Ian emigrated to Australia aged 12 in 1967 on board the Ellinis Ship, he has lived in Wyndham since 1982 with his wife and two daughters. Ian has served in the Australian army and after that he was a rigger for 45 years working on some iconic projects in Melbourne like the Westgate Bridge and oil rigs overseas. Ian is now retired. Ian has had a fascination with bagpipes since he was a young child. As a highland bagpiper he plays Irish and Scottish music. Ian has played for many years with the Footscray City highland pipe band. Ian was also a keen martial artist earning his black belt.


Joshua Ferguson

Bangerang tribe, North East Victoria, Australia 
Joshua is a Koorie man from the Bangerang tribe in North East Victoria. His fathers' ancestors are from the Bundjalung nation of Northern NSW and his mother hails from Scottish and Welsh ancestry. Joshua has lived in Werribee for just over four years and is proud to call Wyndham his home within the Kulin Nation. This portrait was a long time in the making it was taken prior to the stage 4 lockdown. I have delayed sharing it until the HOMELAND project by the Wyndham City Council was up and running. I have been conscious for some time that I did not have an indigenous person featured in the Faces of Wyndham. I had tried for many months with no success. I was introduced to Joshua when we were both protesting the proposed toxic dump site in Wyndham. Joshua is the perfect candidate for my first indigenous portrait as he straddles both worlds so well. I have included two portraits to emphasize this. In one he looks like an English gentleman and the other a very proud Koorie man. Every detail of the indigenous portrait is symbolic of his Koorie culture.


Seema Lal

Fiji Islands
Seema is a Chartered Accountant by profession. She migrated to Australia 20 years ago and has lived in the Wyndham area for 16 years. She has witnessed the rapid growth of Wyndham over that time. Seema felt that as the area grew, the needs and demands of the community grew so to better assist the community she joined the Rotary Club of Wyndham Harbour. This association with the Rotary club allows her to be part of many projects in the local community which she is passionate about. Some of the projects that she is currently actively working on include supporting the homeless and mentoring teenagers to create a positive and long-lasting impact on them.


Ron Fenton

Forty years of service with Victoria Police, a Thirty year army reserve veteran, the youngest ever member of Vic Pol search and rescue, a teacher of law at the Police Academy, theatre performer and Santa. Ron has worn many hats in his life but the one he has worn most is that of a dedicated and passionate human being. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who has fought harder to make the lives of those in the community better. Shot in the line of duty, Ron carries 37 bullet fragments in his head, when a killer on the run opened fire on him. He carries the scars both physically and mentally. Ron wasn't expected to last the ambulance journey to the hospital that fateful night. He proved them wrong and is still here with us to inspire us, to show us what true courage is. As a PTSD sufferer Ron has spent the last 6 years fighting to have service dogs like his best mate Yogi available for all emergency services. Personnel suffering with PTSD who need a best friend like Yogi. Ron credits Yogi with saving his life at least 5 times in the last 4 years, he wakes him from his night terrors and he picks Ron up when he is feeling down. Sadly Yogi will have to say goodbye to Ron one day soon, as Ron is terminally ill with cancer. The battle that Ron is currently in even he can't win. But Ron is not bitter nor sad, he is still fighting for those that need help, that need a voice, fighting to support his community with his best friend Yogi. Their story is one of hope and courage. You can read more of Ron's story here:


Connie Sivaly

Connie grew up and was raised in a loving and hardworking family, with her five brothers and seven sisters. She is now a proud mother to three amazing boys, who she lives here within Wyndham – since 2017. Growing up, her father always told her “I have no inheritance to give you but education”. She took those words to heart and accomplished a lot, including getting a scholarship from Geneva, Switzerland, and completing studies in New Zealand - before eventually calling Australia home in 2000. Her strong passion for education and social justice led her to gain an 18-year career within both State and Federal Government. “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”, Nelson Mandela. Connie’s desire to make a difference in reducing social inequalities for the less privileged, and her love for community, led her to funding Comfort Care Foundation (CCF) in 2010, which then became her full-time focus as the Director in 2017. Her foundation works within the Wyndham community, where they are making amazing differences in people’s lives – working with disadvantaged groups such as the homeless, victims of domestic abuse, disadvantaged youth, and running support services for women, children, youth and men. It is “Because we care” – Comfort Care Foundation. Connie believes that “Justice begins next door”. The community has a tremendous resource in Connie Sivaly. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.


Azhar Al-Gargoliy

Basrah, Iraq
Azhar was forced to move after his home got bombed and his aunt and brother got killed. He grew up in a small town of Nasiriyah next to the ancient Ur - home land of Abraham. He got his degree in teaching and interpreting English and used to work with Australian military forces in Iraq. After his contract was finished he took a year to live in Ukraine and study Russian and Ukrainian languages. Since his home country was unstable, torn apart by endless war and he was offered humanitarian support from Australia, he decided to try and settle in this country. In order to gain humanitarian visa he had to spend a year in Jordan where he met his future wife.