Cabramatta Truly Asian


All things Asian can be found in Cabramatta. I call it the Asian city of Sydney. It’s much like China town in Sydney. It’s largely Vietnamese populated area though and that’s because of history.

I feel much more at home and seems to have more variety. What I love about this suburb, is it’s a suburb that is far away from the city and so there are lots of available parking—that you don’t have to pay a cent.

It is rich in culture, has diversity, awesome foods and many friendly folks who are happy enough for their photos to be taken! Filipino like myself who lives in Australia feels right at home here. One of the reasons, Australia is called a lucky country is because we enjoy the diversities of culture here and most of the time we get along just fine. Cabramatta is a perfect example with it’s 109 or so different cultures residing in this area.

Cultural history

Cabramatta’s has the most diversity of cultures. Almost three quarters of the population was born overseas and a huge majority speaks more than one language.


The first white settlers were Irish political prisoners. It was mainly agriculture for our early settlers who worked on farms and dairies. Back then we relied on Liverpool for supplies and law and order.

In 1870 as Cabramatta became more established, train station was built, shops, schools and post office too. People knew this as the “town hall in the bush”!

In the 1960’s and 1970’s the Asian migration came to Cabramatta. It became what we know of this suburb today—as the Asian migration mainly from Vietnam, Cambodia Laos—people who had to escape their countries and come to Australia as refugees populated this suburb.


Events and activities

As it is mostly Vietnamese in this suburb, they have similar belief as the Chinese—like the Lunar New Year. Festivities lasts for about three days during January or February. These festivals typically you would see lion dancing and firecrackers on strings—Filipinos call this belt of Juan from memory?

Freedom Plaza’s monuments reflect that of the Chinese calendar. Not all twelve zodiacs statues are there, there’s just no room to place them. How these statues are placed though plays a role. For instance, at the gates, both male and female lions symbolises protection and good luck. It guards us from evil and is also a form of good luck. You’ll also find monuments to depict democracy—considering that the migrants were refugees and value Australia’s freedom and democracy.


Of all the symbols here, I liked the pig the most. It resonates with me. It is because pigs bring good fortune and luck, but pigs are also being eaten. This reminds us that anything we do does not last. There will be a point where it will fail. It means, whatever we have achieved, we can’t sit back and relax and say yes I’ve done it and now I can just sit here as that success will keep going without me lifting a finger. The pig tells us otherwise—we have to keep at it. Do what we’ve done to gain that success and then do it again, and again. Just as life has it’s ups and down and how we have to keep up, the pig reminds us of all that.


Eateries—You’ll find as the majority of the population in Cabramatta is of Vietnamese origin, much of the outlets here are Vietnamese. There are scores of eateries here and as a food foodie that I am, this is heaven for me! Everywhere you go there’s restaurants or eateries!

Street photography

I have always been shy on street photography. The idea of going up close to a stranger and taking photos of them feels like I am intruding into their space. Such as life of street photographer though—we document the daily lives of people through imagery.


In Cabramatta there’s so many interesting people to photograph! Most of them are willing to have their photos taken too. Some of of course and not willing and that’s fair. In street photography, you can take a photo of just about anyone without their permission—provided it’s on the street and not governed by enclosed land act, such as shopping areas and shopping complexes. In short as long as it’s public areas you as the photographer can take any photos you like and there’s nothing any one can do about it—well they can assault you and say something nasty to you. At the end of the day though, legally there’s nothing there to stop you.


Most of us photographers though, are considerate. Even though we know, that legally we are allowed to take photos on the streets and not get into trouble legally, we take in consideration that perhaps—the person or people we want to take a photo of, may take offence that they are being photographed. At the end of the day, amateur photographers don’t get paid and as such, the headaches for a what could be a great shot is just not worth it. There will be other opportunities—plenty of other opportunities for that keeper of a shot.


I have been coming to Cabramatta for many years now—it makes it easy when you live in the area. I have always wondered how it would be like to do street photography here. Each time, I come to this suburb, I see good photo opportunities but I simply didn’t have the courage to do it.

Fortunately on this day—in a photography group that I am in. The organiser, have decided to make Cabramatta the location for our street photography meet.

This was my very first time to do street photography and my first time to meet the group and I tell you, I had a blast! I didn’t feel so rude to closely take photos of a stranger. Heck some of them joined in the fun by posing for us! The group that I met for the very first time, were very welcoming and I learned quite a lot about what makes a good street photograph.

The food here is great and mostly Vietnamese, but not limited to. The people are quite friendly and there’s just nothing like Cabramatta.