50 stories - Stefan Kozhuharov25 July 2022 Events and Discussions
One of the founding fathers for the Bulgarian community in New South Wales
Stefan Kozhuharov emigrated from Bulgaria to Australia in 1951. In Bulgaria he graduated from the Royal Military School and studied law at Sofia University. Stefan founded the association “Rodina-Sydney” www.rodinasydney.org.au together with Elenka Ivanova and Vesko Totev on March 10, 1978. He served as a chairman of the association for most of the years and did all the work for organizing, registering and insuring the association. Twice a year, Stefan organized indoor and outdoor gatherings for the National Enlighteners’ Day and the National Day – 3 March. Stefan together with Tsvetanka Guarera, as well as several other Bulgarians, regularly attended the meetings of the Balkan folk dance group “Sedyanka”, which had been founded by a Dutchman about 50 years ago in Sydney.
More than 30 years ago, Stefan and Margaret Kiek (Mara) began their joint activity, which created the choir "Martenitsa" using the model of the Bulgarian folk choirs and ensembles. Their joint work gave birth to the suite "Seasons", which in November 1992 was their first recording. The music is the work of Mara and her husband Lou, and the lyrics are based on poems by Stefan Kozhuharov. Part of this suite was a theme music for a performance played on ropes on the wall of one of Sydney's skyscrapers during the 2000 Sydney Olympics (Legs on the Wall).
After her emigration from Bulgaria, Silvia Encheva - a singer from "The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices", through Stefan connected with Mara Kiek and so began their joint musical activity, which continues to this day.
Stefan Kozhuharov actively participated in the organization and founding of the first Bulgarian school in Sydney in 1994 - "Ivan Vazov", which stayed open for two years. During the Sydney Olympics, Stefan organized a meeting of his compatriots with Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov. Mara and “Martenitsa” were also present.
Stefan was one of the editors of the “Naroden Buditel” newspaper from Varna and published his materials there. For most of his career, Stefan Kozhuharov worked in a laboratory for food research at Australia's largest research institute, CSIRO.
With the financial participation of Stefan Kozhuharov, Georgi Bankov and “Rodina – Sydney”, a pylon with the Bulgarian flag was erected in Cooma, New South Wales, symbolizing the participation of Bulgarian workers and engineers in the construction of the "Snowy Hydro" - the largest hydro-electric scheme in Australia.
Stefan was known to most Bulgarians in Sydney as a man always ready to lend a hand and help with a kind word, shelter or advice. Many Bulgarians have been to his home, and many have remained there until they settled in the country. Many Bulgarians arriving on tour in Australia have also stayed with Stefan - choreographer Belcho Belchev, ensemble “Lovech”, bagpiper Krassimira Churtova and others. In recognition of his dedicated and long-term work for the Bulgarian community in Sydney and for the promotion of Bulgarian culture and traditions, Stefan Kozhuharov was awarded the Order of Australia.
A story by Alexander Sandev.