Migrants, refugees, expats, locals and orphans all welcome on CHRISTMAS DAY in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide


Migrants, refugees, expats, locals and orphans all welcome on CHRISTMAS DAY in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide

Newcomers Network will be hosting its 10th annual free bring your own Christmas Day Picnic Lunch in Melbourne, its 6th lunches in Sydney and Perth, 5th in Brisbane and 3rd  in Adelaide, Australia on

Friday 25 December 2015
Between 12pm and 3pm

Book to attend at http://www.newcomersnetwork.eventbrite.com.au

Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbOHENost6w – story version 00:06:28

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mf4faEZEn4Y – fun spy version 00:01:16

Melbourne – since 2006
Queen Victoria Gardens, opposite National Gallery of Victoria, St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Victoria

Sydney – since 2010
Botanical Gardens, near the Opera House, go through the Queen Elizabeth II Gate, head towards the Rockery, Sydney, New South Wales

Perth – since 2010
Kings Park, next to the War Memorial, Lot 47 Mounts Bay Road, Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia

Brisbane – since 2011
Botanical Gardens, near the corner of Albert Street and Alice Street, Brisbane, Queensland

Adelaide – since 2013
Next to the Elder Park Rotunda, North Terrace, between the Festival Theatre and the Torrens River, Adelaide, South Australia

This tradition was suggested in 2006 by Lise Saugeres, a French migrant who had moved to Melbourne.

Sue Ellson, the Founder and Director of Newcomers Network who is originally from Adelaide has hosted all of the Melbourne events starting on 25 December 2006.

These events are open to everyone, but are specifically designed for people who have moved to the city, international students, tourists and anyone who is a Christmas Orphan and is away from their family or friends on Christmas Day.

In the past, we have also welcomed local people including single parents and their children, older singles, young singles, couples looking for something different to do, carers of people with a disability, people with dogs on a lead, people whose parents have passed away, homeless people who do not want to be at a charity venue and people who have not received an invitation to join a celebration with anyone they know.

We have also welcomed people who do not celebrate Christmas as a religious occasion (Muslim, Hindus, Buddhists etc) but would like to do something different in their local city.

All Newcomers Network events are free to attend and anyone who would like to join us is welcome.

For this event, people need to bring their own refreshments (food and drink) that they can either have themselves or share with other guests and wear their own name tag (any type will do – even just paper and a pin).

Guests are also encouraged to be sun smart (hat, sunscreen) and bring a football, frisbee, cricket bat and ball or any other outdoor activities as well. Everyone mixes and mingles and in 2009, two single people met, in 2010 they spent Christmas together holidaying in the Grampians, in 2012 they announced their engagement and they were married in 2014 and are now expecting a baby. In Melbourne, there is a small group of regulars who now come every year.

Guests are encouraged to register online to see the map details – even if it rains, the event will still be on (just bring an umbrella or a raincoat!).

Contact information
Sue Ellson (pronouned Sue “Ell – son” – no letter ‘i’ in the middle)
Founder and Director of Newcomers Network
+61 402 243 271

Newcomers Network is a socially responsible business funded by consulting services provided by Sue Ellson in Melbourne with volunteer representatives in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide, Australia providing information, events and advocacy for newcomers to Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide since 2001.

In 2016 we will continue to host free Living, Working and Networking events on the second Wednesday of every month from 6pm in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.

More background information for journalists

What sorts of people do not have something to do on Christmas Day?
…many Australians kindly donate their time before Christmas and on the day to people who are homeless but surprisingly, there are many other people who need companionship on Christmas Day.

Most people at work will ask you ‘what are you doing for Christmas’ or ‘what did you do for Christmas’ so it is really nice to be able to say that you enjoyed a nice relaxed picnic in the park. Many places are closed on Christmas Day or are very expensive.

So we have found all sorts of people who join us at these events including migrants without local families, expatriates, international students, singles, single parents who have been ostracised by friends and family, people with disabilities, people with dogs, local people and families who have family interstate or overseas.

Anyone who attends a free event is generally motivated to have a great time and is willing to chat.

What about shy people who may be coming on their own?
…it takes a lot of courage for people to attend an event on their own. But once they are there, they will be welcomed and encouraged to mix and mingle with the other guests there. It is important to simply talk or even just ask questions – start with easy topics like the weather or ‘what you love about Melbourne’ and the rest will follow (don’t start with questions about where you work or live).

How is the food worked out?
Everyone just brings some food that they can either eat themselves or share with others. At the first picnic, one young male student came with an egg sandwich. At another, a woman came with a large bag of prawns! Sharing your food gives you an opportunity to meet more people. Children can bring along sports equipment to play with and pets are welcome provided they are on a lead.

Do people drink alcohol?
Some people do bring alcohol and drink it but no one has ever become intoxicated and there is no obligation to drink alcohol.

Do people who are not Christian attend?
Yes, this is an event open to anyone who would like to attend. It is held on a ‘religious’ day – Christmas Day – remembering the birth of Jesus Christ. However, we have had people of all faiths attend including Islamic women wearing the hijab. We have also had people with disabilities (including intellectual) who find the normal indoor environment and family gathering stressful. And many others – students, expatriates, migrants, tourists etc

What about people from the LGBTI community?
In 2014 we had a call from Anne, a community development officer in Brisbane asking if the event would be open to people who identify as LGTBI. I simply told her that anyone who would like to attend can attend. Apparently there was a local venue that had previously hosted an event but due to a lack of numbers, decided not to run it again.

How do people find the group?
The group will be meeting in various locations listed above and guests just need to look for the group of people wearing name tags between 12pm and 3pm.

Is there anything else they need to bring?
Your own name tag and all the standard things for a picnic – a mat, chair if you wish, hat, sunscreen, water to drink etc. The dress code is ‘informal’ or ‘relaxed.’ Just be sun smart.

Where are you based Sue Ellson?
I am based in Melbourne and I was once told that I am a ‘refugee’ from Adelaide. I am originally from Adelaide and moved to Melbourne in 1994. I love Melbourne and don’t plan to move.

As an Australian, I can say that we are friendly people but we don’t always make time for new people to come into our life. Unlike other expatriate locations, we do not have significant expatriate communities as you are expected, when you live in Australia, to mix with locals. I have found that most of my friends come from other countries and I find that other newcomers find friends in a similar way although many would really like to mix with other Aussies.

Why did you set up Newcomers Network?
As a result of my own experience and challenges of moving from Adelaide to Melbourne in 1994. Newcomersnetwork.com has been online since 2001 and we share information, details of events and advocate for the needs associated with newcomers. I am an independent publisher of information and support myself and my children through other consulting work helping people find work, updating their LinkedIn profile, training, marketing and business advice for various businesses and professional associations. I also teach at the Centre for Adult Education. I love helping newcomers because I believe that they are more courageous than people who climb Mount Everest.

Why are they more courageous?
Well they simply leave everything they know, all their networks, friends, family, work, social, sporting etc and start all over again. Their food, housing, transport, shopping – everything is different. It can be incredibly lonely, stressful on relationships (when you rely on just a few people rather than extended family and friends) and it takes time to regain this level of support. Like any challenge in life, if you apply a strategy rather than react emotionally, you have a much higher chance of success.

Do you run any other events?
Yes, we host a free monthly Living, Working and Networking Event in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth on the second Wednesday of every month. Everyone gets to meet other newcomers, expatriates or repatriates and share stories and information. Details are online at http://newcomersnetwork.com

What other options are available for newcomers on Christmas Day?
There are various groups hosted by relocation companies, some ethnic communities and country chambers. However, one of the best central places to go is www.meetup.com so that people can meet people who share the same passion or interest in life.

In my view, meeting like-minded people is more important than meeting other newcomers whom you may have nothing in common with. I always encourage newcomers to contact their local council and connect with people in their local community. The main thing is to meet people face to face, not just online.

For Christmas Day, you can also do an internet search for ‘Christmas Day 2015’ and also your location – for example, ‘Christmas Day 2015 Melbourne’. Alternatively you can visit event listing websites:

Join us online at





Previous radio, print and online appearances since 2001

ABC Radio National, Melbourne 774 and Brisbane 612
Commercial Radio 3AW, 4BC, 6PR
Community Radio 3RRR, JJJ
SBS Radio – Serbian, Italian, World View Programs
International – Expat Radio and Blog Talk Radio

The Age
Herald Sun
Sydney Morning Herald
Epoch Times (Melbourne)
North Shore Times (NSW)
Progress Leader (Victoria)
Australian News (UK)
International Herald Tribune (Paris)

Sue Ellson BBus AIMM MAHRI
Founder and Director
Newcomers Network
mobile/cell +61 402 243 271
landline +61 3 9888 6480 (prior to 11am Christmas Day)
started 1999 established 2001

Original press release at http://newcomersnetwork.com/about_us/media_releases/151225.php

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