Martin Wilmshurst originated in the UK but spent his childhood living abroad in Singapore. In 1956 his family moved to Nigeria, where he spent his school holidays as he was in England for school most of the year. When he was 18 he joined the Merchant Navy as an Officer in the Pursers Department. The following decade was spent on ships visiting many parts of the world including stays in the USA, Mediterranean, The Entire West Coast of Africa, Europe, Baltic and Scandinavia.
In 1973 Martin visited Australia and decided to stay and lived in Deniliquin NSW. Whilst in Deniliquin he involved himself in the community becoming Group Scout Leader, President of Lions, Dramatic Club Swimming coach but then accepted positions with international catering.
He was the Catering Manager for many projects overseas including places such as Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Siberia, Taiwan, Colombia, Africa, China and Vietnam. During this period he both worked and vacationed in these locations. Martin married a Colombian lady and spent a few years as a Catering Manager with Victorian Hospitals. His final assignment overseas was as Senior Hospitality Manager in Obuasi, Ghana. He was there for 18 months and retired back to Deniliquin.
Martin is very thankful as now he can contribute back into the community richer with all the international travel that he has been fortunate enough to have experienced. Returning to live permanently in Deniliquin he noticed that the ethnic community had grown significantly over the years but there were still individual pockets. Martin decided that given his overseas experiences he wanted to try and bring together all cultures. He knew that a lot could be gained by sharing different, cultures, cuisine, costumes, languages, music, camaraderie and that would in turn integrate the groups and break down any barriers that might be perceived.
Celebrating Cultures Café
In August, last year he helped the Deniliquin Multicultural Group to hold the inaugural Multicultural Food Fest and this was followed again in April this year with cuisine from the South Pacific Islands, India, Philippines, Japan, Peru, Singapore, Thailand, Italy, and Indigenous foods. These "official" events have now grown into impromptu meetings in the park where they share food, and personify the multicultural ethos of Australia. The next Celebrating Cultures Café will be in November 2017 where they are hoping to attract even more nationalities to participate and maybe some dancing and music to complement the various international dishes.
Martin believes multiculturalism means that we can enjoy and learn from our backgrounds and ethnicity. To be able to integrate and be family, welcome people into the community to learn from each other and increase their awareness of life outside Deniliquin, NSW and Australia.