Hop on cultural insight bus

By Tara Whitsed

A unique insight into Shepparton’s Islamic and Sikh communities will be provided next month.

The Ethnic Council of Shepparton will host its Cultural Bus Tour, coinciding with Greater Shepparton City Council’s heritage open days.

The tour will first visit the Sikh Gurdwara, then the Afghani Mosque where lunch will be served, and the Iraqi and Turkish mosques in Shepparton.

‘‘We welcome members of the broader community to participate in this day of discovery of Shepparton’s unique multicultural community,’’ event organiser Andrew Murley said.

He said each destination had a rich history, with many of the mosques built during the 1970s.

‘‘The Turkish community began to establish itself in Shepparton from the 1970s. It built the Turkish Islamic Cultural Centre ... in 1985,’’ he said.

The Sikh temple was opened in Shepparton in 1980.

Mr Murley said tour participants would enjoy a lunch at the Afghani Mosque, which was one of the more recent additions to Shepparton, built during 2013.

He said it was important to be respectful of each culture while on the tour.

‘‘As we will be visiting places of various cultures and religions, cultural sensitivity needs to be acknowledged,’’ Mr Murley said.

‘‘As part of the Muslim and Sikh traditions, removal of shoes is required and the covering of hair before you enter their places of worship.

‘‘A scarf can be used to cover your hair and socks may be needed when shoe removal is required.’’

Mr Murley said places were limited, so booking a spot on the tour was essential. To book, phone 58312395.

The Cultural Bus Tour departs at 10am from the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District on Welsford St, Shepparton, on Thursday, March 21, and returns about 3.25pm.