Remembering freedom’s struggle

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Dubrovnik on Croatia’s Adriatic Sea coast.

CROATIA celebrates Statehood Day on June 25, marking the nation’s Declaration of Independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991.

About a month earlier the people voted 93 per cent “yes” to independence. It was a dream come true for many Croats – including those in Australia – but powerful Serbian-aligned forces inside and outside the country were willing to fight to keep it from self rule.

Although independence did not take effect until three months later on October 8, which is now celebrated as Independence Day, the declaration on June 25 also sparked the beginning of Croatia’s War of Independence, which lasted until 1995, and so Statehood Day is a solemn reminder of this terrible conflict, too.

On their National Day, Croatians express gratitude to all who took part in the creation of independent Croatia, including its defence and liberation.

Independence after the end of the Cold War was a new beginning for a nation with a long history, stretching back more than 1000 years to the age of kings and emperors.

Croatia has always belonged in Europe, culturally, historically and geographically, and its accession to the European Union on July 1, 2013 brought it back in from the cold.

Village with a touch of home

ADRIA Village often gets feedback about how it’s a small, friendly, home-like community, according to administration officer Candace Rhind, who says there’s a new opportunity for people to join its welcoming independent villas.

She says two, two-bedroom villas with a courtyard are now available.

“It’s a great place to live and our point of difference is that we’re very personable and multicultural,” she says.

“We have a strong focus on celebrating culture here.”

This culture stems back to 1989 when the Croatian community of Canberra and Queanbeyan established Adria Village to enable residents to live in a comfortable and secure environment, while encouraging individuality, independence and active participation in a broad range of cultural, social and religious activities within the village.

The Adria Village Board, management, staff and residents keep a close bond with the Croatian Embassy and even visit it once a year.

The village contains residential care for 42 residents, as well as 36 independent living villas in a landscaped environment with mature trees and gardens providing homelike and natural surroundings.

Adria Village general manager, Iva Vujica says the villa residents have their own independent community room.

She says: “They often visit with the hostel residents and have high teas together, choirs come in to perform, and they also go on outings together.”

As well as organised social programs the village provides multilingual staff, bus services, regular mass, an on-site chapel, a psychologist, podiatrist, chemist, hairdresser and pharmacist.

Adria Village also provides special care units for residents with dementia and any other special needs, and has two respite care rooms for short-term care by arrangement.

“Adria Village is located 500 metres from Cooleman Court, and bus services connect it to Woden, Civic, Belconnen and Tuggeranong town centres,” says Iva. “It’s close to everything!”

Adria Village, 89 Fremantle Drive, Stirling,, 6288 0198.

Family care for crash repairs

IN the ‘60s, because of political reasons, Marko Nazor was forced to leave Croatia and has since made Australia his home.

Marko started Marko Smash Repairs Canberra in 1982 and has been servicing Canberra since.

Marko’s son Ante says it’s important to reflect on how far Croatia’s independence has come since his dad migrated to Australia from Sumpetar, a village in Split-Dalmatia County.

The family business provides all smash repair needs from minor to major accidents, all private and custom works, as well as all insurance claims.

Marko Smash Repairs Canberra supplies and sells tyres at Mitchell Tyres & More at the front of the building, which is a subsidiary of Marko Smash Repairs.

Ante says “the service is second to none, in an industry where repair shops are becoming massive, we are still family owned and run.

Our customer service is way ahead of our competitors,” he says.

Marko Smash Repairs Canberra, 74 Hoskins Street, Mitchell. Call 6241 3088 or visit

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