FAANT : The Beginning

A small group of professional Filipinos formed the Filipino Association of the Northern Territory (FAANT) in October 1973, with John Rivas, (first President) and Nicanor Pagsanjan (Vice President), Elena Javier (Secretary) and Lilia Marquez (Treasurer). The Office Bearers were inducted to office by the late Darwin Mayor, Tiger Brennan, at a function at the residence of Lino and Cynthia Molina, Parer Drive, Wagaman. (NT News, 1974)

Cyclone Tracy disrupted the activities of the Association. Many Filipino families were displaced to other places in Australia for a considerable length of time as a result. Upon their return to Darwin, many spent their time rebuilding their lives as a priority. The group re-gathered in 1975 to host the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day celebration in a function aptly called “Filipino Night” at the St. Paul Primary School assembly. As a precedent to future celebrations, the function was aimed to promote Filipino customs and traditions to the wider community.

The growing number of Filipino-Australian intermarriages was the basis for the change of the name of the Association to what it is known today as Filipino Australian Association of the Northern Territory (FAANT) to accommodate Australian spouses. FAANT became an incorporated body when Elena Ralph was its first President in 1977. Felicitas Milan facilitated the application of FAANT to become an incorporated ethnic organisation.

Since its inception in 1973, FAANT has gained a reputation as a well-recognized ethnic body in the Northern Territory. FAANT was granted a piece of land at the corner of Amy Johnson Avenue and Batten Road in Marrara, NT where the Filipino Community Centre is located. A small building was constructed in the premises at Batten Road but proved to be too small to hold the increasing number of cultural functions and the increasing Filipino Australian population. In short span of time, a larger community hall was constructed through the major fundraising program of the Association and through further grant assistance from the NT Government.