Members and Contributors

Participants in the process of establishment and maintenance of Slovenian language in Victoria

Joe Abiuso (Principal VSL)
Headmaster of SSML from 1984-1992. A teacher of Italian by profession, he saw took over the school at the time of greatest growth. He established the SSML Advisory School Council and worked towards the establishement of a representative school council.
Bojan Ažman
Web developer and graphic designer working in Ljubljana Slovenia. He arrived in Melbourne in 1998 and returned to Slovenia in 2002. He was a founding member of ISSV Inc. and web developer of, and one of the three Thezaurus project developers from 1998 to 2004. He continues as webmaster and developer of

P. Bizilj (sub-committee for VISE accreditation)

A senior lecturer at RMIT at the time, he agreed to participate in the VISE sub-committee for accreditation of Slovenian as HSC subject in 1979/1980.

Marija Bosnič (teacher, Slovenian Review Committee)
A science teacher at Footscray Girls High School, taught Slovenian at university High School Centre from 1978 to 1982. She has been from its beginnings a member of STAV. When HSC VISE Slovenian course was to be reviewed in 1983, she participated as member of Slovenian HSC Review Committee.

Ciril Božič OFM

A member of Slovenian Franciscan mission to Australia, he spent 10 years  1982 – 1992 as priest and active member of Slovenian community in Sydney. In 2001 he returned to Australia, and took over as Head of the Slovenian Franciscan Mission in Melbourne and Chief Editor of the journal Misli/Thoughts.
He gave active support to cultural activities, such as Sunday school and annual cultural festivals which included the youngest members of Slovenian community.
His support and assistance particularly at the time 25 Anniversary of Slovenian in Australian school system in 2003, was significant and contributed greatly to its success.

Aleksandra L Ceferin (BA, MA, Dip.Ed)

As qualified language teacher (German and Slovenian), A. L. Ceferin was the founding President of STAV and ISSV Inc. She introduced Slovenian in SSML/VSL as an accredited elective subject in the state school system and initiated the accreditation process as a HSC/VCE subject.
Since 1976 she maintained Slovenian language through several reforms of the state school system, developing course outlines and inducting teachers. As course developer A.L. Ceferin developed several Slovenian Course Outlines at secondary level since 1992.
In 1998 she founded together with Bojan Ažman and Sandi Ceferin the Institute for Slovenian Studies of Victoria Inc., a broadened version of STAV, in response to the changes in education due particularly to the advent of Information Technology. The main and focal project of ISSV became the web node, which was first supported by the Ministry of Education of Victoria, and later by the Ministry for Culture and Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Republic of Slovenia.

Drago Ceferin (STAV Committee for organization and public relations, emergency teacher)

Drago Ceferin recruited students, prepared class lists for submissions, spoke to parents, organized meetings of  STAV,  SLTSPAV and Slovenian Arts Society. He organized ordering and delivery of school books and was responsible for public relations with Slovenian community in Australia and around the world and Australian authorities. He acted as emergency teacher and organized replacement. He was also instrumental in providing information and facilitating funding for ethnic schools and libraries.
Sandi Ceferin (teacher, VCE Assessor, curriculum developer)
Member of STAV, teacher of Slovenian at Saturday School of Modern languages from 1977-1980, and again from 1992-2003. Sandi is author of Slovenian curriculum programs for multilevel classroom teaching, including the most recent publication Slovenian CSF and VCE Course Outlines (Levels 1 do 10). In the nineties she has also been VCE assessor and reviewer, and participated in the preparation of the VCE Slovenian Study Design, published in 2002 by VCAA. As member of Institute for Slovenian Studies of Victoria and teacher of Slovenian at VSL, she has helped organize the first student exchange with Slovenia.
She is one of the three members of  ISSV, who have initiated, developed and maintained Thezaurus projects.

David Cockroft, a senior teacher of Latin and Acting Headmaster SSML
When A Ceferin first approached the school regarding the introduction of Slovenian language as an elective subject, David Cockroft was Acting Headmaster of Saturday School of Modern Languages in place of Stefan Kasarik, who was on leave at the time. He provided all the necessary information regarding the conditions of entry: a prepared syllabus for two levels, list of reference books and teaching materials, a list of students with address and name of day school, and a list of appropriately qualified teachers, as well as emergency teachers.
These requirements were fulfilled by September 1976 and six Slovenian classes (140 students) were given the go-ahead for 1977 at three centres: University High School, Box Hill High School and Maribyrnong High School.

Greg B. Cornish, VISE (Liaison Officer, Curriculum and Assessment Branch)
VISE HSC Committee for Slovenian. Greg Cornish corresponded with Aleksandra Ceferin regarding the accreditation of Slovenian language as a Higher School Certificate subject from 1978. Then and in subsequent years, he was involved in the accreditation of new VISE subject and re-accreditation of established HSC subjects. He organized the Committee, which included qualified speakers and teachers of Slovenian, representatives of Slavic Department of Melbourne University, education expert and VISE. An initial submission by Aleksandra Ceferin was produced according to a prescribed plan for the new VISE subjects and the committee worked through it in order to produce the first VISE subject.

Lidija Čušin
From 1974 a teacher of Slovenian in Geelong Slovenian club, teaching younger children to read and write Slovenian, recite and sing, and preparing them for performances in cultural events. She was an active STAV member from 1976 and also taught Slovenian in SSML, Geelong High School Centre, when Slovenian was offered in Geelong. She remains an active cultural worker, organizing public events, and producing plays for Slovenian community and the broader Australian public. She also participates in activities and initiatives of the ISSV Inc, providing valuable support.

Dr. P.V.Cubberley
Senior Lecturer, Slavic Dept. Melbourne Uni.(Committee for HSC Slovenian). He participated in the VISE Committee for Accreditation of Slovenian.

Prof. R. G. A. DeBray (Consultant for Slovenian NSW)
Recognized as the greatest authority on Slavic languages in the English-speaking world, known particularly for his definitive book on Slavic languages. He established the Russian Department at Monash University and later held the Slavic Department Chair at ANU, Canberra. Together with Prof. Jiri Marvan (Monash University) and Aleksandra Ceferin (Course Developer VISE) he was appointed consultant in the accreditation of Slovenian language in Sydney in 1978.

Berta Dolinar (SIM)
Liaison at Slovenska Izseljenska Matica in Ljubljana was for Slovenes around the world the human face of Matica. Her area of responsibility was to keep contact with individuals and organizations around the world and particularly to take care of their needs in regard to books, videos, and audio materials. For many she had become the friend to visit in Ljubljana, offering the hospitality of warmth, coffee and delicious Slovenian fruit juices. She understood the needs particularly of teachers and made sure that they received the books and other cultural materials that they needed in their teaching and cultural activities.

Prof. A. J. Dunston (Chairman for HSC NSW)
He was responsible for the accreditation of Slovenian and other languages when the system was being set up in New South Wales. He established contact with Aleksandra Ceferin through the Saturday School of Languages and Prof . Jiri Marvan, and held several meetings with her in Melbourne and Sydney. Aleksandra Ceferin prepared a submission for Slovenian language to serve as a basis for accreditation and was appointed HSC assessor for the year 1979.

Gil Freeman (Principal VSL)
He took over  as Principal of Victorian School of Languages in 1990 and initiated a fundamental reform, including administrative restructuring of the school, which had grown to 14,000 students and 700 staff, professional development, and curriculum reform. Aleksandra Ceferin had successfully applied for a managerial position at the school in 1991 and participated in professional and curriculum development of the schools 40 languages. Between 1991 and 2003 a series of  Slovenian CSF and VCE Course Outlines were produced which in most cases served as model for development of other languages. Gil Freeman retired in 1995.

Draga Gelt (teacher)
Draga Gelt was qualified as primary school teacher in Slovenia, Draga became involved in all the cultural activities first at the Religious and Cultural Centre, then at The Slovenian Association Melbourne. She became a STAV member in 1976 and class teacher of Slovenian in Box Hill High School Centre in 1977. Later she taught Slovenian in Dandenong High School, when the class was offered at that centre.
Today she is teaching Slovenian fortnightly adult classes in the Slovenian Religious and Cultural Centre in Kew, Melbourne.
She has published several work-books for Slovenian beginners at pre-school and primary level and a grammar and work- book for adults.
She has also produced a history of Slovenes in English and several books of poetry.

Prof Edi Gobec
Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Kent State University in USA, is a founder and director of SRCA (Slovenian Research Center of America Inc.) and the author of Slovenian Heritage (1980), to mention just one of his publications. He has also published a Slovenian course- and workbook for English speakers in USA. Slovenian Manual I and II  has been used since 1977 at the secondary level in Victorian School of Languages, and proved an invaluable resource.

Tone Gorjup OFM
Franciscan priest, arrived in Melbourne in 1986 and finally left in 1996. He took responsibility for youth programs, such as youth concerts, and established the youth choir Glasniki – he was involved in a number of cultural activities, and actively supported the teaching of Slovenian – at the Religious and Cultural Centre Melbourne and at the Victorian School of Languages. He was responsible for acquisition of books, videos and CDs/cassettes for the Baraga library and for the Slovenian radio program 3ZZZ, which he initiated and coordinated for several years.  He was also actively involved in activities of STAV and acted as emergency teacher of Slovenian at VSL. He has since left the Franciscan Order but is now active on Radio Ognjišče and is regular contributor to the Slovenian Australian monthly journal Misli.

Magda Hribar

A qualified primary school teacher, taught Slovenian in Marybyrnong High School Centre for several years. Over the years she also taught at the Slovenian association Jadran.

Vesna Iskra (teacher)

A member of STAV, and qualified language teacher in the secondary school system, Vesna taught Slovenian classes from 1977 to 1981.

Prof . Martin Jevnikar (readers)
Professor of Slovenian at the Udine University, Italy, and before that one of the group of professors, who established Slovenian secondary schools, which still operate today, in the Triest area since 1945, and published the necessary Slovenian study texts. Prof . Jevnikar was approached regarding the readers and work-books, and was most helpful in purchasing and shipping class sets of lower secondary readers for the three SSML centres. His assistance was particularly valued, since we would not be able to use school texts, which displayed communist ikons and flag.

Štefan Kasarik (Principal VSL)
The Principal of Saturday School of Modern Languages in 1976 and till 1984, a Slovak by birth, Štefan Kasarik was both helpful and sympathetic. He was a member of the VISE Review Sub-Committee for Slovenian language in 1983, when the process of the first review of Slovenian HSC course was undertaken.

Prof. Jiri Marvan
Prof. Jiri Marvan was Chairman of the Russian Department at Monash University in 1976, and in that capacity served also as Chairman of Balto-Slavonic Languages Committee at VUSEB/VISE). A Czech by nationality, he expanded the Russian Department to include other Slavic languages. In 1976, under the existing VUSEB system it was his responsibility to approve languages as HSC subject and assess the capability of language providers to administer the subject at that level. Examination. He was both sympathetic and helpful in the case of Slovenian, and the accreditation proceeded smoothly, both in Victoria and in NSW, due to a large extent to his recommendation and positive attitude.

Frank Merlino (Principal VSL)
Frank was a teacher of Italian and English, taught in SSML, was appointed Supervisor of a SSML Centre, then Assistant Principal. Author of the book Ailanto, he was appointed Principal of VSL in 1995. Like previous Principals he was concerned with the community groups and languages that formed part of the VSL, which now numbered 14,000 students, at 34 centres across Victoria, and about 700 staff. He was always very helpful in regard to any issues concerning Slovenian.

Viki Mrak (VCE teacher, VCE Assessor)
A building Engineer by profession and working in Melbourne for many years as a Work Care Manager at the Victoria State Police. Viki Mrak, who was  motivated mainly by the necessity to provide a Slovenian language and cultural environment for her two growing sons, taught folk-dancing and Slovenian language from 1980 at the Slovenian Religious and Cultural Centre in Kew, Melbourne. She was appointed teacher of Slovenian at the Victorian School of Languages in 1987 and taught there till 1996, last six years as VCE teacher. Since then she has acted VCE assessor and VCE reviewer.

Jožica Paddle-Ledinek (teacher, VCE Assessor)
She is a research scientist biologist and director of the laboratory growing skin for burn damage at Monash University.  A teacher of senior classes of Slovenian from 1978 to 1984 and HSC from 1981, and an active member of STAV and ISSV, Mrs. Paddle-Ledinek remains involved in the process of teaching Slovenian particularly as assessor of VCE Slovenian.

Pavel Šraj (VCE teacher)
A teacher of history and music with Slovenian qualifications, Pavel is a music teacher, has been involved in Slovenian radio programs and preparation of cultural programs, particularly at Slovenian Religious and Cultural Centre Melbourne. Pavel taught VCE Slovenian in the Victorian School of Languages from 1996 to 2001. Two of his students, Pavel Šraj and Sanel Falan were awarded a top Scorers VCE Award in 1998.

Lucija Srnec
A teacher with Slovenian qualifications, has been a cultural worker and teacher, intensively involved in all the cultural activities of the club Planica and STAV since the seventies. She has the distinction of having established in 1974 the first Slovenian classes at the club Planica and has been the head teacher and cultural worker at the club Planica now for thirty years. She has also taught classes and participated in cultural events at the Slovenian Religious and Cultural Centre in Melbourne. In 1976 she became a member of STAV and taught classes from 1977 to 2005 with a few interruptions in the Victorian School of Languages.

Bazilij Valentin OFM 
A priest of Franciscan Order, pf Basil Valentin arrived in Melbourne from USA, and took under his spiritual care Slovenes in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. He left as part of his  work an enormous inheritance. In 1960 he established Baraga House as Hostel for young Slovenian men, bit also men of other nationalities. The first class of Slovenian was offered in the context of this establishment by he first of his “boys”, Joe Kapusin. Slovenian classes and performances by children became sa feature and a tradition of the Slovenian Religious and Cultural Centre, consisting of the Church of St.Cyril and Methodius and Hall, the Baraga Library and the Office of Misli, the Slovenian journal, which had begun in Sydney in 1952. Beside strongly encouraging the classes and cultural activities aimed at maintenance of Slovenian language, F. Basil provided a great deal of active support for the establishment of Slovenian in Australian school system, in providing contacts, publicising enrolment in Misli and assisting with the distribution of the Slovenian Language Manual (publ. by Edi Gobetz in USA) through the Baraga Library.
Fr. Basil Valentin died suddenly in 1997, leaving behind him a remembrance of a life’s work.
Dr. Peter Vencelj (Office for Slovenes Abroad)
He was appointed State Secretary of Office of Slovenes Abroad at the time of Slovenia’s independence. A science teacher by profession, he was particularly interested in education and maintenance of Slovenian language among Slovenes abroad.
It was most likely his initiative that annual Seminars for teachers of Slovenian abroad were instituted. Teachers were introduced to most recent teaching materials, received a course of lectures on Slovenian culture and were taken to places of significance around Slovenia and across its borders.

Natasha Vincent Mejač (RMIT, Head of Arts and Crafts Department)

Natasha taught junior Slovenian class at University High School for 10 years, with great commitment to students and the work of STAV and Slovenian Arts Society

G.P Withers (education, VISE Committee for HSC Slovenian)
A member of the committee for accreditation of Slovenian as VISE HSC subject, G.P. Withers represented the theoretical knowledge of the up-to-date educational philosophy.

Stanko Zemljak OFM (STAV Committee)

A Franciscan priest, who worked within the Slovenian community in Melbourne from 1969 to 1980. He worked particularly with the youth and initiated the first youth choir and Australian Slovenian youth festivals. He strongly supported and for a time taught in Slovenian classes at the Baraga House Centre. It was his approach to Aleksandra Ceferin, asking whether she could do anything about Higher School Certificate Accreditation for Slovenian language, that provided the initial impetus and led to her involvement in accreditation and introduction of Slovenian as a school subject in Victoria. Till Stanko Zemljek left Australia he was a supportive member of STAV. 

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