Queen's Birthday Honours: Romola Sebastianpillai, OAM

Romola Sebastianpillai honoured with OAM for her charitable activities

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Mother Teresa’s famous quote, “Do small things with great love,” best describes the life of Darwin’s Romola Marie Sebastianpillai.
“I am honoured and humbled to get this prestigious award,” says Romola, who has been living in Darwin ever since she and her family migrated to Australia in 1977.

A native of Sri Lanka, Romola recollects that her early years in Darwin revolved solely around raising her two daughters. But soon she began to volunteer at a few organisations as she felt the need to assimilate into the Australian society and give back to the country for providing her family the best of everything.
Romola started off with the Darwin Film Society as a Secretary, and soon she joined a public speaking club to hone her skills and train migrants who wanted to learn this skill to get on in this society. Her ability to constantly learn new things yet find time to help and train others didn’t go unnoticed and she was duly elected President of the Society, a post she held for many years.
Around the same time, she also joined Cancer Council of the Northern Territory as a volunteer. “Both my parents died of cancer and I felt this was a good way of paying respects to my parents,” she recalled. Romola worked as the volunteer Roster Coordinator for many years in the Council and she also had volunteers working under her on projects raising funds to help patients suffering from the disease. For her unwavering dedication, constant efforts and services, she was awarded with a Life Membership by the Council.
Romola’s zest for life is an inspiration to us all. In spite of having her hands full, she joined a community based not-for-profit Irish dance school, Rince Na H’Eireann Darwin Irish Association. Speaking to Indian Link, she reminisced about her younger days in Sri Lanka where she had learnt this dance form while at school.
Romola thought it would be a good way of pursuing her passion for dance along with helping other dancers take an interest in this culture and gain confidence in their personal lives. Her excellent leadership qualities once again came to the fore, and she was made President of the group which is currently a thriving institution in the Territory.
She was also a recipient of the Fair Go Medal, Pride of Australia, 2015 for her outstanding contributions to the community.
Romola’s message to the youth of this country is that volunteering leads to happiness in many ways.
“You learn to give back to society what you have gained out of it. I am a very happy, contented woman by doing what I have done for the past 35 years. I encourage all young people to give a little bit of their time to the community and feel a sense of gratification in it.”
When asked about her future plans, Romola said “My main aim is to help anyone in need. I am in good health as I take good care of myself and have exercised regularly for the past 30 years. I hope to continue working with the Cancer Council of the Northern Territory and also play a leading role in the Irish Dance School which is really close to my heart.”
And all this, while she plays doting grandma to her three adorable grandchildren, Callum, Serena and little Bella.

- Advertisement -

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

  Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

  To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic death...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

TiE at Nazaarey wines

TiE Melbourne: developing conscious entrepreneurs

  When Prakash Gupta and his wife Seema migrated to Australia in 2000 as skilled professionals, they were in search of job opportunities. They felt...
b'desh art org qagoma

South Asian artists in QAGOMA’s Asia Pacific Triennial

  In the 10th edition of QAGOMA's Asia Pacific Triennial (APT10), the exhibition hopes to look to the future of art and the world we...

Saahil Bhargava pays homage to Aussie rock band Karnivool

  Fresh off his debut EP released back in August, LA-based singer-songwriter Saahil Bhargava has unveiled what he’s dubbed an “homage” to one of Australia’s...
argyle street parramatta

Police investigate armed robbery at Parramatta jewellery store

  NSW Police are appealing for assistance to locate a vehicle following an armed robbery at a jewellery store at Parramatta. At around 2:35 PM on...
pratham girls

#LightALife: Pratham Australia raises $20k this Diwali

  It started off with a simple concept: for every $20 donation, a diya was lit this Diwali. And for every 25 diyas, adding up...