The Australian Zoroastrian Association of New South Wales had its humble beginnings in the early 1970s when the number of Zoroastrians in Sydney were estimated to be only seventy five.
An association was started in 1970 named the Australian Zoroastrian Association (AZA) with a constitution and it was registered under the Charitable Donations Acts of New South Wales. At that time Zoroastrian families settled in Sydney met occasionally at each other’s houses for dinners. A family’s home was used for social functions and committee meetings. The association started its first newsletter in 1976. The first recorded discussion of a Sunday school is in a Newsletter dated 1 December 1976.
Initially, the objectives of the families to meet were social, but there was also a growing concern about passing down the heritage, culture and tradition of the Zoroastrian community to the younger generation. Therefore, there were early discussions for a congregation house and in 1978 the idea to have ‘a place of our own’ was conceived. The collection of funds for this purpose then commenced.
It was inevitably difficult to raise sufficient funds to buy the land and a suitable building. After many years of fundraising activities by the members as well as a substantial donation from Nawzer and Akhtar Ostowari, in 1985 the Association was able to purchase five acres of land with a house in Annangrove, New South Wales.
It was over the course of the following years which saw the development of the property into what is now the Darbe Meher we see today. Both, through the numerous hours of selfless voluntary work by our members as well as through further donations from our generous benefactors, namely, Arbab Rustom Banoo Morvarid Guiv Trust, as well as the Zarthosty Brothers Trust the property was developed and the Darbe Mehr was finally completed in July 1994.
The building was named Arbab Rustom & Morvarid Guiv Darbe Meher.
The selfless service and complete dedication of our Mobeds, Working Bee and various Committees (Seniors, Sunday School) throughout the history of the AZA help preserve the sanctity of the property and carry out religious duties for our community. The AZA and Darbe Meher has flourished over the years through this collective contribution of our members.
Today, the Australian Zoroastrian Association of NSW is an incorporated association under the Associations Incorporation Act of New South Wales. The much-loved Darbe Meher is a place where the community comes together to be part of social and religious gatherings, such as weddings, navjote ceremonies, jashans and other Zoroastrian festivals. It is also the place where our younger generations come together every month for Sunday school as well as many social events and functions for our youth and senior members. The AZA currently has over 500 members.