Earlier this month, 95% of Darra citizens agreed to the Municipality’s suggestion of having the local public park’s name changed in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland in Australia.
This park was named “Shafik Torbey Park” because the city’s citizens wanted to honor a Lebanese man who left a big positive imprint on the state as well as in the people’s hearts.
Shafik Tarabay was born in Deir el Ahmar in Lebanon in 1925, before migrating to Australia in 1952.
He lived in Sidney till 1959, then moved to Brisbane where his charity and social work positively impacted both the Lebanese and the Australian communities. He was an ambassador of Lebanese generosity and hospitality.
Even though Shafik’s career was a big success in Australia being a store owner, he remained loyal to his origins and to his fellow Lebanese-Australians throughout his lifetime, and until his death in 2018, at 93 of age.
In fact, one of Tarabay’s 7 children, lawyer Anthony Tarabay, is the Honorary Consul in Queensland. Shafik met his wife abroad, the Australian-born Joanne Khoury, a Lebanese from the north.
Those who were acquainted with Shafik Tarabay would say that his good and humanitarian work was limitless.
He always looked after the Lebanese community in Australia, provided a lot of people with scholarships, and was an active member for 50 years in the Mar Mansour De Paul Charitable Society.
Wait, we’re nowhere near done yet. Shafik had a major role in activating the social and sports club ‘Cemento Club’ in Darra, in addition to being elected several times as a member of the Municipal Council of the Darra district in the western suburbs of Brisbane.
Shafik was the first president of the Lebanese Australian Association in Queensland and won the Order of Australia medal in 1988.
For all of those reasons, Mr. Mathew Bourke took the initiative to honor Shafik Tarabay’s life and death. With the help of the council, he named the city’s public park after this admirable man.
Shafik never forgot his Lebanese traditions and manners, as his son says: “My father always told me about his house that was kept open in Deir El-Ahmar, and he insisted that his house here in Queensland also remains open to the people and the community.”
In a celebration attended by more than 150 people from all political and religious sects, as well as members of the community, the curtains dropped to reveal the park’s new name: Shafik Torbey Park
Shafik Torbey, a person who gave so much to Lebanon and Australia, and who never gave up on his origins nor on his good nature and humanitarian drive, shall be always remembered for generations to come.