Category Archives: Australia

“The Aussie Firefighters”

Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

Kudos to DUCW member Charlie Powell for penning and posting this ode to the Aussie firefighters currently battling the blazes in Australia.

Although some rain has fallen – a gift from Mother Nature on Christmas Day, perhaps? – the fires are not out yet, and the firefighters still need your help.

If you would like to donate, The Guardian has provided a list of the best ways to contribute to the firefighting and recovery effort.

Good on ya, Charlie!

The Aussie Firefighters (to the tune: Lili Marlene)

Here’s to the men and women battling ev’ry blaze
Haven’t slept at home in over 40 days
Can’t think of quitting, can’t turn their backs,
Can’t see an end, and can’t relax –
They are the Firefighters down in Australia.

There’s graziers and farmers and the city folk
Can’t tell the difff’rence peering thru this smoke
They-just-want-to-keep the fires at bay,
and so we pray it’ll rain one day –
They are the Firefighters down in Australia.

And Mates have come to join them from way across the pond
Kiwis and Canadians – they’ve struck up quite a bond
They’ll fight together, beat this thing
While embers sting, we all can sing –
They are the Firefighters down in Australia.

Sunsets look so pretty, don’t they through the haze
But not so very pleasant when breathing it for days
Can’t get no respite, this flamin’ thief!
There’s no relief, so says their Chief.
They are the Firefighters down in Australia.

While you enjoy your beaches and frolic in the surf
Or hit that little golfball and chase it ‘cross the turf
At shopping mall or tennis court
Please spare a thought, don’t leave them short.
They are the Firefighters down in Australia.

All across the country, from Brisbane ‘round to Perth
Never seen the likes of it anywhere on Earth!
Climate change or just a phase – quite the big debate
Please just donate* and help your mate!
They are the Firefighters down in Australia.

Charlie – in Winnipeg – December 21, 2019

Yarn Dec 2019 – Jan 2020

The December-January edition of The Southern Yarn bridges the start of a new decade as we enter 2020. We’ve got reports on the not-so-formal dinner, the AGM, the Christmas party, and other club events, Give it a read, and we look forward to seeing you all next year. 

And here are some photos from the Christmas party that we could not fit into the Yarn.

Enjoy the photos.

Continue reading

It’s Almost Time for the AFL Finals

Calling all fans of the AFL. The Winnipeg Bears is hosting the 5th Annual Grand Final Night Winnipeg at Boston Pizza Henderson, 1475 Henderson Hwy, on Friday September 27.

The event gets underway around 9:30 pm and will go until 2:00 am.

The Aussie Rules football grand final is the biggest event on the Australian Sporting Calendar, and will be broadcast live from Melbourne.

Our venue for the night will have the large projector screen going, with all the pre-game live music, and a rousing rendition of the Australian national anthem. Can we top last year’s effort?!?!

And not only is it fishbowl Friday, but we can double dip with the Bombers Home game being played earlier in the night!

Get excited, and see you at BP Henderson!

Thank you, Gordon Keatch

The following words were shared on behalf of all the members of the DUCW at the memorial reception for Gord on Thursday August 8. Twenty four Club members attended the service to say farewell and thank you to our dear friend.

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Ah Gordon, you were the best mate any of us could ever hope for, especially those of us in the Down Under Club of Winnipeg.

We loved your kind and generous heart, your wit and wisdom, and your willingness to step up whenever anything needed to be done. You were our friend, mentor and sage, and despite umpteen years as a Canadian citizen, you were still a fair dinkum Aussie through and through. You loved the AFL, cricket, lamingtons, pavlova, the Australian anthem, and wearing a kangaroo embroidered baseball cap. You still even had your accent, and you loved the Down Under Club.

As co-founder of the Club and president for 49 years, you guided us from humble beginnings getting together in people’s basements over beer, wine and chips, to an active group of Aussies, Kiwis and Canucks meeting regularly at the Scandinavian Cultural Centre over beer, wine and chips. Continue reading

Farewell to our best mate, Gordon Keatch

It is with a heavy heart that we say farewell to our dear friend and best mate Gordon Keatch who, at age 95, passed away on June 25, 2019, after a fall at home. Gord was recovering in emergency for a few days and settling into an assisted living facility before he died.

Gord is survived by his sons, Ron (Janice) and Don (Sheila), grandchildren, Allison (Klaas), Erin (Patrick) and Michael (Gemma), and great-grandchildren, Ethan, Liam, Iris, Olivia and Mia. He was predeceased by his infant grandson Graham in 1977 and his wife Anne in 2007.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Gord joined the Australian Air Force at age 18 and came to Winnipeg to train as a wireless operator. He met Anne during that time and they were married in Australia after the war ended. In 1949 they returned to Winnipeg where Gord started his business career.

He became Secretary Treasurer of Kipp Kelly Limited and enjoyed many years with this successful Winnipeg-based manufacturer and distributor, retiring in 1983. During that time, he served two terms as Trustee of the St. James School Division, followed by a term as Councillor for the City of St. James. He was a founder of the Down Under Club in 1950, greatly enjoyed his association, and was the last of the original members.

Gord was an avid golfer and had a long association with Niakwa Country Club, including serving as President. He and Anne enjoyed many winters travelling, particularly to Hawaii. Gordon had a special affinity for the theatre. He was President of MTC and a long-time supporter right up to the time of his passing.

Gordie was a Sinatra fan. As Ol’ Blues Eyes said, “I did it my way.”

In lieu of a funeral service, there will be a memorial reception for Gord on Thursday, August 8, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club, 275 Stradbrook Ave.
Flowers are gratefully declined, but if you would like, a donation to the Manitoba Theatre Centre, 174 Market Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3B 0P8, would be very much appreciated.

Thank you, Gord, for your friendship, your unique sense of humour and wit, your kind and welcoming nature, your commitment to the DUCW, and your generous spirit that bound us all together. We love you and we miss you. Rest easy, mate.