A Retrospective Update — 2002 to 2008
The main source for Club information continues to be our monthly newsletter – The Southern Yarn. Editor Charlie Powell and designer Brian Hydesmith do an extraordinary job of producing this outstanding publication.
Chronologically, Club events have as their mainstay Australia Day and Waitangi Day celebrations, Five-Pin Bowling, ANZAC Day Service, the Annual Golf Tournament, Formal Dinner, Annual General Meeting, and the Christmas Party. As well, occasional events such as river boat cruises, Prairie Dog Central rail trips (steam engine), picnics and pool parties are interspersed.
During this period, the Club contributed to the Easter Seals Relay and the Tsunami Disaster Fund. Attendance at our ANZAC Day services was enhanced by Australian and New Zealand Air Force trainees at the Air Navigation School in Winnipeg and members of the Wartime Pilots’ and Observers’ Association (WPOA).
Sadly, the WPOA disbanded in 2008 and no more trainees from down under are coming to the Navigation School, so these long-standing traditions will no long continue.
When the rules governing Australian/Canadian dual citizenship were changed, many of our members also became Canadians. In 2004, we were visited by the Australian High Commissioner Tony Hely and the Senior Trade Commissioner Sally-Ann Watts from Ottawa. Later in the year, the New Zealand High Commissioner Graham Kelly also came, and the newly appointed Australian High Commissioner Bill Fisher visited us in 2006.
In August 2004, we sponsored another successful Folklorama Pavilion, which featured live entertainment by the Australian Aboriginal group Tal-Kin-Jeri and additional performances by Powerage (Tim Debenham and friends) and Up From Down Under (Jenny Gates and Gerry Gordon).
And December 2004 saw our first ever survey mailed out to members. Forty four responses provided valuable info to help move the Club forward.
September 2006 saw the start of a new newsletter series “Getting to Know …” people in our Club. So far, we have featured 26 families. [Ed: Special thanks to Gordon Keatch for taking up the challenge to showcase our membership in this way.]
At our Formal Dinner in October 2007, Life Memberships were awarded to Ken and Lea Clark, Ken and Marg Coad, Al and Millie Hansen, Terry Ryan and Faith Batt-Ryan, and Peter and Ruth Thomas.
Membership continues at a steady level and the future looks encouraging.
Gordon Keatch, July 2008
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