Monday 1 October 1984

Chairman's Report 1983/84 - Noel Ferguson

The Association has undergone a change during the last 12 months as a response to the constructive suggestions and criticisms of its previous lack of involvement for its broader membership.

Membership numbers are quite healthy, as can be seen from the details supplied by our Treasurer and Membership Co-ordinator, Mike Orchin, but numerically considerably less than the membership of the equivalent Japanese organisation - S.O.F.A.

Financially also, as reported by Mike, we are in good shape; this is due to receipt of part of the funds received in conjunction with the sale of the Richard Linton "Olivers Hill" print - in addition to membership subscriptions. Perhaps again our friends in Susono may have given us a lead on the finance side of things with the creation of a substantial fund to be known as the Foundation for Youth Exchange.

The Executive held joint meetings with the Student Exchange Sub-Committee, which includes Ron Jellett, Sue Bollard, Sue McCall, Bob Morphett, Pauline Orchin, Steve Walker, Alison Owen and David Louden. There has been a high level of involvement by both Committees and the dual meetings have been a means of cutting down the workload of those involved.

Recognition should also be given to the Town Clerk's staff, particularly Veronica Ferguson for her efforts on the Association's behalf.

Ballam Park Technical School Band and Orchestra

Reference needs to be made to this activity, despite everybody being well aware of the details, mainly due to the size of the contingent that visited Japan in late July/early August 1983 and the obvious success of the venture for all who were involved. The impact and significance of the trip will, I believe, be present for many years and other benefits will manifest themselves in the times ahead.

Congratulations to all at the school for their resourcefulness and dedication and of course thanks to the citizens of Susono for their part in acting as warm and wonderful hosts.

Student Exchange

It would be obvious to all that at present the main preoccupation of F.S.F.A. is the student exchange program, the order of the events over the last 12 months being as follows:

·         September 1983 - 3 students, Andrew Bolwell (Frankston High), Kerry Jellett (Ballam Park Tech) and Fiona Smith (John Paul College), were chosen and subsequently left for Susono in February, 1984, where they are now entrenched in their school work and new way of life. The Association donated blazers to the students to fit them out suitably as Ambassadors for us.
·         December 1983 - our first students, Julie Lay and Andrew Grigor, returned to Frankston from their visit.
·         February 1984 - We said farewell to Junko, Eiko and Chiho as they returned to Susono after being with us for 1 year.
·         March 1984 - 3 new students arrived and were welcomed - Shigeru Maruko (attending Mount Eliza High), Fujio Sanada (Ballam Park Tech) and Naomi Katsumata (Toorak College).

Their counsellors Diane Seeber (Fujio), Pauline Orchin (Naomi) and Des Dean (Shigeru) are entitled to a special mention as theirs is an onerous task, often very time consuming, and they play a large part in the success of the visit of the students. They are supported by the families who are prepared to act as hosts and we thank those families who were involved in 1983 and early 1984 and those "parents" who are presently assisting us. David Louden declined to be a counsellor this year after taking on the role in 1983 and should be thanked along with Des and Pauline who have continued on, and our new mum Diane.

Japanese Language and Culture Classes

An innovative idea of Des Dean and Graham Hoult has been most successful and well supported by many members. A range of activities have taken place including learning some basic phrases in Japanese (thanks to Sue McCall), films, Living in Japan talk by Kymme Livingstone and a visit to a Japanese restaurant.  John Paul College has been kind in making its facilities available for which we are grateful. It is intended to extend this facet of our activities with a view to broadening the members' appreciation and understanding of things Japanese.

Public Relations/Newsletter

Don Reeves has continued to use his professional skills to ensure the community is aware of our activities through the local papers and in addition is now working with Graham Hoult to produce a regular newsletter. We are producing a Susono edition of the newsletter for dispatch to Japan, to maintain our communication with them and keep them informed of what we are doing.

General Matters

During the year the Executive proceeded with the striking of a badge in the form of our logo, and the first order of 100 is almost sold. Stocks have since been replenished by the purchase of a further 100.

The Azalea Garden matter was taken up with Frankston Council suggesting that if the Theatre/Function Centre proceeds, that they consider devoting some space to the garden.  

As this facility is still in the infancy of its planning stages the Council has now sought our views in the provision of the garden at the Civic Centre in conjunction with the landscaping following the present extensions. We hope the Council will seek a meeting with a talented Japanese, Mr. Akira Takizana, who has indicated an interest in the project.

We were pleased to be involved with the welcome for the visit of 12 members of the Shizuoka Prefectural Assembly headed by Mr. Yuji Nakamura in October 1983 - a short but pleasant trip to Frankston.

It is disappointing (and frustrating) that we have not received a response from Susono to an invitation we extended to them to be involved with a Japanese theme to be part of the Royal Melbourne Show in September this year. We first wrote to Susono late last year and on a recent trip to Japan, Rogan and Diana Ward reiterated our desire and willingness to host a large delegation and be involved in this activity with them. We went so far as to enlist the Federal Government's assistance (via Mr. Bill Hayden) to apply subtle pressure through the Australian Embassy in Tokyo.

The latest we have heard is that there is a strong community desire to come, but hesitancy at the top, presumably for financial reasons.

Finally, I have to report that we have lost two people vitally involved in our Sister City relationship; firstly Barry Cameron who passed away late in December, and Sir Phillip Lynch, who played a significant role from the beginning of the link, passed away in June 1984.

As I mentioned at the outset of this report, the activities of F.S.F.A. have changed over the last year to provide more involvement on a continuing basis for its members, and it is now up to you to respond to these initiatives and ensure the further success of the organisation.

In October 1983 Frankston received a visit from a 12-member parliamentary delegation which included the Member for Susono Mr. Yuji Nakamura who had been to Frankston on an earlier trip. The then Mayor Cr. Heikki Mamers welcomed the delegation to the City and entertained them to lunch prior to them visiting some of our schools and Yazaki Australia Pty. Ltd. in Seaford.

Ex-Mayor Rogan Ward and his wife Diana were in Susono from May 7 to 10 1984, and had discussions with the Susono Overseas Friendship Association concerning various aspects of the Sister City relationship, and in particular the student exchange program.