Tuesday 1 October 1985

Chairman's Report 1984/85 - Noel Ferguson

At the corresponding time last year our Association was preparing for the anticipated visit of a Susono contingent to participate in the 1984 Royal Show, and the level of activity was considerable. I must confess to concern over our apparent inactivity for the earlier part of this calendar year and until now. We were spoilt by the amount of effort put in by Des Dean and Graham Hoult last year, as while they have other activities demanding their attention now, nobody has come forward and stepped into the breach.

We propose to run a Dinner Dance and are hoping for an attendance of 200; its purpose is to launch a fund raising effort to assist with the proposed Japanese Garden. Frankston Council has agreed in principle to allow the northwest corner of the Civic Centre property to be the location of the garden. Your Executive decided that it would be desirable to illustrate to the Council its earnest wish to see the garden materialise in the very near future, and providing some funds was considered to be the most effective way of doing this. Negotiations are going on with S.O.F.A. over the design and construction of the garden, as it has not been possible to find somebody with the skills and expertise anywhere in Melbourne. The provision of funds by Council will be considered at its annual Estimates meeting in October.

Student Exchange

Andrew Bolwell, Fiona Smith and Kerry Jellett have returned from their year in Japan which has obviously been beneficial to them, meanwhile Simone Young and Lara Thomas were selected as the students to go to Japan in 1985 and although younger than earlier exchange students they appear to be coping quite well.

Memories of our last Annual Meeting held at the library due to the Civic Centre extensions, were not difficult to recall as we were "entertained" by our Japanese students at the time - Shigeru, Fujio and Naomi. All seem settled back home and photographs and letters suggest they are assisting Lara and Simone with their assimilation. Fujio writes often and seems intent on coming back to Australia soon, permanently if he has his way.

Applications for a 1986 visit to Japan have closed, and interviews are to be conducted within the next few weeks.

Diane Seeber was not able to continue as a Counsellor for 1985 due to an impending operation, and Pauline Orchin, one of our pioneer counsellors also chose not to continue. David Smith was willing to take on this onerous task and Des Dean volunteered to continue his involvement, and our thanks are due to each of these for the excellent fist they have made of the demanding responsibility to act as counsellors.

The gratitude of F.S.F.A. and our sister-city equivalent S.O.F.A., also goes to those families who have acted as hosts to the Japanese students and helped in no small way in the success of our exchange program.

We have Satomi Katsumata and Akemi Hada with us from Susono this year and they will be involved in this meeting later on, with a report of their experiences to date.

Mike Orchin resigned earlier this year when he and Pauline took on a mixed business in Foot Street, and I would like to record our thanks and recognise the indebtedness this Association owes to both of them for their untiring work on the Executive and as Counsellors to the students. Vic Walker volunteered to take over the Treasurer's job and we eagerly co-opted him to that position. The bulk of the workload for communication with S.O.F.A., preparing of minutes and correspondence of all description etc. is borne by Adrian Butler with the assistance of his staff, and our thanks go to them.

General Matters

As referred to earlier we were visited in September last year by a group from Susono led by Mayor Takeshi Ichikawa, and the Chairman of S.O.F.A. Mr. K. Yamaguchi (fortunately including Mr. Sugiyama, a last minute starter) and totalling 19 in the party. It was regrettable that they did not actively participate in the Royal Show as was expected, but nevertheless the trip was successful in renewing old friendships and involving our members with the Japanese visitors.

While they were here the members of S.O.F.A. invited us to send a party to Japan to visit Susono and attend a large scale Expo at Tsukuba. We attempted to arrange a visit in April this year but unsuccessfully, and similarly a postponed trip in August is not meeting with a lot of enthusiasm. I believe we owe S.O.F.A. a visit by a considerable delegation, as other than the visit by Ballam Park Technical School in August 1983, we have not been there in strength since April 1982. These organised trips are necessary and desirable for the ongoing sister-city relationship and I hope something can be organised in the not too distant future.

Mrs. Muriel Lake has offered to prepare and keep an historic record of the activities of the important Sister-City link between Frankston and Susono, and our thanks go to her for her willingness to undertake this arduous job.

Finally, a few people have done a lot of work to further our commitment to this important International-relations project, and I'm sure with the guidance and support of the committed people involved we will enjoy greater success in the coming year. Please support the Dinner Dance and the creation of the Japanese Garden, plus the other proposed activities, and ensure our Association's continuing success in its endeavours.

In September 1984 Frankston received a delegation of 20 Susono people. This delegation was led again by the Mayor Mr. Takeshi Ichikawa, accompanied by the traditional Japanese dancers troupe Nihon Buyo and coincided with the Royal Melbourne Show at which Japan was the guest nation.