Tuesday, 1 October 2002

Chairman's Report 2001/2

I am here tonight to report on a wonderful year for our Association. A year, in which we celebrated, travelled and renewed acquaintances. It has been a pleasure and honour to preside over such a momentous year. Thank you to all the members of the Association Executive for their damned hard work, help, support and friendship. I include our own Bev Harris as the Council Liaison Officer.

We welcomed back Phil Barber. Phil has taken charge of our Web site and is the editor of our newsletter.

It all started in August last year when preparations were being made for the trip to Japan in October. We held a number of briefing sessions for the participants. Itineraries were being finalised; booking being made and numerous emails were going back and forth to Japan.

Steve and Vic Walker and Bev Harris attended the Sister City Association Conference in Bunbury/Busselton in Western Australia from 30 September to 3 October 2001. We won an award for Best Single Project. The next conference is in Bendigo from 18 to 21 October. We will be sending representatives and having a display at the conference. Steve Walker has submitted an entry for the major award.

By October our tour party included the Mayor Cathy Wilson, Councillors Priestley, Fuller and Parkin, CEO Jon Edwards, Student Musicians from Frankston High School and Karingal Park Secondary College, Members of FSFA and Community Representatives. A total of 34 people from Frankston City on our goodwill tour to Japan. The occasion was the celebration of 20 years of sister city relationship between Frankston and Susono, the 30th anniversary of Susono as a city and the Australian Cultural Fair. These celebration of these three events were held simultaneously on the weekend of the 20th and 21st of October 2001 in Susono Japan.

The student musicians and teachers trip was made possible by contributions from the Susono Overseas Friendship Association, Frankston Council and the Schools. The students were about to perform at a number of events while at Susono including before auditorium of local politicians.

14 of the party were in Japan for one week and eighteen stayed for 2 weeks. I have to say that the 34 people were excellent ambassadors of Frankston in Susono.

Not only did we send people to Japan but also a lifetime supply of Australia’s favourite foods. Kilos of chocolate, Caramelo Bears, Tim Tams, Pavlova mix, Vegemite. We also made aprons, handicrafts and put together various displays for the Australian Fair. We were going to celebrate and promote our culture in style. Lots of hard work by our team. 

We were all enthused by the success of our visit to our sister city and looked forward to building on this success and strengthening the partnership we have with the Frankston City Council and the community of Frankston.

We helped out at a Japanese day at Aldercourt Primary School on November 27 2002. Mayor Cathy Wilson and I presented certificates to the students for their displays at the Australian Fair in Susono. Judy, Steve, Brenda and Vic gave demonstrations of Japanese Handicrafts and talked about life in Japan.

On 28 November 2001 I had a meeting with Jon Edwards and Cathy Wilson to discuss FSFA’s future plans and present a 2 year business plan. The meeting was fruitful and the Business Plan was well received.

In February this year we welcomed over 100 guests to the celebration in the Frankston Arts Centre of 20th anniversary of the signing of the sister city proclamation between Frankston and Susono. We were very pleased so many had accepted invitations to come along to the function. It was a night of celebration and acknowledgment. It was also a night of reflection, of rekindled memories and the start of year of activities to promote the Sister City relationship and Japanese culture. The night was also about the life and times of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association and the people who served on its Executive.

Our special guest for the evening were Mr. Hajime Nishiyama, Deputy Consul General of Japan, Ms. Andrea McCall, member for Frankston, Mr. Keisuke Tsukada, representing Japan Local Government Centre, Mr. Masahiro and Mrs. Michiko Sugimoto, from Susono, and Mr. Richard Woods of Australian Arrow.

Among many highlights of the evening we had the reunion of the surviving members of the first delegation and many of our past exchange students.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the sister city relationship the Association has compiled a history of our association. It is a collection of twenty chairperson’s reports and several entries to the Australian Sister City Associations awards.

20 years ago on the 22 February the sister city proclamation was signed marking the start of a wonderful friendship between the citizens of Frankston and the Citizens of Susono. We have regularly visited each other as part of community delegations, hosted each other’s students and celebrated each other’s culture by holding cultural fairs and concerts. From personal experience the passion and respect for one another is as strong today as it was 20 years ago. While the journey has not always been smooth, the experience has been rewarding, challenging and forever remembered.

March 2002 was the completion of 12 months in Frankston for our two Exchange Students from Susono Maiko Masuda and Yukiko Yamasaki. Maiko has been attending Frankston High School and Yukiko has been at Karingal Park Secondary College. I would like to thank the schools and the host families for looking after them.

I am sure they have had a wonderful time hear and it has been a pleasure looking after them. We wished both girls the very best for the future and like many before them asked them to please kept in touch with us. They are both now part of our community family.

FSFA had a display at the mayoral picnic in George Pentland Gardens on Sunday 10 March 2002. We sold Sushi and promoted our cause. The Torii gates were an impressive sight and attracted lots of interest.

A major local Japanese event is the Japanese Festival run by the Japan Club of Victoria. This year it was held at Box Hill Town Hall on Sunday 12 May 2002. Bev Hannan, Margaret Patterson, Hiroko Miyazaki and I helped promote our own cultural activities with a display and booth at the Festival. We attracted lots of interest and made many valuable contacts in the Japanese community.

Our 20th anniversary was held informally at the Grand Hotel on Saturday 1 June 2002. We cut a cake to mark the occasion and we all had a great time.

On 5 July 2002 we celebrated Sister City day with a dinner at a restaurant in Carlton. The dinner was organised by ASCA and six Executive members attended.

Christy Ramadge and Jennifer Moon are our 2002 exchange students to Susono. Christy left on 23 March 2002 and Jennifer flew out at the end of July. We wished both girls all the very best and we are sure they will represent our city with distinction. Recent reports from both girls say they are having a wonderful time and I understand that the girls climbed Mt Fuji in late July. 

Hiroko Miyazaki is our 2002 Susono Exchange student and she is attending Frankston High School. Hiroko is currently staying with the Lee family and is looking forward to going to Central Australia in September. We will hear from Hiroko a little later this evening. Hiroko is her spare time has been painting some Japanese lifelike figures for the Japanese Fair.

In a few short weeks we will be having a weekend of Japanese music and culture in the Frankston Arts Centre. On Friday 6 September is the annual Japanese Speech contest organised by Des Dean. We are expecting record entries this year. Saturday night is Japan in Concert in the theatre. It will be a feast of Japanese music by local performers. Everything from Taiko Drums to massed school bands will be on show. I suggest you book early as this is night not to be missed. On Sunday 8 September is our bi-annual Japanese Cultural Fair. This promises to be best fair yet with a number of new displays. Our events are getting wide coverage in the local Japanese press and websites. We are encouraging both local Japanese and people from all over the peninsula to attend the various events. We expect to also be hosting a significant delegation of folk from Susono.

Frankston City Council has very kindly contributed funds towards bringing out a student musician group from Susono for our Cultural weekend. Thank you to the Frankston Council.

The Association has also been honoured by a contribution from local businessman Bill Oldjohn of Environmental Control Services. After coming with us to Japan last year wanted to express his thanks by making a donation towards our Student Exchange program. We will publicly acknowledge Bill her tonight.

Recently Birra Li Ward was selected as an Assistant Language Teacher in Junior High Schools in Susono. In this our twentieth year, it is somewhat symbolic that the daughter of two of founding members will fulfil a dream and represent our city in Susono. Birra li went to Susono about two weeks ago. She is involved with a group of emerging artists in Frankston at Cube 37. The group is putting on a display at Cube 37 to co-incide with our Japanese Cultural Fair.

In mid August we are hosting a group of 17 Junior High School students from Susono. They will in Frankston for a week and will be hosted by local schools and families. Despite the short notice of the visit we have been able to arrange placements and visits to local attractions. Frankston and the Peninsula has become a popular spot for school visits from Japan.

One of our strengths is the commitment that the Frankston City Council has had for the sister cities and the support to our Association. On behalf of FSFA thanks to Mayor Cathy Wilson and all the Councillors and to Jon Edwards and staff at Frankston City Council.

Finally tonight is the last meeting for three long serving members of the Association. I speak of Judy Thomas, Steve Walker and Vic Walker. They are dear friends and have done a power of work over many years. Thank you very much.  Domo Arigato Gozaimashita. We all wish you the very best for the future and please kept in touch.

The Association has had 20 event filled and wonderful years. Tonight in many ways marks the start of a new era for the Association and we hope 20 more years of pleasure for future FSFA members.


Lastly thanks to my family for putting up with my hours on the computer, my building Japanese temples and many sub committee meetings at our house.