The past year has been one of reflection and celebration. The 22nd February 2012 marked the 30th anniversary of our sister city relationship with Susono and was cause for celebrations in both cities. Our relationship is one of the longest and certainly one of the most robust operating.
Both cities have achieved much in the past 3 decades including national awards and the holding of great events to show off each other’s culture. These events have been supported by delegations from the respective sister city. It is very fulfilling to know that we have maintained the passion and interest for all of those 30 years. What a fantastic achievement. Let’s look forward to many more years together.
Thank you to all the past and current Executive members for their tireless efforts over the 30 years. We are volunteers with a passion for the Japanese culture and pride in the community of Frankston.
Every year Chris Hodgins makes an outstanding contribution and we all thank her for the work she does on our behalf.
Much of the work this year has been devoted to the delegation visit to Japan on 8 October 2011 and celebratory events held here in Frankston in February this year. 28 people including a band from Elisabeth Murdoch College were in the main group that travelled to Japan. Another group of 16 local primary school representatives were in Susono at the same time. The delegation led by Mayor Kris Bolam and Councillor Hill was in Susono on October 15 and 16 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our sister city relationship and 40 years for Susono as a city. Thanks to the Executive members for their many hours of work to bring this trip together. All members had a fantastic time and we acknowledge the great efforts of the Susono Overseas Friendship Association in organising the events in Susono and hosting the delegation.
Our 30th anniversary celebrations in Frankston coincided with the true anniversary date. On a very hot weekend in February this year we held a 4 day program of activities supported by a delegation from our friends from Susono. Events included a celebratory dinner, a Japanese Festival and tours of Frankston. The Japanese Festival was very well attended despite the hot day with invlovement by local schools, Japanese performing artists and Japanese handicrafts and food. It was held beside the Kananook Creek. We have a video of the weekend to show this evening.
FSFA had commissioned two signs made from recycled plastic to commemorate the 30th anniversary. One sign is located at Susono Way near Kananook Creek in Frankston and the other has been shipped to Susono by Australian Arrow. The sign has arrived and we are waiting to see where it will be installed.
Our Japanese Speech Contests are being well supported by local Primary and Secondary schools. The 2011 contest had 90 entrants in 5 divisions. We expect similar numbers again this coming Friday. Thanks to the FSFA Executive and trophy sponsors including Life member Des Dean and Sorin Ionascu from Jims Test and Tag. Our speech contest is also well supported by the Japanese Consulate and the Director of the Japan Information and Cultural Centre who supply judges and sponsorship.
FSFA has been involved in the establishment of several sister school relationships between Primary Schools in Frankston and Primary schools in Susono. McClelland College has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tomioka Junior High School during the delegation visit in October 2011 to Susono. Derinya Primary School is moving to formalise a relationship. Overport Primary School already had a relationship with a school in Frankston.
We have taken back the maintenance of our Japanese Garden at Frankston High school. Again Simon Hast has been the organiser of this task and we have seen a significant amount of work during the year. The Council Arborist, Derek Lynn, also provided some technical advice and support on the trees in the garden.
Fran Menting continues to look after our website appropriately named www.frankston-susono.com. We now have a great base on which to show our activities and events to the world.
During the year we held very successful trivia nights to raise money for community and youth work. Thanks to Simon Hast for his excellent running of the events and members of the Executive for helping out with the event.
Simon Hast is also working on our history and has put together some excellent photographic presentations on the past 30 years and is slowing putting together a video history. Thanks for your efforts to date Simon.
At a joint FSFA/SOFA meeting in February it was decided to extend the time between delegation visits. The next visit to Japan will not be until 2014 and next visit to Frankston will not be until 2016.
In April next year we plan to hold a Japanese Festival to continue our promotion of Japanese culture in the Frankston community.
I would like to thank the Frankston Council for their ongoing support of our work and allocation of funding for both the delegation visit to Japan and the activities in February next year.
I thank you all for your attendance tonight and thank you again to all the Executive members and supporters of our sister city relationship.