Once again, it is my pleasure to report on the activities of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association over the past 12 months. A small group of us continue to look after the sister city relationship on behalf of the Frankston Council. Thank you to all the Executive members and others who have joined us during the year. Chris Hodgins continues her sterling effort with admin support to the Association.
The highlight of the year was the delegation visit to Susono in November 2014. Lead by Councillors Hampton and Cunial 38 people from the City of Frankston made the trip. We celebrated Australia and Frankston at a Fair in Susono with entertainment provided by students from Frankston High School and Derinya Primary School. Thank you to every member of the group for exceptional effort. The Susono Overseas Friendship Association said they had a record number of people attend the Australian Fair.
The group was welcomed to Susono by the new Mayor, Mr Kenji Takamura. He will be making his first visit to Frankston next year. We are now preparing for this official visit in April 2016. We will be holding a Japanese Festival and Fair to coincide with the visit.
FSFA held a Japanese Fair and Festival in April this year and it was an outstanding success. The Frankston Arts Centre was the venue with loads of people coming to try a range of Japanese activities. We were also pleased to have a number of other organisations and people help us with the event. These included the Japanese Model Railway group and Taiko drummers.
In 2014 we made every effort to contact all our former Exchange Students. Of the 38 students that went to Susono for an extended stay we were able to contact 26 of them. We will continue the quest. Two former students Julie and Therese are members of our Executive.
Simon Hast continues to manage our Japanese Garden at the Frankston High school. He organised several working bees during the year to prune a number of the plants and keep the bamboo under control. We are also looking to re-render the wall to freshen it up before the Susono visit next year.
One of our former Exchange Students, Sam Warrington recently returned to Frankston after spending several years working in Susono as an Assistant Language Teacher. FSFA has been trying to find a person for a Community English teacher position. FSFA had for many years been recruiting people for various teaching roles in Susono.
Our annual Speech Contest at Monash University continues to develop and evolve and is well supported by local schools. We have this year’s contest on this Friday.
I would like to thank the Frankston Council for their ongoing support of our work and allocation of funding for our activities each 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.