Tuesday 13 August 2019

Susono Friendship Garden Opening Ceremony

The Susono Friendship Garden, located in Susono Way opposite the Frankston Private Hospital, was officially opened in a small ceremony on Tuesday 13 August 2019. Attending the ceremony were Frankston Mayor Councillor Michael O'Reilly, Vice Consul-General of Japan Mr. Shota Tohara, former Managing Director of Yazaki/Australian Arrow Mr. Craig O'Donohue, FSFA Chairperson Mr. Peter Patterson, past and present FSFA Executive Committee members, former Yazaki employees and students and teachers from Derinya Primary School and the Susono Schools delegation.

The Official Party and students from Derinya and Susono before the Opening Ceremony

The garden was constructed with great support from both Frankston City Council and Yazaki, who were the original catalyst in the Frankston-Susono sister city relationship established in 1982. Susono is the world headquarters for Yazaki and its Oceania operations opened in Hartnett Drive, Seaford in 1973 and was a major employer and contributor in the Frankston municipality until 2017. Yazaki was the largest producer of wire harnesses for automobiles in the world and considered a world leader in the industry.

Peter Patterson, Shota Tohara, Michael O'Reilly and Craig O'Donohue

The Opening Ceremony commenced with FSFA Chairperson Peter Patterson welcoming everyone, outlining the important relationship between Yazaki and FSFA over many years, and giving a brief history of the Friendship Garden along with future plans to develop the space. Craig O'Donohue then spoke about the Yazaki/Australian Arrow's relationship with and contribution to the Frankston community over the 44 years the company operated. Vice Consul-General Shota Tohara expressed his gratitude to all parties for their work in promoting the strong bonds of friendship that exist between our countries and sister cities. Mayor Michael O'Reilly reiterated many of the themes of the previous speakers, expressing his appreciation on behalf of the Council and citizens of Frankston, and was very pleased to inform his audience that he was 3 years old when the sister city relationship began!

Jarvis P, Shota Tohara, Michael O'Reilly, Peter Patterson, Craig O'Donohue and Tenka N

After the speeches were delivered a plaque was unveiled by Derinya student Jarvis P and Susono student Tenka N (whose father works for Yazaki in Susono!) which acknowledges Yazaki/Australian Arrow's 44 year involvement and contribution to the fabric of Frankston and the surrounding area. This includes providing employment to many Frankston families, actively promoting Japan within the local community, sponsoring the Frankston Sea Festival and numerous community based events, maintaining a bridge of friendship with the citizens of Susono, and making a major donation to the Frankston Hospital maternity ward.

The ceremony concluded with another group photo taken in front of the plaque followed by morning tea.

For those who were unable to attend the Opening Ceremony you are encouraged to visit the Susono Friendship Garden located in Susono Way to view the stone-lined pathway, white blossom cherry trees and commemorative plaque. Future works will include an extension of the pathway along Susono Way and installation of Japanese styled lanterns. We also look forward to the cherry blossom viewing (hanami) during October every year!