On Sunday 23 February members of the Executive Committee and Friends of FSFA gathered in the Japanese Garden at Frankston High School to celebrate the 38th anniversary of our sister city relationship with Susono. As guests arrived at the function, they were entertained by the delightful Frankston High Flute Choir led by teacher Kim Starr, who was a student member of the FHS Big Band that played at the World Expo in Nagoya in 2005.
|Noel Ferguson, Former FHS Principal Ken Rowe, Sue Rowe and Lorraine Ferguson|
FSFA Chairperson Julie D’Arcy and members of the current Executive Committee mingled with guests, including Frankston Mayor Sandra Mayer, Councillor Colin Hampton and his wife Nancye, former FSFA Chairpersons, FSFA Life Members, former Executive Committee members and friends and supporters of FSFA. We were also joined by Yuho Katsumata who was visiting from Susono and attended as a guest of Committee member Sam Warrington. When Sam was an exchanged student in Susono in 2005 the Katsumata family were his hosts.
|Sam Warrington with Yuho Katsumata from Susono|
The formal part of the afternoon began with FSFA Chairperson Julie D’Arcy welcoming everyone to the function and thanking the large number of dedicated volunteers who have worked over many years to build and maintain the strong connection we have with our sister city Susono.
|Julie D'Arcy and Peter Patterson|
Frankston Mayor Sandra Mayer spoke about FSFA’s role in managing the sister city relationship on behalf of the Frankston City Council. She also thanked the many hard-working volunteers who have delivered such a vibrant and successful range of activities focusing on Japanese language and authentic cultural experiences including food, music, demonstrations and activities. Mayor Mayer recounted how much she enjoyed her recent attendance at Emperor Naruhito’s 60th Birthday celebrations which were held at the residence of the Japanese Consul-General in Lansell Road, Toorak.
|Frankston Mayor Sandra Mayer|
The audience then heard from former councillor, mayor, inaugural FSFA Chairperson and Life Member Noel Ferguson who spoke about the genesis of the sister city relationship. He mentioned the role the late Sir Phillip Lynch and Yazaki (Australian Arrow) played in bringing Frankston and Susono together in the early 1980’s. Noel spoke of the early delegation visits and the great challenges presented by language differences, communication between the respective city councils and citizen groups, as well as organising and managing the student exchange program that was such an important part of the relationship.
|Former Mayor, FSFA Chairperson and Life Member Noel Ferguson|
Recently retired FSFA Chairperson Peter Patterson described how enduring interpersonal relationships were the foundation for the strong bonds of friendship that exist between our two cities. There were also stories of the many delegation visits to and from Susono, the Japanese and Australia Fairs held during these visits and the diverse cultural experiences afforded members of every delegation. Notable highlights included the Great Sumo Challenge of 2009 between Peter and Councillor Hampton and the 2012 Waterfront Festival held in the car park adjacent to Kananook Creek, where the South-East Water building now stands. The Susono delegation had come from their winter to an Australian summer where the temperature was above 40 and probably closer to 50 on the asphalt – how none of our Susono guests didn’t melt we still haven’t worked out!
|Recently retired FSFA Chairperson Peter Patterson|
The final speaker was our current Chairperson Julie D’Arcy who said what an honour it was to assume the role from Peter, just as it was to be selected as one of the first exchange students to visit Susono in 1983. This experience allowed her to make life-long friendships, gain in self-confidence, increase resilience and helped her to where she is today. Sadly, the long-term exchange program is no longer viable but Julie aims to continue supporting short-stay programs such as those run by Therese Sakamoto and Derinya Primary School.
|FSFA Chairperson Julie D'Arcy|
Julie also outlined FSFA’s future plans which include continuing to work to ensure our relationship with SOFA remains strong and the Frankston community are involved as much as possible. Planning for our regular events such as the Japanese Speech Contest, Hanami Party and bi-annual Japanese Festival which will coincide with the Susono Delegation visit in late November this year.
|Frankston High Flute Choir entertains guests|
Our Chairperson concluded by expressing her appreciation to a number of people including Principal John Albiston and Senior Campus Principal Helen Wilson for kindly hosting the party and providing the food and refreshments; Kim Starr and the Frankston High Flute Choir for the lovely entertainment; Vice-Chairperson Simon Hast and the team who help him maintain the Japanese Garden; and members of the FSFA Executive Committee who contribute with passion and dedication to allow the sister city relationship to flourish!
|Bev Hannan, Mick Collard and Vic Webster|
After the speeches concluded it was time for the presentation of Life Memberships to three very deserving and special people. FSFA Life Membership is awarded for long service and recognises a significant contribution to the sister city relationship and to the Association. Nine have been awarded to date with 3 of these - Noel Ferguson, Vic and Steve Walker – in attendance. Life Membership was presented to long-serving Chairperson Peter Patterson who has worked tirelessly to strengthen the sister city relationship by demonstrating passion, enthusiasm, creativity and leadership; the warm, supportive and welcoming ultimate hostess Margaret Patterson; and student host and counsellor, the Committee’s longest serving member and current Treasurer Bev Hannan.
|Peter Patterson, Julie D'Arcy and Mayor Sandra Mayer|
|Margaret Patterson receives her Life Membership|
|Bev Hannan with her Life Membership|
The formal part of the afternoon concluded with photos of Life Members and a group shot, followed by the opportunity to congratulate our new Life Members and catch up with other guests whilst viewing the slide show on the large screen highlighting the 38 years of the sister city relationship. It was fantastic to see so many long-time supporters of FSFA in attendance and thank you to those on the Executive Committee who were able to assist on the day to make it such a successful celebration.
Thank you also to Jess Hast for volunteering as photographer for the afternoon.
|Peter, Margaret, Sandra, Julie, Noel with Vic and Steve Walker|