Newsletter #208, September 2015

(Note: This is a text excerpt. Refer to the newsletter PDF for the complete newsletter including images)

Annual General Meeting 2015

Held on Wednesday August 26th at the R.S.L Hall Inverloch. There were 22 members present and seven apologies.

We thank John Hutchinson who was our guest speaker for the day, and who also chaired that part of the meeting concerning the election of Office Bearers for the forthcoming year.

Office Bearers for the year ahead remain the same with the exception of the retirement of our Secretary Lindsay Olden. We will miss Lindsay from our group of Office Bearers. He has been regular in attendance at Committee and General meetings, and his wide experience in meeting procedure and items which require careful consideration has been very much appreciated. Many thanks Lindsay for all that you have achieved. As previously mentioned, we need a Secretary for the year ahead. Can you help? The members of Committee for 2015/2016 are Robyn Allen ( Minute Secretary), Terry Hall, Ian McBurnie (Newsletter Editor) and Bob Speed. Patsy Williams will be a co- opted member.

As President Vern was absent because of illness, the meeting was chaired by Vice President Kevin Allen. Kevin reported on the activities of the past year. Two excursions have been well supported and enjoyed by members and friends, the first was to Jeetho Hall, Loch Village and the Poowong area. The second was to Foster Historical Museum and parts of the coastal area near The Prom.

Kevin thanked all members of the I.H.S. who have supported the Society in any way during the past 12 months. The list was a long one, and included Office Bearers, Committee members and members who made sure that our meeting days ran smoothly by setting up displays, welcoming and recording those in attendance, preparing the seating, recording guest speakers, preparing afternoon tea, delivering the Newsletter and contributing to the general meeting in any other way.

Throughout the year, we have continued to seek assistance from various people in authority to obtain a permanent home for the Society. Our aim will be to keep trying for a solution to this important step for the Society and the town of Inverloch.

  • Membership Fees will remain the same for the year ahead.
  • Bob Delahoy will be asked to accept the position of auditor for the coming year.
  • The Annual Financial Statement for the year ending 30:06:15 as audited by Bob Delahoy was presented by Treasurer Liz Catt and accepted by members.
  • Notices for October and November. An Excursion has been planned for October and will be held on Wednesday October 28th, the usual meeting day. A visit to the Tarwin Lower area is the destination, with special interest in the Historical Tarwin Lower Cemetery. It will be an afternoon excursion, leaving from the R.S.L car park at 1:30 p.m. and car pooling is suggested. More details will be given at the September General Meeting.
  • Our November Meeting will be the final one for the year. An “Antiques Roadshow” type of afternoon is being planned with the assistance of Fleur Speed. Further information will be given during the months ahead.

Guest Speaker – John Hutchinson

John was born in the United Kingdom at Bury, which is 10 miles north of Manchester. Bury is renowned for being first to introduce fish and chips, it is famous for being the home of Sir Robert Peel who began the Police Force and was a former Prime Minister . The Bury Market, with the King’s permission, began in 1444. John’s parents were working class people. His father worked on a paper machine which made the paper flat. He was known as a “Calendar man”. His mother worked in a factory making mattresses and was known as a “Springer.” He lived with his grandparents, he was very musical and this continues to the present day.

John’s father was in the RAF from 1939 to 1945 and John did not see him very often. Because of his father’s involvement in the RAF, John became interested in Aircraft, and could recognise the various planes including the enemy by the sound of their engines. He recalled seeing and hearing a VI flying bomb in the sky one day and then the ominous silence when the engine cut out. After the War, John remembers his father in uniform, he also recalled that his father was depressed as he was unable to find a job. In 1948 John’s parents were divorced and so he went to live with his grandmother Pendlebury. His uncle migrated to Australia and was in the RAAF. John’s mother applied to live in Australia, but her application was rejected as she was divorced and had no skills.

In 1952, at the age of 13, John was asked to come to Australia, alone. He was sponsored by the Anglican Church, he travelled on the RMS Ormond which took four weeks to reach Australia.

The boat arrived at Fremantle, and from there John and another passenger were sent on to Melbourne where he was surprised to find it raining as he had been told that Australia was a very dry country and it rained very little. He was impressed when one of the Dock workers gave him a shilling and a welcome to Australia.

St. John’s Home in Canterbury was to be John’s new residence. There were 79 other boys, divided into two groups. John found the first six months distressing, it was a foreign environment compared with the openness of home. His schooling was at Richmond Technical School where he had four wonderful years. During that time he turned himself around and became a leader. The head of St. John’s Home was the Rev. Neil Molloy. He had been a keen member of the Scouting movement and because of this background, he saw St.John’s as an extension of a Scout Camp.

The daily routine of the Home began at 6:30 when they rose, showered, dressed and made their beds, before having breakfast. The boys had various jobs to do, and for their efforts they were marked out of 10. Each morning there was a Chapel Service. John said it was a regimented environment but the boys were given every opportunity to do well. Upon leaving school, John tried various jobs including that of a projectionist at the Maling Theatre in Canterbury, also as a projectionist at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne, he delivered Loys Lemonade and was involved in the roofing industry. He eventually obtained a Scholarship for Art/ Craft teaching in Secondary Schools. John was invited to write a book telling the story of The St. John’s Home for Boys, and as he said, it was a story written in positive terms.

At the conclusion of John’s talk and question time, Vice President Kevin thanked him for his very moving presentation this afternoon. Bob Speed also expressed his appreciation of John being with us today and presented him with a basket of fruit with thanks from us all.

Image: Guest Speaker John Hutchinson and our Patron Eulalie Brewster.

Editor: Ian McBurnie