Someone on the board of our Dutch – Australian Cultural Centre could not take his turn, minding the…..what is it? ….collection….today. So I volunteered, again.
It’s all now kept, behind the restaurant, behind the mini Dutch supermarket, in the light industrial area, a little distance away from the Smithfield shops, in western Sydney.
A reasonable number of people, with some Dutch connection, come to the shop, in Market Street, behind the fake Amsterdam street facade, hiding the factory space, where our Dutch culture is kept alive, especially on Sundays.
When my Sydney-born children were small and Saint Nicholas was as real as Santa Claus. (Lucky kids got two lots of presents, every December.), I used to go to ‘the Dutch shop, at least once a year, to buy the appropriate, traditional goodies (chocolate letters, marzepan, ’pepper-nuts’, etc..)
Now the Dutch Australian Cultural Centre has moved in, after being moved out of the purpose-built premises, beside the Abel Tasman Retirement Village facilities, in Chester Hill.
Of the people who find their way to the shop, in Smithfield, a reasonable number settle down in the little restaurant to have some Dutch delicacies (croquettes, herring, etc..) and just a few of these venture into the furniture section and let curiosity get the better of them, to see what is behind the partition, through the open door, where I have the little radio play classical music, transmitted by the ABC, as loud as possible, to let them know we are there!
I fill my time by painting pictures or reading some of the material. (Today my painting was not ready to be worked on yet.) A lot is about migration etc..
I picked up something historical. It was about how we migrants were received, via accommodation, called ‘hostels’. Usually former army camps, e.g., Bonegilla, near Albury. I should not have picked it up. It gave the impression that we migrants (It particularly mentioned my cohort, who came here as children, in the mid-50s.) were well-looked after in sparse but suitable accommodation and how (we) children were catered for by being given appropriate education.
Although it DID mention that a lot of mothers cried and that quite a few children had died.
Why is it so hard to give a true picture? I guess it’s too complex.
Still. I wouldn’t have liked to have spent the last 50+ years, still (continuously) in the Netherlands. Thoroughly enjoyed living in Australia and it was in Matraville Hostel that I discovered I could draw when a lady proudly pointed to her daughter’s framed drawing, on the wall and I realised that I could do that too.
It has often been said that the great-grandchildren of migrants, the 4th and 5th generation show an interest in what their (great-) grandparents went through and brought to the country.
Hopefully the DACC will last that long!!