It’s a boys’ game! What’s that girl doing there? :)
Arriving at the Dutch Fair, organised by the Rembrandt Club, in St Marys, the first thing that I saw after parking, on Saturday, March 28, ‘09, took me back to the early 1970s.
Those planes dropping these darts on their targets, took me back to attending the fair held on Wim Kalf’s property, Cranbrook, in Illawong, and later the block of land in Miranda where the Juliana Retirement Village would one day be built.
Somehow this was always the first thing you ( I ) saw.
Mr Wim Kalf and his business partner, were well-known in the Dutch community, as the builders, K.v.E. (Kalf & van Etten) and these first fairs were held to raise money to build the retirement village.
Seven years after my parents and I attended that first fair, ( with our first relatives, visiting from Gouda, the Netherlands, ) I came to live in Illawong myself, but not on such a beautiful property by the river, as Cranbrook.
We DID have a lovely view towards the city, from our house in Illawong, for a while, until the rest of the houses were built in our street, and trees were grown.
While standing outside the gates of Cranbrook, surrounded by other Dutch-Australians, waiting to be allowed in and enjoy some Dutch treats, my aunt was trying to come to grips with this situation.
She told the people around her that in about 50 hours, she and my uncle would be back in the Netherlands but that did not particularly impress those people.
They (we) weren’t there because we wanted to be back in Holland. These fairs are for those of us who have shared this experience of migrating and mixing our Dutch heritage, with our Australian environment.
To have fun and hopefully meet up with people with whom we’ve sailed to Australia, or shared the (very basic, sometimes awful) migrant hostels accommodation, as well as those great dances, balls, picnics, film evenings, bus trips, car ralleys, as we established ourselves in our new surroundings.
I must comment that on a few occasions now, I have been to the Rembrandt Club and my main impression is that of seeing the spirit still alive that made all those great things happen, organised by those other clubs that have been and gone.
Those energetic volunteers and particularly committee members, who make it all happen.
One of these people said to me, a year or two back: I never really knew your father. (My father, 92, lives in the Abel Tasman Retirement Village and was president of the Netherlands Society in Bankstown for 12 years.)
To me it feels as though these people have taken over the relay baton and will be entertaining the immigrants from the Netherlands, (like my father did in the 70s) until the last one leaves the nursing home.
It was not a bad thing that the Dutch and Australian governments encouraged us to migrate (in the fifties and later), but it seems to me that a lot of the easing of the impact of resettlement was and is done by a lot of hard-working volunteers.
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