Letting off steam! He had a dream. But dreams can be just illusions.

I’ve shut the door and I’m staying inside.

Not that that completely solves it.

Just had a phone call from a dear family friend (worked with my mother for years), ringing in regards to my father’s 91st birthday, on Monday and Murphy, watching me from where-ever he is, thought:
Now’s the time to apply my law!

Sure enough, by gorrah! There was a knock on the door. (The only time that will happen today.)
I’m trying to stay away from things I cannot do anything about.
My father is in hospital. I am planning not to tell him about his 91st birthday (Monday), until he is returned to the retirement village.
In the grounds of that village is a building, which is still being called the Dutch Australian Centre.

As Ms Akky van Ogtrop explains on the Collections Australia Network

The DACC Ltd was founded in 1983 and was registered officially on 30 May 1984 as the Dutch Australian Centre Ltd. In 2002 the name was changed to Dutch Australian Cultural Centre Ltd. It came into being because the need was felt to establish a central organisation to preserve the rich history of Dutch immigration in the country.

Another reason was to become a “resources centre” for persons who wanted to study aspects of the Netherlands, be it economics or costumes and habits. A reference library was therefore established and an archive planned.

(Read more here)

She concludes:

Since 1993 the DACC Ltd has been able to use a building in the grounds of a retirement facility, the Abel Tasman Village in Chester Hill. This was made possible through the support for the Centre from the late Anton Kool, who for many years was the Chairman of the Federation of Netherlands Societies. However, with the ageing of the Dutch immigrants comes a greater need for care and consequently for more space. *The DACC is in the process of vacating the building.

The Dutch Australian Weekly was proud to report that on 22nd July, 1994,the Dutch Australian Centre was opened, at 222 Waldron Road, Chester Hill, in the grounds of the Abel Tasman Retirement Village.
The Minister for Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs, did the honours, speaking about the small stamp of Dutch culture now firmly established in Chester Hill with a strong beating heart.

But, as Mrs van Ogtrop reported, it was found that the premises were needed to improve the care for the residents of the retirement village.
It seemed, at first that the building was needed for residents requiring high care but it turned out that this building, designed to be a resource centre or library/museum, was not really suited for that purpose.

However, the contents of the centre were taken to premises behind the Dutch shop, in Smithfield, where they are now waiting for a permanent home.

According to the A.T.V., newsletter, the building will now be used as the administrative centre, no doubt freeing up space for residents, elsewhere within the grounds.

Meanwhile, the beating heart of the (now) D.A.C.C., is on life-support behind the Dutch shop, in 85 Market Street, Smithfield.
There is no doubt that people who go to the Dutch shop almost always have a Dutch connection and so, when the centre is open, on Wednesdays and Sundays, looked after by volunteers from the D.A.C.C. board, they can, hopefully, wander in and take a look around.

It would be my personal guess that when the D.A.C.C. was in its own building, the likelihood of people chancing to pass by was less because there are far more Dutch-born people likely to visit the Dutch shop than there are to visit relatives in the retirement village.

However, the current location is part of a factory-style building. Not purpose-built to house a heritage collection.

A picture of the late Mr Anton Kool hangs in the Abel Tasman Village (in the main hall and in the library). I suspect that he would have liked to have seen Dutch-Australians making use of that building for gatherings of residents, relatives and visitors of all ages, to be in the presence of that klein stempeltje, in Chester Hill, met een stevig kloppend hart_-, (_The small imprint of Dutch-Australian Culture/heritage, with a strongly beating heart) featuring the evidence of the culture brought here by the residents and fellow immigrants of Dutch descent.
My plan was to tell you about all the situations that are currently on my mind, as being less than satisfactory.
But after this, you’ve probably had enough to go on with. :) :(

Letting off steam! He had a dream. But dreams can be just illusions.


Ramsgate Beach, Australia

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Artist's Description

The centre of Dutch heritage and culture, in Sydney, is currently not as permanent, as was once hoped. My father gets great care in the retirement village. When he was president of the Netherlands Society, in Bankstown, he was proud to hand over a contribution, on behalf of the members, to help build a place where the elderly could retire and their off-spring could go to enjoy and find their Dutch heritage.

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