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Past Events

25th Anniversary of our Society

by John Noack

A Luncheon on Saturday 15 October 2011 was held from 12 noon to 4pm at the German Club Tivoli in Windsor, to celebrate our Society’s 25th Anniversary. It was established in 1986 and has helped to maintain contacts with many descendants of the Wendish pioneers who arrived in Australia mainly in the 1800s. The names of many of these Immigrants were listed on our luncheon’s place-mats.

The meal provided diners with a choice of chicken breast or smoked pork loin with vegetables for the main course and a choice of apple crumble or Black Forest cake for dessert.

During the afternoon, Clay Kruger presented a colourful and informative pictorial display of persons, events and locations, which were involved in our Society’s previous 25 years of history. Luncheon participants appreciated this trip down the Wendish memory lane and the photos which depicted them at these various events and locations.

Some participants shared some of their memories, including Robert Wuchatsch, Bev Gotsky and Kevin Zwar. Kevin indicated his enjoyment in relation to his involvement with the Wendsonline website and he commended the work of Robyn Zwar and Joel Blackburn on the development and continuing up-dating of our popular Wendish website.

John Noack’s talk on our Society’s 25 Years from 1986 to 2011 explained (1) the Society’s origins, (2) its facilities, (3) some of its many activities and (4) some thoughts about the Society’s future.

In relation to origins, its early name was the “Sorb Committee in Victoria”. However, since the more commonly used name before the Second World War was the “Wends”, which grew out of the Romans’ name “Venedi”, our Society therefore changed its name to the “Wendish Heritage Society Australia”. Its aims included the promotion of both Wendish and Germanic history and culture and the provision of resources for family history researchers.

These resources were first housed at Eaglemont, then in 1994 in the Lutheran Church Office at Doncaster and finally in 2002 in the Meeting Room of the Lutheran Church at 27 Livingstone Street in Ivanhoe.

In relation to facilities, the Meeting Room, the Kitchen and the Church at Ivanhoe have been excellent venues for the Society’s growing resources, activities and meetings.

The library books and files are stored in four steel storage cabinets and five steel filing cabinets in the Meeting Room and the resources are organised into 25 sections or categories, including, in alphabetical order, cemetery and church records, family history books, local histories, maps, photographs, shipping records and other topics.

Our twice-yearly Newsletter, which has been edited by myself and Glenys Wollermann, has kept members and subscribers informed about our various events, research activities, tours, reunions, library news and interesting news-items from other Societies. Our website is clearly popular for gaining information about the Wends, including family history.

Our many activities have included Pleasant Sunday Afternoons in April, which include our Annual General Meeting and a talk and our annual Dinners, which have allowed us to celebrate the anniversary of the arrival of various ships to Australia and to focus on the contributions of various families to life in Australia.

Research Sundays on the first Sunday of the months from February to November make provision for library research and our wide-ranging annual Country Tours in early March have taken participants to many interesting areas of early settlement in Victoria and New South Wales.

The past 25 years of our Society’s existence has benefitted greatly from the interest, the time, the effort and the continuing support of both our energetic Executive Committee and of our very loyal members whose financial help has contributed to our Society’s growth, value and usefulness for family historians and other researchers.

Looking ahead, our Society is certainly not unique in such membership issues as the increasing numbers of well-earned retirements but regrettably a corresponding lack of involvement from the younger generation of Wendish descendants. Whatever the future may hold, hopefully there will always be a home somewhere for the very valuable and useful collection of resources.