St. Michael’s High School, Kurji – Reunion – Saturday 4th Sept 2010.
~~~~~~~~~~ by Ralph Bayross ~~~~~~~~~~
If you blinked, you probably missed it, but the St. Michael’s School Reunion has been and gone for another year – and judging from the telephone calls and e-mails I received, it was hailed a resounding success. Time does fly when you are enjoying yourself and whilst September is expected to bring more autumnal showers and cool temperatures, we were blessed with wall-to-wall sunshine with temperatures reaching 20 -22c.
The event was attended by some 92 friends and guests from St. Joseph’s Convent – our sister school in Patna and ex pupils from St. Patrick’s and St. Vincent’s , Asansol. Apologies were received from Alice Vierya; Patricia and John Putt , Yvonne and Trevor Gilchrist, Mary D’Cruse; Raymond Agacy, Patrick Porter and good wishes (via e-mail) were received from our Overseas friends from Australia – Rex Naug, Jeff Blaquiere, Darrel Fitzpatrick, Lionel Walker and Leon Conquo; from Louis Gillard and Anne Ruttan in Canada and from Agnes Tullett & Barbara Rodrigues in India.
Those who attended in alphabetical order – Ainsley & Janice ALBERT: Bill ANTHONY, Gavin BAILEY, Ralph & Elissa BAYROSS, Chris BEATTY, Neville and Errol BEDDOE, Norman and Arline BOWMAN; Patricia BULLOCK; Cedric BURROWS; Tony BURRETT; Rudy, Marina and Irvine COOPER; Winston & Barbara COLOQHOUN; Florence DALY; Bernice D’SOUZA; George & Monica DROSSO; Errol EDEN; Marion FEEGRADE & Leon SMITH; Alan & Denise FERNANDES; Charles GETHIN & Gail WELLS; Tyrone HENERIC; Max and Marion HIGGINSON; Carl & Mary HIGGINSON; Derrick & Jennifer HOGERMEER; Leo HUTCHISON; Ashley & Dulcie JACOB; Archie JAHANS & Lynne LANNIGAN; Vivienne JAHANS: Ainsley & Valerie LARDNER: Frank & Christine LONG; Robin & Wendy MUIR; Noel NYSS; Fred & Gwen PARR; Arthur & Esther PINTO; Jack REBEIRO; Dick & Gloria REMEDIOS; Carlton & Jennifer ROSEMEYER; Yvonne ROBINSON; Val ROSARIO & Dorothy RAINFORD; Gwen SANFORD & Mark VANRISTLE; Clive SMITH; Julian & Colleen SNAIZE; George TARLING; Charles & Margaret TARLING; Arthur TOWNDROW; Les & Arline TAYLOR; Maggie THELWALL; Marie & Selby TWEEDIE; Peter & Annette VAUGHAN; Ian WALKER; Blanche WATTS; Doug & Shirley WILSON; Lester WEBB; Joan & George WHEATLEY; Wayne WHEATLEY; Chas WILLIAMS: Ralph WOOD.
A “Very Warm Welcome” was extended to Tyrone HENERIC an ex St Patrick’s pupil (1958 Senior Cambridge Class) who had travelled from Mannheim, Germany to celebrate with his St. Pats “Goondas” and also Frank and Christine LONG. Frank was very closely associated with the Irish Christian Brothers and taught in Kurji the 4th standard – back in 1954- pupils like Ainsley Albert, Ian Walker and Robin Muir renewing acquaintances some 56 years later. In our opening prayers we remembered our sick brothers and sister and also DAPHNE HARRIS whose husband Adrian passed away suddenly on August Bank Holiday weekend. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him – RIP. Once again there was a variety of home cooked Anglo-Indian food, Karthi Kebabs and Parathas, Samosas and Curried Patties followed by Gulab Jamoons and Jellaby Pudding. Thanks to our ladies who really excel themselves and unlike other school Reunions which I have attended, we do not “contract the catering out”. All genuine home cooking.
The Buffett Lunch was followed by dancing and later in the afternoon a Quiz – comprising of 8 teams causing some excitement. The winners captained by Norman Bowman and his wife Arline were the runaway winners scoring 96.
On behalf of the Committee “Thanks” to all who attended, helped and supported the event, especially the WORKING PARTY and KITCHEN LADIES. We look forward to seeing you all on
SATURDAY 3rd SEPTEMBER 2011 provided we can book the hall for that date.
Ralph Bayross, 4, Morleys, Ashington, Pulborough, West Sussex, England – Telephone 01903-892709.
National Federation of Anglo-Indian Associations of Australia
in conjunction with The Australian Residents Anglo-Indian Association
and The Australian Anglo-Indian Association of Canberra
Presents the following Programme ~
The GRAND BALL
On: Friday 15th October’10 (8 p.m. till 1 a.m.)
At: Concord Function Centre
138-144 Majors Bay Rd, Concord, NSW
Band: Demolition (One of the TOP A-I Bands in Melbourne)
Food: Canapés on arrival, Entrée, Mains & Dessert
Drinks: Wine, Beer, Champagne, Soft drinks, Tea
& Coffee provided
Cost: $75 per head (incl. drinks & sumptuous Indian dinner)
SYDNEY HARBOUR CRUISE
On: Saturday 16th, October 2010
Embark: Star City Casino Wharf , Pirrama Rd, Sydney, NSW
Time: 5.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. (includes Dinner only)
Drinks on sale, No BYO
Cost: $45 per head
THE NATIONAL FEDERATION AGM
On: Sunday 17th, October 2010 (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
At: RSL Club Parramatta, Pitt Street, Parramatta, NSW
Lunch and soft drinks provided
To make bookings for the functions please contact:
Yolande Gibbons: (02) 9520 9620 Joe Bailey: (02)6241 4464
Max French: 0413 387 041 Judaline Fonceca: (03) 97990098
(RIGHTS OF ADMISSION RESERVED)
St.Michael’s High School, Patna – Reunion – Saturday 19th September 2009.
~~~ by Ralph Bayross
Telephone UK 01903-892709
Joie de vivre and reminiscing old times yet again marked another School Reunion held in the Parish Hall of Our Lady of the Annunciation, Addiscombe, Croydon. Yes, camaraderie took on a new meaning on the 19th September 2009, when a large number of ex pupils from St. Mikes and their wives/partners, together with ex pupils from St. Joseph’s Convent, Bankipore , our sister school in Patna and ex pupils of St. Patrick’s and St Vincents, Asansol assembled with invited guests for an afternoon of fun and enjoyment.
Our numbers were somewhat depleted because of “Wine“flu and for other reasons not known to me, but big is not always beautiful and those who attended, (some 70 in total) certainly said they enjoyed themselves.
Apologies were received from Charles and Margaret Tarling, Douglas and Shirley Wilson, Desmond and Christine Jenkins, Ainsley and Janice Alberts, Errol and Heather Beddoe, George and Christine D’Silva, Florence Daly, Esther Pinto, Lynne Lannigan, Fred and Gwen Parr, Patricia and John Putt, Yvonne and Trevor Gilchrist and Kumar Zaman.
Those who attended in alphabetical order – Raymond AGACY; Bill ANTHONY; Gavin BAILEY; Ralph & Elissa BAYROSS; Chris & Jane BEATTY; Neville BEDDOE; Norman & Arline BOWMAN; Cedric BURROWS; Rudy & Martina COOPER; Winston & Barbara COLOQHOUN; Mary D’CRUZE; George & Monica DROSSO; Errol EDEN;Alan & Denise FERNANDES; June & Maurice GOODERHAM; Keith and Sue HASWELL; Max and Marion HIGGINSON; Carl and Mary HIGGINSON; Derrick and Jenny HOGERMEER; Leo HUTCHISON; Ashley and Dulcie JACOB; Archie JAHANS; Robin and Wendy MUIR; Robert NAMEY; Noel NYSS; Aubrey OLIVER; Errol PENN; Arthur PINTO; Patrick PORTER; Jack REBEIRO; Neville REBELLO; Dick and Gloria REMEDIOS; Val ROSARIO & Dorothy RAINFORD; Gillian & Michelle SEARLE; George TARLING; Les and Arline TAYLOR; Arthur TOWNDROW; Marie & Selby TWEEDIE; Paul UPSHON; Peter and Annette VAUGHAN; Alice VIERYA; Ian WALKER; James & Shirley WALTERS; Lester WEBB; Joan and George WHEATLEY; Wayne WHEATLEY and Ralph WOOD.
The Buffet commenced after my Opening Address about 13. 30 hours and as is customary on these occasions, food was served to each person ushered out by table, under the direction of our seating stewards Dick Remedios and Robin Muir. It goes without saying that our lovely Ladies excelled themselves with an abundance of delicious home cooked Anglo-Indian food, followed by an assortment of Indian sweets ordered and supplied by “AMBALAS”. Once again, doggy bags for supper were taken home by many.
George Wheatley and Ralph Wood pre-arranged a selection of dance music and after LUNCH Archie Jahans with his Reserve partner Martina Cooper led the dancing and the dance floor was pretty crowded; most people working off their curry and rice lunch. Derrick Hogermeer, our Musical Maestro then played his keyboard and assisted by the Committee organised – A NAME THAT TUNE CONTEST which was won by Table 2 –Raymond Agacy and his “Dinapore Deharties” The Higginson Brothers (Max and Carl) from St. Patricks made the presentations to our Kitchen Ladies for their excellent work in organising and serving the food so efficiently.
As always, the success of the day was mainly attributed to the:
- Support given every year by you our friends and invited guests,
- Dedication, commitment and financial support given by all KURJI ex pupils, and
- Help and assistance given by the Committee and a small “Team” of Voluntary helpers.
NEXT YEAR – DATE & VENUE.
Put this date in your diary now! SATURDAY 4th SEPTEMBER 2010. We have requested the Hall, if available.
THE ALL SCHOOL REUNION — TO BE HELD DURING THE 2010 WORLD ANGLO-INDIAN REUNUON, IN PERTH, AUSTRALIA. PLEASE REFERENCE THE FLYER AT:
YOU WILL NEED TO CUT AND PASTE THIS ITEM INTO YOUR SEARCH ENGINE –THANK YOU
2010 VIII WORLD ANGLO-INDIAN REUNION WEBSITE
http://reunion.australian-anglo-indian-association.org.au/accommodation You may need to cut and paste this address into your search engine.
St. Michael’s High School, Patna – 150 Year Celebration – Saturday 27th Sept. 2008.
~~by Ralph Bayross~
Another milestone was reached in the history of our school when we celebrated the 150 Year Anniversary in the Parish Hall of Our Lady of the Annunciation, Addiscombe, Croydon. St. Michael’s feast day is on the 29th September, but this year the date fell on Monday and so the Committee agreed to celebrate on Saturday 27th . Sept – this being the nearest date to St. Michael’s feast day. As is customary, past pupils from St. Joseph’s Convent, Bankipore, our sister school in Patna and ex pupils of St. Patricks and St. Vincents, Asansol were also invited as our Guests.
Foundation and School Background …It was the Capuchin Fathers who established a school for boys in the village of Digha Ghat, Kurji under the care and guidance of Right Reverend Bishop Dr. Hartmann, Vicar Apostolic of Patna. In 1857, he called upon The Superior General of the Irish Christian Brothers in Dublin to secure a community of Brothers for his education schemes in India. It was thus, in the year 1858 that St. Michaels was established – the oldest of the 12 Irish Christian Brother Schools in India, founded five years after St. Joseph’s Convent, Bankipore, which was established in 1853.
Those who attended listed in Alphbetical Order – Doors opened at 12.30
GUEST OF HONOUR – Mrs Yolande Welsh (nee Walker) – Teacher 1951 – 1955.
Raymond AGACY; Ainsley & Janice ALBERT; Bill ANTHONY; Gavin BAILEY; Heather & Carrol BAPTISTE; Ralph & Elissa BAYROSS; Errol & Neville BEDDOE; Norman & Arline BOWMAN; Cedric BURROWS; Winston & Barbara COLOQHOUN; Melville COOMBS; Florence DALY; Mary D’CRUSE & George D’SILVA; George & Monica DROSSO; Errol EDEN; Charles GETHIN; Yvonne & Trevor GILCHRIST; June & Maurice GOODERHAM; Keith & Sue HASWELL; Winston HILL; Max & Marion HIGGINSON; Carl & Mary HIGGINSON; Derrick & Jenny HOGERMEER; Leo HUTCHISON; Ashley & Dulcie JACOB; Desmond & Christine JENKINS; Archie JAHANS & Lynne LANNIGAN; George KENNY; Robin & Wendy MUIR; Noel NYSS; Fred & Gwen PARR; Arthur & Esther PINTO; Patrick PORTER; Patricia & John PUTT; Jack REBEIRO; Neville REBELLO; Roger REES & Maria McCLEAN; Dick & Gloria REMEDIOS; Val ROSARIO & Dorothy RAINFORD; Terrence & Linda SIGLER; Bill SIMPSON; Leon SMITH & Marion FEEGRADE; Les & Arlene TAYLOR; George TARLING; Marguerite THELWALL; Arthur TOWNDROW; Marie & Selby TWEEDIE; Paul UPSHON; Peter & Annette VAUGHAN; Alice VIERYA; Ian WALKER; Lester WEBB; George, Joan & Wayne WHEATLEY; Douglas & Shirley WILSON; Ralph & Winnie WOOD; Kamar ZAMAN; 15 others – intimated that they were coming but failed to turn up on the day and 6 apolozised for their absence
.Food – Glorious Food
The Buffet commenced immediately after my Opening Address and on this occasion for the first time – food was served to each person as they were ushered out by table, under the direction of our Seating Stewards – Dick Remedios, Paul Upshon and George Wheatley. Once again, our lovely ladies excelled themselves and there was an abundance of delicious home cooked “Anglo-Indian” food, with a variety of Curries, Vegetable Bhajees, Jallfrezi and Vindaloo – Tarka Dhall, Pillau, Plain and Fried Rice; Karti Rolls, Mixed Salads, Samosas and Curried Patties – followed by a selection of assorted Indian Sweets, made by AMBALAS and distributed to each table. There was so much food, sufficient to fill “Doggy Bags” for those who wanted to take some home for supper that night and almost everyone did.
The “Kurji Boys”were smartly turned out with their specially designed Maroon Celebration Ties and Blazers; our Guest of Honour complemented them by wearing a matching maroon blouse, chosen for the occasion. A Souvenir Booklet, produced for the 150 Year Celebration was distributed FREE to every St. Michael’s pupil who attended. About 04.00 PM. a toast was proposed over a glass of Champagne and a large Iced Fruit Cake was ceremoniously cut by Mrs Yolande Welsh (Guest of Honour) and Leo Hutchison (82 years old) – the Senior Boy. Whilst this was taking place, the boys assembled on the stage and sang their School Anthem “Cheers, Cheers for Good Old St. Mikes” accompanied by Derrick Hogermeer on piano. It was a great pleasure to welcome Terence and Linda Sigler who flew in from Toronto – the night before to be with us. Also to meet and greet three ex Kurji Boys, living in the UK who attended the Reunion for the first time. They are of course, Errol Eden – 1950 Senior Cambridge; Desmond Jenkins and wife Christine – 1955 Senior Cambridge and Kamar Zaman (1962).
As always, the success of the day was mainly attributed to:
- The support given every year by our Friends and Invited Guests who attend,
- The dedication, commitment and Financial support given by all Kurji ex pupils, and
- The help and assistance given by a small “TEAM” of St. Michael’s volunteers each year in setting up.
Without this, my task would become quite onerous and I would like to place on record my “appreciation and sincere thanks” to all of you, especially, the ladies in the Kitchen – Joan Wheatley, Gloria Remedios and Annette Vaughan.
Next Year- Date & Venue.
Put this date in your Diary now!! – SATURDAY 6th SEPTEMBER 2009 – CHURCH HALL, Addiscombe, Croydon.
NEWSLETTER —–– St. Michael’s High School, Reunion – 15th Sept. 2007 ~~by Ralph Bayross. ~~
Another very successful Kurji Reunion was celebrated on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows in the Parish Hall of Our Lady of the Annunciation, Addiscombe, Croydon. There were in excess of 100 who attended – from St. Michaels, together with “Invited Guests” from St. Patricks and St. Vincent’s, Asansol and our sister school St. Joseph’s Convent, Bankipore, Patna.
Those who attended.
Kurji – GUEST OF HONOUR – BROTHER JOHN WALSH. Raymond AGACY; Ainsley & Janet ALBERT; Bill & Phil ANTHONY; Gavin & Barbara BAILEY; Ralph BAYROSS; Chris & Jane BEATTY; George & Monica DROSSO; Derrick & Jennifer HOGERMEER; Leo HUTCHISON; Archie & Lynne JAHANS; Robin & Wendy MUIR; REX & JEAN NAUG; Arthur & Esther PINTO; Jack REBEIRO; Dick & Gloria REMEDIOS; Val ROSARIO & Dorothy RAINFORD; Charles & Margaret TARLING; George TARLING; Arthur TOWNDROW; Paul UPSHON; Alice VIERYA; Peter & Annette VAUGHAN; Maurice & Janet VAN RISTLE; Ian WALKER; George & Joan WHEATLEY; Wayne WHEATLEY; Doug & Shirley WILSON; and Ralph & Winnie WOOD. St Patricks & St. Vincents Norman & Arline BOWMAN; Tom & Marlene BUCKLEY; Peter & Pat BULLOCK; Cedric BURROWS; Tony BURRETT; George D’SILVA; Charles GETHIN: Bill HOGARTH; Shaun & Elaine HARRIS; Carl & Mary HIGGINSON; Max & Marion HIGGINSON; Winston HILL & Hazel MARTIN; Ashley & Dulcie JACOB; Ainsley & Valerie LARDNER; Noel NYSS & Jennifer ENNIS, Errol PENN; Patrick PORTER; Neville REBELLO; Carlton ROSEMEYER; Bliss ROGERS; Gwen & Derek SANDFORD; Julian & Colleen SNAIZE; Bill SIMPSON; Leon SMITH & Marion FEEGRADE; Clive SMITH; Lester & Grace WEBB; Les & Arlene TAYLOR; Selby TWEEDIE; St Joseph’s Convent. Elissa BAYROSS; Heather & Pompey BAPTISTE, Florencs DALY; Bernice D’SOUZA; Mary D’CRUSE; June & Maurice GOODERHAM; Sue & Keith HASWELL; and Marie TWEEDIE.
Messages received from Abroad.
From Australia; Jeff. Blaquiere; Lionel Walker and Darryl Fitzpatrick,
From Canada: Anne Ruttan, Louis Gillard and Alan Merritt; From India: Barbara Rodriques & Ursula Bose(nee Moment)
From Bahrain: Denzil Martin
Buffet – Food was in abundance and a variety of sumptuous home cooked”ANGLO –INDIAN” dishes were available. There was enough to fill “Doggy Bags” at the end of the show. This year, for the first time guests were allocated to a table and our two seating stewards Robin Muir and Dick Remedios did an excellent job ensuring name badges were distributed and everyone was seated.
My Opening Address was followed by our traditional St. Michael’s prayer and after lunch proceedings commenced. This year for the first time, one ex pupil from each of our Guest Schools was given the opportunity to relate their Boarding school experiences. Bill Simpson spoke on behalf of St. Patricks, followed by Leon Smith and Norman Bowman for St. Vincents and Marie Tweedie(nee Rosemeyer) concluded with an excellent account of her short time in Bankipore Convent.
The final speech was given by our Guest of Honour – Brother John Walsh, who was in Kurji from 1951 to 1954. It was an extremely interesting and deeply moving re-collection of his past experiences. Many had tears in their eyes when he recalled his early days with the Christian Brother’s Organisation and his affinity to the Anglo-Indian community and the boys he taught. Excellent for an 84 year old who has spent 62 years in India and in March this year he celebrated his 70th anniversary with the Irish Christian Brothers in Dublin. Apologies were received from Brother John Corbett who was unable to attend this year, but we hope he will join us in 2008.
The Kurji Boys rounded of the afternoon with “Cheers, Cheers for Good Old St. Mikes” conducted by Bro. John Walsh, without a baton. Thanks to Rex and Jean Naug for coming from Brisbane, Australia. Most of us have not seen them in over 53 years. It was nice that they were present to renew old acquaintances and we wish them a safe journey back home- to Brisbane, Australia.
Conclusion. —– I have received numerous telephone calls and e-mails congratulating St. Michaels for organising such a lovely afternoon. However, none of this would have been possible, without,
- The dedication, commitment and financial support given by each and every St. Michael’s Boy,
- The hard work undertaken by their wives/partners, and their cooperation in assisting on the day,
- The attendance of all our Guests who join with us in our celebrations.
Without this assistance my task would become quite onerous and I would like to place on record my appreciation and sincere “THANKS” to all of you. We look forward to seeing you in 2008 when we in St. Michael’s High School will be celebrating our “150 Year Anniversary”
Next Year Date and Venue.
BOOK IT IN YOUR DIARY NOW!!
Saturday 27th September 2008 – Our Lady of Annunciation’s R.C. Hall, Addiscombe, CROYDON.
2007 WORLD ANGLO-INDIAN REUNION
Dear Ron and Committee
Just a short note to thank you all so very much for the just concluded superlative series of events incorporated in Reunion VII, in Toronto, Aug 2007. All of the events: including food and drinks, singing, music and other entertainment, venues, shuttle transport, sound systems, explicit guidance/directions by Reunion personnel, volunteers and their patience, accommodation, speeches, books on sale, and last but not least the delightful company of such lovely people from world wide and local were all exceptional. The organizers are much admired and should be applauded for creating such a congenial atmosphere.
Yes, I for one thought that there was an anomaly at the harbour cruise as there was a shortage of seats available for the number of people that had signed up. There was also some sort of annoyance to discover that some locals who were aware of this anomaly and the hindrance it would cause chose to come unusually early, and without authorisation reserve a full table each for themselves and their friends who turned up much later.
However, the Reunion volunteers answered our need by bringing on deck an abundance of chairs from the bottom level of the cruiser. The timely and thoughtful gesture by the volunteers is commendable and undid any damage.
I am now in Canberra, homesick as ever and wondering why was this Reunion all over so quickly. Can we have it all over again?
After Los Angeles and Toronto we visited London, Paris, Lourdes, Nevers and Dubai. We arrived back just last week hence the delay in sending out this congratulatory message. Well done! Once again.
With warm regards
Joe Bailey, Canberra
Australian Capital Territory
2007 WORLD ANGLO-INDIAN REUNION, TORONTO, CANADA
Hi Ron + Team,
I hope you are all taking a well deserved rest after 3 years of demanding work to organise and deliver a very successful Reunion. I believe the team is having a meeting on 6 September to review the Reunion and I felt I need to send you my group’s view on it, so you can take account of them during your deliberations. Please excuse this rushed note, as I left Toronto late on 3 September, arriving London mid morning on 4th, after many late nights partying in Toronto with my brothers and sisters, and thus not functioning an all cylinders right now but this will not dilute what follows.
As you know, I had organised the trip for some 40 friends and have had feedback from most of them during the functions, so that I could capture their impressions of each function. Overall, they thoroughly enjoyed the Reunion and whilst there were minor hiccups on occasions, these were considered negligible when taking into account the magnitude and volume of work in organising such an event. In unison, they agreed that the Organsing team and their volunteer helpers did a marvellous job and for that they send their appreciation and thanks. It is a pity that some people do not appreciate the amount of work involved, the years of planning, negotiating with outside groups for function places, hotels, transport, caterers and dealing with some many attendees and a host of other arrangements necessary to stage the Reunion, not to mention the dedication and determination required to achieve it..
The following is a summary of our impression of the functions and it is not intended to single out any one function for praise or criticism, but perhaps some learning points for the future.
The Meet and Greet would have been a very enjoyable experience had it not been for the rain, but who has control of the weather. Nevertheless we made the most of it and had a good time; the food was excellent.
The Youth Carnival was less well attended and we felt the ‘name’ deterred many adults from attending. Adult events could have been included to encourage them to attend.
The Symposium was a cracker, very well managed and attended. Full marks to all of you.
We felt the Multi-cultural ‘acts’ could have been arranged slightly better, with Shane closing the evening. This would have gone down a treat and people would have left the building on a real high, you will recall that there was an ‘encore call’ for more than 5 minutes for him to continue his performance. Some of the other acts were a bit long but the group enjoyed the performances.
The Harbour cruise would have been more successful had the ship been bigger to accommodate the number of people on it, many of whom were elderly.
The Picnic was a treat, no shortcomings here.
The Grand Ball was indeed grand, it met our expectation and we enjoyed it. However, the entrance ticket listed ‘Cocktails’ and this gave the impression that ‘drinks’ would be supplied with the snacks, especially as the price, $130.00, was listed on the ticket, inferring that it was all inclusive. Despite this the dance was a success, evidenced by the fact that the dance floor was always occupied and almost all had an enjoyable evening.
Overall, the food was very tasty and the portions substantial. We had no problems with the transport. The Team and the Volunteers responded courteously and promptly to our requests for information and solutions to any difficulties we encountered and made us feel at ease. What more can any one ask of them?
With such a huge project things will surely go amiss and people must accept that this will happen and there fore should apply a degree of understanding when it occurs. Unfortunately, some people will complain at anything. My group had a wonderful week and I reiterate our thanks to you all for the enjoyment you gave us, our trip to Canada was worthwhile. Roll on Perth 2010, God willing.
Our best wishes to you all. David.
President, Federation of Anglo-Indian Associations
London, United Kingdom
One Man’s View Of The Sixth World Anglo-Indian Reunion, Melbourne, Australia, 2004. By REG SHIRES who writes from the Washington, D.C. USA metro area. An author, his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times of India and other publications. He has his M.A. in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University where his thesis was “The Times coverage of the British slave trade question.” He also has his M.A. in Theology from Michigan’s Andrews University.
One Man’s View. The Sixth World Anglo-Indian Reunion, Melbourne, Australia, 2004 by Reg Shires
I remember the enthusiasm Cheryl Geileskey, secretary of the Melbourne Rangers Club, showed as she stood before the club’s tent at the Meet and Greet of the 2004 Reunion. As people talked and danced, Cheryl talked about her club, its goals and its accomplishments. It was a beautiful sunny day in Melbourne at Albert Park while the myna birds flew around us (making me feel I was back in old Bangalore, my hometown). A new bird landed near me, a magpie, in black and white, and picked food scraps by the palms. Cheryl asked if I’d write about the 2004 Reunion.
Here at Albert Park was the start of seven days of programs and events which three Anglo-Indian organizations in Melbourne had worked on for months to put together. They were members of The Ango-Indian Guild of Victoria; Melbourne Rangers Club Incorporated and The Anglo-Indian Australasian Association. I saw Rodney Almeida, a real dedicated worker and leader, quietly setting up chairs, making us feel welcome. (Rodney along with Brian D’Monte and others in The Anglo-Indian Australasian Association of Victoria run St. Joseph’s Home for the Aged and St. Mary’s Retirement Village.)
“Hi Maureen,” I called to Maureen Holder, from our U.S.A. Association, as she happily greeted friends she knew from Calcutta. Suddenly, Nathan Shires, my nephew excitedly called out to me “Look, look, Uncle, see that gentleman over there, he’s Dad’s perfect double!” Sure enough, there was the perfect double of my brother Harold, same height, slim, and with a beard. He was Alan Phillips, Vice President of the AI Association of Western Australia! It was fun to bring Harold and Alan together to meet one another after the Thanksgiving Mass at St. Patrick´s Cathedral. (Alan Phillips’ association is also planning a retirement home in Perth.) As Norma and I wandered among the people we spotted Blair Williams, founder of Calcutta Tiljallah Relief, a charity, which provides monthly pensions to over 200 Anglo-Indian seniors in India. Last year this charity sent 900,000 rupees from contributions to the needy in India. In a big Aussie hat and surrounded by a group of ladies, I hardly recognized him. Ellen, his wife, was not far away, in a big bonnet. But it was cool and nice that day. Margaret Deefholfts was also there, signing her new book, Haunting India. “What did your Dad do in India?” I asked Margaret. “He was a bean counter on the Indian railway,” she laughed. An accountant, she explained.
It was my first trip to Australia (we live in the Washington, D.C. area). It’s a long, long journey! Getting through security at the air ports is tense these days, especially when the sniffer dogs and wands were brought in to check our hand bags loaded down with precious–and vital–medications (I’m a heart transplant recipient). Melbourne was a perfect setting for the Reunion 2004. Although the meetings and gatherings were scattered, making it difficult to get to places, the city had much to offer. We often passed the outstanding memorial to Australia’s war dead. This monument of stone on a hill brings to mind the heavy sacrifice that this small county made in the two horrible world wars. It was the height of summer and our travel book warned about the strong Southern sun, but it stayed cool, with bright clear days. Norma and I were a month in Melbourne and were surprised that there were only three murders reported, mostly among drug dealers. This in comparison to our area of Washington, D.C., where in 2003 we had 262 murders! We did see one fight in Melbourne that could get into Ripley’s Believe it or Not, but didn’t make the newspapers in Melbourne! It took place on famous Sydney Road. We had just came out of a sushi restaurant when we saw a wedding procession of cars suddenly screech to a stop in front of a pub. The bridegroom and his attendants peeled out of their cars and challenged the group that had stopped them. Then, a fierce fistfight broke out beside the wedding cars, with dozens of men locked in hand to hand fighting. It was the first time that I saw a brave bridegroom fighting for his woman! It was easy to tell the sides: the wedding party of men in smart suits; the roadside ruffians in jeans or shorts and t-shirts. The pretty bride and her bridesmaid, speechless and shaking in terror, sought refuge at the side of the street. Marianne Shires, my brother’s wife, ran to the bride and put her arms around the young woman trying to comfort her. I stood at their side helpless. Beer bottles came ricocheting off the bride’s decorated car, spinning out in our direction. We quickly moved the girls away. Chairs came out from the pub, used as weapons, before the police rushed in, arresting men and leading them to the paddy wagons. There were two times I didn’t have my video camera: when this fight took place on Sydney Road and the night when the belly dancer came aboard The Voyager, our Reunion Cruise from Victoria Harbor (my battery had just quit before that great show!). Now back here in Washington the men don’t believe that I lived to see a pretty and slim belly dancer turn on all her motors that the Lord gave her! The planners of Reunion 2004 sure thought of everything!
Like many, we looked forward to the Symposium as a time for a good discussion of issues facing Anglo-Indians. The hall was full at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, in the heart of the city. The meeting, however, disappointed some that felt the chairman took up too much time with his own agenda. Norma and I felt the same. There was also no forum that could have grouped scholars or speakers from the other nations represented. Audience questions, which are essential to any forum, were also very limited. It was good, however, to hear Neil O’Brien’s speech. He is the president of the All India Anglo-India Association of India and editor of The Review. His presence was an inspiration at the Sixth Reunion. Norma and I looked forward to hearing him speak at the Symposium. His talk outlined the rapid progress that our young people are making in modern India. College educated and with bilingual skills, they are proudly taking their places in travel, hotels, banking and communication fields. He also spoke at the Conference for Anglo-Indian Poverty and Aging at the Carlton Crest Hotel (for some reason this important session which gave us an insight on how the poor are helped by various groups and organizations, got sidelined and was not even on the official program list). It was here that Neil O’Brien proposed the idea of “Foster Families” where families take in older folk to live with them. The older people enjoy the day to day life in a real home, getting to attend AI gatherings like dances and socials. This is a great idea. Here in the U.S., Oregon State has a paid program serving some 5,000 American seniors. A nonprofit group watches over the program and caregivers attend a 15-day certification course and train at a nursing home. They also have their backgrounds checked. Once selected, the homes receive regular visits by social workers to help keep things up to standard.
Looking over the Gala Dinner Ball at the Royal Exhibition Hall where some 2,000 Anglo-Indians danced and enjoyed themselves and the band played on, I met Harry Maclure (editor) and Les D’Souza (publisher) of the magazine “Anglos in the Wind”. This magazine has the noble aim of creating unity for the benefit of the needy within our community. Looking through their magazine I couldn’t help think of the great Anglo-Indian diaspora before and after India’s Independence. In a visit with Gloria Moore at her home, the author of “The Anglo-Indian Vision” talked of this scattering of our people whose story she had often told in articles and books. Like the Irish, we too came out of tough times. Unlike the Irish, we didn’t write songs of those hard and wrenching times when we left our parents behind whose only glimpse of our success in other lands were the cards, letters and photographs we mailed them with an occasional check. We too need our songs and someone must rise to write such words and music. Our love for our motherland has always been strong. “India, my mad mother,” is how the AI writer, Andrew Harvey, puts his constant devotion to India. I could see, however, how good Australia has been to our people. This pride in Australia was dramatically felt at the Multicultural Concert held at Monash University when the cast of singers and players, young and old, gathered in the finale to sing “We are Australians.” It was to me the most beautiful and moving part of the 2004 Melbourne Reunion. Many of us cried that day. The strains of that song and the feeling with which those immigrants sang of the history and beauty of Australia remains in my mind. The Sixth Anglo-Indian World Reunion was a success in many ways like this. To Brian Brookes, the chairman and the fourteen members of his committee, and hundreds of volunteers, I would say you all aimed high. And as Brian said: “In the long run people only hit what they aim for.” Thank you Brian. I think I know what you’d say in response, “No worries, mate!”
VI WORLDWIDE ANGLO-INDIAN REUNION — MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA 2004
But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine. …Thomas Jefferson
A weary party of Canadians yawning and stretching emerged from Melbourne Airport on January 4th night, after traveling many hours (approx. 25) to join the other 2,000+ Anglos for the VI Worldwide Reunion. Amidst the tiredness was our excitement, we were finally here, “let the Party begin.” Even on the bus ride from the airport to the apartments was fun with jokes flying to and fro – even this tiny group had started on their own journey to FUN.
From the very first day the organizations that hosted this Reunion did everything they could to make us feel welcome and appreciated. The three hosting organizations were the Melbourne Rangers Club Inc., The Anglo-Indian Australasian Association and The Anglo-Indian Guild of Victoria. All was geared to our enjoyment and pleasure.
Day 1 – Monday 5th January 2004 Morning: Meet and Greet 10 am to 3 pm At Albert Park in the City. Official Welcome Speech & BBQ. Evening: Multicultural Concert 6.30 for the show which starts at 7pm to 11pm At Dallas Brook Hall, Monash University, Melbourne.
The day dawned hot and sunny we were all down before 10am and got onto the bus greeting everyone, whether we knew them or not. Off to Albert Park not more than 10 mins away. Showing our passes we entered the area amidst lots of tents and hundreds of people. Now to find your friends, make new ones, look for long-lost relatives, say hello to friends from Canada who traveled a different route to Australia. All this took time and energy and so much enjoyment. The smile never left my face – “Hello Sonoo, hello Boodie, hello Junior – my look at Budda he hasn’t changed a bit” – sound familiar that’s what assailed our ears, such music you could almost picture yourself back in Cal, or Bangalore, or Bombay, or Asansol. Terrific lunch was served and lots of it.
Soon it was 4pm and we all hopped back onto our buses – went back to our apartments, showered changed and then back on the bus at 6pm off to the Concert. It was so amazing and gratifying to see such wonderful talent at this concert. Dancers, singers, comedians and singers – the voices were superb and the whole evening passed like in a blur. I would love to mention everyone who appeared but for want of space, these are the few I remember quite clearly — Larry Stellar, Marie Wilson, Tommy Smith, Bobby Shepherd and Pat Thomas. The entertainment ended around 11:30pm when …we all hopped back onto our buses – went back to our apartments and laid down our weary heads to sleep.
DAY II. Day 2 – Tuesday 6th January 2004 Morning: Symposium 9 am to 4 pm At RMIT University in the City. Evening: Bay Cruise 7pm to 11pm. From Southbank in the City.
The day was not so sunny, rain and quite cool was the order of the day. But there I was up at 6:30am and ready to catch a tram with eight other attendees off to RMIT for the Symposium. The program introduction said it all ….”Imagine you are sitting on a moorah on a verandah somewhere in India. It is late. Somewhere in the darkness cattle low, a train shunts. The balmy night air carries the strains of a distant LP record playing “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” … Friends stop by. They join you on the verandah. It is that time in India. Welcome to Chatting On The Verandah … Anglo-Indian voices.”…..
We heard the most eloquent speakers of our Community, the legendary Neil O’Brien, Author & Politician; Lionel Lumb, Journalist & Associate Professor at Carleton School of Journalism & Communications; Keith Butler with the keynote address, and there was great storytelling by Dr. Richard Johnson & Dr. Glenn D’Cruz. There was a presentation from our very own Canadian author “extrordinaire” Ms. Margaret Deefholts, and from New Zealand Ms. Robyn Andrews who has conducted many studies on our Community. To conclude we heard from Sharon Arathoon and Jennifer Busby on the Faith, Hope and Charity organization. After that it was a walk back to the apartments, no bus to this function, or back home.
Off again at 5:30pm we got onto the bus greeting everyone, and took the short ride to the boat pier. The slight rain did not dampen our enthusiasm to get onto the boat and begin the evening. The two ships were filled to capacity, lots of lively chatter and we caught up with friends and colleagues, lots of noise, music and frivolity from the very start. The fun-filled evening 5 hours, we cruised down the Bay in style and luxury past historical Williamstown and other places along the way. We took in the night sights of Melbourne and enjoyed the delicious Indian buffet dinner with wine, beer and soft drinks. The bands were “M FORCE” and “ZZAZZ” played superb live music, old songs and new and of course we danced the night away. We docked back at 1am and we all hopped back onto our buses – went back to our apartments, to lay our weary heads down after another wonderful day.
Day 3 – Wednesday 7th January 2004. City Tours 10 am to 2 pm. Museum; Rialto Towers; Melbourne Aquarium. Evening: Dinner at Crown Casino.
This was my day for doing nothing, I visited friends and went to the Queen Victoria Market. What a place for bargains, I enjoyed everything and even dabbled in some “haggling” with the vendors. I came away with some great bargains and souvenirs.
Day 4 – Thursday 8th January 2004. Start in the city, 8:45 am to 11:30 pm: Train ride to Warrnambool.
Warrnambool is a historical Maritime port, with many sightseeing adventures, there is Fletcher Jones Gardens, Cheese World, the War Time Museum and a cruise down the Hopkins River. Unfortunately I was unable to attend but I hear it was a very cold day, and many people were scrambling to find warm clothes to wear in the Australian summer. The coast and countryside was very picturesque with a promenade that affords a lovely view of the coastline at Warrnambool. The train ride was most enjoyable I hear, and there were snacks, tea/coffee provided for all the travelers as well as games – bingo, whist and live music during the 3 hour journey back to Melbourne was truly appreciated by all the travelers.
Day 5 – Friday 9th January 2004. Morning: Golf Day 7.30 am At Rossdale Golf Club in Aspendale. (or) Queen Victoria Market in the city. (or) Age & Poverty Conference at the Carlton Crest Hotel in the city. Afternoon: Paghal Gymkhana at 3 pm to 11 pm At SNP Hockey Club in Dandenong.
It was Friday, 9th January and the Paghal Gymkhana organized at the Springvale Noble Park Hockey Club, Dandenong, attended by about 700 Anglo-Indians heralded in a day that that Club had never seen before. The hockey fields were transformed into a myriad of colours – red, green yellow and blue as four different houses/teams competed progressively in a sack race, wheel-barrow race, egg and spoon race and ultimately in a giant Tug-of-War, which pitted team against team. All this worked amid much glee and laughter (though also a bit of seriousness as respective team captains called rank and demanded prowess) because winning teams earned points and got rewarded with prizes (booty) to take home at the day’s close.
The idea of, in effect, encapsulating what it was like in school back in India worked admirably and incorporated all of the fun and enjoyment experienced in competing in the “old country”. Amid much mayhem and excitement the Indian game of “kabbadi” was also played which many participants had quite forgotten, needing to have the rules explained so not to be at a disadvantage by those with longer memories.
The lead event of the day was one that demonstrated the focus of the Springvale Noble Park Hockey Club, that focus being, of course, to play great hockey. To this end, a game of some high caliber was participated in and executed to perfection by some of the Club’s players for 20 minutes. Having established SNP’s credibility of being host to some high-class hockey players, this display gave way to a march-past.
On a bright summer’s day in Melbourne, standing tall, marching straight, it was a colourful and powerful image, hundreds of Anglo-Indians from far flung places around the globe rallying and actively participating wholeheartedly in all activities. They wore their new complimentary tee-shirts in their team colour, and were led by their team captains holding their team flag. They marched past no less a dignitary than the Mayor of Dandenong and his party who had definitely never seen so many Anglo-Indians before in the one locale. Flags were dutifully dipped when marching past the Mayor who responded by saluting the respective flags.
The march past was followed by an official address by Sam Bamford, a senior member and one of the key organizers of the event.
Through-out all of this activity there was food and drink aplenty for all who wanted it and for others, there was Bingo, raffles tickets to buy and auctions to partake of. There were winners (and some near misses) everywhere and something going on every minute.
And, of course, with so many Anglo-Indian people rallying, there had to be some dancers in the crowd so on to the jam session with Brian Dullard’s live band in the club house for those who felt like a bit of a “jitter-bug”! Literally hundreds of people did, gyrating admirably to the music. To add to the interest there were two dancing competitions. Best jiver Lee Rozario and partner, (and runner-up) and best twister (and runner-up). Something for everyone.
A second march-past for the winning team crowned the evening with people milling around, chatting and not wanting to call it a day even at midnight. The creativity that went into this “paghal gymkhana” made this one of the truly memorable events of the week.
BY MARILYN GOSS, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA …(BECAUSE SHE WAS THERE)
I attended the Age & Poverty Conference. Introduction by Dr. Adrian Gilbert. The presenters were: Prof. Blair Williams – The Tiljallah Relief Fund and its aspirations and goals; Renshaw Dennis from CAISS – the organization has been based in Kolkata for 27 years and is devoted to the cause of helping the poor and aged, and MLA Neil O’Brien discussed the issue of poverty from an Indian perspective, and David Samaroo, President of the United Kingdom A-I Association who put forward a good case for the Dollar-A-Month Club, that helps the less fortunate in our Community in India.
Marilyn Goss, the Administrator for Tiljallah in Melbourne kicked off the afternoon, followed by Brian Demonte who discussed the process of setting up an Aged Home for Anglo-Indians in Melbourne. A presentation on Aged Care structures in Melbourne was given by Sandra Hills from the Brotherhood of St. Laurence. The conference ended with Judith Wardale who filled us in on the work of the Bangalore Multipurpose Social Service Society. A very informative morning and each presenter came well prepared with their presentations, and to answer any questions from the floor.
Day 6 – Saturday 10th January 2004. Morning: Free time. Evening: The Grand Ball – 7 pm to 1 am, At The Royal Exhibition Hall in Carlton.
Free time was welcomed with, of course, the ladies getting their hair done, their nails done, their facials, all the weird and wonderful rituals we go through to keep ourselves beautiful. Then it was 6 pm and guess what dear readers … we got onto the bus greeting everyone, by now we knew the regulars, and off to Exhibition Hall.
What a grand, majestic historic site. The building and ambiance overwhelmed you with the splendour of the richly painted ceiling and the cavernous hall. Before you could blink your eye there was 2,300+ A-Is laughing, greeting, shouting, and enjoying themselves. The music was reminiscent of the grand dances held back home – the big band music, rock-n-roll, jives, cha-chas, foxtrots you name it, we did it!. A lavish dinner was served right on time, and plenty of it. Magnificent, that word hardly does justice to the grand evening we all had. With aching feet, tired bodies but joy-filled hearts …. we all hopped back onto our buses at 1am – went back to our apartments and laid down our weary heads to sleep.
Day 7 – Sunday 11th January 2004. Morning: Thanksgiving Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. After Mass: Food Festival and Jam Session – Jam Session and farewell.
Early the next morning, we were all awake and downstairs by 10:15am, we got onto the bus and headed for St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The service was conducted by Rev. Geoff Baron, Dean – Assisting Priest Fr. Adelrick D’Cruz and the Angelic voices of “One Accord” provided the singing. Rev. Baron “…welcomed the many visitors who came to celebrate this special occasion of faith and culture, at this Mass of Thanksgiving to close the 6th World Anglo-Indian Reunion 2004”. … Then I shall bow in humble adoration, And there proclaim, “My God How Great Thou Art”… When the last strains of this powerful hymn ended and we walked out … there was a tug at my heart for soon I would be saying goodbye to loving relatives, new found friends and old.
And we all hopped onto our buses at 12:30 pm – went onto Moorabbin Community Centre for the Food Fest and Jam Session. The food was most enjoyable, though there were long lines, nothing could dampen our last “hoorah” before leaving this memorable Reunion. Lots of music, dancing, eating, singing and good old Anglo-Indian hospitality was enjoyed by one and all. I cannot say enough about the organizing committee their hard work and dedication to making us feel so very welcome and appreciated. At 5 pm .. you’ve guessed we all hopped back onto our buses and went back to our apartments, this was the last time we would be traveling as a group and bid fond farewell to our driver.
This sums up the Reunion update I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed recounting the happy memories. I am adding the letter I sent to Brian Brookes and his Team, thanking them once again.
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”…..Kahlil Gibran
My dear Brian and The Wonderful Team of “Reuionites”:
Thank you so very much for the delightful and thoroughly enjoyable VI Worldwide Reunion. You all did such a splendid job of making us feel so very welcome in Australia and indeed at every event. I have brought back many cherished memories and will remember this event for years to come .. .. .. not only because I made so many friends, and renewed acquaintances, but for the mere fact that you all went out of your way to make sure we had a terrific time.
The team were always available to answer the most mundane of questions whenever asked. They tried in all ways to please everyone, though we all know you cannot please 100% of the people 100% of the time. The accommodation was superb and the logistics of picking us up and dropping us off was orchestrated so very well. Each venue brought some added bonus to our fun-filled days. My apologies for taking a little time in sending of this note of thanks, but it was a long journey home and jetlag got the better of me.
Thank you once again. I hope that we can show you just as good a time when we host the Reunion here in Canada in 2007. It was a pleasure to meet you all personally, and hope that we will always remain friends and colleagues. Thank you Brian, please convey my gratitude to each and every one of your Team.
All best wishes.
Lynette (Lynne) Rebeiro
We welcome all comments. Thank you. www.margaretdeefholts.com/melbourne2004-reunion.html