PRESIDENT’S REPORT

TO AGM

INTRODUCTION

In opening this 2017 Annual General Meeting, Team 2016 has provided this brief review of the OFA as it is today. Of particular interest to many of us, the transition from the time Kingsley Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra closed on the 24th December 1981 to the position we find the OFA today the 26th February 2017. Much water has passed under the bridge, and many changes have taken place, and many, many hours have been expended to ensure this historic organisation is prepared for the future. As we are today the Old Fairbridgians Association Inc (OFA) is a Not for Profit registered organisation. To achieve this status it has been necessary to complete and register documents for:

1.Old Fairbridgians Association Inc -2015 Constitution (Registered with the Department of  Commerce).

2.Australian Business Number (ABN).

3.Registered Tax File Number (TFN).

4.Registered for GST.

5.Memorandum of Understanding – April 2014 Our Constitution, first registered in 1929, and having undergone many revisions, still replicates the ethos of the

original Constitution and that is; the OFA is an alumni style organisation. The purpose of this original document was to ensure its membership, former child residents of Kingsley Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra  and their families are cared for in times of diversity, celebration and trauma. The OFA is not affiliated with any political party. To ensure we can retain some form of allegiance with our former home, there is in place, an agreement with Fairbridge WA Inc (lessees of Fairbridge Village), in the for m of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The elected President signed the MOU on behalf of the OFA at the time, and for the Board of Fairbridge WA  Inc, by the Chairman of the Board. This signing took place in April 2014. The MOU is quite simply a document providing guidelines of behaviour and expectations of both parties. As a consequence of the MOU, the OFA is provided with use of specific facilities (free of charge) within the confines of Fairbridge Village, succinctly they are:

 

OFA Clubhouse Main Hall and Kitchen: Meetings and functions

East Wing of the OFA Clubhouse: Museum

OFA Flat – located on the North side of the clubhouse.

Chapel: Founders Day Service

Commemorative Colonnade/Gate: Commemorative Service

Memorial Gardens: Plaques for Fairbridge Kids

Fairbridge Cemetery, located approximately 2 kilometres South East of Fairbridge Village on a Cemetery Reserve owned by the Western Australian Government. The cemetery was closed in 1977, but more about this later in the meeting To be able to manage the many items of infrastructure indicated above and the personal records held in trust by the Battye Library it is of paramount importance to have a logically compiled records system. Of concern to OFA Committees of recent times has been the:

 

Absence of copies of communication/s;

Lack of purpose documentation for the museum and other items of infrastructure;

No evidence of due diligence with respect to releasing copies of personal files, ensuring a copy of a

specific file is provided to the rightful owner/famil

y.

Asset registers for items owned by the OFA.

Of specific concern the operational procedure associated with the operation of the Fairbridge Museum.

No apparent accounting process to receive cash monies (donations) purchases (books and other  assets). In the time frame February 2014 to January 2017 documents, including letters, pictures, index cards, work

history documentation and other associated memorabilia has been forth coming from many different  locations. To be able to provide moral support to our Old

Fairbridgians and their descendants, it is of paramount importance that we have records that are both accurate and easily recoverable.

COMMUNICATING WITH THE OLD FAIRBRIDGIANS ASSOCIATION OFA

Communication is a two way process, and is the essential process

of efficient business management.

Making contact via Australia Post and email are the only addresses used to forward official documents to OFA members and will be the only method monitored for incoming mail sent to the OFA. Like it is the responsibility of the OFA to correctly address outgoing mail it is each and every OFA member to correctly address incoming mail.

Making contact via mail:

Old Fairbridgians Association

PO Box 173

Pinjarra W A 6208

OR

Making contact via email:

fairbridgewa@gmail.com

OR

Making contact via the website

http://www.fairbridgekids.info

The above are the only addresses monitored regularly by the OFA

Old Fairbridgians, in their support of the OFA, have created specific sites in an endeavour to attract the attention of long lost Fairbridge Kids.

Using social media (Facebook) allows those interested to make contact with persons who lived at Fairbridge o make contact once again and have an involvement with colleagues and friends who they once liived with at Fairbridge.

The addresses of the two sites:

Fairbridge I lived there

And  Fairbridge Kids 1913 to 1981

This “making contact protocol” has, with the support of Fairbridge Village, provided many hundreds of children who lived at Kingsley Fairbridge Farm School and their immediate families with the opportunity to get in contact with friends and colleagues who also lived at Kingsley Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra during the period 1913 – 1981.

In brief, Fairbridge Village is leased by Fairbridge WA Inc from Alcoa and was established for the distinct purpose of providing both adult training (RTO) and general education to K12 (Fairbridge College). The latter is a relatively new project, and from all reports is achieving excellent measurable outcomes

.

THE OFA – ITS ROLE and PURPOSE – 2016 and BEYOND

The core business of the OFA has undergone significant change since the closing of Kingsley Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra in 1981 and the subsequent sale to Alcoa and the creation of Fairbridge Village. No longer were administrative personnel from Kingsley Fairbridge Farm School available to support the OFA, as had been evident in former years. Unfortunately, there was no succession plan in place, as a consequence decisions were made, that in fact could be construed as being not beneficial to the membership of the OFA,

however they were legally binding. We cannot change history, and perhaps that is a good thing, however what is required at this point in time is methodologies, practices and procedures that will ensure our future looks positive and the legacy of Kingsley Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra, Western Australia is there for all

to see.Old Fairbridgians Association (OFA) Constitution

Over the past 3 years, elected committees have been faced with continuous pressure in establishing precisely the role of the OFA in the year 2015, the year which the OFA Constitution needed to be registered, and convoluting this scenario, it was determined the “2015 Constitution” needed to align with the new

“template” . It is appropriate at this time, to praise the efforts of Ms Jacqui Shutt and the band of volunteers who spent many hours reviewing the former constitution and developing the revised constitution, only to find

at the last minute, another review needed to be implemented. After addressing all necessary formalities, processes and procedures the OFA Constitution was registered. It would be most appropriate to also thank Frank and Sue Wood, without their long hours converting the document prepared by Jacqui and

the team, we would not have been able to meet significant dates. This document needs to be reviewed consistently to ensure current practices are adhered to.

There is a definite need to develop purpose documentation defining the role and purpose of the OFA .

Without this documentation there is no guidance evident.

The OFA Core Business

The MOU identifies many of our infrastructure core business items, however the membership/founders day/cemetery/personal files are still considered our most important core business items. Best to consider this scenario as 8 easily distinguishable headings i.e.:

  1. Membership
  2. Newsletter
  3. Memorandum of Understanding
  4. Founders Day and Kingsley Fairbridge Family Cemetery
  5. Commemorative Service
  6. Memorial Wall and Plaques
  7. Fairbridge Cemetery
  8. Personal Files /Papers
  9. Museum

This list could be integrated, however keep it simple is considered to be a best business approach

 

MEMBERSHIP

Membership is considered the number one core business of the Association. Unfortunately, “Fairbridge Kids” are a diminishing species and identity, alarmingly so, if we were measured using the methodology by which most other living, breathing species are classified, the Fairbridge Kids would be classified as extinct. Without sustainable membership, it is highly likely the OFA might be closed. Our membership is increasing, however with the passing of the years we are continually receiving news of another passing of a colleague. With the establishment closing in 1981, it is not difficult to envisage that 2046, the year ou

r personal files are reclassified from restricted viewing to open it might be difficult to get a quorum for a meeting. I understand Fairbridge Molong experienced this situation, fortunately they were able to re-schedule and remained viable.

When the OFA was a dream and then implemented, membership was almost totally within the confines of Western Australia. Today our membership is spread far and wide across the globe – with many members in

the UK. Thankfully the electronic transfer of information has made communication significantly easier, however we still have many members who do not have access to email, which creates many challenges.

 

NEWSLETTER

The vision of any social group, good and useful communication, preparing a newsletter to keep the membership in formed of the hatches, matches and dispatches is often challenging. A target number of 3 newsletters each year has been achieved, any increase on this number would result in a financial strain on

our limited finances. The cost of postage is a significant factor, in particular for those posted outside of Western Australia. Last year the Committee put a plea to all those who were receiving a Newsletter by Australia Post to find an

email address. The response was pleasing. It is our intention to post this annual report to all members who were unable to attend the 2017 Annual General Meeting.

 

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

Without this important document our presence at our former home would probably be limited. The Village is a commercial venture and also private

property. It is not suggested that the MOU is likely to be withdrawn, however the importance of the MOU and the behaviour of both parties is of paramount importance.

 

FOUNDERS DAY

Founders Day Every year, on a Sunday in the last week of July we celebrate Founders Day, with a church service, casual walk to our Founders Grave, and a light lunch served in the Clubhouse. Attendance is variable, however, the past year saw a record number attend.

Kingsley Fairbridge Family Gravesite To our knowledge, there is no documentation for the Kingsley Fairbridge Grave Site. In the first instance, we need to undertake a cadastral survey and feature survey of Kingsley Fairbridge’s

Grave Site, which is planned for 2017, using a project team from Curtin niversity. Depending on the results, we will then make the decision on the next step.

 

COMMEMORATIVE SERVICE

A Commemorative Service is celebrated every year, desirably at the Commemorative Colonnade (weather permitting) located east of the Fairbridge Village Main Gate. Should the weather forecast suggest inclement weather, there is a hurried and organised retreat to the Clubhouse main hall. 2016 saw an increase in the numbers attending, unfortunately veteran numbers were down, and those that  were present elected not to participate in the march past. This will continue to be a trait as numbers of returned servicemen is diminishing with time.

The 2016 event was highlighted by the placement of red poppies amongst the roses during the reading of the roll of honour, a very emotional

time, but well received. The Commemorative Colonnade was an innovative project brought about the “Collins Brothers” Ted and Syd. The brothers arrived at Fairbridge, Pinjarra in 1934, and left Fairbridge during the war years. Both

brothers and their families are strong supporters of Fairbridge.

 

MEMORIAL WALL and PLAQUES

The audit for the memorial wall has been completed, after 18 months of meticulous checking and re-checking all past documentation with respect to existing plaque placement, reserved locations (many of which had been subject to vandalism) and in fact on some occasions plaques were placed incorrectly. This task was both challenging and rewarding, however we consider this aspect of the memorial wall audit to have been implemented.

There currently is in existence two memorial walls (North and South) with a capacity to accommodate 288 plaques. The current situation, as at January 2017: North Wall has a total of 72 Names and Reserved Plaques; South Wall has a total of 129 Names and Reserved Plaques, a total of 201 plaques. Leaving

vacancies for another 77 plaques. Succession planning suggests we might need another wall, sooner rather than later. The pre- payment of plaques has created a significant financial challenge. Many of the pre-paid plaques had a monetary value of $150, which was the cost at that point in time; today’s price is $250. The OFA is morally obligated to find the additional funds. As a consequence of this shortfall, we will no longer be processing payment for pre-payment of plaques,

however we will still continue the practice of payment for the reserved

location, marked with a plaque. A disappointing revelation – a number of Fairbridge Kids, who having paid for a plaque, are still waiting for the plaque to be placed on the memorial in some instances the person passed away early 2000

. Finding these people, almost impossible however with the support of Leila Mann, it has been possible to identify those persons, at last count it was 13 Fairbridge Kids and their families, who having committed to early payment, have not received the service for which they paid for. The current committee has been working on a Purpose Document for Memorial Wall Plaques. In 2016 we have processed 16 reserved plaques, all those who have paid for a reserved position, will be getting a letter, identifying the location of the reserved plaque. It is our suggestion that this document be placed with your important papers – this will allow your wishes to be formalised. There now exists within the financial system (MYOB) a dedicated Plaques Cost Centre that allows the OFA treasurer to confidently identify funds that are reserved for the purchase of pre- purchased plaques. The December audit identifies an amount of money in the account, it should be noted that this money is reserved for a specific person’s plaque.

 

FAIRBRIDGE CEMETERY

Fairbridge Cemetery is located south of the Chapel and approximately 2000 metres in distance (approximately), described in communications as Reserve No 21290 situated on the southeast corner of Lot 5 of Cockburn location 16 and known as “Fairbridge Cemetery” gazetted 5th February 1932 There has been concern for some time, with ownership and the actual location of the reserve of the Fairbridge Cemetery, and more important whether the graves are

located within the Reserve 21290. PERSONAL PAPERS/FILES The personal files are held in Trust by the Battye Library and have a restricted viewing category till 2046. Simply they can only be requested for viewing by person/s whose name appear on the front or bona – fide family members. After 2046, well who knows!!!!!

Since 2010 there have been approximately 171 requests processed, from children who spent time at Fairbridge or from their families. A most desirable outcome – nearly 171 children, who spent time have been able to review the contents of their personal files and in many instances, discover many facts of their time at Fairbridge and in some instances the UK, which allowed the opportunity to discover families they never knew existed. The recovery process includes making an electronic copy of each file/s contents, which is then archived.On a disappointing note  – There is an absence of any supporting paperwork, indicating due diligence has

been completed to ensure personal papers/files were delivered to t

he rightful owner. It has been discovered,

we have no records of any files copied prior to 2010, in fact there is very little evidence of due diligence on

some files copies during the period 2010

2013.

FAIRBRIDGE MUSEUM

Fairbridge Museum, “urgently” requires Purpose Documents (or similar) to ensure the character and history of Kingsley Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra is firmly entrenched in the history of the Shire of Murray and correctly represents Child Migration. It is quite apparent the Museum is predominantly segmented into distinct sectors i.e.

  • Arrival Wall
  • Military
  • Chapel
  • Farmside
  • Pictures
  • Hospital
  • Books
  • Sales

We need to seek advice on how to best present many of these sectors.

On a positive note Alan Deverell has worked tirelessly on the Fairbridge Military Sector, and below is a brief summary of the work to date. Fairbridge Museum –

Military Section Some significant achievements have been achieved in the mode of operation of the Fairbridge Museum. Of particular interest and importance:

  • Measuring and Recording Attendance Audit – To date there has been 3 independent audits undertaken of the methods of operation of the Fairbridge Museum (2014; 2015 and 2016). The most recent undertaken by Mr Wayne Sanderson of Sanderson Business Services identified procedures which were inappropriate and needed to be changed. The Committee upon receiving this advice (Dec 2016) introduced:

improved money transaction procedures and also a self – auditing procedure for the sale. We now have Cost Centres for Book Sales and Museum Donations (Both cash and cheque).

  1. The process of monitoring number/s of visitors to the museum is a most welcome introduction and will help with future Museum Operations.
  • Fairbridge Kids – Military Service

The significant achievements by all those children who spent many years serving Australia both in war and peace. Many of those children paid the ultimate price. Allan Deverell has spent precious time, reviewing records ensuring the display has the correct information. This review has resulted in

additional names to be added to the commemorative colonnade plaque.

This is a project that will be continuous.

Over the past 18 months a comprehensive audit of the military memorabilia held in the museum has been undertaken by Alan Deverell.

  • Asset Register – Museum Data Sheets Thankfully in November 2106, a file labelled “Museum Data Sheets” was discovered in a plastic box, along with an assortment of other stationery items. During the next 12 months, it is intended to have pertinent information transferred to an electronic format, essentially for the purpose of “insurance” and protection of these valuable records. This will allow for the development of a Data Base and an efficient recovery system, when seeking to review specific items held in the museum. Again, the lack

of application with storing of strategically important documents is quite evident

  • Military Section – Records. Progress has been impressive, and with the progress being made on updating and replacing (currently with DVA pending funding) the memorial plaque on the Commemorative Colonnade. This

work continues. Supporting and enhancing the OFA Core Business the Following Projects Have been Considered, Commenced or Proposed The following projects are in various stages and as each project reaches a milestone membership will be advised

PROJECT 1 – Renovation and Rehabilitation of the Commemorative Colonnades

Gardens and Plaques – Commenced 2016 – Planned Completion June 2017

Commenced immediately following the 2016 Annual General Meeting, this

project was hopefully to be funded from Royalty for Regions Grants, unfortunately we were not successful with our bid. However, we do have an application currently with Department of Veteran Affairs for funding of a replacement plaque, many thanks to Alan Deverell, who has spent some 18 months working on this aspect of the military history.

Under the leadership of Richard Hinch, existing “dog roses have been removed, soil removed, brickwork on the southern planter box, demolished and repaired, new more suitable planting medium placed and Anzac  Roses planted. There is work to be done, replacement of some timber members in the timber frastructure

and lick of paint and a more appropriate reticulation system installed. The energy and drive of both Alan and Richard is to be commended – and the reward, just before Xmas the Colonnades were a delight to view, with roses blooming with petunias looking splendid.

PROJECT 2 – Transferring of Paper Records to Electronic Format – Photographs Commenced January 2017 – Stage 1 Planned Completion December 2017

At our last committee meeting, permission was sought and granted to have Mr Brian Collopy (eldest son of Fairbridge Girl) take the photo register cards and transfer the information to an electronic format. During the process, Brian will also be preparing a location file to ensure we are able to locate pictures. The cards were delivered mid-January and work on the process has commenced. This, once again, is an enormous task and upon completion will allow the OFA to efficiently recover original pictures.

PROJECT 3 – Transferring of Paper Records to Electronic Format – Kingsley Fairbridge Farm School, Pinjarra – Children’s Register – Stage 1 Commenced August 2016 – Planned Completion June 2017 As instructed by the members

hip, the Children’s register was deposited, permanently with the Battye Library,

and the appropriate paperwork completed. The last report received indicated the restoration process of this valuable document is progressing and completion is some time away However the need to have these records in an electronic format has been recognised as essential. This project is labour intensive and accuracy is important.

PROJECT 4 – Transferring of Paper Records to Electronic Format – Timeline Documentation – Arrival Parties – Commenced January 2017 – Planned Completion June 2017 As we are all aware, most lists, including those on public display, are not complete and in many instances have numerous errors. This facet of our record keepings needs to be addressed by ensuring information

intended for public display is checked for correctness or not displayed. Julie Lynch, a volunteer who works in the Museum one weekend a month, has also stepped up to the plate and will be working on preparing Revised Party Arrival Documents for Display in the Timeline Boards. Again this is an important task and will be a great improvement. It is our intention to try and complete the timeline, by locating pictures and placing on the wall.

PROJECT 5 – Reintroduction of OFA Badge – For Membership Consideration.

There have been numerous requests from Members to re-introduce the OFA badge. The logo – top left of this report is the badge they are asking for. This can be a project for the incoming Committee, although we have already discussed with Sheridans who were suppliers of the original badges many years ago.

PROJECT 6 – Fairbridge the Place – Proposed – TBA It has been suggested we prepare a slide show – “Fairbridge the Place” this could be shown both in the

office and in the museum. This is a project that is going to consume many hours of our time, great project for 2018 Committee to consider. If any person has the knowledge and the expertise to develop this program, please come forward.

PROJECT 7 – Memorial Gardens and Memorial Wall – Commenced 2014 –

taged Completion TBA This project has the following elements:

  1. Plaque Audit This will be complete by June 2017, with all plaques identified and those where owners have pre-paid for the plaque “found” and those with reserved locations, notified.
  2. Purpose Document Need to be completed ASAP
  3. Additional Memorial Wall To members for concurrence, if agreed will prepare submission to Fairbridge Village/Heritage and Construction Panel.
  4. Rose Replacement – Cross Some roses have been replaced, however Richard Hinch advises some of the existing roses are not in the best of health and will probably need to be replaced. Need to have reticulation aligned and sprinklers in place.
  5. Reticulation Concept design needs to be completed, another project for a donation.
  6. Solar Pump Purchased and donated to Committee (nearly)
  7. English Style Picket Fence and Arbour Plans drawn and submitted to Fairbridge Village for Comment, approved in principal
  8. Remove Plumbago Hedge Delayed until Picket Fence installed
  9. Rose Installation Last facet of the project – however if reticulation advanced then kerb can be realigned, and roses planted.
  10. Replace Kerb Current kerb is badly damaged – need to install heavy duty barrier kerb with appropriate “pram crossing suitable for wheelchair entry.

PROJECT 8 – Fairbridge Cemetery/Kingsley Fairbridge Family Grave Sit

In the 1st instance organise cadastral and feature survey of both sites to establish positive location. After this has been established it is then possible to approach authorities with the view of developing a strategy to enhance the location of both sites as “places of significant historical interest”.

 

MUSEUM VOLUNTEERS

As always we are looking for more volunteers for the Museum –

so if you can spare a Saturday or Sunday to volunteer then

please send an email to fairbridgewa@gmail.com

A big thanks you to those that already volunteer.

 

VALE

Gordon Readings

February 2017