Ryder-Cheshire Australia Biennial Conference in Ballarat 15 – 17th April 2016

Sr Abel Guterras, Brigadier Arun Bhatnagar, Dianne McGrath and Sr Joaquim Soares
Sr Abel Guterras, Brigadier Arun Bhatnagar, Dianne McGrath and Sr Joaquim Soares

In Sydney 2014, the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation Victoria Ballarat Support Group volunteered to host the next Ryder-Cheshire Australia Biennial Conference for 2016 in Ballarat, Victoria.

Planning began immediately, including securing the all-inclusive, beautiful venue and surroundings at the Mercure Hotel and Convention Centre in Ballarat for 15, 16 and 17 April.

The Friday commenced very early with a full programme of events for the overseas guests Sr Joaquim Soares Director of Klibur Domin, Timor-Leste and his wife, Brigadier Bhatnagar CEO of Raphael India and his wife, Ms  Carolyn Tapley and Mrs Minna Munro from Christchurch, New Zealand and Mrs Sunita Garware from Raphael Governing Council, India.

Minna Munro NZ, Sunita Garware India and Carolyn Tapley NZ
Minna Munro NZ, Sunita Garware India and Carolyn Tapley NZ

This programme included an ABC Regional radio interview, visits to Damascus College, Ballarat Specialist School and farm with lunch served by the staff and students at the Specialist School bakery, Loreto College, Ballarat Grammar school and Ballarat Clarendon College. Joaquim also visited Gandarra Palliative Care Unit of the Ballarat Health Services to observe chronic care management. Joaquin and Maria had morning tea at Damascus College whilst Arun and Shobhna visited the Ballarat Specialist School. The parties met at the Ballarat Specialist School Farm for a tour culminating with lunch served by the staff and students at the Ballarat Specialist School Bakery.

Sr Joaquin and Sra Maria with Damascus College students
Sr Joaquin and Sra Maria with Damascus College students

On Friday evening The City of Ballarat welcomed all Biennial Conference delegates to a Civic Reception in the old and beautiful Ballarat Town Hall. Cr Des Hudson, the Mayor, welcomed  all to Ballarat and spoke knowledgeably about the work of Ryder-Cheshire and the relief of suffering.

After the Reception delegates were invited by Leo Rennie to visit the Ballarat Old Colonists’ Club, a rare and special invitation.

Saturday and Sunday mornings commenced with yoga sessions instructed by our Yoga Teacher, Lori Hutton.

On Saturday the Biennial Conference was officially opened by His Excellency Sr Abel Guterras, the Timor-Leste Ambassador. In his opening address, Sr Guterras spoke about the work of Ryder-Cheshire and fondly about the history of friendship between the two countries.

Peter Newton, National RCA President, acknowledged the outstanding work by Dr Don Sinclair and Fr Ted Burns and presented both with Ryder-Cheshire Certificates of Appreciation.

Patricia Prendergast gave insights into the beginnings of the Ballarat Support Group along with a special message of sharing the love from the Tetun of Klibur Domin.

Newly appointed CEO of Rahpael Brigadier Arun Bhatnagar and Sr Joaquim Soares Director of Klibur Domin gave comprehensive reports of work undertaken at both facilities. This was followed by the Chairman of the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation Canterbury, New Zealand, Ms Carolyn Tapley, who gave an up date on the current situation in Christchurch.

Volunteers, Trish Twaits from Ballarat spoke of her time at Raphael, and Barry and Sue Ward from Bendigo of their time at Klibur Domin.

Jeremi, Ryan, Drew and Sean a group of young friends from ECHO International Aid gave a motivational presentation about their work in Northern Thailand and this was followed by the afternoon workshop, facilitated by Mrs Trish Young from the Australian Catholic University Ballarat, enabling delegates to share stories, discuss and look to the future.

Over canapés and drinks prior to the Conference Dinner, ‘Sing Australia’ delightfully entertained all with well-chosen songs for the Conference. Many were humming along, some dancing and others went into dinner singing. The buffet dinner was followed by a most informative talk with entertaining stories by Mrs Sunita Garware, Member of the Governing Council of Raphael.

Leo Rennie Ballarat, Sr Joaquim Soares Timor-Leste, Dianne McGrath Ballarat and Sr Maria Soares Timor-Leste
Leo Rennie Ballarat, Sr Joaquim Soares Timor-Leste, Dianne McGrath Ballarat and Sr Maria Soares Timor-Leste

Sunday began with an historical movie created by Hugh Elphinstone, President of the Ryder-Cheshire Victoria Bendigo Support Group, and Terry Warr. This was a collage of footage tracing the story of the late Leonard Cheshire and the late Sue Ryder, the two founders of Ryder-Cheshire.

Sunday was a day for the Ryder-Cheshire Homes in Australia. Anne Boyd delivered Cheryl Nesbitt’s report from the Ryder-Cheshire Home at Singleton NSW. Don Hamilton reported on the developments and in particular the newly installed lift at the Ryder-Cheshire Home in Ivanhoe, VIC. Neville Gilbertson explained the new development of an all boys facility soon to be built at the Ryder-Cheshire Home in Mt Gambier, SA.

We heard from the Project Manager of Nardy House in Quaama NSW, Denise Redmond, of the struggles to develop the facility for profoundly physically disabled people. Assisted by the tremendous support from the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation NSW, this facility has now the much-needed infrastructure in place.

Evelyn Petters, Editor of The Red Feather, delivered a comprehensive historical account of the RCA Newsletter, now known as The Red Feather. All present applauded her wonderful work as Editor.

Terry Warr, Convenor of the Ryder-Cheshire Communications Group, displayed the Ryder-Cheshire business cards which can be accessed via him, the Ryder-Cheshire address labels which can be accessed through the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation NSW and the role of Editors and Contributors for the newly refurbished RCA website.

The Conference concluded with an Open Forum hosted by the National President, Peter Newton.

Technology through out the Conference was ably undertaken by Terry Warr, Amit Kumar and Roger Jeffrey our Roving Reporter

The all-inclusive fully laden Trading Table selling goods from Raphael, Timor-Leste and New Zealand which greeted guests at the entrance to the Conference was successfully managed by Julie Brusaschi and her team of helpers.

Trading table of many goodies
Trading table of many goodies

Mars Confectionery Australia kindly donated chocolates for the Conference some of which made their way into the Conference Show-bags, some as lucky chair prizes, but most into a Conference raffle. We were delighted to know that Di McEwen won this and would be using it as one of their Ryder-Cheshire Foundation SA fundraisers.

The Ryder-Cheshire Biennial Conference 2016 provided the opportunity to mingle and talk face to face with delegates to share and exchange ideas and we thank you all for your attendance and contributions.

Ballarat Support Group was very proud to host this Conference and we sincerely wish the next hosts, Ryder-Cheshire Foundation Victoria and the Victorian Ryder-Cheshire Homes, all the very best in their lead up to the 2018 Ryder-Cheshire Biennial Conference in Melbourne.

Dianne McGrath, President

Ryder-Cheshire Foundation Victoria Ballarat Support Group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ballarat’s Great Women 2016 and Ryder-Cheshire

Ballarat’s Great Women 2016 and Ryder-Cheshire

Congratulations to our very own Dianne McGrath, President of the Ryder-Cheshire Ballarat Support Group, who was recently recognised by The Zonta Club of Ballarat  as one of Ballarat’s Great Women 2016.

Dianne McGrath
Dianne McGrath

Dianne was honoured with this award by her peers during International Women’s Week in March, in recognition of more than 40 years as a primary and tertiary educator, in the Ballarat area, where she continues to work and to contribute in this field even today.

She was also recognised by her peers as a visionary, having decades ago understood and promoted the contribution that Asia and especially China has played in the development of Australia, and the special contribution that Chinese residents have played in the development of Ballarat since the 1850’ s goldfield days.

Her outstanding contribution to education, her leadership and active contribution to many charitable groups, her cultural vision in awakening the Goom Loong, the Chinese Dragon who resides Sovereign Hill Ballarat. and who celebrates his 20th Anniversary this year, and the redevelopment of the Ballarat Chinese Cemetery are just some examples of Dianne’s contribution to Ballarat life.

The presentation also mentioned Dianne’s sense of family, both immediate and extended  whom she tends with as much love as she attends to her cottage garden in historical Ballarat. In mentioning Dianne’s extended family, she has also developed an extensive network of close personal relationships with people from all over Australia and Internationally.

Congratulations to our much loved Dianne McGrath.

Ballarat Civic Hall Tells a Ryder-Cheshire Story

Original 1964 poster advertising Leonard Cheshire's Public Meeting in the Ballarat Civic Hall
Original 1964 poster advertising Leonard Cheshire’s Public Meeting in the Ballarat Civic Hall

 The Ballarat Civic Hall is gathering stories for historical records. The Ryder-Cheshire Foundation Victoria Ballarat Support Group was asked to add their story to the collection, as it was back in 1964 that its birth took place when Leonard Cheshire visited Ballarat.

The late Group Captain Lord Leonard Cheshire of Woodhall VC, OM, DSO, DFC and the late Baroness Sue Ryder of Warsaw CMG, OBE. set up the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation in 1959.

Leonard Cheshire was Britain’s most highly decorated WW2 airman. He was a British observer at the atomic bomb raid on Nagasaki. His reaction to the war led him to undertake humanitarian work as his contribution to peace.

Sue Ryder served in the Special Operations Executive in WW2 with responsibilities in Poland. Witnessing the terrible destruction after the war, she set up homes in Eastern Europe to help and sick, homeless, disabled and destitute people especially those from concentration camps.

Continue reading Ballarat Civic Hall Tells a Ryder-Cheshire Story

Karen

My Raphael Family

Karen COWTONI have been asked to submit an article about my time at Raphael in October/November 2014 but I just don’t know where to start.  My 19 yr old daughter and I spent almost two months at Raphael so you would think I could come up with something.  My fear is not being able to do Raphael justice  in  just one short article. I have thought of every excuse under the sun not to write the article but here I am attempting to write it none the less. Continue reading Karen

Ryder-Cheshire Australia Biennial Conference 15th to 17th April 2016

April this year sees the Ryder-Cheshire fraternity assemble in Ballarat for their Biennial Conference.

The Ryder-Cheshire Foundation Victoria Ballarat Support Group is hosting the Conference. The Ballarat members feel honoured to be undertaking this task and are eagerly looking forward to the fruits of their work.

It is a weekend packed with presentations, workshops, historical movie, guest speakers and the celebration of the work of Ryder-Cheshire ‘for the relief of suffering.’

Delegates are coming from all over Australia and from India, Timor-Leste and New Zealand. Continue reading Ryder-Cheshire Australia Biennial Conference 15th to 17th April 2016

An OAM for Sister Jane Gorey

Sr. Jane Gorey  was honoured with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)  in the 2016 Australia Day Honours List.

Sr. Jane Gorey
Sr. Jane Gorey

Jane has been a resident carer at the Ryder-Cheshire Victorian Homes in Ivanhoe since 1995.  In the early days, there were three resident carers, one for each of the homes within the Ivanhoe complex.  They were all members of religious orders and “loaned” to Ryder-Cheshire to work in the homes, pro bono.  Through attrition Jane Gorey eventually became the sole resident carer of the 95 bed Victorian Homes.

Continue reading An OAM for Sister Jane Gorey

Vale Two of our Oldest Supporters

Shortly before Christmas 2015, we were deeply saddened to learn of the deaths of two of our oldest, long- time supporters – George Smith and Kath Myers.  Both were in their nineties.

George Marching on ANZAC DAY Photo Courtesy The friends of the Odd Bods
George Marching on ANZAC DAY
    Courtesy of The friends of the Odd Bods

On 17th December George Smith passed away peacefully after a short illness.  George was a Flying Officer in WWII, and in 1946 he founded the Odd Bods UK Association.  Many Australian airmen had served in the UK in Royal Air Force squadrons and so were not aligned with any RAAF squadron.  For the past 70 years, the Odd Bods UK Association has served as a group providing support and companionship for these wartime heroes.  Their motto was “Pressing On…. Remembering”.  George was a former President and the Association’s Secretary for more than 20 years. Continue reading Vale Two of our Oldest Supporters