Over ninety delegates have made their way back to their homes in Timor-Leste, India, New Zealand and across Australia. We have been informed, challenged, inspired, and entertained.
Ryder-Cheshire is an inclusive family and an important function of the Conference is that of family reunion, and a welcome to new supporters. Those who normally communicate by email and telephone have been together for hugs and handshakes, and in-depth discussion that is not possible by other means.
We were fortunate indeed to have a beautiful venue, Hillsley, a former church which is part of the Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School campus, on the outskirts of Melbourne. Our heartfelt thanks to the School for making it available to us.
In conjunction with the Conference, Ryder-Cheshire Australia also held it’s Annual General Meeting, and a General Meeting of the Board, with all members present plus valuable input from Klibur Domin Managing Director, Sr Joaquim Soares and Raphael Chief Executive Officer, Brig Anil Sinha (Retd). The Board also welcomed observers Carolyn Tapley, RCF New Zealand, and John Kirby RCF SA.
Some highlights of the conference:
In the opening address by Dr Heather Schnagl AM, ‘ Never Too Young for Philanthropy ‘, she described the openness of young people to becoming engaged in philanthropy if approached in the right way, and the success she has achieved with her students in this respect. Dr Schnagl, is the immediate Past Principal of Ivanhoe Girls’ School and a “Friend of Ryder-Cheshire”. Indeed, lots of ideas for Ryder-Cheshire to pursue.
We watched informative Power Point and video updates from Anil (from Raphael) and Joaquim (from Klibur Domin) about progress and developments at Raphael and Klibur Domin respectively.
Very important, as the overseas homes are the primary focus of the work and fundraising of Ryder-Cheshire Australia. Carolyn Tapley briefed us on developments in New Zealand.
Several overseas volunteers – Robyn Leeder, Christian Hiss, and Patricia McDonell, described their experiences at Raphael and Klibur Domin respectively. It is clear that for most volunteers these placements are life transforming, and for some become a long-term
Saturday afternoon was engaged in a Workshop
“Vision 2025”, with facilitator Robert Gardiner. President Rory introduced his own vision which was followed by 3-minute presentations from all Foundations defining the challenges they see ahead. The delegates broke into small groups to explore ways to meet the challenges. The outcomes from the group work will provide a platform for the Ryder-Cheshire Australia Board and all committees to plan the way forwards.
The afternoon finished with a live interview with Tessa West, author of “Lady Sue Ryder of Warsaw: Single- minded Philanthropist.”, who joined us by interactive Skype from the United Kingdom. She shared many interesting observations and insights about Sue Ryder.
The Guest speaker at the Saturday night Conference Dinner was The Hon Tim Fischer AC, and what a treat that was !
From his perspective as an observer at the 1999 election when the people of Timor Leste chose independence, Tim talked about Timor Leste’s journey to statehood. He drew parallels with the Western Front of WWI, and went on to describe the role of Sir John Monash in the final months of the war. He finished by donating his book of railway adventures, “Trains Unlimited” for auction in support of Klibur Domin. It raised $250 on the spot! The audience showed its appreciation for Tim’s excellent speech and generous
A beautiful quilt designed, made and donated by Carole McLennan, was the object of a silent auction which raised a wonderful $800 !
Sunday morning held another treat with the showing of precious historical film footage from the early days of Raphael, tracked down by Hugh Elphinstone and Anne and Phillip Boyd. Proceedings wrapped up with a Q & A session which provoked interesting discussion and moved us further along the path of renewal.
Just a few need special mention:
Rory McEwen, President of Ryder-Cheshire Australia, for his energy, wisdom and leadership.
Mike Moignard, Convenor of the Victorian Conference Working Group, and Master of Ceremonies and moderator for the Conference, and his team.
Terry Warr, computer and electronics whizz who managed the audio-visual aspects with such calm competence.
Sr Jane Gorey and committee members, staff and volunteers at the Victorian Homes for their warm welcome and ‘nothing is too much trouble’ support.
And a Very Special Mention: Evelyn Petters
Our best wishes go to Mount Gambier who will host the next Biennial Conference in 2020.
The Victorian Conference Working Group:
Mike Moignard, Don Hamilton, Peter McConnell, Kathy Oswin, Anthea Swann, and Barrie William.