President’s 2020 Report
I am happy to report that Kogarah Historical Society has had another very successful year. Regular monthly meetings at 2 pm on the second Thursday of each month have been well attended. Attendance at the meetings is usually between 30 and 35. Meetings commence with a speaker followed by afternoon tea and a short business meeting.
It takes a large team of people to make these meetings a success. We miss the expertise of Garry Darby in setting up the equipment and for those now doing it, it has been a steep learning curve. Others arrive early to put out the chairs and set up things on the welcoming table at the door. The work of the catering team led by Elaine Filewood is much appreciated. In all a team of 22 people comes together to make the meetings a success.
Speakers are engaged by our secretary, Gill Whan. This year we have heard from Garry Darby, Lieut.Col.Peter Sweeney, Dr Peter Hobbins, Gary Cooke, Dr Michael Sheret, Ian Tyrell, Patrick Dodd, Wendy Cornish and Paul Brunton.
Carss Cottage Museum continues to be the society’s showpiece. The museum is staffed by volunteers and open on Sunday afternoons from 1-5 pm in summer and 1-4 pm in winter This year it received over 770 visitors (this does not include two open days, Australia Day and Wordfest, when admission was free). The museum is open by appointment for school groups and tour parties. School groups are particularly labour intensive and we appreciate the extra help given by our volunteers. Bookings for museum visits are taken by Wendy Agzarian who has also taken up a curatorial role. Several new cabinets have been bought enabling more artefacts to go on display.
Mondays at the Museum is held five times a year. It begins with morning tea in the courtyard after which patrons can sit outside, weather permitting, to hear a speaker then browse the museum. Adele Ryan is the convenor of this event. This year’s speakers have been The State Emergency Services, Mary Small, Sarah Goldman, Wendy Agzarian and Leonie Bell. The St.George Concert Band played outside the museum on the second Sunday of each month in summer (weather permitting). The Museum does not open on Public Holidays or Mothers’ Day.
The bi-monthly newsletters are edited by Gill Whan. We have a diversity of contributors and would like to receive more articles from members. This year’s contributors have been, Rodger Robertson, Gill Whan, Alan Powditch, Adele Ryan, Betty Goodger, Beverley Earnshaw, Monica O’Brien, Olivia Ayling, Garry Darby, Joe Spinelli, Yvonne Hawkins, and John MacRitchie.
A Documentary Film about ‘The Wedding Dress that was never worn’ was produced by professional film maker, Bebi Zekirovski, and set in Carss Cottage using a professional cast. It tells the sad story of the romance between Gwen Coxhead and her fiancé, Jack Buckham, who died in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. The documentary has been entered in several overseas short film festivals. The dress is on display in our museum and the film had its premiere on April 26th, 2019 at the Marana Auditorium, Hurstville.
Wordfest, initiated by Georges River Council, took place in October around Carss Cottage. At this event we launched a new competition for school children focusing on Lieutenant James Cook who visited Botany Bay on April 29th 1770, exactly 250 years ago.
Members undertook two excursions during the year, in March an Excursion around The Icons of Sydney Harbour and in October a visit to Garden Island.
I wish to thank those volunteers who contribute so much towards the running of the society: Gill Whan our secretary, treasurer Cath Sullivan, Robert McGarn our Public Officer and presenter of Society News, Betty Goodger our honorary librarian, Adele Ryan our publicity and advertising officer, Fred Scott who looks after our Website, Wendy Agzarian who organizes bookings for the museum. We greatly appreciate the volunteer service of all those people who open the museum on Sundays, and those who organize refreshments at the meetings and at Mondays at the Museum.
We invite and encourage more members to come forward to assist in running the society and new ideas and suggestions are always welcome.
David Shaw has once again been our honorary auditor and his help is appreciated.
I thank all the members for their support during the year and especially for their loyalty in attendance, for without the members there could not be a society.
I look forward to Kogarah Historical Society growing in strength and reputation during the coming years. The text of this report will be published in our next newsletter.