Monday, May 07, 2007

Burgher Association in Australia

From: Doyne Caspersz
Sent: Sunday, 6 May 2007 8:39 PM
To: Victor Melder


Attached is the above speech. Can you kindly distribute this to your vast electronic network

Thanks very much

Doyne Caspersz

On behalf of the Burgher Association in Australia it is my privilege to welcome you to this event, to celebrate the Burghers migrating to Australia, and more so this year, as it is 60 years since it occurred officially for the first time. Amongst us today, we have the Honourable Minister Mr Daniel Andrews, Minister for Consumer Affairs, and Minister for Gaming, and Minister Assisting the Premier on Multicultural Affairs, who is representing the Premier of Victoria. Also present are one of our very great supporters Mr Alan Griffin the Federal Member for Bruce. We also have Mr Ray de Witt who has helped us immensely over the years and his wife Margaret. Thank you for gracing this occasion by your presence.

60 years is a long time, and I can proudly say that as a migrant community, we had the vision to see the potential, that this wonderful country had to offer, and none more important than a fair go, and my pride extends to claim, that the Burghers have contributed their fair share, to the prosperous and harmonious society that we enjoy. Thank you Australia.

The pioneering efforts of migration of the Burghers, were helped along by many, including a number within our own community, and I will only mention just a few, to acknowledge these efforts. The late, unassuming Clifford de Zilva was one – you did not have to ask him for help he just did it when it was required. We then had the late Richard Don and the late George Jansz who in 1951 lobbied the Prime Minister and the Minister of Immigration at that time in Australia to reduce the minimum content of European ancestry required to qualify under the White Australia policy, and we believe it was a wise decision which has served well, the ethnic Burgher community as well as Australia.

It is my great pleasure, to announce that our Chief Guests this evening, were to be Doug and Eileen Fernando, who were among those pioneers in 1947, but they are unable to be present due to ill-health. Dorrit Blaze is the other Chief Guest who at 92 years young, is lovingly and widely acknowledged as the matriarch of the Burgher community. Doug and Eileen have been at the forefront of helping community organisations develop, and have also shown the way, for others to follow by their quiet, but purposeful determination to serve the community.

Dorrit and her late husband Benjamin ,whose centenary of birth is on 2nd June 2007 were at the forefront of founding, of various community organisations, and it is important to acknowledge the scheme, they put in place, with the help of the Council of Churches, to provide loans, to prospective migrant burghers, to pay for their passages to Australia. The reward they looked forward to, was to experience the relief, on the faces of those migrants, who made it to the shores of Australia, to begin a new life. I would kindly request you, to join with me, in thanking Doug, Eileen and Dorrit, for their help to the community, as well acknowledge the others I have mentioned, as well as all of the others, who have helped migrant Burghers, settle into this wonderful country. We must not forget the P & O Shipping line, who brought the early Burgher migrants. As time does not permit to mention all by name, but one that comes to mind is the late Victor Ebell and family, who arrived on the Orion in January 1948.

I acknowledge the support and thank the Victorian Multicultural Commission, for the financial Grant, that was provided for the celebration of this event. The organisation of this gala night has rested on the shoulders of Inday and Henry Todd, who with their Committee, have produced what you have already seen, with more to come. I sincerely thank Inday & Henry, for their tireless work.

A heartfelt thanks to Australia, for giving us a wonderful free society, which we will continue to enjoy.

The future is ours, and we can only reap what we sow, as we forge ahead. Lets get together, to recognise our planet, and its environment, and do what is needed to preserve it for our future generations, and be grateful, for the generations before us, who gave us a healthy and liveable environment.

Finally I would ask Dorrit Blaze and Inday and Henry Todd, to join me on stage, and receive our acknowledgement, for their labour of love.

I call on Mrs Dorrit Blaze who has requested to say a few words

Thank you Dorrit

I now kindly request the Honourable Minister to say a few words.