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At the risk of making the NSW Scottish web site seem like a politicians's post-election behaviour we have to again break our previous promise not to report on the weather for the 2017 Harbour Cruise. This is because IT RAINED! and it rained all day but did not dampen the Scottish spirits. (Note Scottish not Scotch, we are not sure whether our guests dampened their whisky or not)
This year Frank Woodhams commandeered a larger vessel, the Captain Cook III, pictured above among the grey clouds. It was just as well he did because a record-breaking 140 members and guests accepted the Association's invitation. The new vessel accommodated everyoine very well with a different configuration of tables that enabled most of us to get a better view of the rainy harbour attractions.
|The crowd boarding||The crowd boarding and still boarding|
As usual the Pipes and Drums entertained the boarders and bystanders and as usual our photographer showed his incompetence because the Man'O War kept stepping into the picture. The cruise liner at Circular Quay did provide a different backdrop though.
Tradition followed commencement of the voyage with the Association AGM taking place on the upper deck of the Captain Cook III. Frank Woodhams reported on past and future activity and finances and also announced that in honour of Alpha Company's involvement in overseas operations in East Timor and the Solomon Islands, these activities are now emblazoned on the Association Banner.
|The unveiling of the banner at the AGM||A better view of the banner held by CPL Greg Smallwood and PTE Declan Murray of Alpha Coy|
Despite the record attendance and contrary to what the pictures below seem to show, the new boat provided ample room for all to ove about and the lunch menu was a great improvement on past cruises.
As usual the occasion was highlighted by the Pipes and Drums
Each year the Association makes a donation to the Pipes and Drums to offset the considerable expense incurred by its members in upkeep of uniforms and instruments
|Frank Woodhams and Pipe Major Gordon Irving|
In what is now a tradition anongst the many others, Harvey Baden has adopted the role of "Captain OY" to lead us in the response during the playing of th Black Bear. In acknowledgement of his complaint that we rarely show his happy face on the web site we are pleased to do so now and at the same time capture his performance during the Black Bear of the 2017 AGM.
Prior to the conduct of the raffle, Frank Woodhams takes the opportunity to make a presentation to recognise the contribution of special people and this year in recognition of the high level of support given to the Association and to the Reserve Forces Day Council of Group Commissioner Trent Aylward and the Australian Air League a special presentation was made to CPL Natalie Aylward who has earned the distinction of the Air League's New South Wales Cadet of the Year.
LTCOL John Moore also took the opportunity to detail the current interest of the Reserve Forces Day Council in the campaign initiated by the Chairman of RFDC, the Hon Tim Fischer AC, to have General Sir John Monash posthumously promoted to the rank of Field Marshal in belated recognition of the vital part General Monash played in the latter stages of WW2, a recognition that was denied to him in the years after 1918. John Moore spoke of the then forthcoming NSW Launch of the Saluting Monash Council that was held in Sydney on March 8
And then the Raffle
|The Prizes donated by Members||And the Prize of Prizes donated by Dulux|
Some of the winners were:
The Dulux Dog was originally won by Colin Boland to the consternation of Clementine von Muenster, the daughter of MAJ Stephen von Muenster the previous OC of Aplha Coy who is now one of our staunchest members and was a great supporter of the Association during his service in Alpha Company. Stephen offered a donation to the Assocation if Colin was prepared to forego his proze, which Colin generously agreed to do.
|Colin, Clementine and her dog|
About 30 members and guests and the Pipes and Drums attended the 2017 Gemas Day celebration. This is a pleasing turnout showing that Gemas is not forgotten by the current generation.
The 2/30 Battalion Association is still operative but only because its members now comprise, in the main, sons and daughters of the original men of the 2/30th. There are almost none of the orginals still alive and none still capable of attending Gemas Day. Once the memory is passed on to the next generation, it may well be that membership of the Association will decline.
The other WW2 Association of the 30 Battalions, the 30 Battalion 1939-1945, has already been dissolved.
It makes it even more important that our Association take up the baton in continuing the memory of the marvellous work done by the 2/30th at Gemas on 14 January 1942 and the memory of the members of the Battalion who perished then and subsequently as prisoners of war.
It is salutary to reflect on the effect of time by comparing the two photos below. The first shows the 2/30 Asscoation marching in 2008, and the second the members marching in 2017. Note the WW2 medals in the first picture and their absence in the second one.
The following photo indicates how our attendance swelled the audience on the day.
The keynote address on the day was given by CAPT Pat Sharkey, the current OC of Alpha Company (Scottish) who reflected on how appropriate the message given by previous guest speakers were then and now. Note that despite the reluctance by the Army hierarchy to support the history of Regiments such as the Scottish, CAPT Sharkey is carrying on the traditions as best he can by wearing the kilt when he can.
Our Association is proud to lay a wreath on each Gemas Day and this year the wreath was laid by Frank Woodhams and Don McNeice.
The tradition of marching past the Memorial is still carried on, although in a shortened version, despite the absence of any originals and this year we were proud to be invited to take part by the President of the 2/30 Association. The march was led by the Pipes and Drums as they have done for many years
In a previous report we promised that we would not start our future reports by commenting on the weather. So we won't, except to say that it was perfect for the 2016 30 Battalions' Church Parade.
|The St Stephens Choir under the eye of the 30 Battalion Regimental Standard singing "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?". A most appropriate song for Rememberance Day|
The Church service was followed by the now traditional end of year and Christmas lunch at which traditional Christmas fare was served including festive vegetables which tickled the fancy and the appetite of at least one of our guests who proceeded to eat them festively.
Thanks to Don and Brenda McNeice for their festive decoration of the tables.
In the absence of haggis at the Christmas lunch a tradition of Piping in the Pud has developed.
|Piping in the Pud||The Pud|
Then, as always, the highlight of the day the Pipes and Drums, whose repertoire once again included new tunes although their performancee of Highland Cathedral needs special mention as it was a special delight for us all.
|The Pipes||and the Drums|
In recognition of his sterling service as the Pud Piper and his piped rendition of Happy Birthday to Eric Maver Bill Wright was elevated to Acting Piper Major for the Toast and toasted the President.
And finally the raffle which does so much under the organisation of Don McNeice and his band of raffle consultants - festive ones this time - to provide funds for the Association. Our thanks to all who donated prizes which were of the usual very high standard.
Some of the lucky winners were (you will note how intense they were in their selection of prizes such was their high standard):
|Graeme was one of them|
|He wanted to make sure of his choice|
The reports on our various functions have always started off with a comment in the weather. While this may be useful for historical reasons the subject of the weather hardly makes scintillating reading. Your webmaster therefore promised himself that the weather would not be the opening subject for ANZAC Day 2016. However the weather on the day turned out to be so perfect that he could not resist reporting on it. Another promise broken!
The route of the march this year was altered from the traditional march past the Cenotaph and then on George St due to the work on the light rail in George St. It now takes marchers south along Elizabeth St with respects being given as the participants draw level with the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park South. Despite public comments from veterans about not marching past the Cenotaph, the new route seemed to win general approval. Certainly some of the 40 members of the Association who marched commented favourably on it.
The Association was led this year by Major Stephen von Muenster, the previous OC of Alpha Company (Scottish), who while serving in that capacity was a keen supporter of the Asscoation and who in his "retirement" from current service continues to support us as a member of the Association.
Our thanks to Chris Coulson for the photographs
Following the March, our traditional NSW Scottish Reunion lunch was held at the Royal Automobile Club. This year, in Frank Woodham's absence the event was hosted by Harvey Baden, who despite being deputised at short notice did an excellent job as always.
As usual the most popular event of the afternoon was the performance by the PIpes and Drums who once again demonstrated the breadth of their repertoire by including new tunes in their brackets.
Our stand-in president showed he is as capable as our real president in toasting the Pipe-Major
A special presentation was made to Vice-President Don McNeice for his very long standing and widespread support to the Association since its formation. Don has provided excellent support to Frank Woodhams in many ways and in many capacities during his long service to the Association and the presentation to him is very well deserved. This was acknowledged widely and enthusiastically by the members at the lunch.
The raffle again proved popular with some of the winners being:
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