FFF logoFellowship of First FleetersFFFSHC_logo_small

Southern Highlands Chapter

Annual Report – August 2016

Committee 2015-2016

PresidentPamela Cormick [# 1894 – John Gowen]

Vice President Rod Davis [#6139 – Thomas Chipp & Jane Langley]

Secretary / Minutes/Newsletter Editor/Record Keeper  – Wendy Selman [# 6558 – Edward Risby]

Attendance & Membership  Officer –  Carol Schillert [#7358 – Nathaniel Lucas & Olivia Gascoigne]

Webmaster – Robert Herbert [#4351John Herbert & Deborah Ellam]

Members – Helen Anderson[#1264.1 – Frederick Meredith]

Paul Miskelly [#7643.1 – Olivia Gascoigne/Nathanial Lucas /James Squire]

Trish Scott-Wandmaker [#7604 – John Small & Mary Parker]

 Alexander ~ Borrowdale ~ Charlotte ~ Fishburn ~ Friendship ~ Golden Grove ~ Lady Penrhyn ~ Prince of Wales ~ Scarborough ~ HMS Sirius ~ HMS Supply

President’s Annual Report

It is with pleasure I present my Annual Report of our Chapter.

Our last AGM was held on the 12th August, 2015. Following our AGM our Guest Speaker was Chris Thompson from Harper’s Mansion who spoke on the topic of “The Berrima 1841 Project”.  This explored the Berrima community in March 1841, the date of the Census.

General Meetings held since then are as follows:

  • 14th October, 2015. You may recall Lyn Fergusson was scheduled to be our guest speaker, but was suddenly taken ill. Thankfully, Dr. Leah Day kindly stepped in to take Lyn’s place at short notice and spoke to us about the FitzRoy Ironworks.
  • 9th December,2015 was our eleventh Anniversary Christmas Luncheon held at the Mittagong R.S.L. Our guest speaker was Robert Griffin who entertained us with his knowledge of “The Hordern Houses”.
  • 10th February, 2016. As guest speakers we had a double act from our own Chapter with Glenda Miskelly and Rod Davis. Glenda’s subject was “Arthur Phillipin Bath, His Final Years”, and Rod’s was “England before the First Fleet”.
  • 13th April, 2016. I was away for this meeting and Rod Davis, our Vice President, took my place. Our guest speaker was Ann Beaumont, who spoke about the “Life and Times of Edward Charles Close”, the subject of her new book.
  • 8th June, 2016. Rod Davis was our guest speaker for the second time this year. His topic was “Why Botany Bay?”
  • The Chapter’s Committee Meetings were held on the 9th September, 2015, 11th November, 2015, 13th January, 2016, 9th March, 2016, 11th May, 2016 and 13th July, 2016. Several of our Committee Members were kind enough to open their homes for these meetings.

Activities this year, other than meetings, included:

  • Theatre Party on 19th September, 2015 to enjoy a Pigs Fly Production of “Little Shop of Horrors”.
  • First Fleeters Fellowship AGM on 24th October, 2015 at Dapto hosted by the South Coast Chapter.
  • FFF Australia Day Luncheon at Pullman Hotel, Sydney on 23rd January, 2016.
  • A display by our Chapter at Harper’s Mansion, Berrima from 16th April to 29th May, 2016 in connection with the 2016 National Trust (N.S.W.) Heritage Festival.
  • Anzac Day. I was unable to attend the Anzac Service this year as I was away. Glenda Miskelly kindly attended on my behalf at the 10 a.m. Mittagong Service.
  • Music and Heritage Tour of the Conservatorium of Music on 4th May, 2016.
  • Opening of First Fleet Memorial Park at the Pioneer Memorial Park, Bunnerong Road, Matraville on 13th May, 2016.
  • Tour of the ABC Television Studios on 20th July, 2016.

It is noted that Paul and Glenda Miskelly joined Robert Griffin’s Historic Houses Tour of Tasmania in February of this year.
Our membership remains solid the Chapter has 60 members listed in our attendance book
– 56 full members and associates and 4 friends. We lost three members and welcomed three new members this year:

  • Gaye White #8577 FF William Tunks, Sirius
  • Dennis McManus #8575 FF’s James McManus, Charlotte
  • Geoffrey Piggott #8583 FF Edward Miles, Scarborough

Jean Stubbings moved to the Central Coast. 2 Friends resigned due to ill health. We received $425 from the Fellowship as our 2015/2016 subsidy from membership contributions.
We had 60 financial members at that point. Our membership, mailing & contact data base lists reveal some 74 First Fleeters who have descendants in the Southern Highlands.

In reviewing Chapter Attendance for 2015-2016 (from August to July) we found that in rounded figures the:

  • Average Chapter Meeting Attendance was 36.5 ; & the average Member Attendance was 28 while Average Guest Attendance was 9.
MonthNumber of MembersNumber of GuestsTotal
August – 2015 - AGM261137
December – Annual Lunch321244
February, 2014281240
Official Opening Exhibition at Harper’s Manison9-9
Conservatorium Music Tour21+ 2 other Chapters427

We continue to meet at the Mittagong Community Centre where we have a sign with our contact phone number on the exterior wall of the Centre. In addition we have a noticeboard in the hall and, we continue to have an allocated cupboard in the kitchen annex. With MCC Management permission our Library Cupboard is now stored in the Centre’s main storeroom – now the only cupboard owned by a user group in the Centre. Morning Tea is donated by the Committee who take it in turns to manage the catering for each meeting. We have held our Annual Luncheon at the Mittagong RSL since 2010 and will do so again this December.Wendy Selman & John Kirkby are resigning from the Management Committee of the Mittagong Community Centre with effect from the 10th October. They have both represented the Chapter on this Committee for nearly nine years.

Formal Chapter Records are continuing to be maintained by our Secretary including Minutes and Meeting Records; Correspondence; Mailing Lists; Petty Cash Records; Newsletters;  Chapter Events; Property & Assets Records (including our Library Accession Register); a Chapter Memorial Book, Archives and Photo Albums documenting our activities. The requirements of the Board of Directors of the Fellowship Of First Fleeters  are being met. An Editor is being sought for the 1788 Chronicle in 2017.

The 1788 Chronicle , our Chapter Newsletter is sent out  in January, March, May, July, September & November. Approximately 75 Newsletters are sent out to financial members of FFF, to the FFF Board, local historical & family history groups and our local libraries. Our newsletter is also emailed to all Chapters. Potential members of the Fellowship are sent notices of meetings. The Notice of the 2016 AGM was mailed with the July Newsletter. Our mailing list is reviewed annually following the AGM and the payment of subsidies.

The cost of printing the 1788 Chronicle has been generously donated by Fiona Jowett #6559,

FF Edward Risby & Christopher Jowett (Selman Jowett Solicitors, Mittagong). We sincerely appreciate their continual support over the past 12 years. Their generosity as our major sponsor was the underpinning of the Chapter establishing financially, we would not have our present bank balance without their backing. So to them both thank you!

We have now moved on to a new era – our newsletter is emailed out to our members saving well over $400 a year in postage. We still cheerfully mail to a small number of our much appreciated members who do not have computer access, we are printing “in house”.

Our website went live in April 2015 with a limited number of pages which included the Home Page, a Calendar of meetings and events, a Members Interest page, a First Fleeters Honour Roll, a Contacts page and links to other relevant websites in side bars. The cost at the time was a total of $160.72 which include 3 years hosting, 1 year daily backup and 1 year basic Sitelock security. Backup and security was renewed in April 2016 at a cost of $65.88.
Today the website has expanded considerably by adding the Chapter Library Catalogue, Slide Shows of meetings and events and a number of stories written by Chapter members. A page which has an extensive list of links to family history research sites has also been added so that currently there is a total of 42 pages.
The website is built on WordPress and utilises a free theme from Generate Press and 21 plugins for customisation, form building and site security.
Unique visitor count for the last twelve months is more than 4800
URL http://fffsouthernhighlands.org.au

Publicity is shared by Committee & Chapter Members with the Secretary.Meeting Flyers are distributed throughout the Southern Highlands and Goulburn. Emails are also sent to like minded groups and the local papers in the Highlands & Goulburn and information is given to 2ST. Meeting Notices are also posted on the Wingecarrabee Shire’s Arts Info email network. Our supporters are sent messages of thanks each December.A volunteer for the position of Publicity Officer would be welcomed.

The Library is now valued at $950 and the collection is still housed in the Mittagong Community Centre. Donations of books are always welcome.We thank Ann Beaumont for donating her book “A Light In The Window”- the story of Harper’s Mansion, Berrima to our collection.

Due to limited space, our collection will ideally be limited to the life & times of the First & Second Fleeters up to and including the era of Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Apart from providing useful research material, some of the books have made a pleasing addition to our displays of memorabilia on recent occasions. Privately owned books remain available for borrowing. In addition to the Chapter’s library, Rod Davis has provided a list of the books pertaining to First Fleet matters that reside in his comprehensive, personal library. He is willing to lend these books to members upon request and they will be available for borrowing directly from Rod. A list of these books is kept at the library table. We thank Rod Davis for his generosity in making these books available to our members and we also thank Glenda Miskelly for maintaining the collection.

Sadly in April Catherine Wilkins passed away. Catherine was a close friend of some of our Chapter Members and she regularly attended our meetings and events. We miss Catherine’s enthusiasm, charm and wit.

At this time, I would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank our Committee, and, especially our Secretary, Wendy Selman, whose tireless efforts have kept our Chapter going now for twelve years. Without the Committee’s devotion, our Chapter would not be able to continue. At our July Committee Meeting, Paul Miskelly informed us that he was no longer able to be a Committee Member due to family commitments. On behalf of everyone I would like to thank Paul for his valuable input over the past seven years and wish him and Glenda well. However, we greatly appreciate that Paul will still help out at Chapter Meetings.

Special acknowledgements and thanks go to:

  • Our guest speakers throughout the year.
  • To all members who help out at our meetings and events.
  • Selman Jowett, Solicitors, who have sponsored our newsletter for the past 12 years.
  • The Southern Highlands News and Post, 2ST, the Goulburn Post; and
  • The businesses of the Southern Highlands who display flyers for our upcoming meetings.

I now submit my Annual Report for the year 2015 – 2016.

Signed ____________________________________10th August, 2016.

Pamela Cormick, President