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Suomi-Australia –yhdistysten Liitto ry:n 30. vuosijuhla 6.6.2015

Suomi-Australia –yhdistysten Liitto ry:n ja Bu­merangi-lehden 30. vuosijuhlaa vietettiin Turus­sa 6. kesäkuuta 2015 Brinkkalan maistraatin täydessä istuntosalissa. Juhlapäivä alkoi jo puolelta päivin pakollisilla muodollisuuksilla eli Suomi-Aust­ralia -yhdistysten Liiton hallituksen kokouksel­la ja kevätkokouksella. Kevätkokoukseen oli Turun paikallisyhdistyksen puheenjohtaja Irma Puttonen ystävällisesti järjestänyt kahvituksen lisäksi karjalanpiirakoita ja munavoita. Ennen varsinaista juhlatilaisuutta käytiin mie­lenkiintoisella opastetulla museokäynnillä Aboa Vetus & Ars Novassa, jossa selostettiin Turun varhaista historiaa maakerrostumineen, arke­ologisine kaivauksineen ja löytöineen.

Varsinaiseen juhlatilaisuuteen toivat tervehdyk­sensä juhlatilamme sponsoroijan edustaja Turun kaupunginvaltuuston varapuheenjohtaja Kat­ri Sarlund sekä Australian suurlähettiläs Gerald Thomson. Retrospektiivisiä puheita pitivät Suo­mi-Australia-yhdistysten Liiton perustajajäsen ja kunniapuheenjohtaja professori Olavi Koivukan­gas, kunniajäsen Antti Välikangas, perustajajäse­niin kuuluva Jussi Vartiainen, Bumerangi-lehden perustaja- ja kunniajäsen Timo Uotila sekä lii­ton nykyinen puheenjohtaja Juha Ollikainen. Pai­kalla oli myös liiton yhteistyökumppani edus­kunnan kansainvälisten asiain sihteeri Marja Huttunen Helsingistä. Ohjelmassa oli myös mm. australialaisen David Beutelin vetämänä ryhmälaulu ’Walzing Matilda’ kitaran säestyksel­lä, pitkään Australiassa asuneen turkulaisen Tom Ramströmin laulua ja kitaransoittoa sekä hassut­televa kenguruhattumuotishow Straussin Also Sprach Zarahustran mahtipontisten alkusävel­ten tahdittamana. Lopuksi suurlähettiläs Gerald Thomsonille lahjoitettiin kenguruhattu, jota hän oli sovittanut jo tammikuisilla matkamessuilla.

Juhlan illallisrepertuaariin kuuluneet sitruuna­rosmariinilla riimattu karitsan paahtopaisti kaik­kine lisukkeineen sekä alku- ja jälkiruoat olivat makunystyröitä hiveleviä ja suussa sulavia.  Suur­lähettiläs Gerald Thomsonkin viihtyi hyvin, sillä hän lähti iloisena juhlasta vasta viimeisten mu­kana, kun valoja alettiin jo sammuttaa. Kiitäm­me läsnä olleita juhlavieraitamme viihtyisän ja hauskoja muistoja synnyttäneen juhlatunnelman luomisesta!

Professori Olavi Koivukankaan puhe vuosijuhlassa

Dear Gerald Thomson, Ambassador of Austra­lia to Finland, distinguished guests and the members of the Finnish-Australian Society, It is a great pleasure for me and my wife Pir­jo to be here tonight with you to celebrate the birth of the Finnish-Australian Society 30 years ago in the very heart of Turku. The Finnish cul­ture started in Turku, but later part of it was mo­ved east to Helsinki. Although the status of capi­tal city was moved to Helsinki, Turku has been to present days the home of many new ideas and national enterprises.

A small example may be that in 1968 I was granted a three years scholarship by the Aust­ralian National University in Canberra to wri­te a thesis on Scandinavians in Australia. When this was done in 1972, in Canberra I got an idea that perhaps in Finland we also could have some kind of migration research centre. Finland had lost hundreds of thousands of emigrants to Swe­den, and here was a need for academic research. So the Institute of Migration started in Turku in 1974, and it became my working place for over 35 years. There I continued my studies on Finns in Australia, and when meeting Finns who had lived in Australia, we discussed why there is no friendship society in Finland dedicated to Aust­ralia. One of these persons was Jorma Pohjanpa­lo, who had been in the Finnish Consulate in Syd­ney for three years in 1927-31.

Then in 1975 I was elected the chair of the Fin­nish-American society of Turku, and in 1976 we organised the big USA bicentennial festival in Turku and had nearly 1000 guests. We had a big parade through the city, and in the main event at the Turku theatre the guest speaker was famous actor Danny Kay.

All this experience was very useful when we later started to plan the Australian society.

Prof. Pohjanpalo, representing the Suomi So­ciety, was the chair of the Institute of Migration Delegates, and we met at least twice a year and discussed the idea to start an Australian society. In those days there were 70 friendship societies in Finland, but none for Australia or New Zealand.

I have always been a man of action, and con­sequently I contacted Tauri Aaltio, the Executive Director of the Suomi Society, to make and pay an advertisement in Helsingin Sanomat to invite people to come to discuss founding a Finnish-Australian Society in June 1984. The place was the Australian Government Information Office at Kasarmintori, where I had visited often, even be­fore getting my Australian scholarship. I had to do my language examination there in 1968.

We were very surprised that on June 16th at least 250 persons came to the meeting, and I had to stand up on the table to take chair of the mee­ting. Time was ripe for the Finnish-Australian Society to promote closer ties between the peop­le of Australia and Finland. Rosaleen McGovern, Ambassador of Australia to Finland, also atten­ded the meeting. The enthusiasm was good, and a temporary committee was named to organise an official founding meeting later in Turku. I was elected to chair this group.

Then in Turku on November 10th a founding meeting of the Finnish Australian Society took place in Gadolinia of the Åbo Academi, close to the office of the Institute of Migration at Piis­pankatu 3. Also there the room was full of parti­cipants, and the Society received a good start. I was elected chair and Mrs. Hannele Hentula-Un­ger working at the Migration Institute, as Secreta­ry. Later she and her husband settled in Australia. The executive board was elected, and we planned to start the Bumerangi magazine and have the first Australia festival next summer. Soon we had 500 members, and in the first Australia Day in Ka­lastajatorppa Helsinki there were about 250 par­ticipants, and the hotel almost ran short of food.

In the beginning for many years the Society had an office without any pay at the Institute of Migration, and soon the Secretary was named the Executive Director. Later the office of the So­ciety was moved to Helsinki, first to the Suomi So­ciety and then to rented premises starting from Pasila. I tried to get money from the Finnish Go­vernment, for example by visiting Mr. Iiro Viina­nen at the Finnish Parliament.

Soon I and Hannele, the Executive Director of the Society, started to establish local chapters in major cities of Finland. We had finally 13 local so­cieties, and later the name Australia Society was changed to League of the Finnish-Australian So­cieties. I think in the best days we had over 2000 members, and we had a good co-operation with the Travel Bureau of the Suomi Society to arrange cheaper travels to Australia.

An important tool of these activities was the Bu­merangi magazine first edited for a long time by Mr. Timo Uotila. Many thanks Timo for the good work. The Australia Days were in the beginning arranged every year and later every second year. We had top speakers from Australia and from Fin­land, for example twice the Speaker of the Finnish Parliament and once the Foreign Minister of Fin­land Mr. Paavo Väyrynen. It helped that I know him personally, and the Festival was arranged in Oulu. An advantage of high level speakers was that the Australia Festival received good publicity.

Due to my hard work at the Institute of Migrati­on and extensive travels around the world, as well as my sport in Veteran Athletics for a long time, I planned to retire from the chair of the Australi­an Society. Finally this succeeded in 2004, when we were able to get Mr. Antti Välikangas to take the chair of the Society. I think 20 years to be in an office is enough, although Mr. Urho Kekkonen was better having been the President of Finland for 25 years.

For me this work at the Finnish-Australian So­ciety has given much, especially friends in Fin­land and Australia. I would like to thank you for this friendship and good co-operation during the years passed. The more we give - the more we will get.

I thank Antti Välikangas and Irma Puttonen who followed me as chair of the Society.

I wish Mr. Juha Ollikainen, the present chair of the Society, all the best and enthusiasm in the work. Maybe one day you could break my record of 20 years in the office. Good luck also to Pau­la Vasama, with whom I have good co-operation trying to sell my books on Finns in Australia. My new book on the Finns in the Titanic went to the printers last week, and the book will appear la­ter this summer. I hope it will be a best-seller.

I wish the League of the Finnish-Australian So­ciety all the best also in the future.

I would like to propose a toast to the Finnish- Australian Society and to the friendship of the peoples of Australia and Finland, close to each other in spite of the long distance.

30-vuotisjuhla

Suomi-Australia -yhdistysten Liiton perustajajäsen professori Olavi Koivukangas puhetta pitämässä.


Yhteistilaisuus eduskunnassa 11.9.2014

Suomi-Australia -yhdistysten Liitto ja Finland Australia Business Council järjestivät ensimmäistä kertaa yhteistilaisuuden, joka pidettiin eduskunnan tiloissa 11. syyskuuta 2014. Varsin onnistuneessa seminaarissa pohdittiin Suomen ja Australian välisen kaupan esteeksi koetun pitkän välimatkan vaikutusta yritysten markkina-alueiden laajentamiselle Australiaan ja Uuteen Seelantiin otsikolla ”Is the distance only mental?” Tilaisuudessa oli Suomi-Australia –yhdistysten Liitto ry:n ja yritysten edustajien lisäksi mm. Australian suurlähettiläs Gerald Thomson Tukholmasta sekä eduskunnan ja ulkoministeriön edustajia. Eduskunnan Australia-ystävyysryhmän puheenjohtajan, kansanedustaja Katri Komin tilaisuudessa pitämän puheen voit lukea tästä linkistä. Ulkoministeriön edustajan Juha Parikan alustuksen voit lukea tästä. Koko artikkeli tilaisuudesta on Bumerangi-lehden numerossa 2/2014.

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