Friendships renewed, storied shared, history revisited. The Western Australian Friends of Frontier Services centenary celebration held at the Rockingham RSL last night saw over 200 people gather for a barbeque followed by a rich program of stories and song.
Rev Sealin Garlett, on behalf of Congress WA, welcomed us to country. The WA staff, some ready to begin the long trek across the Nullarbor, were there in force and several shared the stories of their current work, to the fascination of those in attendance.
The Rockingham City Pipe Band began proceedings, then National Director, Rosemary Young offered a foretaste of the official Celebration, sharing the Prayer of Thanksgiving written for 26 September and bringing a greeting from across the nation.
WA Regional Manager, Trish Thomson Harry introduced her staff and spoke about the current work in WA.
The Uniting Singers provided musical interludes with an Australian theme in between hearing the tales of former nursing sisters, childcare workers and padres
Beryl Grant, AM, the first woman ever appointed to the AIM Board shared her recollections of providing a warm welcome and a jumping off place to those recruited from the eastern states. She was amongst a surprising number of those present who knew Rev John Flynn personally.
Gail Cresswell, recently retired after 9 years on the Board and 3 before that on the Frontier Services Reference Committee, spoke with great affection of her years in the Pilbara.
Much laughter attended the sharing of recollections including the sage advice, provided by an unnamed padre in the Kimberley, “Keep the mountains on your left. If they move over to the right, you’re lost!”
The excitement and fellowship shared by the Frontier Services family last night is evident across the country as 26 September 2012 draws closer.