Secretary’s Report [45]

By Nick Gill, Secretary-Treasurer, NSW SKC

Well, the Editor has been on our backs for magazine material again. Although Matt Turner and I had a brief and somewhat exciting encounter with the North Wollongong bombora and a big swell a few weeks ago, and I’ve paddling regularly with various elements of the Wollongong mob, I had nothing in particular to write about, hence… a Secretary’s report. This is a beast I do not recall seeing since Gary Edmond’s obtuse and obscure ramblings in the mid-1990s, a high point of Club literature since occupied by Mark Pearson and his semi-fictional jottings and character assassinations.

Just a bit about how the Club is travelling post-Currarong from a membership and money point of view. We currently have 195 members, which is down from recent years and down from last year’s 250-odd. It seems the new membership fee has had some effect (more on fees below). Memberships are, however, still coming in. Membership and other smaller sources of funds bring our club income this year to around $9,750.00 so far. We have yet to renew our insurance. Expenses so far include the last magazine and fees to Australian Canoeing for a number of proficiency awards earned by members last year. If you don’t know, the Club will pay the fee for the award – assuming we will continue to be able to offer it under the new arrangements. That’s another issue we face as a Club this year.

By the way, if you are sending membership or any other money in, don’t include money for stickers. We don’t have any. Rather than trust me to remember that you want some if and when we get some printed, hang onto your dough for the time being.

We’ve received a few magazines from other Clubs, and Peter Carter of the Investigator Canoe Club in SA has sent us notes on two early SA expeditions – circumnavigation of Kangaroo Island and Port Lincoln to Adelaide in 1980/81.

When I became Secretary/Treasurer I received several boxes of Club stuff. Within were eight-year-old receipts and a raft of other piles of paper. Out went eighty percent of it but I kept documentation of the formation of the Club. We have minutes of early meetings and AGM minutes for 1990-1994, 1998, 1999 and 2000. If anyone has copies for 1995-1997, I’d appreciate a copy for the records.

We also have an incomplete copy of the Club magazine, which has been published from 1990 I believe. Our collection starts from number 24 in 1995, and we are also missing 25, 26, 28 and 33. If members have any of the missing ones lying around surplus to requirements, please send them, or copies, to me at the Club address.

The old meeting minutes reveal bits and pieces of the formation of the Club. In 1989 at least, the Sea Canoeing Committee of the NSW Canoe Association, chaired by Ray Abrahall, began to work towards the formation of the NSWSKC. Perc Carter gave the President’s address at the inaugural AGM in September 1990. Early minutes reveal names of people still involved in kayaking in various ways, including manufacturers Paul Hewitson and John Slattery. Shirley Abrahall, still the Public Officer until last year, was also involved in the formation of the Club. The Club itself formed in 1990. The initial membership fee was $20.00, although there was an additional $20.00 joining fee for a while. Membership was still only $25.00 until last year. Some of the costs are interesting, In April 1991 it cost $96.00 dollars to print the newsletter. The last one cost $1,040.00. Public liability insurance in 1990 cost $334.00 dollars; today it costs us around $2,000.00 to pay for broader insurance commensurate with our current training and trip organisation activities.

I noted with wry amusement (or was it a sense of gloom?) that the first President’s report we have from 1990 highlights a hoary chestnut;

On the subject of trip organisations, it has been a common occurrence on Club outings that the group has become too spread out and in some cases a few paddlers have left the group to pursue their own ‘trip’… all very well in calm conditions, but if weather deteriorates to the extent that some weaker/less experienced paddlers get into difficulties the safety of the group may be at risk.

Seems some things never go away. Maybe next time I’ll write about paddling.