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Presidents Report August 2022

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Valued Members, , hope you are all well, we thank those dedicated members and visitors for taking on the challenges in the face of obstacles including inclement weather and health problems.
We thank the Board members involved in the planning and implementation of ongoing entertainment events. The past few months we have celebrated some great theme nights including Italian night, Elvis night and Christmas in July. We will be hosting more live performances as the weather temperatures improve.
Our kitchen staff are still working hard to provide an interesting array of meals. We welcome our new members our older members can assist in providing great comradery. Thank you for your perseverance in keeping your club alive, stay safe, see you at the Rembrandt.

Allan J. Potter


Past and present part 6

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December 1987 a few members of the club came up with a new idea. A Sinterklaas Festival. Not just a little party inside, but this one would be celebrated outside. A stage was set up against the little building that used to be Tulip Upholstery and a tarpaulin was the cover to keep the sun out of the faces of anyone on the stage. There was a band for entertainment. A dancefloor was made where the Dutch Folkdance Group performed with their many cute little dancers. Tables and chairs were put outside for guests. Tonnes of show-bags had been put together for boys and girls. A few games were set up as well. One was throwing a bucket of water at your favourite person. That person was put in a guillotine and had no way of escaping the cold wave of water. The highlight was the visit of Sinterklaas. For the Dutch families this was a great day. However for the Aussies is was looked at as a religious festival and therefore they missed out on the fun. After this brilliant event there were plenty show bags left and a group of volunteers took these to the market in Penrith. Whatever was left after that was given out at a day care in Colyton. From then on it was Sinterklaas in early December as a private function and over the years it became a special day. When Children were booked in they would than get a personal invitation from Sinterklaas. The hall would only hold so many people, so the kids as well as the parents needed to book in. The highest number of children attending was 88 plus parents and grandparents. One very important issue was the age limit of the children and that was the first change I made. No age limit! There were persons of adult age with mental disabilities and they enjoyed it with honest glee. Sometimes there would be a colouring in competition and the pictures would be proudly exhibited for the next Wednesday when the seniors had their lunch with Sinterklaas. We also engaged a Mr Magic who gave up after some cheeky kids figured out where the magic came from. Then there was the reptile display with all the glass cages and the slippery creatures. Most kids loved it but some just absolutely did not. 1988 the Bicentenary was a very big year. The club and the Rembrandt Male choir were involved with the “big ships’ in Sydney harbour. Selling food and drinks and performing. It also was the year that the club was raided 24 June ’88 by the liquor Squad. The Club only had a limited licence and apparently someone found this reason to give us hell. There was a court case which took years to get it where we wanted. In 1990 we were allowed a certain amount of ‘dance nights’ but they had to be incorporated with a meal. On January 8, 1993 the full liquor licence was approved to Gerard Petra. Gerard was a retired builder and got busier than ever with renovating the building to council requirements. The stage was moved to the opposite wall because the whole building was now available and the new space was to be the billiard room, which was lovely named as ‘De Kuil’ (the pit), because it was a few steps lower than the rest of the building. There was a building-fund-glass on the bar where it was shown how much money was donated. Most important was the time every volunteer put in to help renovate the amenities and the kitchen and the new entrance and make the building wheelchair friendly.

What's on

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26th August is Games night in August come and join in with one of our table games or try your hand at the word search. If you like to be more hands on there is Sjoelen and Putt practice for the Rembrandt indoor golf challenge. For those keen to make an impact have a go for that hole in one or just for fun.

2nd September sees one of our best known fathers and a frequent performer at the club, Herman knows how to make everyone smile with his music. He will be back on stage to for Father’s Day. There is always a chance of a sing along and a little dance. Enjoy an evening out with DAD for dinner at the club with the soundtrack of Dutch music on accordion by a great live act that needs to be seen to be appreciated.

9th Sept is SNOWBALL party to say farewell to the winter weather as we move to the warmer months. Time to celebrate with a little German tradition served from the bar to warm you up and some perfect winter warmers from the kitchen a special for all members and guests to have a ball.

16th September is our Dinner and dance night with a theme to commemorate and groove with.

23rd September is our Live stage night where we have an Elvis gospel group performance, 3 talented vocalists that like to introduce their music to all.
30th September is our BINGO night get your stamper out and mark those numbers always a few prizes on the cards will it be your card? Grab our special of the day and BINGO away.

President report June - July 2022

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Valued Members, hope you are all well, we have made a few minor changes especially to our Wednesday morning where we are in a more cosy enviroment with Shop, Café and games all in the front foyer of the Club. Our heaters are on over winter and provide a warm place to meet with friends and grab your groceries. Fridays are as always a great place to sit and talk to everyone. We love seeing new faces, come and say hi. With some of the upcoming Friday specials invite a few friends and make a night of it. Last Friday was a little bit of a farewell party as Chef Alice is going on a Cultural and Culinary discovery tour around the world. Going to Holland for inspiration and Andre Rieu then onto sunny Curacoa. In her absence, Bepp, Leny and Christine will provide us with some special meals to keep us warm. Allan J. Potter

Past and Present June-July 2022

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It was around 1985 and the club needed more regular visitors. The Friday nights were alright but could be better. The idea came up to start a male choir. The name would be the same as the club. Rembrandt Male Choir St Marys. Looking for interested persons went as far as talking to Sunrise Choir members. Soon there were 8 singers and the beginning of a musical input to the Friday nights. The little side room became the choir practice room and with the choir also came partners and wives. The next thing was a design for an appropriate outfit that would speak for itself. So the Rembrandt outfits were designed and sewed by a few crafty ladies. They even had a mascot, Johnnie, the son of conductor Harry. One Friday night the Choir was going to give a mini concert after a short practice, especially for the Friday night visitors, so they could see and hear how far they had come. One of the big choir fans (not a singer) had the great idea to gift them a snack; Beschuit with chocolate sprinkles. Just imagen you are eating this delicious but very crummy treat, what happens to your voice. Yes they all needed a drink to wash the crumbs down. That was on top of the drink during their break. A bonus. After the Choir practice was finished a few stayed back for a game of “Toepen aan de bar”. There was a sign on the bar that says “10 KLOPPEN”. Only if you know the game you know what this means. The looser of a game would have to shout a drink to the other players. That was changed when the booze bus was invented. The shout was changed into a round of food; chips, krokets, bitterballen or even herring. The Rembrandt bar and kitchen did a roaring business.

The very first concert for the Rembrandt Male Choir was for a PHILIPS event in Sydney. A surprise to the event manager when only 8 singers turned up. He was told that ‘other members’ were sick at home or overseas. It was accepted as an excuse and the concert was a success.

It only took a few years for the choir to grow to 24 members and sing at the Bowral tulip festival, and at concerts in Forbes, Bathurst, Newcastle, Wollongong, Springwood, Sydney Town Hall and the Opera House. The top event was a concert tour to Fiji in the early Nineties.

In 1989 the Rembrandt Male Choir together with Sydney Male Choir and the Melbourne Dutch Choir started the Australian Male Choir Association. The Rembrandt Male Choir was the only one that could sing in seven languages.

Another thing that was happening on Friday nights was a raffle. It was a member’s invention. You could buy a timber block like a large domino block. Half was painted in Red, the other half in Blue and the numbers in white. The wheel with corresponding colours and number would be turned and so there would be a price winner. The “domino” blocks were used for many years and I even wrote a song about it; Plankje, Plankje, Plankje. Hahahaha!!


Past and present April 2022

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The inside of the building at Dunheved Circuit was looking good. The bar and the stage were built with Dutch tradesman-ship. On the outside a couple of beautifully painted signs decorated the front.
Slowly but surely concrete slabs were being poured. One of the committee members had an acquaintance in the concrete business. The deal was; every time they were stuck with a decent load the club would take it at a fair discount. Over the years this was where our “Dutch-ness” would shine. There is no business like dealing with the Dutchies. By now people might wonder how the picture of the NIGHTWATCH ended up on the wall. One of our members went for a holiday overseas and brought it back. The picture was printed in panels like wallpaper. No shortage of wall hangers in this club either. It has always been the most famous wall of all.
The cleaning of the building was done on Tuesday mornings by a small group of volunteers. The idea came up to sell some Dutch goodies. To start with, there was a draw in a filing cabinet standing in the kitchen. The lady looking after it then had no drivers licence so sometimes, I took her to the Dutch shop. Members would have to ask if there was anything available on Friday. It was mainly biscuits. Later there was liquorice and jars of vegies and one drawer was not big enough.
A pool table was put in the little side room, later known as the choir room. If there was an event when children were allowed to join, they could play pool. In the early years young children were not welcome on Friday night. Our son was not old enough to stay home by himself, so we made him comfortable in the car and he could sleep while we would go inside the building. We were not the only ones to do this. The kids were safe, sleeping in the car on the side parking of the building. The only thing was, he would wake up as soon as the car stopped, and we would have to go for another ride around the block. During dance nights there’d be typical Dutch food prepared by the ladies in the kitchen. There was also a ‘special event’ when the members were asked to cook a dish and would be reimbursed for the cost. It was a buffet feast with many dishes from international cuisine,
since some ladies were not Dutch at all. Most dishes were donated to the club. It was a fundraiser with a difference. Call it a ‘Tasty’ one. The Christmas dinners/buffets would also be set up in the little side room. The pool table covered and decorated was an excellent serving table.
On Friday nights there was always fresh coffee and bread rolls. Slowly but surely the krokets and bitterballen became famous, because there was no other Dutch Club in St Marys. Few people know that these goodies were actually manufactured in St Marys. A family business that had the same business in Limburg. The same person manufacturing krokets and fricandellen then is still doing this today. However, the business has changed owners a few years ago.

Past and present January 2022

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How it all started. Early in 1978 when we were living in Hoxton Park our friend Frans Klaassen visited us. He was very excited about the fact that a group of friends were starting a new Dutch club.
Q; New? What’s wrong with the existing one ‘Wilhelmina’?
A; It was the fact that there were poker machines installed and a group of members was totally against gambling.
Q; So, if this new club you are starting does something you don’t agree with, will you be starting another club again??
A; No, no, no, it is the gambling we are against. It will be in the constitution of the new club that this is not ever allowed to happen.
We, Jan and I were thinking hard about this answer and left it up to the original group to start the Rembrandt Dutch Club how they wanted it. We did however become members.
The Foundation members were; K & J Dooms, N & B Boersma, J & A Geluk, J & W Grabijn, W Holmes, F Klaassen, H & A Klijmij, G Langenberg, A & L Maasland, P & B Maasland, W & I Matzer, W & I Matzer jnr, L Pennings and G van Bergen.
While writing this I also like to reminisce about the Wilhelmina Club. We migrated in 1971 which was well after the Wilhelmina Club settled in Auburn. It was a ‘gezellige’ club. That is where I met Beppie Boersma during one visit, when we managed to get a baby sitter, and Jan and my Dad, who was here on holidays played billiards. Beppie showed me the card game Solitaire. We became friends with many club goers. One day there was a family night with a singing contest. The Sunrise Choir was also involved. Our 5 year old daughter sang; De Speeltuin. She won a club-souvenir spoon.
Then one day the Wilhelmina Club moved to Rooty Hill, to the old Rooty Hill RSL Club building. Jan helped with the move. (Years later a young man visiting the Rembrandt Club recognised Jan and said: I remember you helped my Opa with moving Wilhelmina. That was a grandson of Koos(je) Dooms.) We visited Wilhelmina in Rooty Hill a few times. The board tried to improve the club, but the noise of the poker machines overruled. We went to our very first Sinterklaas party with friends and children. Sinterklaas arrived by train and his horse was waiting for him. Everyone walked from Rooty Hill station to the club. There were people dressed in Dutch Folkloric outfits. It was all very exciting, especially for the little people. And now we are back to where we started. Decisions were made. Rembrandt was born. The first couple of years the club was at Lee Holm Drive on the other side of Dunheved Industrial Park. The Pennings Brothers rented us (Rembrandt) a unit to help out. The inside of the unit was dressed up with huge paintings of Dutch sceneries, framed and covered with curtains. It was like looking out into the Dutch streets and fields of flowers. The coffee was free for visitors and there was almost always a person playing the piano. This was an excellent meeting place.


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