Dutch Australian Cultural Centre

I’d like to encourage everyone to read this article submitted by Klaas Woldring, Hon. Secretary DACC.  It explains more about the great work they are doing in Australia.

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The Centre was established in 1983 by the Federation of Dutch Associations and formed as a company limited by guarantee in 1984.

The Centre was formed to establish a central organization with the following two main aims:

1. To preserve the rich history of Dutch contact with, and immigration to, Australia;
2. To set up a resources facility for anyone wanting information regarding the Netherlands, its people and their traditions.

Initially the DACC was housed in an Annex of the Abel Tasman Village, a retirement centre in Chester Hill. In 2006 the DACC moved to ‘t Winkeltje, Holland House, Smithfield (Sydney). The DACC was involved in the formation of Dutch Link, an organization set up by representatives of Dutch multinational companies to accommodate business and social interests of all people with a Dutch background, migrants and expatriates.

We find that younger Dutch Australians, and the rapidly growing number of Dutch expatriates as well, are often not very aware of the important work involved in preserving the Dutch Heritage. The history of post-WWII immigrants is a large chunk of our work but there is much more to Dutch Heritage than that. The magnificent recent Mapping Australia exhibition in the National Library, Canberra made that perfectly clear. About half of the old maps displayed there were of Dutch 17th century origin, the products of VOC cartographers and seafarers who circumnavigated the Australian continent and mapped most of it. The history of the WWII itself is also reflected in the role of the Dutch as the “Fourth Ally” and in important tales of those who came as refugees in 1942 from the Dutch East Indies. And it is the story of several important individual contributions prior to WWII such as the Broken Hill Pty Ltd General Manager and pioneer Guillaume Delprat. Another example is the music shop operator Paling who started his business on the Victorian Gold Fields in the mid-1850s. The Dutch contribution to the history of this continent is both unique and significant. This is often not realised widely in the Netherlands. However, unless we display it ourselves here it may well be lost OR just become a very small part only of history found back in the occasional multi-cultural museum – among many other nationalities in this vast multicultural country. Our objective to make the Dutch contribution visible. It is therefore most encouraging that the Dutch Government has recently embarked on a policy of Shared Cultural Heritage with Australia. The Shared Policy Framework for the period 2013 – 2016 leads us to believe that the Dutch Government will provide real support for a Heritage Centre such as ours as Australia has rightly become a so-called “Priority Country” in that context (one of ten such countries).

The Dutch Government aims to intensify business and other links with Australia through the Shared Heritage projects. We welcome that idea! As the forthcoming Dirk Hartog celebrations are planned and taking shape (2016) we are ready to demonstrate our very purpose. Many people on the Australian East Coast still think that Captain James Cook discovered Australia (in 1770). The reality is that not even the grandparents of Cook were born by the time that the Groninger VOC sea captain Abel Tasman had mapped some 70% of the Australian coastline in 1644. A workshop now being prepared by the Migrant Research Centre, Curtin University, the University of Western Sydney and the DACC, to be held in late November 2014 in Sydney, aims to throw further light on the Dutch contributions to the Australian continent from 1606 onwards.

You can find out more and contact The Dutch Australian Cultural Centre (DACC) here:

www.dacc.com.au

or contact:

Klaas Woldring, Hon. Secretary DACC. – woldring@zipworld.com.au

Images and text submitted by DACC