In the early sixties the Dutch Catholic immigrants started to form associations in the larger cities of Australia. The Dutch Chaplains assisted those migrants spiritually and practical assistance was provided where possible. The objectives of the associations were to carry out work of a practical or spiritual nature for the benefit and assistance of migrants in general and of the Dutch Catholic migrants in particular. The associations assisted with integration into the Australian way of life and committees were set up in relation to social and cultural welfare.

The first CDMA was formed in Sydney. In Brisbane, where Fr 0. Riemslag was the Dutch chaplain, a CDMA-branch started in 1962. The first President was Mr Harry Geraerts (1962-1971). A monthly newsletter called ‘Horizon’ was published for distribution to the members. Yearly highlights were the Christian celebrations, Mass, Annual General Meeting and some other activities of a spiritual or recreational nature. CDMA-Qld merged in 1971 with a number of Dutch clubs and societies, while it ceased to exist as a separate entity. Ten years later, when Fr Nouwens was Chaplain, it was decided to re-start the CDMA in Queensland. A new committee was formed and it operated until 1996. As the Committee members became older and no second generation migrants or younger people could be found to take over their tasks, it was decided to de-register the association in 1996. The ‘old’ committee continued as an auxiliary to assist the Chaplain – at first Fr Bede Dunn (1993-97) and since 1998 Fr Joseph Oudeman. In September 2000, a small group, of mainly second generation Dutch Australians, was formed to take on the auxiliary’s tasks.

It is not possible to list all the people who have been committee-members over the years in this section but an exemption should be made for Mr Wim Driessen. He joined the CDMA in Sydney in 1961 and, after coming to Brisbane in 1965, he continued to be actively involved with the CDMA in Queensland. Sadly, Wim Driessen passed away on 26 December 2000.

Finally, it should be mentioned that CDMA-members in general and the committee members in particular have been very active in the formation and running of the various ‘Dutch Over Fifties’ clubs, the ‘Netherlands Retirement Village Association’, ‘The Federation of Netherlands Organisations in Queensland’ and other social welfare initiatives.

Jan C. Boon (CDMA President 1983-1996); February 2001

For more updated information see the national CDMA website