It all started in 1952. Four Dutch men, recently arrived in Australia, started a `Klaverjas’ (Dutch card game-only known in the Netherlands) club. A constitution was sent to Fair Trading Queensland. Approval was received on the 6 July 1952 and the Netherlands Association of Queensland got incorporated and known as NAQ Inc.
Before long, the club had increased to 28 members and we became known as ‘De Hollandse Kaartclub’. We came together at people’s homes. In 1962, we found clubrooms in Margaret Street, Brisbane City. The club had then 48 members. The Dutch Bridge Club shared these rooms. In 1962 we adopted `Netherlands Association of Queensland’ (NAQ) as the club’s name. Our clubhouse burnt down late one night in 1965. Fortunately, no one was there at the time! It was a setback for the club but we kept going by meeting under the house of one of the committee-members.
In 1967, we found another home for the club at 48 Milton Road, Milton. This soon became too small for our needs and a couple of years later we moved to the former picture theatre at Sherwood. Membership went up to 400 and the club flourished. The club had some card clubs, three billiard tables and a choir. There was even folk dancing in national dress for the children and an in-house orchestra with piano, organ and drums. This was the time when most people had overcome the initial difficulties of migration, were becoming middle aged and wanted to have some fun. Unfortunately, `progress’ caught up with the club. The lease for the old theatre in Sherwood came to an end. And our building had to make way for a shopping centre.
Committees and members had to look again for a solution.
A suitable place was found on Pine Road Richlands, at Hollandia-Inala Soccer Club. The purchase price was $93.500.00. A deposit of $30.000.00 was paid. The members were asked to buy a brick to raise fund to finance the rest. This was done by a group of members and in return, they received a financial Life-Membership. The Club house was officially opened by Federal Member for Rankin, David Beddall. Mr Beddal said the Federal Government allocated more than $62.000 through the Community Employment program to upgrade the buildings, beautify the grounds and construct a new carpark. In January 1985, we moved into our new clubhouse where we have been ever since. Over the years members worked hard to improve this building. In 1994 the roof of the hall was lifted to make it more comfortable for functions.
Much has happened at our club. Social nights, `Sinterklaas’ (`St Nicholas’) parties for the children, entertainers from Holland, entertainment with local talent, fetes, mini-markets and other activities too numerous to mention. Thousands of Dutch and Australian-Dutch people, members and non-members, attended the club events. Committees and volunteers did a great deal of work over the years providing a place for ‘Dutch’ people to go to.
In 1997, we celebrated our 45th anniversary with a big party. This was a solid achievement -45 years! Our members are now ageing and the future of our club depends on attracting and involving younger people in our community. To some extent, this is happening. We hope yet to continue for many years to come.
Theo Melberg (Past President), September 2000)
Update during 2022 – the year of the 70th anniversary
Continuing from the story above.
Some activities have ceased to take place whereas others have been introduced, all depending on the level of interest of members and supporters. Most parents and children and the preference for daytime events by ageing members. The Club’s primary aim has always been to maintain our Dutch heritage and to provide social activities for the Dutch and the wider community. Over the last five years the presidency of the Club has been in the capable hands of Tony Jansen, Lucy Bertens and Magreth de Graaf. Being President of this Club is not always easy, conflicting interests arise from time to time, and a great deal of management skills and diplomacy are required at times. The elected President is supported by an elected Committee, all members having their specific roles.
In 2012 we celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of the Club in great style, but the Club did not rest on its laurels and this year’s celebrations are also planned to be spectacular and inclusive for all participants.
The birthday of the reigning Monarch of the Netherlands is always celebrated in the Club, and for the past few years it has taken the form of a family day with lots of stalls, entertainment, and of course Dutch foods. Queen Beatrix abdicated in favour of her son Willem-Alexander on 30 April 2013. The abdication and accession ceremony were shown in the Club on television to the assembled membership and appropriately celebrated.
His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima visited Brisbane on 4 November 2016 and many members of the Club were present at the most enjoyable royal reception held in Brisbane City Hall. King Willem-Alexander is the first King of the Netherlands since 1890, the country having been ruled by his mother Beatrix, grandmother Juliana, great-grandmother Wilhelmina and great-great-grandmother Emma before him.
Everyone at the royal reception in Brisbane was impressed with the friendliness and genuine interest shown by Their Majesties, and newly appointed Ambassador for the Netherlands, Mrs Erica Schouten also came from Canberra for the occasion and her informal and friendly approach was also appreciated. Mrs Erica Schouten was replaced by Mrs Marion Derckx.
The participation in Club activities by Captain Kasper Kuiper, the Honorary Consul for the Netherlands in Queensland, was a highlight for many years. Consul Kuiper has now retired and replaced by a new Honorary Consul of the Netherlands, Dr Karel de Laat, who also has now retired. Last year 2021 we welcomed a new, Honorary Consul of the Netherlands for Queensland, Mrs Marjon Wind.
Our good friends “The Stirrers” with their Council of Eleven (Raad van Elf) had for many years given the Club and its members many wonderful nights of entertainment, but they have now retired their iconic wooden spoons. We shall always be grateful to them and have many memories of their Carnival celebrations, floor shows, other performances and above all their friendship and support of Club activities. Before calling it a day, they made a generous financial donation to the Club and also have handed the Club a welcome storage facility, and a ramp, “The Stirrers Way” for wheelchair and walker users to go up to the big Hall. They will not be forgotten.
The Club is a venue for the Over Fifties who come to the Club on the first Thursday of every month to chat, partake of coffee and lunch, and enjoy each other’s company. The convener of this group was originally Lia Colenbrander but her role was taken over by Karin Hendriks, and now capably performed by. Mrs Lisa de Graaf and Mrs Henja Louwersen.
For some years now the Club no longer holds a function on New Year’s Eve, but this has been replaced with a successful daytime New Year’s Reception early in January. This is always a most enjoyable occasion on which we can wish all our friends the best for the coming year. The welcome participation of artists such as Hans van der Drift adds to the festivities in the past.
The Club gratefully acknowledges the support of our Patron and Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk who in the past held her Christmas function at the Club, and the interest and support of her father Henry Palaszczuk, together with the assistance of local Councillor Charles Strunk and that of his predecessor and now Federal Member of Parliament Milton Dick.
Easter breakfasts was held at the Club for many years, encouraging parents to bring their children, who eagerly explored the Club grounds searching for chocolate Easter Eggs, greeted the Easter Bunny, engaged in activities especially for them, and enjoyed the delicious breakfast goodies available. Unfortunately, the Easter Breakfast is not happening for the last couple of years. year, but maybe we can introduce it again if we get more younger members in.
One event which has stood the test of time and is not done for the last 10 years, is the Brabantse Koffietafel. the Dutch traditional lunch from the province of Brabant. It is always well attended and enjoyable, and the meal was enjoyed by all who attend. We also had the Limburg’s koffietafel, from the province of Limburg, with of course Limburg’s vlaai and a carnivalesque entertainment. For many years, the Battle of the Java Sea commemorations was held on the 27th of February.
These services held in the Monument Garden, were of great significance to those who were involved and spent World War II in the then Dutch East Indies, and the Honorary Consul Captain Kasper Kuiper, Mr Vince Scheenhouwer, Contact Oud Mariniers and Mr Cees Huig respectfully and capably presented these Memorial Services.
The Capitulation of Japan in August 1945 was also remembered at the Dutch Club for many years. Subsequently it was held at the Monument in George Street, City. The Monument has now been relocated to the Roma Street Parklands and services are held there once in 5 years. For those who spent World War II in the Netherlands, it is 4 May on which we remember and revere those who lost their lives, whereas 5 May 1945 is the date on which the Liberation is celebrated (Bevrijdingsdag), with the signing of the surrender in Hotel De Wereld in Wageningen. On 4 May 2012, a Remembrance Day event was held at the Club but from 2013 onwards that service was held at the Monument, firstly in George Street but now at the Roma Street Parklands. From 2021; the ceremonies will only be held once in 5 years, in the Roma Street Parklands. All the other years it will be held in the Monument Garden of the Dutch Club. 123 Pine Road, Richlands.
The Dutch-Indo Day was held for some years, with entertainment and delicious food from the former Dutch East Indies which is now the nation of Indonesia. Entertainment was provided by artists from that part of the world, and this gave the occasion the appropriate atmosphere.
In August 2013, the Club held its first Family Day event. This was very successful and became a regular event in the Club’s calendar, with musical entertainment, sjoelbakken, and other activities organised for children such as facepainting. These Family Days have become a regular on the Club’s calendar, and the Duyfkenschool has participated in the enjoyable activities. Of course, stalls, selling kroketten, olliebollen, herring, poffertjes and other typically Dutch foods, ensure that no-one goes hungry.
It takes a great deal of work to organise the Club for these events, and preparation is commenced well in advance. The energy, enthusiasm, and application by committee members and volunteer helpers is always appreciated. Various other organisations in the Dutch community, such as the Dutch Radio Group of 4EB and the stall run by Marianne van Weereld,(Who had to stop for health reasons) also take the opportunity to promote their activities and thus make their presence felt.
Every year the month of December is a remarkably busy time at the Club Firstly, there is the Sinterklaas party for the children. The children of Dutch background, but many born in Australia, come to see Sinterklaas and the Zwarte Pieten and enjoy the big event for them, and for their parents and grandparents that celebration brings back lots of memories. The chocolade letters, banketstaven, pepernoten, speculaaspoppen – how could we ever forget these!
Nearer to Christmas there is the afternoon of carol singing, and here the opportunity presents itself for remembering all those lovely Christmas carols from the Netherlands as well as the traditional Christmas carols in the English language. On completion of this traditional occasion, the Club shuts its doors until the New Year’s reception in January. he hard-working committee members and volunteers enjoy their well-deserved break to celebrate the Festive Season with their loved ones. An important change at the Club commenced in July 2015. The Dutch shop at Acacia Ridge, ‘t Winkeltje, was shut down and the Club shop stepped into the breach. For many years, the Club had sold a limited quantity of Dutch and Indonesian groceries, but when ‘t Winkeltje closed its doors for good, the Club recognised the gap and decided to expand its goods on offer. This involved expanding the Club shop extending its opening days and hours, to Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 am to 2 pm, and on Saturdays from 10 am until noon. It also meant a lot more work, and many volunteers, led initially by Purchasing Coordinator Annie Nelis, were happy to give of their time and energies to ensure that shelves were stacked, and products were available. The number of people, members, and others, who are taking advantage of this facility, proves that there is a real need for a large quantity of Dutch and Indonesian products. This activity has also meant a welcome addition to the income of the Club.
The Club is also appreciative of the number of advertisers in the monthly magazine. Their goods and services are brought to the attention of readers and the finance thus generated adds to the revenue and consequent well-being of the Club.
Club activities are announced on the Dutch language programs on Radio 4EB. The program times are Sundays 11am – 12 noon, Tuesdays 5.15 pm – 6 pm, Wednesdays 3 pm – 3.45 pm and Saturdays 4 pm – 5 pm. In addition, there is a Dutch program on the Global network on Saturdays 5 pm – 6 pm. If you are unsure about timing of Club activities, the radio programs will be able to tell you.
The Club was sad in October 2016 to see the passing of former President and the original driving force behind the Club buying the club house, John Green. John and his much-loved wife Jopie lost their battles with cancer within a matter of months. Another couple who were long-standing members of the Club, Lenie and Rudy van Wyk, also died within a brief time of each other. Rudy was a previous President and was always capably assisted by his wife Lenie. The Club was also fortunate in having the late Gerald Ford as Treasurer for many years. They and others will always be remembered for their enthusiastic participation and dedication. Another prominent member of the Dutch Club and the Dutch community was the Reverend Dr Han Spykerboer who passed away in May 2016. The regard in which he was held was evidenced by the large number of people who attended his funeral service at the Wellers Hill Uniting Church. Together with Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Josef Oudeman who spoke at the service, Dr Spykerboer was a great spiritual support to everyone.
The main Window to the World’ of the Club is now the website and Facebook page. The Club also publishes a monthly magazine. In 2012 the magazine editor was Dr Anneke van Kammen, who was forced to resign through health problems. After Dr. Anneke van Kammen, we had Mrs Cobi Lagas as editor, after her Anton Wolters who, together with his wife Ineke, produced an entertaining and informative magazine. Currently Lucy Bertens is looking after the magazine. The efforts and dedication by all the editors over the years to this time-consuming task deserve recognition and appreciation. We’d also like to thank Magreth de Graaf who has been looking after the website since 2010 (check date) and Marloes Pronk who is looking after the Facebook page since 2019. Working bees are held at the Club with the enthusiastic participation of members and volunteers to keep the Club looking its best and make it a welcoming venue for members and visitors. As the Club has now existed for 70 years, it has farewelled several long-standing and elderly members and thus the Club is always looking to increase its membership, particularly among younger people. The future of the Club depends on their membership and participation. The south-western province of Zeeland has as its motto Luctor et Emergo’ (I struggle and survive – ik worstel en kom boven). The N.A.Q. has proved itself to be a survivor when other ethnic clubs and groups have ceased to exist. There have been problems at times and there may be future difficulties. May the Club survive for many more years.
It would not have been possible to compile this record of events for the past years at the Dutch Club without the assistance of others, notably Jan Nelis who keeps an archive of monthly magazines, and I am grateful for assistance given to me. Any errors and omissions can be attributed to the author.
Bep Torkington Edited by L Bertens
The club is situated at 123 Pine Road Richlands. They also operate the Dutch Shop : ‘De Kruidenier’ within their premises.