As usual please click on the pictures to enlarge
In mid May the Tassie Twirlers, Kindred, Tasmania, celebrated their 42nd Birthday; Jeff was invited to call and flew over with Susan. Kindred about 10 kilometres from the coast lies between Burnie and Launceston in Northern Tasmania. If you think 42 years is a monumental achievement, even more monumental is the achievement of the clubs founder and caller Graeme Whiteley, who has been calling for 50 years.
Graeme (like Jeff) was a founding member of the Australian Callers Federation (ACF) established in 1979, and like Jeff is well known in square dancing circles. Graeme also organised a successful 1976 National Convention in Hobart and is renowned for his “camps” at Port Sorrell having organized 40 of these. Jeff once attended one of those camps and survived to tell the tale.
Graeme recalls coming to Adelaide and attending Colin Huddleston’s 69th birthday at Wild Frontier. He also recalls the trip to McLaren Vale wineries and the associated problems he had when he nipped into the vines for a quick tinkle; the vines were bare having lost all there leaves.
Graeme, Shirley, Susan and Jeff
Graeme holds the record for the longest time anyone in Australia has called for the same club in the same hall, he opened his club in 1967 – as Jeff said in his opening address “he’s an old bugger” (but a good one he sure calls well). Graeme was a bit worried about calling Jeff over, knowing that mainland callers demand a big feed and high fees. On enquiry he was told Jeff’s fee was Mortlach. What’s Mortlach asked Graeme? A single malt whisky was Jeff’s reply.
42nd Cake Cutting
Jeff had the privilege to present Graeme with his well deserved golden microphone award (a golden badge and a framed certificate) from the ACF in recognition of his 50 years of contribution to square dancing. Graeme was also presented with a wooden carved memorial plaque from his club, and a couple of gift wrapped packages from the Tasmanian Square Dance Society, one of which went glug glug. He and wife Shirley were thanked by numerous personsl for their dedication to the club and to square dancing in Australia. After the presentations, the stage had a nice display of flowers.
The Tassie Twirlers are a great bunch, they certainly know how to square dance – very few mistakes were apparent that night. The small hall was packed with dancers, they had six squares up with dancers to spare, more dancers than they get at their state convention. Graeme attributed the large turnout to Jeff’s calling, but I think they all came just to see if the two old buggers would last the night. They had a lavish supper at 10.30 and danced until very late (the hall was booked until 2.00 AM).
All in all it looks like they had a great (over) celebration. Jeff, we are glad you survived the test, we need you here at Wild Frontier.