Annual General Meeting

Report for 2017 RAACA Members, Although I have been a member of the RAACA Victorian Branch since 1994, it wasn’t until this time last year that I had any involvement at all. Daryl Pinner, I think in a moment of desperation, sent an e-mail to the small group of members he had on file and that brought me to ring him and offer to assist where I could. With John Paterson uncertain when he would be able to return, that found my position of assisting, change to taking on the responsibilities of the Secretary. It’s been a busy year, finding out what the job entailed and keeping on top of the workload, but with the help and support of all the other committee members, I think I’m getting there.
  We have put in considerable effort to confirm e-mail addresses for members and this seems to have made communications better. It is quicker, easier and cheaper than post or phone calls. If we haven’t been catching up with you this way and you have access to e-mail, please let us know so we can add you to our address list. We have managed to cover in excess of 50% of the membership but would like to increase that number during 2018.
 One of the tasks that has finally been resolved, and is now being put it to the members, is the alteration to the Constitution to allow for Affiliate Membership. Looking back over old minutes and notes, this has been in the pipeline for several years so the dogged persistence of some has finally paid off, and will hopefully see that accepted at tonight’s AGM.
  All the usual activities of Birthday Commemoration, Autumn Picnic, ANZAC Day march, Reserve Forces Day and the Christmas Picnic at Eltham were ably conducted by the usual team of committee members and attended by some of the membership, but one theme that seemed to persist was, that the numbers are dwindling each year. Assuming that the changes to the Constitution are agreed to, we might see an influx of new members to revitalise and reinvigorate our membership and start to return to the attendance numbers of the past.
  One exception amongst the activities in relation to numbers was the Cambrai Day Commemorations and dinner. The inclusion of a number of allied association groups boosted the numbers and the overall enjoyment of the night, with one visitor remarking how well he was welcomed by all those who attended. This only happens due to the work done by the likes of Daryl Pinner, Peter Branagan, John Baines, Rod Westgarth and the generous donation of raffle prizes by Lindsay Christensen. Also, the efforts of the support people at the Officer’s and Sergeant’s Mess at the School of Armour, and John Snelling who is always working in the background to ensure everyone is not left to do the dishes to offset the cost of the night.
  In spite of the loss of access to the army resources that he has had in previous years, Peter Branagan has still managed to turn out several excellent issues of Track. Of course, Track is a newsletter and although Peter does a great job of reporting on the things he is aware of, he needs input from members to cover everything that is happening. You don’t need to write the article, although that would help, but if something is happening in your area, like your local ANZAC Day commemorations, send him some notes and maybe some photos so we can all see what is happening. You can send it to the secretary at secretary@raacavic.com and I will pass it along.
  Several members have made generous donations during the year but a special mention to Rod Westgarth for his work and that of his wife, Sharon, in organising the Autumn and Christmas picnics, and the fundraising that he does to cover these events as well as to provide Christmas hampers for some of the older members. Feedback from the “elves” who deliver these suggests that for some, this is one of the highlights of their Christmas. Thanks also to the elves, you know who you are.
  I would like to say thankyou to Lew Postlethwaite for his work as Webmaster in keeping members informed through the website. If you haven’t seen it, go to www.raacavic.com and have a look. If you don’t have computer, ask someone to show you next time you visit your local library, or maybe just ask your grandkids, they will have it all covered.
  Finally, we would like to thank the Darebin RSL for their support and for providing rooms and assistance for our meetings through 2017 and look forward to their continued backing in 2018. Also, to thank our Patron, Brig Ted Acutt (Retd.) for his support, the School of Armour as outlined regarding Cambrai Day and to Coleman Moloney, our Honorary Legal Officer, especially since, without his advice and support, the changes to the Constitution would still be unresolved.
 In closing I cannot finish up without thanking Daryl Pinner for his encouragement during this past year. Pointing me in the right direction and making sure I don’t step too far out of line. After what I believe to be around 27 years as President of the RAACA Vic, and a couple of years of trying to take a back-seat position, with little success, he has decided not to nominate for the committee this year.
  This will create a large hole in the committee but one that I know others will work hard to fill, but as Immediate Past President, he will still be around to keep an eye on things and will continue as our property member. I don’t believe we will need to warn his wife, Francis, that he might be in her way since I’m sure he still has many other commitments to Legacy, the Shrine and other things he is involved in, to fill in his time. As a committee, we have not been overwhelmed by nominations from people wishing to step up to fill any gaps as others step down, but this could be the year to restructure and rethink how we meet our goals.
  Thank you all for your support in 2017. I hope I can meet your expectations in this coming year.
 Peter Axton Secretary