Looking at the last message I wrote for this website I realised with astonishment, that over a year has passed since then.
I can again report about our September 2023 AGM which was attended by more than 30 people. The committee had worked hard to have everything in place. The nicest part for me was the big surprise we created for Beat and Esther Birchmeier. The committee, (minus Beat), had decided to give this hard-working couple Honorary Membership.
Everybody who attends our special luncheons in Tempe or any other function can attest to how much effort Beat puts into making these events super special. Apart from that, he does many more things for our society, too many to mention here. Beat is organised to the dot on the last i, and Esther supports him with equal dedication. As the two were almost ready to fly off for a well-earned holiday in Switzerland we decided not to present them with flowers but with a voucher from Flower Power. This way, on their return, they could enjoy whatever they fancied from this flower supermarket.
Another much appreciated gesture for the over 80s in the Swiss community was a hand-delivered Christmas gift of a packet of authentic Guetslis (Swiss Christmas cookies) and a 2024 Swiss photographic calendar, sourced from Patenschaft Berggemeinden. This was another initiative meticulously organised and beautifully presented by Beat and Esther, who also arranged for our dedicated volunteers to deliver the gift packets. The SCCS received many messages of appreciation from our older compatriots for this thoughtful gift.
Unfortunately, one of our committee members, Paula Nakajima, had to resign in 2023 for family reasons. As she was in Switzerland, we could not thank her at the AGM for all she had done. Among other things, Paula has sent hundreds, if not thousands, of birthday cards to Swiss people older than 70. She too, belongs to those men and women who do things 100% right. Paula, we thank you for all you did for SCCS.
Throughout 2023 we had many enjoyable times. The concert outings were wonderful, though attendances were not as strong as in years past. Whether this is still the result of Covid and those lock down times, remains unclear. Attendances at the National Day and Christmas luncheons were about 90 people - also a little less than before. It may have to do with the fact that we now schedule them on Thursdays, rather than Saturdays. This however is a big advantage for SCCS, as the Concordia Club is closed to the public on Thursdays and so we have the benefit of exclusive use of the club.
The Casual Lunch on the third Friday of the month is getting more popular with sometimes up to twenty people present. A Jass-group has developed out of that jolly get-together. It is only small so far and some more players would be more than welcome. The Jass-group meets at lunchtime on the first Friday of the month, also at Concordia Club in Tempe (see notice on the Events page).
In late 2023, we sent out an email to our members (and a letter to those who are not electronically connected) about being prepared for the future. It is not the most pleasant topic to talk about but a very important one, since none of us is going to live forever. I urge you to read it and to act on it if you haven’t already done so. (See the following message.)
I hope you enjoyed lovely times with your family and friends over Christmas, and send you my very best wishes for 2024.
Regula Scheidegger, President
Mob 0432 031 085
At the September 2023 AGM president Regula Scheidegger surprises events coordintor Beat Birchmeier, while Marianne Pearson (property coordinator) and
Martin Scarpino (treasurer) look on.
Venue: Rosso Italian Restaurant, Gladesville.
In acknowledgement of their tireless work for the society, Beat and Esther Birchmeier are awarded Honorary Membership to the Society, by Regula Scheidegger.
The committee of eight members was assisted by a dedicated group of volunteers who generously offered their time to hand-deliver 120 Christmas packages to our elders, located all over Sydney and beyond. Beat, our events coordinator planned the logistics exercise, down to the last cookie and address label, and in November 2023 assigned volunteers to specific recipients.
Each packet contained a box of Wiehnachtsguetsli, a calendar and a letter from our president with Christmas greetings.
Over 100 guests attended this special luncheon. The event was convivial with carefully decorated tables, adorned with Swiss chocolates (naturally), and packets of home made Swiss Christmas cookies for each guest. Entertainment was provided by an accordionist. Regula Scheidegger played a piece on violin entitled Kleines Fantasiestück über 'O du fröhliche', accompanied by Tomas Drevikovsky on piano. Guests reminisced as they joined in with singing. A cheerful atmosphere was once again provided by the Swiss dancing group Alpegruess. The Lucky Door Prize hamper along with the tombola, ensured that every guest took home a gift. Guests were pleased to meet Mr Jérôme Charbonnet, Deputy Consul (seated next to Regula in the photo Gallery). As we've come to expect, the Concordia staff provided a quality meal and attentive service. Yet another very popular event, meticulously arranged by Beat Birchmeier and wife Esther. More photos in the Gallery.
The event was wonderful. I enjoyed talking away in Schwiizerdütsch and every time I attend I see another familiar face. Everybody is so kind and nice to talk to. The preparation and all the work put in to organising was absolutely fantastic.
I had such a great time. - Remark from a guest.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus (540 to 480 BC) stated that 'There is nothing permanent except change'. Yes, change is inevitable, and often it pays to be prepared for it. Our volunteers in the Swiss Community Care Society sometimes witness how difficult it can become for elderly people who are not prepared for change. We all know that we get older from the moment we are born and that the day of our final 'departure' will eventually come. To go as quickly as possible is the wish of most of us, but too often the decline is gradual and not easily recognised. It pays to prepare for your own wellbeing while you are alive and also for your affairs after you die, while you are still in good physical and especially mental shape. The following questions and recommendations will help you to be as organised as possible.
1. Do you have a valid Will? When did you last update it? Who have you appointed as the executor of your Will and does it deal with your estate as you want it to? The people you leave behind will be so grateful if you have made clear arrangements about your wishes regarding the disposal of your assets when you die.
2. Do you have an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA)? Your attorney should be a healthy and preferably younger person who can deal with your financial and legal matters, should you become unable to do so yourself.
3. Have you made an Appointment of Enduring Guardian (AOEG)? This person can decide about your lifestyle and medical treatment, but only if you lose the capacity to do so yourself.
You can choose to appoint one or more Attorneys and Enduring Guardians. The appointees can be the same or different people.
4. It is also very helpful if you have an Advanced Care Directive. This document, which only operates if you yourself lose capacity, outlines your wishes for medical treatment and lifestyle matters, so that your treating medical team and Enduring Guardian(s) can act the way you want them to, should it become necessary.
The internet has plenty of information available regarding these matters. Wills and Advance Care Directives require two independent witnesses. EPOAs and AOEGs require a solicitor to complete and witness the forms. Once you have these papers in place, you will have far less to worry about in the future.
What’s this, you may ask, do we need that? Another Swiss Verein?
Swiss Alliance Australia (SAA) was founded three years ago. It is an umbrella organisation, (in German, eine Dachorganisation).
You, as an individual, cannot be a member, but the Swiss Club, the Swiss Yodlers and the SCCS and other Swiss societies can. Until now, eleven clubs and societies in Australia have joined SAA. It brings them amazing advantages, for instance in regard to their insurance policies.
SAA has a great website: www.swissallianceaustralia.org
I very much recommend that you look it up. You can find News and Information about Switzerland, Australia, past and future Swiss events, here and in Switzerland. You may be able to find answers to questions relating to the Swiss Aged Pension (AHV), to Banking in Switzerland, Military Service, Studying or Voting in Switzerland, especially if you click on those Webinar links.
As the live webinars always take place at an inconvenient time for us Australians 'down under', they're recorded and presented on the SAA website. You will soon find that it’s worthwhile browsing this website, as it’s very informative about Swiss topics. RS
Sixty years ago, on 5 September 1961, Ambassador Friedrich Gygax presented his credentials to Governor-General William Sidney. This was the historic moment when Switzerland and Australia took up diplomatic relations, formalizing a partnership that, of course, dates back much further.
This month, we will therefore reminisce on beautiful stories of our thriving partnership. Sophie la Trobe who brought Swiss wine-makers to Melbourne, the Antarctic pioneer Xavier Mertz, the hidden Swissness in the Sydney Opera House, a joint Nobel Prize in medicine, a fantastic Aboriginal Arts collection in Switzerland, and many more!
In addition, our Honorary Consuls have identified Swiss compatriots throughout the country who contribute each day to Australia’s society and to this partnership which we are celebrating.
Do not miss the inspiring stories that we will be posting each day on our Facebook page. And be the first to follow the brand new Twitter account of the Swiss Embassy: @SwissEmbassyAUS
On behalf of Ambassador Pedro Zwahlen and the entire Team Switzerland in Australia, thank you all for having contributed to this partnership over the past six decades and for continuing to do so.
Team Switzerland in Australia
Are you a Swiss citizen living abroad or want to receive daily updates of what’s going on in Switzerland? The ‘SWI plus’ app is the SWI @swissinfo service for the Swiss abroad and provides the most useful information and interesting stories from the Swiss media world on a daily basis.
From 9 August 2021, Swissinfo will launch its daily 'Briefing for the Swiss Abroad' on the app in English and content will then be available in four languages (German, French, Italian and English).
For more information and to download the app, please visit: https://bit.ly/3yftHSL
Swiss Community Care Society