The Chairman's Letter
by Tony Williams
As published in the January 2016 magazine
This is my first letter as Chairman and I am honoured and privileged to have been elected to the role. I thank you for the trust you have placed in me and I will serve the Society’s members in any way I can. I succeed Paul Burnett and I want to thank him for his leadership, his wise counsel and humour. He will be a hard act to follow and I am pleased that he has agreed to stay on the Committee, so that we will continue to benefit from his sound advice and support.
Turning to recent events, the General Meeting in October opened with a special welcome to Brenda Christian and her Grandchildren Michelle and Matthew Fielder. We are always especially pleased when a Pitcairner is able to visit us. Brenda updated us on aspects of the Island and in particular about the jetty construction at Tedside. Her Powerpoint presentation provided some wonderful photography of the Tedside project and in particular some really good aerial shots of the whole island taken from a helicopter.
A special welcome was also extended to Guy Shires, a parliamentary researcher and ‘Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Advisor’ to Andrew Rosindell MP (Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the British Overseas Territories). Guy, who is new to the job, gave us a short address on what he will be doing and how Andrew Rosindell and he can assist the Pitcairners (funds allowing!).
David Ransom displayed a good selection of almost 50 production stills from the making of the Mutiny on the Bounty films. These included some rare photographs taken for continuity purposes which record the sets used in the 1962 production.
After lunch Felix Driver, freshly back from St. Helena, presented a really interesting talk on William Bligh’s visit to St. Helena – splendid photography and the talk compliments Felix’s excellent article in the last edition of the UK Log.
I think that the society should be proud of its links with Pitcairn and the friendships that have been built up. I hope that with the Society’s remit to extend its reach to include Norfolk Island, the same close links may be developed. I would like the Society to continue to embrace a wide range of interests by its members in both Pitcairn and Norfolk Island and we are fortunate to have a continuous flow of interesting information for our UK Log, thanks to David Ransom’s sterling work as editor.
Pitcairn has some good news, with progress on the new harbour facilities at Tedside as a major infrastructure development, more tourist visits through the regular runs of the Claymore II, and the promotion of the newly declared Marine Protection Area. However this must be balanced against the ageing and declining population which is at critical mass for long term sustainability. I wish Pitcairn well with its Repopulation Plan – something that our Society also needs in order to increase its membership!
My message is that we must continue to be their ambassadors, promote the Islands, subscribe to their monthly newsletter (the Pitcairn Miscellany) and encourage as much Government support as possible.
For Norfolk Island, the news is less good. In November I was invited to a meeting at the House of Commons, where the former Chief Minister of Norfolk Island (Andre Nobbs) provided an update of the political situation on the Island. We heard that on 17th June 2015, Australia unilaterally dissolved the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly with a full takeover of the Island planned by Australia (including ownership of the Island’s infrastructure) in July 2016.
This is most worrying, as it would appear that the Islanders are being deprived of their democratic rights of self-determination, with fears that their heritage and culture will be subsumed by Australia. While we await developments, our Society will need to consider how best we can assist in preserving the cultural links between Pitcairn and Norfolk Island.
In the meantime I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year and whether it be for stamps or other memorabilia, I wish you good collecting. I look forward to seeing many of you at our Spring meeting.
WEB LINKS FROM ISSUE 52
(This list scrolls)
BLOG WITH PARKINS CHRISTIAN INFORMATION
NORFOLK ISLAND TOURISM
SIR ANTHONY HOPKINS
DEATH OF COOK PAINTING
YOU ARE THERE - TV SHOW
PNI FACEBOOK PAGE
NORFOLK ISLAND STAMPS