The Association began, as it continues today, full of hard work and activity of its Committees to provide a variety of enjoyable events for its members of all ages. The Association began, as it continues today, full of hard work and activity of its Committees to provide a variety of enjoyable events for its members of all ages.
In the early days, sport (including Cricket, Soccer, Golf and Bowling) and social activities such as family fun days and Cocktail Parties, were very common. In addition, there were cultural events such as Food Tastings, Carnival, Car rallies, Children's Christmas parties, and Pantomimes. An annual event was the New Year's Eve party which began in 1976 and continues to today.
There was even a 5th Anniversary Ball in 1980, which was held at Tawarri Lodge. For the next few years following this, there was an Annual Winter Ball. With the arrival of Marie Arrindell in 1990, another dimension was added with the inclusion of the Pantomime into the Club's Calendar in 1991. Another "new" club event is The Ladies Monthly Morning Tea. Though this was only recently taken over as a Club event, it has run for many years by a committed group of ladies who were club members, for the older members of our community.
In 1975, after attending a lovely dinner hosted by Stuart and Pashie Lawrie, where they met another West Indian couple (Gordon & Marie-Louise Goellnicht), on their way home Trevor and Jeanne Blades were discussing the idea of starting an Association for West Indians who were now living in Perth. This germ of an idea led to the Blades' deciding to see if there was any interest in such an Association, and their risking to arrange a 'get together' for West Indians, and Australians who had an interest in the Caribbean. Their first letter of invitation, dated 12th June 1975, was sent to as many individuals as they could locate. With great networking and much hard work, this first gathering was held on 8th August, 1975. It was a resounding success, with 191 attending, and even delivered a profit of $12.75 which was held in trust for the future. At this function, the idea of a formal Association was discussed by Dr. Blades, individuals volunteered to help set it up, and the formation of the Caribbean Australian Association was underway!
After the first function in August, 1975 the group of volunteers met to organise the formalities of forming the Association. Under the guidance of Carlo Santini, who worked with the Department of Immigration, the necessary steps were taken, and with the help of the Good Neighbour Council, a Constitution was drafted. A letter dated 4th November 1975, was sent inviting all interested parties to attend a meeting with the "object of formation of a Caribbean Association". Included was a copy of the Draft Constitution, Objectives of the proposed Association, and an Application for membership.
The original Objects Of The Caribbean Association can be read here.
The first meeting of the Association was held on 20th November 1975, and an inaugural Committee elected.
President - Dr. Trevor Blades
Vice President - Mr. Gordon Neale
Treasurer - Mr. Anthony Llanos
Secretary - Ms. Jennifer Herrera
Committee Members - Mr. Alastair Lange, Rev. Denis Tonks, Mr. Bryan O'Hara
Inaugural Auditor - Mr. Gerry Quesnel
The Draft Constitution was discussed at the inaugural meeting, following which The Good Neighbour Council also assisted in getting the Association registered as a non-profit organisation. The constitution was sent for approval and acceptance by the Crown Law Department.
The name "Caribbean Australian Association" was chosen to represent the ideal of an Association for both West Indian and also Australian members with an interest in the Caribbean.
The vibrancy of the Caribbean Australian Association Inc. today is a testament to all the dedicated committee members and their Executive over the last 35 years. The leadership of Dr. Trevor Blades, Esmond Lange, Hugh Robertson, Ian Watling, Natalie Perry and Larry Carvalho has guided the Club and its direction, and though at times interest and intent may have lagged, membership has grown and participation is strong. Going into the future, we see the Association providing the cultural roots to those young Australians born of West Indian heritage, a link through to the past and into the future.