"Acknowledging the Past and Sustaining the Present and Future"

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The Power of Stories: Stories are to Share

While we most often consider as cultural heritage, museums, historic buildings and sites, archaeology, archives and libraries, for the vast majority, our main inheritance is in reality memories, experiences, ideas, attitudes and values. In most instances, the inheritance we receive and that which we leave behind is both our experience and our expression of culture, individually and collectively. Because it represents a metaphor for the human condition of growth and discovery and because the stories it evokes are powerful and can create connections across cultural boundaries. Migrant stories are an active long-term and ongoing contribution to the evolving narrative of Australian identity, Australian nationhood and the Australian politic. Inclusion in the social narrative of the host country helps newcomers with the bonding process and to gain a sense of place, identity and belonging in the new land.



Emeritus Professor - Murdoch University, Western Australia

Cora Baldock was born on 16 December 1935 in Rotterdam, as Corrie Vellekoop, the youngest of three children. Her father, Cornelis Vellekoop, also born in Rotterdam, worked his entire life for the Norwegian Consulate in that city. His job meant that Corrie as a young girl frequently met Norwegian people, who usually communicated in English –providing her with some early fluency in that language.

Art and Culture

Freelance Photographer, Artist and Permanent Part Time Welfare Worker

In 1953 my parents and my four siblings migrated to South Australia. We initially spent six very hard months in Glossop, Berri, where we lived in an old workman’s out shed while my father was seeking house and work in Adelaide, while staying with Australian friends he had met in the Second World War. One friend in particular was a former airforce man whose life my father had saved while working in the Dutch underground and this man was delighted to return a favour.

Artist, New South Wales

When I was 4 years old, my parents decided to leave Holland and go to the Dutch East Indies.  That was in 1947.  My father had a Doctorate in Eastern Linguistics and had better employment opportunities there than in the Netherlands so soon after the War.  And so my parents and my sister and I travelled half-way around the world in the hold of the Johan van Oldenbarneveld to a new adventure.

Dutch-Australian author and conservationist

Lolo Houbein, of Aldgate in the Adelaide Hills, came to Australia from The Netherlands with her husband and children in 1958 at the age of 24. She did not speak English, yet eleven years later she matriculated as an adult student and Lolo is now an accomplished and prolific writer in English, with an extensive portfolio and an impressive list of awards and commendations.

Mathilde is the popular producer and presenter based in the Sydney office of SBS Dutch Radio.

I was born into a colonial family, that has its roots back in the early 1900s. My mother was born in Medan and my grandfather (on my father's side) was Chief Inspector of Police in Jakarta.

Several members of the family survived the Japanese camps during the Second World War. My parents and my maternal grandparents dodged the bombs successfully in Rotterdam.  My father went back to Indonesia on one of the first military ships.

Ceramicist and Sculptor

In the beginning: My name is Petrus Spronk, a name which got me introduced once, when I was on tour with my portable ceramic workshop in Ireland, as a one-man Rock & Roll-band. As a result I had a lot to live up to, but being in Ireland I did. When was I born? As if that is important. I was born that is the point. Not delivered by an ooievaar [stork], as my mother once told me. The place I arrived in this world was Haarlem, North Holland, and the time was Ten Minutes to Midday, confirmed by my mother when she could still remember such things.

Entertainer and singer

Popular Australian entertainer Marty Rhone began life as Karel van Rhoon in the former Netherlands East Indies. His father Eddy van Rhoon was of mixed Dutch and Chinese heritage and his mother Judith (nee Bagshaw) was fifth generation Australian. Together, they gave Marty a rich and wonderful heritage: he is one-quarter Dutch-Indonesian, one-quarter Chinese, and one-half Australian.

I was born in Eindhoven in Noord Brabant in 1942. I am the only son among five daughters, three older and two younger than I. Being a family with only six children was small in our neighborhood, twelve and fourteen were more common. My father was a bus driver for the Statsbusdienst and my mum, like most mothers at the time, a housewife. Dad was regarded as "Mr fix it" by the neighbours; there seemed to be no end to his talent. He made everything from rabbit hutches to furniture, he even made a bike trailer/pram to take us around.

Marijke Greenway is an achiever, in different countries, South Africa and Australia, and in quite different fields. Her story is exceptional in many ways. She was born in the Netherlands in 1943, in Halfweg/Zwanenburg, close to Amsterdam, the fourth child of six in the Van den Boogaard family. Two of the children (Thea and Hans) suffered from asthma, so the parents decided to move to a drier and sunnier climate and migrated to South Africa in 1953. Marijke lived there for 35 years before re-migrating with her husband John Greenway and three children to Sydney, Australia, in 1988.

I was born in the Netherlands on 8 April 1937, the eldest of five girls. I was only two years old, when war broke out. My childhood was not free and easy as my mother had three girls between 1937 and 1940. She would constantly remind me that I was the eldest of the family and had to be an example for my siblings. Times were hard we didn’t have many toys and I remember my mother making dolls for us out of material and using papier-mâché for their faces. She also made dolls houses from cardboard boxes with the furniture made from match boxes.  Those were the days.


Horticulurist, Western Australia

I was born 22/8/51 in Den Haag, Netherlands, where I studied horticulture being the fifth generation to do so.

After my studies I travelled the world for approx. 6 years. During this period I worked in the offshore oil industry. In 1975 I married Magda van Boheemen. After we were married travelling the world was no longer possible so I went back to horticulture in 1976. Our two children were born in 1978 (boy named Guy) and 1980 ( girl named Esmee)

Not long ago, a book was published about Dick under the title The Incredible Life of Dick van Leer. This very readable account of Dick’s life, a family history really, written jointly with Aubrey Cohen, starts with his birth in 1922 in Surabaya, Dutch East Indies.

Cornelis Frederiks, who prefers to be addressed as Cor, is a down-to-earth, sprightly and quick-witted 86-year-old businessman, scholar, author, investor, art collector and company director with a flourishing accounting practice in Cleveland, a sea-side suburb of Brisbane. Cor insists he is not retired and he still attends his office from his home in nearby Thornlands every day of the week.


DutchCare Ltd’s Directors’ & CEO Profiles. These profiles have been prepared from the resumes submitted by each of the directors.


DutchCare Ltd’s Directors’ & CEO Profiles. These profiles have been prepared from the resumes submitted by each of the directors.

Mr Menno van Ruyven - President

Joined DutchCare Board December 1996

Menno has been president since 2004 and is member of the Board Finance Committee and member of the DutchCare Appeal Committee.

Hello and welcome! This is how every meeting of the Elwood Dutch playgroup based in Melbourne, Australia, commences: a warm welcome expressed to all in song. The main objective of the group is to teach the children (ages ranging from 0 – 4) the Dutch language through play, reading sessions, special activities (painting, making of costumes and birthday cards etc.) and a musical programme complete with a work booklet. The group also functions as a support network for bilingual families and recent arrivals from Holland.

John (Jan) Giezen would have to be one of the better known people within the Dutch-Australians veterans community living in Queensland. He has helped ex-veterans and their widows to access compensation and pensions; he established the Netherlands Ex-Servicemen and Women’s Association (NESWA) website, and has worked hard to archive the Dutch contribution to the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) and Australia.

Richlands, Inala and neighbouring suburbs are located in the south-west of Brisbane, Queensland. The History Group was formed in 1996, incorporated in 2000, and has become a force in the local area. Our objective is to further the appreciation of our history and diverse cultural heritage amongst our local community and the general public. We focus on the areas of Richlands, Inala and the surrounding district - including Wacol, Darra, Durack, Doolandella, Forest Lake, Ellen Grove, Carole Park, Willawong and Pallara.

Klaas was born in Groningen and his wife Aafke in Utrecht but she moved soon after birth to a farm in Munnekezijl near Groningen on the Friesian border. After meeting each other on his 19th birthday in 1954 they became high school sweethearts - not knowing at the time that their life together would take them to Amsterdam, The Hague, South Africa, Zambia and later Australia. In 1959, Klaas gained a Diploma in Hotel Management in The Hague and Aafke trained as a registered nurse in Amsterdam later completing her midwifery qualifications in Scheveningen.


Memories of my father by Aart Ritse Hofman

Adrianus Cornelis Marinus Hofman was born in Velsen, a small town in the Province of North Holland, on the 26th of September 1898. His childhood sweetheart, Frouwe Christina Boomgaard was born in Breskens in the Province of Zeeland, on 2 April 1898.

It is not always realised that the Dutch made a considerable contribution to the defense of Australia. They fought alongside Australians against the Japanese during the dark days of 1942-43 and continued to fight until the Pacific War was over.

Why might a young baby less than a year old be interned in a prisoner of war camp? The answer was for his own safety. As the underlying reasons are complex, we start this story with his loving parents, Evert ‘Dirk’ Drok (1915–1988) and Kitty Isabella Theodora Uitenhage de Mist-Barkey (1921–2001) who lived in Java, in the former Netherlands East Indies prior to the Pacific War (1942–1945).

John (Jan) Rikkers was born on 5 February 1925 in den Haag, the youngest child of Jan Rikkers and Marie van der Wansem (official papers in later years state his date of birth as 1921, but according to John he had deliberately put his age up so he could join the army). By the standards of his Catholic relatives at the time, it was only a small household, of father, mother and three children (one older brother and sister).

These pieces are in memory of those I failed to help survive.  I had hoped to save their lives. Through the betrayal of another person, to the secret police, the Kempeitai, our house was invaded. I had received a visit from a woman three weeks before the raid, and from this we had a premonition of danger ahead.

Henriette Adriana Margaretha Thomas (nee Kuneman) was born on 22 January 1930 on the Badek Estate, a coffee and rubber plantation, near Kediri, East Java in the former Netherlands East Indies (NEI). Her father Jan Hendrik Kuneman (7 April 1885 – 9 March 1945) was born into an upper middle class family in Amsterdam, ran away from home at age 17, and spent some time in Germany and England before arriving in Java two years later. He quickly prospered and five years later was manager of the Badek Estate, a rubber plantation.


Records show Dutch were on the first fleet, that the Swan Colony had a Dutch consul as early as 1879 and that Dutch made a living on the land in Queensland in the early part of the 20th century. This tiny portal into the life of Dutch farmers who migrated to Western Australia in 1923 is based on the recollections of Ena and Frances, the two youngest children of Johannes Cornelis Butler, born 1895 at Kapelle, Biezelinge, and his wife Jacoba Mol, who settled on Avon Down farm, Wickepin, some 300 kilometres south-east of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia.

Golden Memories of their 50th Wedding Anniversary at Stirling in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia

In June 1991, when Adriaan and Johanna Rutte had been married 50 years, a family of no less than seventy members, spanning four generations, celebrated with them. The number was hardly surprising to those who had seen the 10 Rutte children growing up in the Stirling area of the Adelaide Hills over the years. In addition to the sons and daughters and their spouses, there were 28 grandchildren, aged from 10 months to 29 years, and eight great grandchildren.

Memories of life as a child in a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp in the former Netherlands East Indies

My full name is Antonie Roodhuyzen, a male of European Dutch descent, born 1st December 1936 in the city of Malang, on the island of Java, in Indonesia, then the Netherlands East Indies. I am a university graduate in art-photography at the Royal Dutch College of Rotterdam. I arrived in Australia in 1988 after 14 years living in New Zealand and have been an Australian citizen since 1996. My early life in Java was like being in paradise. Of course I didn’t know that when I was just six years of age, like other people this was something I realised far later.

Hannie's story: On Wednesday afternoon of 2 October 1951, the “Groote Beer” sailed into Fremantle harbour with approximately 35 passengers on board. It had been a long and tiring journey. We had left Amsterdam on 17 August 1951 and, due to the unrest in the Suez Canal region, our route had taken us through the Panama Canal instead.

A touch of humour: the recollections of Walter Mannot as a lively nine-year-old living in the former Dutch colony of the Netherlands East Indies

The Mannot family in Kemanglen (near Tegal) in Central Java (1938).

In May 1950, a group of 10 men, and their wives, met in the residence of Eerke van der Laan in the city of Groningen. They had met several times before, and during the war years had learned to know and trust each other. Now they were discontented, but hopeful.  

In my small collection of Dutch books at our home in South Australia there is a 1950 hard cover publication titled “Australië – Land van Vele Mogelijkheden” by J.J. van der Laan. It was one of many books that my parents brought to Australia when they emigrated from The Netherlands after World War II.

My name is Sylvia Bink , my Dutch name is Sijke Bink-Faber, I was born 25th May 1915 in Schingen a small village, about an hour’s ride on the push bike from Leeuwarden, the capital city of the province of Friesland. I have ridden that track many times in different conditions with rain and slippery roads with ice and snow. I grew up in Schingen, and went to school there for five years, I didn’t start until I was seven as the law was that children had to be six years of age 1st April and my birthday wasn’t until the 25th May so I had to wait for a whole year, it was very silly. When I was twelve years old I had to help my father on the land, so I only went to primary school for five years.

It is normal for the eldest son to inherit the farm. This has been true over the centuries, and in many places in the world. Jos (Adrianus Johannes Ansems), known to all as Lange Jos, refused the privilege. He had no heart for farming after a childhood of helping out, especially when the weather was cold, and chose to be a bricklayer in the nearest big town, Tilburg.  

When he was 18 years old, Jan van Herweynen was asked by his father to travel to Tasmania, purchase a piece of land and begin building a house. Jan was accompanied by his cousin Bob Brinkman and the sister of his mother, Janny de Jonge. They left Schipol airport in Amsterdam on the fifth of February and arrived in Australia on the 12th of February, 1951.

Hans Hulsbosch, independent brand designer, born in Valkenswaard just south of Eindhoven, the Phillips city, age 62 in 2014. Married to Marianne in the Netherlands before emigration to New Zealand. Marianne’s Father had knowledge of Australia and had positive views of the country. Hans was trained in design and advertising and worked principally for a well-known design agency in Amsterdam, Ten Cate Bergmans, as well as advertising agency Leo Burnett. He was offered a position in San Francisco in 1972 but he declined at the last moment. However, they had mentally prepared for a move away from the Netherlands and then considered other options, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. They settled for Australia ....

I was born in 1918 to a Dutch father and German mother.  I was educated in Germany, where I lived and enjoyed a comfortable family life until the depression began.  Due to political unrest, my father decided to take the family to Holland, not an easy transition to make for a family with four children.


By Elisabeth (Elly) Anderson - October 2006


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