The Dutch Australian Society “Abel Tasman” Inc existed from 1969 till approx 2010.
This history is written by Kees Wierenga during the 00s
There was a Dutch Australian Society in the 1950s, but it faded away after approx. five years due to lack of interest. Beginning in 1952, it produced a monthly newsletter, “Mededelingen Ned. Vereniging “Abel Tasman”. The purpose was to assist new migrants, both in mutual encouragement, and in sharing knowledge of the new country. Social events were organised, births and arrivals and addresses were published. Articles concerning regulations about bringing money from the Netherlands, or how to make a legal will, or how the naturalisation process worked, etc, filled the pages. Many articles were in English, but not enough, according to ASIO, which sent agents to discuss this matter with the editor, (Henk Sikkema).
In the thirty fifth edition it was noted that “this would be the last. This was not bad news, but:-
1. It seems that people feel at home in Tasmania
2. It seems that people can read in English everything they wish to read
3. that Netherlands migrant A lives some distance from Netherlands migrant B and C and D – that he finds his own way, alone in this land which must become his fatherland.
In other words, it seems that the Netherlands migrant in Tasmania is busy succeeding [becoming Tasmanian]
It is, in our opinion, too much to ask to ask the last 25 subscribers to carry on, so thank you to all for the support we have had over the years. It has been a pleasure working for you, and may it go well with you.”
Copies of most editions of this newsletter are held in the National Library in Canberra. (Not the National Archives)
Fifteen years later, new life was blown into the ashes, and everything was in English. An increasing emphasis by the government on ‘multi-culture society’ and the fact that most migrants now had their feet firmly established in Tasmanian soil were two drivers of this movement. Some of the achievements of this Society are displayed below. Member events were also held. Some of the records of this Society are held in the Tasmanian State Archives. Membership has waxed (well over 200 members) and waned (less than 50 members) over the years, but now seems to be in terminal decline because aging members are not being replaced with younger members.
Kees Wieringa has in the meantime set up a website Dutch Tasmanian Connection. This also incudes significant parts of the archives of the (former) Dutch Australian Society “Abel Tasman” Inc.