Home' Aerogram : Aerogram 2010 3 September Contents Aerogram September 2010
Colin Fee, President
Friends of the RAAF Museum Inc.
The 2010 George Merz Memorial Lecture was once again a
huge success. Held on the evening of Friday 3 September in
the Officer’s Mess Annex, RAAF Williams Laverton, the topic of
this year’s lecture was the F-86 Sabre. Keith Gaff held the 100-
strong audience captive as he spoke of the development of the
Sabre and the historical events that contributed to its
development. Key to the success of the lecture is selecting the
right keynote speaker and this year’s guest was in no doubt
the right choice. Our keynote speaker was Air Commodore
(Retd) David Pietsch, an ex RAAF CAC Sabre driver. David kept
the crowd enthralled as he related his own experiences flying
the Air Force’s CAC Sabres as his first job as a fighter pilot with
the RAAF. He spoke of the intricacies involved in operating the
Sabre then later spoke of his involvement with the restoration
to flying status of the RAAF Museum’s Sabre by the Temora
Aviation Museum. My thanks go to those who helped put the
evening together, chief amongst them being Keith Gaff, David
Pietsch, Darryl Wells, Wayne Callanan and Museum Technical
Curator Dave Jones.
Now, it has come to the Committee’s attention through a
number of channels that there are some low level rumblings
about what your Committee does, what the Friends do and
where the money goes. Part of me is a little annoyed as the
questions that have been raised tend to devalue the efforts of
the hard working volunteer Committee members. Be that as it
may, your Committee has, over the past two meetings, put
some considerable thought into what we might do to address
the concerns of these few. We have even invited special
guests to our last meeting to help us address some of the
The Committee of the Friends meets monthly to conduct the
business of the organisation. In general we meet to consider
our financial position, to monitor the membership levels and to
oversee Aerogram. We use our meetings to organise events
like the annual dinner, the Merz Lecture and the AGM. It is at
the AGM where one could find the answer to the question of
how our money is spent. Should you attend the AGM you’d
receive a copy of the Auditor’s Report and have an opportunity
to ask relevant questions of the Treasurer and other Committee
members. However, we do appreciate that not everyone can
attend the AGM, so to that end we will endeavour to publish a
mini annual report in the following edition of Aerogram. At our
last two meetings we have given considerable thought to our
current membership. Do we enough members? How many do
we want or need? In what mix? We’ve not developed a firm
answer to these questions other than we are all agreed that we
need more members. One of the aims of the Friends is to raise
money for use in some way towards assisting the Museum.
Generally, any surplus that the Friends generates is placed into
our General Reserve. However, over the past three years we
have been unable to generate a surplus due to the general
increase in running costs, mostly generated by this very
publication. Membership numbers over the same time have
been relatively static and so the same level of income doesn’t
go as far as it used to. Income has remained the same as
we’ve not increased membership fees for some time. Thus,
some other questions are raised. Do we increase the
membership fees to cover the costs incurred in servicing the
current membership base, or do we increase the membership
numbers, or both?
The obvious answer is to increase the membership levels. We
have started a number of initiatives in that respect to increase
the exposure of the Friends to the Museum’s visiting public, and
of course the Merz Lecture is another effort to lift the profile of
the Friends. It would be great to see the membership lifted to a
point where these financial questions become irrelevant.
So I issue you all a challenge – if each of you recruited just one
new member we’d have doubled the membership in one go.
Whilst we’d need to print some extra copies of Aerogram, the
extra amount would not add a significant amount of cost and
we’d be well ahead financially.
Think about it.
The RAAF Museum is gazetted to open on both days of every weekend, but did you realise that without the support
and attendance of Active Friends working as Host Officers, weekend full-time staffing levels mean that the Museum
would have to shut if no Host Officers were available? You can imagine the number of things this would disrupt –
including our Interactive Flying schedule – with little means of alerting the public at short notice. Whilst our
Volunteer Co-ordinator, Mary Briggs, manages to pull a ‘rabbit out of the hat’ so to speak, and meet these Volunteer
support levels each weekend we need to put into place a more structured weekend Volunteer attendance.
Are you a Supporting Friend who would like to take on an Active role at the Museum? Are you an Active Friend who
can do a little more, or who has been thinking about a role in Hosting?
Please contact Mary Briggs urgently on 8348 6300 to discuss your availability for a weekend Hosting activity.
Weekend Host Officers
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