Posted by: thebluemusicblog | November 28, 2012


I love to be in Australia! Here we are at the opening of the YMCA Convention, on the podium His Excellency the Governor of Tasmania to the right, behind him his aid in full uniform and to the left the YMCA Chair from Hobart. The Governor invited the convention to an official reception at his residence later on that day.


Above the photo which I could not get to cooperate yesterday night, when I mentioned that Ingunn and I waved goodbye to the President of World Alliance, Ken Colloton and Annette, after a “raclette meal” (typical Swiss cheese dish!) in our Geneva home.


Again you may ask what this photo has to do with anything, maybe the Tasmanian Devil? He was one of the participants in the mad hat competition. Myself I felt I had a winner hat with my Scottish one with red hair, until I discovered that we were a group of five hopeful with the same hat. How embarrassing was that? 🙂


My new friend Andrew from Victoria YMCA had an inspiring input on the important branding debate which is ongoing in Australia. This was highly interesting for me, since we are dealing with the same issues at the world level, and I enjoyed Andrew’s presentation very much, creative and with a sense of humor! (See below!”


At the convention we had Robert Fitzgerald talking to us, as I mentioned yesterday, and here some highlights from his speech, at YMCA Australia Convention in Hobart, Tasmania, as tweeted by an attentive listener:

“Do we have the unique creativity needed for innovative changes? Do we have the urge for change in us?”

“Do not walk away from your mission, from the values and visions on which you were founded! Modernize them, contextualize them!”

“Fragmentation of purpose is what makes a federation dysfunctional.”

“Values and Mission is the key to success, it is what sets you apart.”

” If you do not know what you do, and why, how do you expect others to understand?”

“We want to be known for the things we have achieved! And this is not about numbers, but storytelling.”

“As organizations you have to demonstrate those things you claim! It is about the impact you have on young people!”

“We need organizations, which not only serve, but stand with children and young people!”

All well in Hobart as we leave it behind after some fascinating days of high level, good YMCA discussions. Thank you, Tasmania!


The photo above is the skyline of Melbourne over the river, and it is the motive on a painting on my office wall in Geneva, a gift from the National Council of YMCAs in Australia to the Quay Wilson 37 building back in 1956. The building is sold and gone, but the painting is still with us, and it made me happy to be there and be able to recognise the motive.


The board of the APAY was so impressed with this painting/motive that they decided to invite all of us for a happy meal at the riverside, towards the bottom of the big painting. I enjoyed my time with my friends from the APAY board, and early next morning we all met together with Ron at the Australian National YMCA office for a good meeting where we discussed matters of common interest.


Jenny, the CEO of YMCA Canberra, invited us to visit Canberra, and we spent a wonderful day touring the capital of Australia, a relatively small city created from scratch in the 1920s, as Melbourne and Sidney could not agree where the capital should be. So here is the Parliament and the Prime Minister’s office and the office of the Governor General and other important institutions for the political life in Australia. Helen showed us around the city and told us the story of the city and took us to a museum presenting the architectural competition and how the city was developed. Fascinating. And in this capital city of Australia the local YMCA is developing as an important institution for the population and for traveling politicians and visitors. In the evening the local YMCA with Jenny as host and several leaders hosted a wonderful dinner where we discussed YMCA matters under the Australian stars. The summer heat met us in Canberra, and even the Kangaroos were lazy and sleepy. Helen took us to the Governor’s residence, and there we saw three kangaroos, but on long distance only, they were sleeping under a tree in the heat of the day. Still it made an impression on us!


I could not resist this parking problem in Hobart. It has nothing much to do in this blog post, but is recorded just for fun!


This fontaine reminded us a lot about Geneva, and we learnt that this was a man made lake in the middle of Canberra, planned by the architect and we also learnt that it took many years to fill it, the level of rain is very limited in Canberra.


We are grateful to Jenny and Helen (below) for their great hospitality in Canberra!


This is an instrument used by the surveyors when they constructed the capital city of Australia. I just love this kind of instruments! As we slowly leave the sunny Canberra behind with all its politicians and a Prime Minister with a few issues to handle these days, our journey continues to Brisbane tomorrow, and I hope for good weather and fast internet so that I can give you a good update on this terrific Australian tour.


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