The Rare Fruit Council of Australia held its inaugural meeting and election of officers on Wednesday, October 3, 1979. The meeting was attended by over 60 people and its success was largely due to the efforts of Alan Carle who, acting on a suggestion of Rare Fruit Council International in Florida, USA, decided to attempt to form a similar body here and held preliminary meetings and discussions with this aim in mind.
At the October 1979 meeting the following decisions were taken:
That the meeting express gratitude to Mr. Carle for his efforts.
That subscriptions be $10.00 per year per single person or family.
That general meetings be held bi-monthly in Cairns on the first Wednesday of the six months.
That the Rare Fruit Council of Australia should seek affiliation with the Rare Fruit Council International in Florida.
Since then, a further general meeting has been held (5th December) attended by over 80 people, and a general format for meetings seems to have emerged which pleases most of the members: a fruit tasting table, a talk or lecture illustrated with slides, a demonstration of propagation techniques, a raffle of fruit trees and an exchange blackboard. Other displays, visiting lecturers etc. will be included in future meetings depending on availability.
So far there are 56 financial members, and the following standing committees have been formed to extend and broaden the Council's work:
REFERENCE COMMITTEE: to deal with conditions of growth, propagation and the botany of unusual fruits.
CATERING COMMITTEE: to stimulate interest in the uses, composition and storage of unusual fruits and to take care of the Council's own catering requirements.
NEWSLETTER: to publicise the work of the Council, to inform members, and to stimulate the writing of information material on unusual fruit.
FRUIT TABLE COMMITTEE: to co-ordinate the efforts of individual members in offering home-grown unusual fruit for tasting by members and guests.
CONSTITUTION COMMITTEE: to develop a constitution similar to that of Rare Fruit Council International, but suited to Australian law.
Chairman - Derrick Gillett
Secretary - Len Muller
Treasurer - Geoff Parker
Members - John Marshall
About three years ago, a friend of mine whispered quietly to me that somewhere in the ranges behind Cairns, if you looked hard enough, you may find a rather eccentric gardener tending hundreds of specimens of rather strange-looking fruit trees, imported no doubt at great cost and by devious means from the hidden depths of the great Amazonian basin. I could hardly believe my ears.
Apparently he had trees the like of which no one had ever heard, or with such strange-sounding names as Durians, Mamee Apples and an extraordinary beast by the name of a "chocolate pudding tree". I suddenly had visions of packeted blanc-mangos hanging by long tendrils to grotesque twisted limbs. I resolved to find out more.
Three years on, I'm glad I did. As the inaugural chairman of the newly-formed Rare Fruit Council of Australia, I feel particularly privileged and honoured to be part of a body of people devoted to letting others know that they don't have to live on apples, oranges and an occasional pear! We owe a great debt to that "eccentric gardener" for introducing us to what should prove to be, in our warm wet tropics, a bounteous supply of many and varied fruits from throughout the world.
On behalf of the very hard working committee, I would like in this very first newsletter, to welcome all members to an organisation devoted entirely to providing you with information on how to grow, and a place to sample and try out tropical and exotic fruits and vegetables. We hope you will enjoy discovering new tastes and new plants. We hope to provide you with facts you will find useful and we hope to be the means of a social venue for the exchange of material and the swapping of fruity tales.
To run such an organisation requires two things: Money and Time. It is hoped that with members pitching in and helping out on the various committees that the latter will look after the former. It is hoped that as many members as possible will partake in the running of various aspects of our organisation. We need help to provide information, to concoct recipes, to provide seeds and growing material, to help with the staging of meetings, to search out existing mature trees and a host of other necessary tasks in order to keep the Rare Fruit Council of Australia going. Without this help, of course, the organisation will not survive.
The main meetings are held bi-monthly on even months (Feb, Apr. etc.) and the committee meetings are held on the odd months, both on the first Wednesday in each month. So if you feel you would like to help out, please come along.
Finally I would like to express a debt of thanks to the various commercial nurserymen and growers and their commitment and their industry, without which it would have been virtually impossible to obtain the many specimens and plants we are all interested in obtaining. It is hoped we can all work together to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity of taking part in what is becoming a fascinating hobby to many and a means of livelihood to an adventurous few - the growing and sampling of exotic fruits from all parts of the world.
DATE: March 1980
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