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News > 17/4/2012

Speech by Bob Young, President of the Jindabyne Aero Club

This is the text of Bob Young's speech, which was given before the start of the Friendship Flights on Sunday.

Image: Bob Young

Image: Peter and Darius

Image: VIP tent

Click images to enlarge

Good morning Dr Phelps, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. On behalf of Jindabyne Aero Club it gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the Jindabyne Randall Community Aerodrome and say how delighted we are that the Jindabyne Aero club has been asked to play such an important role in this sixth K'Ozzie Festival. It is our privilege to be able to donate the fraternity flights which will include one Polish and one Aboriginal passenger in each plane. The flights will take an ancestor of the traditional custodians, the Ngarigo people , along with a person who shares the heritage of the Polish traveller and surveyor Sir P.E. Strzelecki. We are honoured today to help the Polish and Ngarigo people to share their common heritage and history.

Weather conditions appear to be perfect and all the passengers are privileged and will have an unforgettable experience. I have been flying since 1963 all over the World and still get a buzz when I fly over the beautiful Snowies.

I would like to introduce our pilots. The Bell Jet ranger helicopter which is owned by Jeff Straney will be flown by Mike Roberts.Michael Fischer is the pilot of the Cessna 182 the red and white airplane. He has organized the flying part today which has meant considerable planning in regard to the loading of the airplanes and also to arrange that flights will arrive at Mt Kosciuszko at the same time and fly past together.Ian Funnel who is flying the Mooney will be the second fixed wing airplane. Paul Duncan is operating his Nanchang, the green machine which is a Chinese training aircraft. Today we have around 16 or 17 passengers and we will be operating up to nine flights all together.

I would like to take the time to remember the very first Polish person I met in 1968. He was called Jan Szesiack. He had been a member of the Polish Air Force who after the invasion of Poland by Germany in 1939 was among thousands who escaped via Romania and Hungry to France where he fought in the battle of France against superior German airplanes then eventually after the fall of France found his way to England where he flew with the Royal Air Force. After much debate and politicing the Poles were given their own squadrons with their own command structures. Jan survived the war and when I met him we were both flying the Libyan royal family prior to Col. Quaddaffi taking over that beautiful country. Jan gave me some good advice, which was to stop smoking, I waited about thirty years to take that advice but it was always there in the back of my mind.

The other thing I recall and which stuck in my mind was the stories he told me about life in Europe during the second world war. As we all know there was rationing and shortages. Jan told me something that would be taken for granted by us these days but what he told me he missed most during the war was real bread from Poland and real butter.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to the bravery of men like Jan who fought overwhelming odds to maintain the freedom we now enjoy.

I would also like to acknowledge the service that the aboriginal people have given this country in time of war, in fact ever since the Boer war. While serving in the armed forces of this country they were generally treated as equals but regrettably prejudice was the order of the day once the men returned to civilian life in Australia.

On a very personal level I would like to tell you about a very special Polish person in my, & My wife Louise's life. An Australian Polish lady by the name of Teresa Chylinska befriended Louise when she arrived alone in Sydney in 1988. Teresa gave Louise her first job in Australia as well being a bridesmaid at our wedding 12 years later. She helped me become an Aussie providing valuable references and we have been fortunate to help her in her role as a single mother, bringing up her two young children, after her late husband TOMASZ, a chief rigger on the harbor bridge, died tragically 10 years ago at the age 50. The Chylinski family are typical of the kindness of the Polish spirit of friendship.

During the Winter as some of you may know I drive the Ski Tube. We have about 13 or 14 drivers of which two are aboriginal. One, Brian has been there a few years and we also know his father Angel John and his partner Nancy. The other young bloke Craig has just joined the team at Perisher.

Finally I would like to congratulate Ernestyna and her team for organizing such an incredible diverse event so far from her home in Sydney.Well that's enough from me we will get on with the flying soon and all of you enjoy the rest of the day. Thank you.

Bob Young

All photographs by Puls Polonii

Text and photographs courtesy of Puls Polonii
Kosciuszko Heritage  
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