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News > 20/4/2012

Soaring over Mt Kosciuszko

In this report about the Sunday of the festival, Louise Young describes the Friendship Flights and other entertainment that took place at the Jindabyne Aero Club.

Image: Flight team

Image: Flight team

Image: In the plane

Image: the Consul

Image: Ngarigo Elders

Click images to enlarge

As part of the sixth Kosciuszko festival held over the weekend, the Jindabyne Aero Club (JAC) hosted Sunday's activities, which included fraternity flights, flying one Polish and one Aboriginal passenger in each plane. The donated flights took an ancestor of the traditional custodians, the Ngarigo people, along with a person who shares the heritage of the Polish traveller and surveyor Sir Paul E. Strzelecki. The day began with official ceremonies hosted by SBS' Dariusz Paczynski, welcoming The Polish Consul-General Daniel Gromann, the Hon. Dr Peter Phelps (the Government Whip, MLC, on behalf of the NSW Premier, Barry O'Farrell) and distinguished Ngarigo Elders, Aunty Rachel and Auntie Rae.

The event was organised by Ernestyna Skurjat-Kozek of Kosciuszko Heritage Inc. along with Aero Club President, Bob Young & Club Secretary, Michael Fischer. Mr Fischer also flew his Cessna 182 for 3 flights, along with pilot/members Ian Funnell (Mooney), Paul Duncan (Nanchang Warbird) and Mike Roberts flying Geoff Straney's Jet Ranger Helicopter.

Twelve flights took off in perfect flying conditions towards Mt. Kosciuszko flying up the Thredbo River Valley and back over Perisher. Waiting at the Summit was a group of Poles taking part in a Mass celebrated by Rev, Fr Wieslaw Wojcik from Poland.

Back on land a hangar was converted for the festivities which included traditional Polish folk dancing groups Lajkonik & Kujawy, Lynn & Darryl of the Celtic Pipers Band of Canberra, and a performance by a Digital Didgeridoo artist from Poland Arkadiusz Buczek. A traditional Polish lunch was provided by Polonez Smallgoods.

Speeches by the Consul-General, Dr. Phelps (a historian as well as being a Member of NSW Upper House) Club President, Bob Young and Ursula Lang all made mention of the contribution the Polish and Aboriginal people made to Australian society during peace & wartime.

The JAC had great pleasure in hosting the event, which brought together the descendants of the diverse peoples that helped to define the Snowy-Monaro that we know today.

Text by Louise Young and photos by Dinah Fischer; article courtesy of Puls Polonii

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