DTSA PRESIDENT'S REPORT 2014
2014 was definitely the most active in the short history of the society, and we have every reason to feel
pleased with the progress we have made in less than twenty years. We started on February 2 with
lunch and the AGM at 99-on-York, and a new record attendance. We had no trouble electing a large
committee, and the members enjoyed the literary segment that followed the meeting. Another record
attendance came in April at the Legend & Poet afternoon where, in the centenary year, the topic was
Dylan and Wales. We had a special guest in Hilarie Lindsay OAM, MBE, and another in Roger Jones,
one of our founder-members, who flew from Hobart especially for the event.
The DTSA ChristmasinJuly lunch at the Grand View Hotel, Wentworth Falls, also drew a large
attendance of nearly sixty people. There were many Dylan Thomas words and allusions in the
afternoon, along with fine food and a convivial atmosphere. Some of our members even stayed on
The following month came the Dylan Thomas Centenary Concert, held in the beautiful All Saints Church,
Hunters Hill, with the Sydney Welsh Choir. It was an unqualified success, with the church overflowing
and many congratulatory emails were received in the next few days. A typical one read: "We so enjoyed
yesterday's concert. It was hard to say whether the singing, poetry or commentary was my favourite.
It was a complete and enjoyable experience."
The major event of this year - or of any year - was the tour to Ireland, Wales and England with the
Sydney Welsh Choir. As well as enjoying the music and camaraderie of the choir tour, we visited so
many places central to Dylan's life and work, from the room in Swansea where he was born to his grave
in Laugharne and to the memorials and exhibitions created since his death. Our coach driver in Ireland
turned out to have a grandson named Dylan Thomas in honour of the Welsh poet - quite a coincidence!
The concert in Aberystwyth took place in the middle of the largest exhibition in the centenary festival,
and there were recitations of Dylan's work at all the concerts. Dylan's son-in-law Trefor and grandson
Huw took part in the final concert in London. Many of the DTSA members who came on the tour are
creating or have created literary or artistic projects from the tour. There is a wide array of approaches
and we look forward with interest to the final collection which is being overseen by Malcolm Brown.
After our return to Sydney we put on two events. The first, a new performance of my play-for-voices,
Good Night Dylan, at 99-on-York, was well received. When I wrote the play I hoped that the centenary
festival might have resulted in a more positive view of Dylan's life and death, but it was not to be. The
information in my play is needed more now than ever. The final DTSA event of the year was the
Centenary Reception at the British Consul's house, where we were honoured to have the High
Commissioner himself as host - and giving us his own parody of the opening to Under Milk Wood. He
called it Under Chats Wood.
During the year we managed to put out on time our normal three editions of Down Under Milk Wood,
each of sixteen pages, and contributed a chapter called Dylan Downunder to the main Centenary book
edited by Dylan's granddaughter Hannah. DTSA Vice-president Will Christie also launched his new book
Dylan: A Literary Life in late October. At the end of the year Helen and I went down to Hobart to address
the Tasmanian Welsh Society about the centenary. While there, we called in to see Roger and Doreen
Jones, who were both unwell. Soon afterwards, sadly, Doreen died. We sent an expression of sympathy
to Roger on behalf of the society.
I am grateful to the committee members who have attended the meetings during 2014. In particular I
am grateful to Kay Hardman as Treasurer who had so much to do in this busy year, to Olwen Barnes as
Secretary and to Helen as editor of the e-magazine, head of catering and so much more. Thanks also to
Malcolm Brown, Emyr Evans and Helmi Albrecht for work done.
The DTSA began on 12 March 1995, so our AGM takes place just over one month before our twentieth
anniversary. This should be a quieter year than 2014, but it's nice to know we have something to
celebrate in the near future. We have a few new members with us this afternoon, and we look forward
to attracting more as the year proceeds.
Please see Page 4 of this website, Report on 2014 Events, for more detail and photographs