As part of our ethos for 'raising the perch in Aviculture', we have committed to attending as many Avicultural Events in 2018 as possible. We'll be venturing beyond the South East Queensland comfort zone, and are looking forward to engaging with a number of our Members, Customers, and Followers.
One of those Events will be joining the Rockhampton Finch & Parrot Social Club for their 10th Year Anniversary!
Here's a little bit of history on this brilliant local Club, and their Annual Bird Sale. The 2018 Event will be held at the Rockhampton Showgrounds on Sunday 25th February, 2018.
Written by Jan Maroske
26th February, 2017
Sitting around the kitchen table talking about our birds, Ray Maroske, Jan Maroske, Peter Batey, and Carole Batey decided to put an advertisement in the Morning Bulletin. It was for anyone interested to meet at the Rockhampton Gardens to discuss Aviculture; and so the Rockhampton Finch & Parrot Social Club Inc was formed on July 22nd 2007 with a Foundation Membership of twelve.
Ray Maroske became the President, Peter Batey the Secretary, and I was the Treasurer. Club Meetings were held on the 3rd weekend of the month and Membership rose to thirty within a short space of time.
The main objective of the club was to promote Aviculture, have guest speakers, go on aviary visits, discuss the pros and cons of breeding birds, sort out the rules & regulations together and enjoy social events. Our first Bird Sale, with twelve months planning, was held March 1st 2009 in the Exhibition Pavilion at the showgrounds. It was dreadfully hot with no fans! Entry was $2, u/15 free, vendors’ tables $15 with Australian & Foreign birds for sale. Steve O’Callaghan was an unbelievable asset on the microphone and after an excellent sale our Members happily started thinking about the next one.
Mick & Karin Blake became members later that year. Mick’s fantastic newsletters quickly became a club icon, with a wealth of knowledge and information. He also designed our Club Logo for our colourful New Club T Shirts. Members arrived at our home next meeting proudly wearing them – the neighbours came over after the meeting to check it out!
Mick Blake, always a smile on his face
Following the success of our first sale, our 2010 Bird Sale was held at The Cathedral College Multi-Purpose Centre - a beautiful big venue with fans and a well-equipped kitchen for our club ladies/men who supplied cakes, coffee, sandwiches & cooked BBQ sausages. They did a fantastic job and continued doing so for many more sales - you know who you are. Mick became our publicity officer, promoting our club with flyers, talkback radio, internet websites, paper articles; whilst he left the TV and local paper to me. This again was a very successful sale with native and exotic birds and several trade displays. Members happily set up tables, ladies purchased the food & raffles - it was becoming easier.
The Northern Avian Conference in Thuringowa followed in October 2010. Mick had grand ideas about our club joining the Northern Avian Society & several years later club members began travelling to the NAS Conferences at Ingham, Yungaburra, Charters Towers; to name just a few.
The 2011 Bird Sale was again held at The Cathedral College. By now we had a Special Sales Committee to organise jobs at the sale. This was a brilliant idea and worked well. During this sale, Mick took a video of the members with their birds, with his great captions added to each table - it was brilliant. Also, a group photo was taken at the end the sale; pity some members had already left.
2012 saw several changes in our club and, at a special meeting after our club’s annual working bee making finch boxes, Ray Maroske was again voted in as President before our March 2012 sale. Mick is madly spreading the word about our sale, so it’s back to the Cathedral College where the ladies are still working in the kitchen and members know their positions.
I spoke with Queensland Finch Society President, Gary Fitt, who decided to hold an Out of Brisbane Club Meeting the day before our sale, at our venue in Rockhampton. A bit ambitious as members had to set up the sale, go home, catch their birds, then return to the venue by 6.30pm. It was a huge success but some very tired vendors the next day - Mt Morgan, Yeppoon & Cawarral are not that close! Queensland Finch Society thanked our members and have always advertised our Sale Flyer (a whole page!) in their Monthly Magazine, which has members all over Australia. This advertising really helps our Bird Sales and our Members thank QFS - it is greatly appreciated.
In 2013 our knowledgeable Secretary, Peter Batey, resigned due to work commitments. I can’t say enough about the valuable contribution Peter made to the club and Aviculture. Karin Blake took on the position.
Karin and Gary Blake, with some of their Asiatics and South American Parrots
Our 2014 sale was held at the Kele Pavilion at the Rockhampton showgrounds. Mick sat up until midnight to collect our tables and return them to Mt Morgan. His support given to me when booking tables, rules, regulations and phone calls, was unbelievable; our club was privileged to have his knowledge.
532 entry tickets were sold, plus raffle tickets, so Treasurer John and Secretary Karin were kept very busy. Members, too many to name, cheerfully set up tables, packed up, and cleaned the old pavilion. We were ever so grateful nobody fell off the ladder when fixing the light. Mick quickly went to work when our seed supplier cancelled days before our sale - what would a sale be without seed? Ashley built and delivered two new catching cages from donated materials.
In 2014, after seven years as President, Ray Maroske resigned at the June AGM. Over the years Ray did an outstanding job with different committee and club members, many bird sales, organising permits, quietly arranging the next monthly meeting, with club members who were willing to have meetings at their homes. Thank you to everyone, especially Lance & Sherie Wood for many years of AGM’s, BBQ’s, working bees, & aviary visits to their home. Ray knew the club needed a change and Jim Edwards was elected President in June 2014.
Now Mick wanted the Biggest & Best Hall for our club’s 2015 sale and came up with the Robert Schwarten Pavilion. Club members, vendors and trade people, were stunned with the size and loved the air conditioning. It was a huge success; with several years of practice, members excelled at every position, and everybody was ready to do it all again. Then - 2015 had different ideas for us. Cyclone Marcia hit our area one week before the 2015 Sale - too late to cancel. So, with the Robert Schwarten Pavilion booked, we went ahead and, against the odds, had another successful sale, with hundreds of people involved, even though many had cyclone damage & still no power - awesome effort by club members.
It was a very sad year with the loss of both Brian Kennedy in August and Mick Blake in November. The love of Aviculture brought these families together; their wealth of knowledge and experience in breeding birds is sorely missed. I feel very sad writing this, after knowing both families for around 30 years.
It was Jim Edwards’ 2nd year as President and club members prepared for the 2016 Sale, The Mick Blake Memorial Sale, again at the Robert Schwarten Pavilion. Without a doubt many of Mick’s Aviculture friends came to pay their respects to the Blake Family. It was the biggest and best sale ever - just what Mick would have wanted; 520 adults, 300 children, vendors, and well over 100 club members. President Jim Edwards has become a nomad, so unanimously Ken Banks was elected in June 2016.
Our 2017 sale is all arranged, only a week away, on Sunday 5th March. Let’s all enjoy the RF&PSC Sale again at the Robert Schwarten Pavilion.
With our 10th Anniversary coming up in July, our club now has over 80 Financial Members.
I have written this to the best of my ability and the way I remember it – 10 years is a long time.
It is an honour to be involved with past and present members in the history of our “Rockhampton Finch & Parrot Social Club”.
People interested in Aviculture are always caring, nature-loving and have wonderful stories about their bird breeding, aviary visits and people they meet over the years. We all need to take more time to enjoy our hobby and nurture the younger generation to carry on our very special Bird Club.
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