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Sydney Kendo Club 30th Anniversary (pics intensive)

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  • Sydney Kendo Club 30th Anniversary (pics intensive)

    Dear Kendo Friends,

    In 2004, the Sydney Kendo Club - oldest kendo club in Australia - celebrates the 30th anniversary of its establishment at Willoughby, Sydney. On December 18th, we will be holding official celebrations to commemorate this milestone.

    Our history actually stretches way before 1974...all the way to when kendo was first practised in Australia. Allow me to share with you a brief history of the club, followed by a mini-trip down memory lane...

    Kendo has been actively practiced in Sydney since the early 1960s. Messrs. Rex Lawley and Ron Bennett, along with Okura-san , Yoshida-san , Shoji-san, Jun Takeuchi and John Anderson, were instrumental in developing kendo in this country in the 1960s and early 1970s. This period was characterised not only by early kendo developments, but also by a string of events which lead the group to move from one location to another. By the early 1970s, 2 groups of kendo practitioners exist in Sydney. Yoshida-san (and later Takeuchi-san) led the main group which Rex and other senior members trained with. The other group was led by John Anderson, whom Daniel Strenger trained under. At one stage, trainings were held at multiple locations, including North Rocks, Epping, Glebe and Muirfield. With the support from Yoshida-san, the Australian Kendo Renmei was formally instituted in 1969. In 1970, Australia was one of the original 8 countries to participate in the first World Kendo Championship held in Japan. In 1974, Doug Milton started a dojo at the Willoughby Park Centre (then known as the Willoughby Youth Centre) where both the kendo groups started training together. Trainings were held under the auspices of the Willoughby Park Centre Judo Club, which provided some kendo equipment, though kendo trainings were separate from judo. Given the popularity of the location, Willoughby Park Centre (Albert Chowne Memorial Hall more specifically) became the only kendo dojo as the kendo groups were effectively amalgamated under one roof. With increasing number of members, the Willoughby Youth Centre Kendo Club (later known as the Sydney Kendo Club) became formally constituted.

    As they say, the rest is history.

    Look out for us under "Dojo File" in future copy of Kendo World magazine.

    Andrew Tan
    President, Sydney Kendo Club

  • #2
    Here are some photos from the past, including some photos from the 4th WKC as well as the first summer camp, both held in 1979.



    • #3

      (note: though there have been some modernisations e.g. new floor etc...our dojo still looks the same now)


      • #4

        The entrance to our dojo. The difference between then and now is: new glass door. Oh yeah no more white picket fence too, but that's about it.

        1979 Australian Kendo Taikai - held at our dojo.

        Delegates to the 4th WKC in Sapporo, Japan as well as the foreign kendo leaders summer camp. They were led by Nagae sensei (behind the taiko, and behind him is Payne sensei). Interestingly, we still have those cardboard signs in our storeroom.


        • #5

          The delegates in Japan

          1979 4th World Kendo Championship, Sapporo.

          Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oy Oy Oy!! There was an Aussie english teacher in Japan at that time - he got the kids to help him put the banner there. NHK eventually asked him to remove it because it totally overwhelmed the sponsors' banners from the cameras' point of view. lol!

          Got to love the after-parties! Count on the Aussies to put on a good show eh?

          With the Malaysian team.

          More photos of the Summer Camp etc can be viewed from our club website:


          • #6
            The funy thing is you would think those pictures are recent as all those hair styles and glasses seem to back in style.


            • #7
              Heh heh. I'm very pleased with how the scans turned out - those photos seem to be taken yesterday.


              • #8
                Say hi to Ron Bennett and Fennesy from me
                (Smitty from Wellington)



                • #9
                  Originally posted by JSchmidt
                  Say hi to Ron Bennett and Fennesy from me
                  (Smitty from Wellington)

                  Will do! Seeing both next Saturday.


                  • #10
                    1st Foreign Kendo Leaders Summer Camp

                    L to R: John Canada, Ron Bennett, Terry Holt (from Great Britain), JP Niay


                    • #11
                      Thanks Andrew. Fascinating pictorial.




                      • #12
                        Thanks for putting that together, Andrew!

                        Nice to see Ron hasn't changed very much, he's still got that same glint in his eye I recognise the shinai bag he's carrying in that last picture as well... it's some work of art


                        • #13
                          Indeed. Ron hasn't changed a bit. Here's proof:

                          I sat right across him at the anniversary dinner and enjoyed every moment of our conversation!!


                          • #14
                            Check out the cool cake organised by our sempai Catherine:


                            • #15
                              Michael Payne sensei and Ron Bennett sensei at the anniversary keiko:

                              The founder of the "new" Sydney Kendo Club, Doug Milton sensei (he moved to Queensland in 1987/88 hence the maroon zekken):