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In 2015 AIDA celebrated its fiftieth birthday, marking half a century of commitment and hard work by many people. To honour and record these endeavours, we have consolidated and catalogued our archives and celebrated during the year with members of AIDA and of the wider community.

The precise date of AIDA’s foundation is unclear, which is not unusual in organisation like ours. We know that the Aireys Inlet Progress Association became the Aireys Inlet Community Association in 1967 and finally the Aireys Inlet and District Association in 1972. The original prompt to form an association was most likely a proposal to establish a camping ground along the lower reaches of the Painkalac Creek estuary, downstream(!) from the bridge. Thanks to Brian Williams, we have a copy of the flyer calling a meeting about the proposed development. That was in August 1966, but there is also a suggestion that the association began under Ian Noble’s leadership in May 1965. So, in the absence of any further information from members with clearer records or memories than ours, we celebrated the jubilee in May 2015. As a lead up to this date, the attendees at our 2015 AGM on April 11th had the opportunity to preview a marvellous collection of “Then and Now” photographs of our district and viewed a time line of AIDA’s activities and achievements over the past 50 years. This display was exhibited again at a 50th Anniversary event at the Aireys Pub on November 1st, the Sunday of the Melbourne Cup weekend 2015.

The event at the Pub was very well attended with about one hundred visitors enjoying the photos and the illustrated time line of activities and achievements. We particularly enjoyed watching long-term residents reminiscing about past times and the older generation telling their children and grandchildren how Aireys used to be. One surprised AIDA member was delighted to recognise herself in one of the historic photos. It was again a wonderful opportunity for the committee to meet AIDA members, and twelve expressions of interest were received from potential new members.

Our grateful thanks to Gary Johnson for sourcing all the “Then” photos and for taking matching “Now” photos from as close to the original viewpoints as he could manage; to Peter McPhee and Charlotte Allen for mounting the time line of AIDA’s activities and achievements; to Janice Carpenter for organising the very successful Pub event; and especially to two AIDA members, Mickey Dewar and David Ritchie, who emailed us from their part-time home in northern Australia volunteering to help set up the exhibition and to pull it down again.

We would also like to thank AIDA member Penny Morison, who contributed her 1960-70s photos for our displays at the AGM and at the celebration. Penny met Jan Morris, the President of the Anglesea & District Historical Society, at the celebration and has agreed to deposit her photos with the ADHS.

We continue to invite members of the community to submit any relevant photos, articles or information for our historical archive. Please let us know whether we may use the photos for display and in our newsletter, and whether we may scan them for our archives. We will protect them and return them in original condition.

Poster AIDA 50th Celebration 1 November 2015

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