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Eiji Fujihara from Frankston took over the VKR Magazine as Editor from Joe Donnoli. The new Executive elected at the February 28th meeting was as follows;

John Butler – President, Peter Szwarcbord – Vice President, Julian Richardson – Secretary and Sophie Macak – Treasurer. In addition, delegates for member clubs were called for, they being Melbourne Kendo Club, Trinity Grammar School – Damian Carmody-Stephens and Ballarat Kendo Club – Gary Oliver. This move reflects the growing diversity of the VKR membership and the increasing need for communication and representation. A Victorian Kendo jacket was designed and manufactured by Melbourne Kendo Club President, Peter Hocking. Sold for $105 it was an innovative move and those who purchased one wore it with pride for many years.

In February Peter Day married Mandy Hibberd, becoming Victoria’s first Kendo marriage.

Iaido had continued in its pre Sunday Kendo class format. John Butler led the class with Ivan Robotham his most senior and regular student. In Ballarat Tony Pickering’s thirst for Iaido led him to Gary Oliver who began helping him on his way with some advice on training although formal Iaido classes in Ballarat were still more than a decade away.

Members from Victoria at the Nationals in Canberra

A young and dedicated Kyu member, Laurie Scott put his stamp on first place in the Kyu Individual. Bringing experience from his Judo background, Laurie was to become a major influence in lifting the standard and preparation of shiai sha in coming years. Gary Oliver received the Okura Shield for service to Kendo.

Sometime during 1988 a documentary made by Tokai Television about Japanese living in Australia was shown on a Japanese network. Sensei Nagae and the Melbourne Kendo Club at the YWCA were featured and the footage caught the eye of retired businessman, Mr Kenshiro Otsuka. A keen Kendo Ka himself, the 94 year old organized to meet with Sensei Nagae in Japan in October.

At the meeting, the only one Nagae Sensei was to have, Mr Otsuka expressed his desire to help Australian Kendo and asked Sensei to look for a suitable premise in Melbourne to house a Kendo Dojo! A four million dollar pledge was made. In February 1989 Mr Otsuka passed away.

Through the help of Mr Otsuka’s son, Kenshiro Otsuka and his grandson, Hiroshi Otsuka who lived in Sydney, the search for a suitable venue began. A disused mechanical repair factory was found at 91 Rosslyn St, West Melbourne. At an auction held on 26th April we were successful in purchasing the premises. Much work would be needed but the first permanent Kendo Dojo was about to be built as a centre for Kendo in Australia.

A typical YWCA Training; Yakov Macak, Peter Riordan, Peter Hocking, unknown, Eric Jeffery, Nagae Sensei, Laurie Scott, Christian Patton, a guest from Hong Kong, Peter Day, Karen Johnson, Paul Macak, Kirk Doran and Sophie Macak.

On Monday, 15th May the first official training of the Melbourne University Kendo Club was held. Julian Richardson had found out through Dave D’Aprano that the P.E gymnasium was available in the evenings. After a number of trainings the formality of opening the club was inevitable.

Yakov Macak became chief instructor with his daughter, Sophie as assistant. In its first year it attracted about seven members, not reflective of the landslide of members that was to follow.

Kangeiko was again held at Eildon with Mark Wild setting the scene on the Saturday and Nagae Sensei taking training on Sunday.

The Ballarat Kendo Club changed venues, moving into the Eastwood Leisure Complex with the Ballarat Karate Club. Both Clubs retained their autonomy and separated their respective disciplines should any confusion be had.

A tournament was organized by the Ballarat Club against all VKR members. Teams of three were invited, Kyu grades only with the help of some Yudansha taking on the role of team coaches. A group from Melbourne Kendo Club entered teams and overall it was a promising start in what was hoped would be some positive and useful interclub shiai. Notables on the day from Melbourne were Sensei Nagae, Mark Wild and Julian Richardson.

Anticipating a Melbourne victory, Gary Oliver had burned an old shinai and placed the ashes in a small container – “The Ashes” of course.

The factory in Rosslyn Street, destined to become the Kenshikan Dojo

At the Octoberfest some 47 Kendo attended. The venue was to be the last such event at the YWCA. Interestingly, a BBQ was held at the Kenshikan building site, making this the first official occasion at the soon to be built Dojo.

During this year Brent Gazzaniga established the Mumeishi Kendo Club in Berwick. It was a new Kendo Club for Victoria and based on his original Club in London which was founded by Sensei Terry Holt 7th Dan. (see appendix 3).

A number of prominent Kendo demonstrations took place during the 1989 year and included Melbourne University, the Melbourne Motor Show at the Exhibition Buildings, Strathmore Lions Club Fete, Japan Seminar House, the Japanese School at Brighton, Montmorency High School, Honda Motorcycle Seminar at Camberwell Civic Centre and two demonstrations in Ballarat.

In October long time member Tony Kay transferred to Sydney for work and Tadashi Harada returned to Japan. Both would be missed for their presence on the Dojo floor and their contribution to Kendo.

On 24th November the AKR President, Yakov Macak formally requested an annual report from all member States for inclusion in the AKR Annual Report. While this certainly made it easier to see the big picture of how Kendo was developing nationwide, it has proved an important source of historical data. The AKR at the time was largely a Victorian affair, with John Butler complimenting Yakov as Vice President and Ivan Robotham as Secretary. Brian Smith took on the role of Treasurer.

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