History 1950-2010

Preface

Polish Club General W. Sikorski WA Inc. is a not-for-profit organisation. From its inception it is run by volunteers for the good of the community. At the beginning the centre of attention and most of the activities were around the Polish people, their culture, language, traditions and customs. Polish emigrants needed a place to gather together, to socialise, to strengthen their resolve to survive and flourish in the new environment. They needed the place for the school for their children, for the theatre and sport facilities for their youths, for women’s networking, for former soldiers to get together and reminisce.
In time, after the Polish people neatly integrated into the Australian society, the General Sikorski Club became just the place to socialise with not only Poles but also other Australians. It became truly community centre open to everybody but with the strong conviction to preserve its Polish roots.
The Club still provides help and advice to our compatriots, we celebrate Polish National Holidays, we nurture Polish culture, preserve old Polish customs, and try to keep in touch with our old Fatherland.
Involvement of General Sikorski Club in the broad community is extensive and multifaceted:
• Upholding Polish culture and traditions
• Upholding Australian National Holidays
• Participation in ANZAC day Service every year, laying a wreath at the War Memorial
• Supporting charities and community appeals. Examples: for the victims of flood disasters in Poland, victims of Tsunami in Asia, Queensland Flood Appeal, St Mary’s Cathedral Appeal, Biggest Morning Tea, Telethon for Princes Margaret Hospital for Children etc.
• Helping other organisations in fundraising activities by sharing the hall, donations, participation
• Organising balls and dance events for wider Australian community
• Organising open pool tournaments
• Organising social gatherings like Family Feast by the Bonfire, Hop Harvest Festival, Adventure with Poetry and Art, Meetings with Interesting People
• Being open to everyone in the community on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons, with licenced bar, restaurant serving inexpensive Polish meals, live music
• Making facilities available for hire both to businesses and general public
In the past and present the Club had many achievements far beyond its constitutional obligations:
• Support  of Polish artists
• Running Polish school
• Looking after seniors and visiting the sick by the members of the club
• Help in development and promotion of artistic talents in children, particularly of Polish origins
• Running youth programs and organising competitions such as Polish poetry readings
• Financial support of other Polish schools and dance groups such as Kukułeczka.
• Sponsorship and assistance with resettlement of the Polish families to Australia. In the years 1981 – 1984 General Sikorski Club with the assistance of Federal Government sponsored 60 people in their settlement in Western Australia. This was organised by the Ladies Group led by Janina Ragus.
• Promoting health and physical activities. Club members participated in social sports and organised leagues. There were soccer and volleyball teams. Very popular were billiard, badminton and table tennis competitions
• Promoting cooperation with other organisations by organising joint functions such a dances and billiard matches. These were among others Cracovia Polish Club, Kukułeczka Dance Group and the community at St Anthony’s church in Greenmount.
• Cooperation with Polish Ex-servicemen’s Association Sub Branch No.9 and RSL Bellevue Branch

History of General Sikorski Polish Club
1950
– By the end of 1950 there were 8,236 Polish people residing in Western Australia, in comparison to 1947 when only 227 Poles lived here. Significant number of them settled in the Midland-Bellevue area, due to the proximity of two large employers: Midland Brick and Midland Railway Workshops.

1954
– First Polish School in Bellevue started with Saturday classes initially held at the local Bellevue Primary School. 1956 – Access to the school facilities was withdrawn and school was moved to the garage of Jan Majewski, and for many years provided valuable classes of Polish language, culture customs and traditions. In 1969 the number of students was too great for the location and the new locale was being sought. 1970 – School was moved to the St Anthony’s Church in Greenmount. Later when the Main Hall was built in 1972 the school was moved to the new premises there. The school was temporary closed in 1974 due to the decrease in the student numbers.

1961
– Polish Association in Midland-Bellevue was established. Zygmunt Gosztyła was nominated the first President. The Association was tasked with overlooking many activities of the Polish community from schooling to balls and concerts, from organising social functions to building own Hall. Roman Pachurka offered a part of his land for £300 with first instalment of £150. The offer was gladly accepted. The Association was behind many fundraising activities for the purpose of building the Main Hall.

1962
– First Miss Club Ball was organised aimed at fundraising for the building of the future Club. This event was very popular and was being held till 1980.

1965
– First Debutantes ball is organised. It was initiated by Zygmunt and Maureen Słowiński on advice of Alex and Furela Smith. It was not only the excellent fundraising event but also a great way of introducing young people into the adult society. The Balls were always a great success and run till 1978. The last ball was organised one more time in 1998.
November
– at the General Meeting of the Polish Association in Midland-Bellevue decided to become incorporated in 1966 – the year of the Millennium of Christianity in Poland.  The new name for the club was also decided. Unanimously all members voted for the name “Polish Club General Władysław Sikorski Inc. WA”.

1966
– Polish Club General Władysław Sikorski Inc. WA was officially incorporated on the 26 April 1966.
The club’s new Constitution highlighted the main goals and objectives. All activities varied over the years, being adjusted according to the circumstances; however major aims and objectives still remain the same.

1968
– Building Committee was selected and Czesław Mania was elected as the Chairman. Bold plan was approved to build the biggest in WA ethnic club at the time. The cornerstone for the club was blessed by His Excellency bishop Władysław Rubin on 3 March 1968.

1969
– Polish Folk Dance Theatre Group Mazowsze under the leadership of Longin Szymański was formed. Mazowsze performed to perfection but only for two years.

1971
– Stanisław Michalak established the Polish Dance Group. This group continued its excellent work for eight years not only for the local audience but also in Hyde Park, Perth Concert Hall, Perth Entertainment Centre to name a few. They were also performing on live TV.

1972
– The building of the community hall was completed

On the 22nd of April 1972
The Premier of Western Australia Hon. John T. Tonkin officially declared “Open” the General Sikorski Memorial Hall in Bellevue

In his address Premier Tonkin said:
“The gathering here today was magnificent and a very significant one for the Polish people, and the State. You are helping to develop this great State… You are noted for your spirit and determination and have brought to us a type of culture which we never before possessed… it is my pleasure to declare this hall ‘officially open’ and congratulate you all on your achievement”

After the official opening came the official blessing of the hall and the club’s banner (sztandar) by Monsignor Witold Dzięcioł. Banner’s godparents were: Krystyna Linowska, Stanisław Mania and Zenon Pawlukiewicz.

In his address Monsignor Dzięcioł said:
“…Polish people have been well received by the people of Australia, and were thankful for the help and encouragement received from them, and were indeed happy to be able to preserve their own traditions and also comply with those which were new to them.”

On that day also Monsignor Witold Dzięcioł presented 30 members with a Certificate and a Medal ‘Exsuli Bene De Ecclesia Merito’ for their contribution in the building the Hall. They were: Czesław Mania, Zofia Mania, Jan Mania, Stanisław Mania, Janina Ragus, Stanisław Ragus, Jadwiga Grygorcewicz, Roman Grygorcewicz, Eugeniusz Marczewski, Jan Kubiak, Stanisław Milewski, Kazimiera Bujnowska, Franciszek Bujnowski, Maria Pawlukiewicz, Paweł Pawlukiewicz, Zbigniew Pawlukiewicz, Stanisław Michalak, Maria Budzińska, Zofia Majewska, Helena Duniec, Benio Małecki, Wiktor Dostal, Roman Miłosz, Wojciech Borowiec, Czesław Kieliszewski, Czesław Zawada, Franciszek Para, Wawrzyniec Rębiesz, Jan Naturalny, Zygmunt Słowiński.
The certificates were signed by His Excellency Bishop Władysław Rubin, the Polish Primate’s delegate for the Polish migrants.

1973
– Official visit of the Club by His Eminence Cardinal Karol Wojtyła. Future Pope John Paul II visited General Sikorski Polish Club on the 28 of February 1973. There was a big gathering with performances by Mazowsze, piano recital by Stanisław Grygorcewicz and school children presented dances and recitations.

1977
– Polish Ladies Group was formed. Maria Leweczko was elected the President. The Group worked on developing social links and building a social network beyond the Club. This group helped with organising various club functions. This Ladies group has done many fundraisers for charities and worked amongst others in helping Polish families in settling in Australia.

1978
– Ex-Servicemen’s group was formed under the banner of the Club. The Group worked closely with the Returned and Services League (RSL) branch in Bellevue. This group took active part in Anzac Day marches, laying of wreaths and participating in social gathering after the events. In 2001 the club took over this role and to this day actively participates in these services.

1980
– Reopening of the Polish School at the Club due to the influx of new emigrants. Again the school carried out its duties teaching Polish language, traditions, customs and culture. The school was active for five more years. Children learnt also Polish poetry, songs and dance. There were concerts and Academia’s organised together with the Maylands “Adam Mickiewicz” Polish School that drew big crowds.
From its beginning until 1985 the Polish Club in Bellevue run Polish school. Amongst its teachers were: Zofia Mania, Herodziński, Stanisław Michalak, Dorota Jarnicki, Jan Majewski.
1981
– After the Martial Law was imposed in Poland by the communist regime the Australian Government approved bringing polish refugees to Australia. The Sikorski Club took the initiative and applied to the Federal Department of Immigration for the help in sponsoring polish families. Over the period of 3 years 60 people were sponsored, mainly families from refugee camps in Austria. The work involved looking after the welfare of the new arrivals and assistance with various formalities and settlement. Mrs Janina Ragus was in charge for the entire initiative and settlement of the newcomers.

1984
– The Committee for building the Lesser Hall was formed. The committee was headed by Tomasz Ratajczak.

1985
– Commencement of the building of the Lesser Hall. It took nine years to complete as all work was done by volunteers in their spare time.

1985
– Young generation takes over the Club. Children of the Founding Members are elected to the leading positions. Tadeusz Budziński becomes the President. Tadeusz turned out to be the longest serving President of the Club – 11 years!

1991
– Polonia Bellevue Soccer Club is formed. The club entered the Soccer Amateur Provincial League. It played there till 1994.

1994
– Completion of the construction of the Lesser Hall. Today it is known as the Function Room.

1995
– ‘Polonez’ group was formed under the leadership of Weronika Czerwiec. This group organised many social functions for the benefit of all Polish people.

1996
– on the 17 August was held 30th Anniversary Ball. The Honorary Membership was awarded to: Tadeusz Budzinski, Józef Budzinski, Franciszek Czerwiec, Stanisław Ragus, Alfons Knitter.
– ‘Centre of the Polish Culture’ is formed. Every Saturday children and youth met to study and rehearse their parts in various plays. The first performances were:  ‘Christmas play’ and ‘Pan Tadeusz’. The current Polish Youth Theatre Scena ’98 still has members who began their acting careers at the Sikorski Club.

1997
– ‘A Literary-Musical Evening’ on 23 August with performances by Polish artists. It raised over $2,000 for the victims of the floods in Poland. The artists were: Ludwika Amer – poetry, Marta Kaczmarek – poetry, Dorota Slawomirska – music, Gosia Slawomirska – singing and the best young performers out of Polish schools in WA. Sponsors were: Alpine Restaurant, BP Ascot, Bostech Drilling Pty. Ltd., DrillWest, House of Gold, Jaros Engineering Pty. Ltd., Polski Kurier, Polska Księgarnia “Contal”, Vavel Travel, White Eagle Travel

1998
– Asbestos roof removed from the club’s Main Hall building; erection of the pergola and installation of the air conditioning in the Main Hall.
– Volleyball field is created. Regular friendly matches of volleyball continue for years to come.

2001
– Creation of the General Sikorski Club Seniors Group. Weronika Czerwiec was elected the President and carried out her duties till 2004. Since 2005 to this day the group is led by Elżbieta Kuligowski. Seniors organise for themselves many different activities but also actively take part in the life of the Club. Also Seniors Group take part in charities the most prominent of those is The Biggest Morning Tea.

2002
– Renovation of Lesser Hall (Function Room). Installed the bar and cool room, changed ceilings and rendered the walls.
– 30th Anniversary celebrations of the opening of the Hall on 27 April. Special guests and representatives took part in the celebrations including Members of the State Government, representatives from the Swan City Council, Polish organisations in Western Australia, Consul of the Republic of Poland and the Salvatorian Fathers.

2003
– Renovation of the kitchen – tiling of the walls and installation of the new stove and oven.

2005
– 24 August “Ham on the spit”, provided by Bozena and Janusz Dzidek. The occasion was a meeting with Polish workers who came to work on contract for Midland Bricks. They presented the Club with the figurine of Lajkonik.
7-9 October – excursion to the Stirling Range to conquer the highest peaks of Western Australia: Bloff Knoll and Mt. Trio.
19 November – Busy Bee, “Ham on the spit”, supplied to all working by Jaros Engineering Pty. Ltd.

2006
– Adding a projector and a screen to the Function room. Purchase of 6 new round tables and 36 chairs.
– November – Vlodek Bilski starts organising regular pool competitions. They became more and more popular over the years. Now in the Calendar of General Sikorski Club there are three major annual tournaments: Pearl Cup, Premier League and President’s Cup.

2007
– April – Club members: Irek Kaliniewicz, John and Bozena Dzidek, Vlodek and Barbara Bilski donated $500 each for the purchase of the pool table.
– May – Instalation of industrial dishwasher in a  Bar, by Ziggy Bruszewski and  Roman Grzelak, copper piping provided Ken Jackiewicz.
– July – Sikorski Day. Awarded the Honorary Membership awarded to: John Dzidek, Edward Nagajek, Ireneusz Kaliniewicz, Peter Wolinski
– 14 October – “Dinner with Ildefons” – a night of music and poetry by Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński. It was a fantastic enactment prepared and performed by Jolanta Nagajek, Jacek Sławomirski, Andrzej Basiński and other members of the Polish Australian Cultural Society of WA.
– 9 December – Promotion and celebration of the newly released book: “Our Dream Our Future – A History of the Midland-Bellevue Polish Community 1950 – 2006” by George P. Sekulla and Krystyna and Robert Legge.

2008
– March – Club donated $200, Club members collected $215 and sent to Poland to support Youth Rally in Australia
– April – purchase of new LCD TV for the Function Room.
– May – Seniors Club organized the „Biggest Morning Tea”, Club donated $200.
– May – Dinner with Polish Consul General Mr Ryszard Sarkowicz. Consul presented the Club with the embroidery of White Eagle, Polish Coat of Arms.
– June – Mr and Ms Gosia and Robert Godula donated to the Club the sound system.
– July – Sikorski Day. Formal lunch. Honorary Membership was awarded to Krystyna Legge (nee Naturalny), Robert Legge, George Sekulla, Franciszek Sekulla.
– October – Mr and Ms Halina and Jan Kochmanski donated table clothes for the round tables in the Function Room.

2009
– January – while celebrating the Christmas Wafer we honoured 60th Wedding Anniversary of two couples Janina and Stanislaw Ragus, and Stefania and Bronislaw Mazurak.
– January – Club donated $200 to build the chapel of the Golgotha of the East at Jasna Góra in Poland
– February – Zdzislaw Bruszewski founded and installed with the help of Mirek Orkiszewski lighting at the small Hall.
– February – Andrew Dzidek (brother of the current President of the Club), while on a visit to Australia has donated to the Club tapestry depicting an eagle – Polish coat of arms.
– May – LotteryWest founded the bitumen in the front parking lot.
– June – the Club has donated $350 to the Dance Group Kukuleczka.
– July – the dinner on the anniversary of the death of the patron of the Club-General Wladyslaw Sikorski. Prizes were awarded for big contribution to the activities of the Club. Certificates of appreciation were awarded to: Edyta Grzelak, Bożena Dzidek, Ireneusz Kaliniewicz, Peter Durczak, Wlodzimierz Bilski, Alicja Bruszewski. For the continuing long-term work for the Club and also for the Polish community, for outstanding work and dedication to the Honorary Membership were awarded to: Halina Jackiewicz, Zdzislaw Bruszewski, Mirosław Orkiszewski.
– July – After 12 weeks of competition on the 31 July 2009 was finished the biggest pool competition so far in our Club. Perła Cup was sponsored by P & H Imports – owned by Mr Peter and Ms Helen Durczak.
On the 21 Sep 2009 we had spectacular Presentation Gala which was attended by over 40 players and guests. Winners: Singles – Vlodek Bilski, Doubles – Vlodek Bilski, Janusz Dzidek, Teams – Janusz Dzidek, Vlodek Bilski, Overall – Vlodek Bilski
– Friday 18 September – visit of Vice Consul.
Polish Vice Consul from Sydney Consulate made an unofficial visit to our Club. Our Friday night at the Club became a memorable one thanks to visit of Consul Ms Dominika Mosek. And it really was a very special event. Consul Ms Mosek familiarised herself with the club, met board members, answered many questions and had a nice and friendly chat with many of us. She also found some time to play a couple of games of pool. It was our great privilege that our Consul officially opened our pool competition “Puchar Prezesa 2009”! Thank you Ms Dominika
– 26 September – big Fundraising Ball for the Saint Mary’s Cathedral Appeal took place. We raised $1,500 and had a lot of fun in the process.
– 28 November – Andrzejki
Almost 80 people attended this night of fun and dancing. We danced to the rhythms of the ‘Ocean Nights Cabaret Band’.
– 12 December – Presentation Gala for the winners of the 8-Ball pool competition fully sponsored by the President of the General Sikorski Polish Club Mr Janusz Dzidek.
Winners of the Competition: Singles – Andrew Pietrzak, Doubles – Vlodek Bilski, Kazik Jackiewicz, Teams – Andrew Pietrzak, Piotr Durczak, Overall – Vlodek Bilski.
Presentation Gala was attended by over 30 players and guests. Among them was our guest of honour Australian 8-Ball Champion Justin Sajich.
– Sylvester 2009 – New Year’s Eve 2010 Ball
Great night with over a 100 people attending. Food was excellent, Champaign aplenty, service really good and atmosphere relaxed and friendly. We had a band with three female singers, spacious dancing floor, modern dancing music and a few polish hits from the 60’s and 70’s. It was a lot of fun for old and young alike.

2010
– Sunday 24 January – Christmas Wafer
During celebration of “Opłatek” led by Fr Karol Kulczycki from St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Greenmount all attendants shared wafer and then we all had a traditional Christmas meal. It was very nice, friendly and also uplifting family event. Thank you Fr Karol and Fr Leonard for being with us, sharing Jesus with us, singing carols and making this occasion so special. Thank you all for coming, for continuing this beautiful spiritual Polish tradition.
– Friday 12 February – Official visit of Polish Consul General
Polish Consul General from Sydney Consulate Mr Daniel Gromann visited our Club.
It was great experience for all attending. We all had a chance to meet our Consul and to learn about new passport and polish citizenship regulations.
There was also “question time” when everybody could ask questions relating to consular affairs. Details about regulations can be found on the official site: www.sydney.polemb.net
As always consular visit in our Club was very fruitful.
On behalf of our President Mr Janusz Dzidek and all Club members we would like to thank our Consul for his time and for helping to clarify some really complex issues of some members and visitors. We hope such visits will happen more often.
14 February – official internet website of the Club is opened: www.polishclubsikorski.com by Webmaster Vlodek Bilski.
– Saturday 20 February – End of Carnival
Traditional Polish Śledzik was attended by over 40 Club members and visitors. We all had a good time. Have a look at the photo gallery.
– Friday 26 of March – Premier League 2010 finished
1. Vlodek Bilski, 2. Janusz Dzidek, 3. Staszek Konczynski, 4. Irek Kaliniewicz, 5. Andrew Pietrzak, 6.  Mirek Orkiszewski
– Sunday 25 April – ANZAC Day
The President of General Sikorski Polish Club Mr Janusz Dzidek and his wife Bożena represented our Club at the ANZAC Day Commemorative Service. On behalf of the Club they laid a wreath at the War Memorial.
– Friday 2 July – Pearl Cup 2010 Presentation Gala
Winners are: Singles: 1. Vlodek Bilski, 2. Troy Boromini, 3 – Mirek Orkiszewski
Doubles: 1. Sharks, Piotr Sobczyk, Vlodek Bilski, 2.  Gentlemen, Andrew Pietrzak, Mirek Orkiszewski, 3. B-Team, Justine Bird, Troy Boromini
Teams: 1. Sharks, Vlodek Bilski, Piotr Sobczyk, 2. Gentlemen, Mirek Orkiszewski, Andrew Pietrzak, 3. B-Team, Troy Boromini, Justine Bird
Best Over-all: 1. Vlodek Bilski, 2. Mirek Orkiszewski, 3. Troy Boromini.
– Sunday 4 July – General Sikorski Memorial Day
Mass at St Anthony’s Catholic Church – celebrant was Father Adam, thank you.
Afterwards members met for dinner in Club’s Function Room. Proceedings were started by Vice President Mirek Orkiszewski, then Kazik Jackiewicz addressed the crowd reminding all about rich and beautiful history of the Club. With a minute of silence all gathered honoured the passing of Ms Weronika Czerwiec, former President and one of the most deserving, respected, and devoted members of the Club. Rest in pease!
Father Adam led the prayer for Ms Weronika and for her surviving family.
– Saturday 10 July – Our Czech and Slovak friends used our Club to organise an interesting function. We all enjoyed this unique Czech, Slovak and Polish gathering. This time Czechs and Slovaks were gracious hosts presenting some national dishes from traditional “zabijačka”. There was a cultural presentation, music, and we couldn’t miss the best Czech beers.
– Saturday 18 September – Ham on a Spit and a big Bonfire!
All of over 60 attendees enjoyed delicious ham. It was slowly cooked on a spit for more than 8 hours. Everybody had a good time around big bonfire. Weather was good and beer great.
– Saturday 27 November – Andrzejki – St Andrews Day
Like last year the ‘Oceanites Cabaret Band’ played during this beautiful night of fun and dancing.
– Friday 17 December – President’s Cup 2010 Presentation Gala
This 8-Ball pool competition was fully sponsored by the President of the General Sikorski Polish Club Mr Janusz Dzidek. Record number of players: 18. Organizer and Head referee – Vlodek Bilski.
Here are the Final Results:
Singles: 1. Vlodek Bilski, 2. Troy Boromini, 3. Janusz Dzidek
Doubles: 1. Okonie, Irek Kaliniewicz, Wiesiek Cichy, 2. Pyry ze Sledziami, Andrew Pietrzak, Piotr Sobczyk, 3. B-Team, Justine Bird, Troy Boromini
Teams: 1. Lions, Vlodek Bilski, Darek Kalinowski, 2. Pyry ze Sledziami, Andrew Pietrzak, Piotr Sobczyk, 3. B-Team, Justine Bird, Troy Boromini
Over-all: 1. Troy Boromini, 2. Vlodek Bilski, 3. Andrew Pietrzak.
– Tuesday 28 December – Busy-Bee, Day of action: where eagles dare.
Replacing an old and deteriorated wall sign “GEN. WŁ. SIKORSKI MEMORIAL HALL” made out of styrofoam with new one made of red with black outline acrylic lettering on stainless steel backing. New sign reads “GENERAL SIKORSKI CLUB”. Major sponsor of the upgrade are owners of Cadcut Pty Ltd, Mariola and Peter Sobczyk – Thank you. Cadcut provided perfect laser cutting of letters and steel plate. Site work was done by “Eagles” team: Aaron Durczak, Mirek Orkiszewski, Waldek Riedel, Peter Durczak, Irek Kaliniewicz, Peter Wolinski, Vlodek Bilski.
– Friday 31 December – Sylwester
As always excellent New Year’s Eve Ball with good music and fantastic four course dinner. There was plenty of champagne and great dancing floor. We all had a good time. Attendance 85.

History of the Club continues on pages:
Recent Events 2011 – forward.

More about the Sikorski Club and Polish settlement in Bellevue you can find in a book:
“Our Dream Our Future – A History of the Midland-Bellevue Polish Community 1950 – 2006”
by George P. Sekulla and Krystyna Legge.

Club History in brief

1947 – 1954 ships from Europe arrive and the settlement of Polish emigrants in Midland-Bellevue area begins.

1954 – 1961 Poles create informal association with establishing Parent Committee of the Polish School in Bellevue

1961 Dissolving the Parent Committee and Creation of Polish Association Midland-Bellevue

1966 Dissolving of the Association and Incorporation under the name: Polish Club General W. Sikorski WA Inc.

1972 The building of the Community Hall was completed and opened by Premier J. Tonkin

1973 Visit by His Eminence Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, future Pope John Paul II

1981 – 1984 Sponsoring 60 emigrants from Poland

1994 Completion of new Function Room (Lesser Hall)

2011 – 2013 Renovation and modification of the Main Hall, Foyer, Kitchen