Fairfield Canoe Club
2019 Centenary Year

Peter Niemandt

Peter Niemandt joined FCC around 2010 and subsequently served on the club Board. Peter was born in South Africa.  The following article was written in 2012.

When did you join the FCC and why
I joined FCC in August 2 years ago. It was as a result of an invitation by Stephen O' Leary to come and "give it a go again".  At that stage I had been off the water for 18 years, so I jumped at the opportunity. I didn't dare fall out on that day,- it was winter

How often do you paddle, have you competed in any winter series races this year?
Not nearly enough..I aim at 3 to 4 times a week, including the week ends, but usually manage 2 to 3 times. As for racing, I have been a bit slack this year and haven't  done any racing at all ( bows his head in shame)

You are on the BOM, what is your role on the Board? Any plans for the next two years - things you would like to see happen at the club.
I am pretty excited about being given this opportunity to give back after 3 years of taking. The role of Communication Committee is similar to herding geese sometimes,- trying to get articles and pics from members, while deadlines loom large!

My strategic intent though, is to see a greater proportion of our members at the Clubhouse, involved in activities. I visualise new members feeling emotionally connected to the Club sooner than is happening at present.

One of the pieces to the puzzle  is having a "welcome pack" when new members sign up, outlining who we are, where we have come from, the championships we won and continue to win, the social activities in the Club, how they can get involved, etc.

Secondly I visualise a Clubhouse that shows off our past, through, for example, a display cabinet filled with memorabilia ranging from Olympic medals, National titles, in the 60's to hand-drawn maps, and letters from a neighbour in the 1930s complaining about the noise from the revving "motor bicycles", etc

It would be really awesome if we can communicate this incredible heritage and history that we have and are still creating here at Fairfield.

As you know there are Club relationships that are 30, 40 + years old, all of which have their genesis in paddling. So the challenge is to have old and new members connect  so as to continue to form these relationships that tie us all together in paddling

Any funny things that you have witnessed / happened at the Club
I always find it funny seeing paddlers get into boats for the first time. Whether they are upgrading or not, it is one of the delinquent joys I love to see the instability, the focus, followed by the occasional slide into the Yarra. Maybe it is me identifying so strongly with them, -as I too have been accused of trying to steal water out of the Yarra hidden in my canoe when I have finshed a paddle!

Anything else you would like to say about the Club
Great people, awesome location, wonderful facilities, making wonderful memories

What do you do when you not paddling
When I am not paddling I consult & facilitate workshops around resilience, strategy and trust. When not doing that I am watching my son play cricket, my daughter perform...and as a serial renovator, i am constantly surrounding my family with (mostly) completed projects, and paint tins, wood and tools

Do you have any other sports or interests
Not at the moment. I used to enjoy ultra-marathons and triathlons, and other endurance style events, but have to limit that to paddling,- knees are a bit used up. I completed the Kokoda Trackwhen I turned 50,- a gift from my family. Last year I did the half Murray River Marathon. Loved it. Even managed a podium finish!

You are originally from South Africa? Can you tell us about where you lived
Sure. I was born in Durban in a province called KwaZulu Natal, though grew up primarily in Johannesburg, (aka Jo'burg) in a province called Gauteng (pronunciation similar to clearing your throat) . We have been in Melbourne so long, I need to think about what it was like to live back there...

South Africa is a beautiful country, as was the suburb where we lived. The diversity of the fauna and flora is incredible and the weather quite sub tropical in summer. Their idea of a heatwave is 35…Got to love that!

Why did you come to Australia
The lack of safety and emerging social unrest on a grand scale.

Living behind electric fences with attack dogs is no way to raise a family.

When we left, we bought one-way plane tickets and became Australian citizens as soon as we were able.

We deem it to be a privilege to be accepted into a society that respects rule of law, where life is valued and the old and the young are taken care of.

Notwithstanding the other views out there, these were our sentiments and still feel the same way after 12+ years

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