We thank everyone who came and those who provided feedback. If you have suggestions on the sort of events you’d like to see SafeGround hold, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Below are the appraisals SafeGround and the South Australian organising committee received after the event.
From a Visiting Speaker from the National Committee The event in SA went extremely well, with well over 100 people there. Sr Pat Pak Poy was there and seemed delighted to be so. The SA Group deserves great commendation for their efforts. I think we should do a similar event in Melbourne when John Rodsted and Mette Eliseussen are here. – Lorel Thomas
From a Sister of Mercy Last Monday evening’s tribute to Pat & the Diocese and “SafeGround” was quite magnificent. Not only was Pat truly honoured, as never before, but our education into the state of play re WWII bombs – landmines and cluster bombs really helped. – Sr. Ruth Egar rsm
From the SA Branch Coordinator of MAPW (Medical Association for the Prevention of War) Congratulations to Adrian, Lyn & the SAFEGROUND Team on a terrific night on the 27th. Wishing you many more successes in the future. Warm regards. – Dr Amanda Ruler
From a supporter I had my grand daughter with me that night. She had been to Cambodia with her school and had met Sr. Denise Coughlin rsm, It was a wonderful evening – congratulations to all. I would like to make a donation to SafeGround. – Margaret Henderson
… and another supporter It was an excellent meeting. I was amazed to learn of the extent of the explosive remnants of WWII in the Pacific Islands. – John Dighton
From someone with little prior knowledge Helen – you would have been so happy with the evening – 25 years of “good works”. And you would have been proud of Gordon reading out your paper – your ‘history / commemorative notes’ were very good, especially for people like us who have not been involved over many years. We have seen Sr Pat before – at St Vincent de Paul functions – and she must be exceptionally ‘driven / passionate’ about this subject to have worked and travelled and completely involved herself. – Pam Broadbridge
From a member of WILPF We did enjoy the celebrations. The speakers were excellent and we learned a great deal more about SafeGround, its history and its on-going work. WILPF has always been a strong supporter of SafeGround – perhaps even from the earliest days . I am delighted to note that five members of WILPF attended the 25th anniversary testifying to our ongoing support, and we also enjoyed meeting up with other SafeGround supporters during supper, sharing stories old and new. SafeGround is just one of a number of hardworking, well intentioned organisations whose ultimate goal is to bring about its own redundancy but, until that day comes, WILPF will continue to offer wholehearted support. – Maureen (and Brian) Arnott
From the International Humanitarian Law Officer for the Australian Red Cross SA This was a most worthwhile, reflective and also celebratory evening. It was a wonderful occasion to see familiar faces (and many I didn’t know) and appreciate again the driving force that was Sr Patricia – working with collegial conviction with others striving to see the same better outcome for victims of landmines and to prevent their scourge in the future. What struck me on the Monday evening was the diversity of people and backgrounds who were part of the coalition – individuals and groups with faith backgrounds, legal or medical expertise, communication or campaigning skills, those belonging to humanitarian networks (such as the Red Cross!), politicians. It was also interesting and encouraging to hear from groups that have gone on to stay involved and active – under new names – in other or related humanitarian issues. The difference in perspectives and experiences shared and observed was a richness in the evening. A highlight for me was also hearing from Hugh Graham, who led the creation of land mine clearing machines able to take on the logistical challenges of finding and clearing them – and that development of these machines continues. – Petra Ball, Red Cross
From a long-term supporter of SafeGround and UNAA SA Eva and I were both very much impressed by the evening last Monday. The planning, and the way it went was great. Apart from the obvious disappointment that you were not well enough to be there, we felt especially delighted that Sister Patricia could come along. Having her there provided a focus for her contribution right from the start. For nearly 10 years Sister Patricia has been one of the UNAA SA Patrons.
It was so well attended, with us all engrossed from beginning to end. Afterwards, talking to Eva, and discussing the programme for the night, we said how each speaker, and the two video items, did not duplicate their message as so often happens, but rather moved on to look at the issues in a new way, providing another insight. I am unable to pick any one item as the highlight, as each step along the well-planned path was a highlight in its own right. In reading your paper, Gordon did you proud, combining your obviously carefully considered points with his own personal touch. In concluding with the Minelab presentation, it brought us into close contact with real practical problems in detecting and making safe these terrible weapons.
Coming away afterwards, there was a lot to think about for the future. Like questioning which companies are still manufacturing land mines and cluster bombs, and which countries buy them? And who finances this weapons trade? Brought closer to home by the need for action on the get-out clause in the Act on cluster weapons where an ally fighting alongside Australian forces can use such weapons.
We are in the process of placing a memorial plaque for Heather Southcott on North Terrace, and thinking of Heather at this time, I can imagine how delighted she would have been to see this important anniversary remembered in this way. Heather, through UNAA SA, was so supportive so over many years.
The 25th anniversary of the petition is such an important milestone, and it was truly an inspiration to have Sister Patricia Pak Poy to be there with us, to join in remembering this unique step forward for Human Rights.
– Kind regards, John (and Eva) Crawford (member of SafeGround and Immediate Past President of UNAA SA).
From the Convenor of the SA Anniversary Planning Team to its members My head has just stopped spinning and I can begin to think again. First I must thank you all for being such a fabulous committee. The efficient combined energy and commitment to the event culminated in a resounding success. I think we achieved our aims: to revisit 25 Years of Action, to give due recognition to Sister Patricia for her outstanding contribution to the Campaign and to inform our large audience about the ongoing work of SafeGround. During supper many people remarked to me how interesting and informative the talks and films had been. I think the formal part of the evening was just the right length.
The Archbishop’s contribution touched on the CCJP in the early 1990s—I would have liked a bit more on that. However it was good to have his presence to add a level of credibility to the event.
Gordon’s personal story of his encounter in the market in Cambodia graphically confirmed how poverty and destitution are caused by landmines. Helen’s well-researched paper expertly outlined the early years of ANBL and its contribution to the Ottawa treaty.
Lorel spoke engagingly about the current state of affairs and about the challenges that continue to demand attention from SafeGround. The letter from John and Mette to Sister Patricia was particularly moving.
Hugh Graham from Minelab was the icing on the cake! He showed such a humane concern for those threatened by landmines. His insight into the “mine” issue and control of Minelab clearly governs the ongoing research into more efficient mine detectors.
The opportunity to gather and chat over supper gave everyone a chance to ask questions and reflect on the talks and films. With thanks to you all.
– Adrian von der Borch
From the Archbishop
I was especially grateful to have the opportunity to recognise the work that Sr. Patricia PakPoy RSM AM and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace did in starting this significant work.
-Archbishop Philip Wilson
From our movement’s Founder
Dear Helen, Adrian and All – thanks for all your good wishes, help and support in our great work to eliminate the use of Landmines against people, and the continuing support given to visit some and their communities. We had a great celebration of the work done to eliminate the use of mines against communities and settlements, and to continue specific assistance to victims and their families. It was a great celebration of Safe Ground last Monday…. thanks to all! – Pat Pak Poy