On Tuesday 26 October, David Houston of Hay was presented with a Paul Harris Fellow Award by the Rotary Club of Woden Daybreak (Woden Daybreak), Canberra. The award was made in recognition of David’s long-term commitment to the Dunera Museum in Hay and his contribution to world understanding and peace.
In recent times, Woden Daybreak has taken a particular interest in Hay, which no longer has its own Rotary Club. Along with the Rotary Club of Canberra Burley Griffin and Rotary Nomads, Woden Daybreak has also sponsored Peace Poles at the three Hay schools and maintains contact with those schools.
Rotary Club of Woden Daybreak honours Hay local
As Woden Daybreak club members could not travel for the presentation, former Hay Rotarians, Allan Japp (PHF), Rob Marmont (PHF), Sam Barnes and Tertia Butcher represented Woden Daybreak at the ceremony They said some words on behalf of Rotary and presented David with his pin and certificate. The former mayor of Hay and president of the Dunera Museum Committee in its early years, Mick Beckwith (PHF), also attended.
David has been the President of the Dunera Museum at the Hay Railway Station since 2005 and has volunteered tirelessly for years to ensure this part of Australia history is not forgotten. The ‘Dunera Boys’ were mainly German and Austrian Jewish refugees who fled Nazi persecution. In 1940 they were declared enemy aliens by the British.  One thousand, nine hundred and eighty-four (1,984) men were transported to Australia on the ‘HMT Dunera’ and sent to an Internment Camp in Hay, arriving on 7th September 1940.
David witnessed, as a 5-year-old, the arrival of the Dunera Boys at the Hay Railway Station. The internees had just arrived after a 19-hour train journey non-stop from Sydney.  David is an honorary life member of the Dunera Association, is an integral part of regular Dunera reunions in Hay and is always available to show people around the museum.  It is estimated that since the museum opened in 1999, 45,000 visitors from 32 countries have visited the museum.
Not only has David worked tirelessly for the Dunera Museum, he also volunteered for the Isolated Children’s Association for 20 years. He was on the Hay and NSW Committees and made representations on behalf of the Association to the Federal Government in Canberra.
The Hay Shire Mayor, Jenny Dwyer, kindly hosted the ceremony and afternoon tea to follow. David is clearly a well-respected and much appreciated member of the Hay community.
Rotary Club of Woden Daybreak members watched the ceremony on Zoom and plan to visit Hay next September to attend the International Day of Peace Ceremonies at the Hay schools, and hopefully will meet David and visit the Dunera Museum.
You may also be interested in an Art Exhibition by Monash University the Hay Council is hosting in 2022. The exhibition will include never before seen Dunera art of international historical significance. The exhibition is expected to launch on the first weekend in September 2022 and run for 2-3 months. The Hay Council is excited and honoured to be hosting this event of extraordinary cultural importance. You may want to visit the Dunera Museum if you are passing through Hay.