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How the Australian Mayflower Society was born

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Australian Governor Keith Quimbach shares the story of forming the Australian Society of Mayflower Descendants.

Our journey to becoming a Mayflower Society had a somewhat unlikely start - with an exchange of emails between Jon Fearon, President of the Fellowship of First Fleeters and my wife Genevieve, a First Fleeters' member. John was searching for people who might represent both the Mayflower Descendants and the First Fleeters at the Mayflower 400th Anniversary in Plymouth in September 2020.

Those inquiries brought forth an email from Steve Arnold, a dual member of the Mayflower Societies in Europe and the USA. Steve had heard that there was interest in a Society in Australia when he was involved with forming the European Society of Mayflower Descendants in 2016, but nothing had come to fruition then.

On 16 September 2019, Steve Arnold emailed both myself and Steve Isham who lives in Magate, Tasmania, introducing us to the idea that there might be enough interest in Australia to form our own Society.

We both agreed to pursue the idea, and went about sending out over 65 emails and some 25 letters by regular mail to potential individuals who were members from other Member Societies in the US living in Australia, or people who had inquired about joining a Mayflower Society in Australia, including those residing in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and even Turkey.

What has really brought Australia’s 'Charter Group' together is the strong family bond we all have in preserving our heritage as Mayflower descendants, and passing those ideals onto the next generation or two. We are a special family group of fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, sisters and cousins.

Coming together in less than 4 months (106 days), we were proud to send our Petition for the Charter of a new Member Society to Secretary General, Jane Hurt, on January 26 'Australia Day’.

We didn't achieve this alone. We've had tremendous support from GSMD members in Canada, Europe and from the GSMD Society itself, Governor General Garmany, Steve Arnold and especially Midge Hurtuk. Thanks also to John Fearon whose initial connections kickstarted the process.

We are sailing into 2020.

Keith C. Quimbach

Piara Waters, Western Australia

" Keith Quimbach is to be congratulated for his tenacity to facilitate the steps necessary to form this new Society.”

Steve Arnold, now also a member of the Australian Society of Mayflower Descendants

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