Travel Club’s near 70-year journey ends

Past and present committee members, presidents and members who came together to celebrate at the...
Past and present committee members, presidents and members who came together to celebrate at the South Canterbury Travel Club’s final meeting are (from left) Nona Johnston, Jill Worrall, Elaine Goodfellow, Eileen Wood, Marg Gliddon, Jan Young, Katherine Andrew, Kathy de Joux, Ann White, Pam Russell, Cynthia Cleland, Sue Thin and James Milne. Photo: Connor Haley
A long-running South Canterbury club is flying off into the sunset.

Last week, the South Canterbury Travel Club held its final meeting after decreasing attendance numbers and the inability to fill leadership roles placed the club into recess.

Formed on Monday, February 20, 1956, in a meeting held at the Jenkin’s Tearooms, the club has been a stalwart of the South Canterbury community for the last 68 years.

The club became a member of the New Zealand Travel Clubs Incorporated under the sponsorship of the Canterbury Travel Club.

The aims of the group were the stimulation and encouragement of travel and the general promotion of friendly relations with people of other countries.

At the formation meeting in 1956, it was resolved that the morning tea charge would be two shillings and the subscription would cost one guinea for a single and £1 11 shillings and sixpence for a double.

In 2008 when the national federation folded, the South Canterbury group voted to stand alone with its own constitution and rules.

In more recent times the club has held morning tea meetings every second Wednesday of the month and welcomed guest speakers in to share stories.

Current president Ann White said it was a tough decision to call time on the club.

"We could have increased the price of the morning tea but it was already getting quite expensive.

"If you just can’t get people to come on board it just doesn’t make it worth it.

"Unfortunately, it is the result of the age and stage in life of our members, but 68 years is a remarkably long time for a club to exist.

"Although it is a sad occasion it is also one filled with happy memories of places, people and of times spent in faraway countries and experiences that will remain with us forever."

She wished to thank all the members who had supported the club over the years as well as the many people who had taken up leadership roles in the club, especially the work of Sue Thin who had been the club secretary for 16 years.

Ex-president Jan Young joined theclub in 1987 but said she had a strong connection even before that.

Travel club presidents from around New Zealand meeting at the NZ Federations of Travel Clubs...
Travel club presidents from around New Zealand meeting at the NZ Federations of Travel Clubs Conference in March 1962 are (from left) F. Chapman (South Canterbury), B. Watson (Invercargill), Sir Joseph Ward (Canterbury), M. Blodorn (P.P Federation), A. McRae (Waimate), D. Heath (Nelson) and R. Scott (Wellington). Photo: supplied
"My mother had been a very early member of travel club and I have a lovely photo of her with her gloves and hat in front of a Morris Minor which Dad had bought her to drive to travel club because we lived out in the country.

"They didn’t travel themselves because she got seasick and he was scared of planes, so the furthest they got was Australia but they loved coming to travel club."

In the early days the club was considered quite a formal occasion and it was normal for women to wear hats and gloves and the men wore suits.

Mrs Young joined with her husband after they finished their teaching careers and had thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the club.

"I did my whack on the committee and I’ve just loved every minute of it. I just yearned to travel.

"I travelled extensively after I finished teaching and now I travel vicariously because I’m 87 and have terrible asthma.

"Travel club has always just had this warm feeling to it."

She said it was disappointing for the club to come to an end.

"It’s so much a sign of times. This about the third organisation of which I have been a member that is going into recess and it’s to do with our social structure.

"We haven’t got the at-home women coming up that used to be the bulk of the members and that’s my analysis of it."

At its final meeting, the club also voted on donating the remaining subscription money to Age Concern South Canterbury.

At closing the club had  about 58 members, while at its peak the club had 300 members plus a healthy waiting list and elections were held for the committee places.

A club history scrapbook and a 50th jubilee book were made available for members to look back on the club’s history.

Travel writer Jill Worrall was the final guest speaker and shared with those in attendance some of her fondest travel experiences.