The Annual General Meeting (Meeting) of members of the Estonian Cultural Foundation in Australia (ACN 091 457 911) (the Company) will be held at Sydney Estonian House, SYDNEY on 14th February 2021 commencing at 12:00 pm. Originally set for October, 2020, COVID-19 restrictions forced a resheduling of the event to the current date. The Board furthermore made the decision that it will hold a physical Meeting with the appropriate social gathering and physical distancing measures in place to comply with the Federal Government’s and State Government’s current restrictions for physical gatherings.
The Notice of Meeting (NOM) together with other associated documentation can be found here.
As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board has decided to postpone the Annual General Meeting for 2020 to Sunday, February 14th 2021. It is hoped that by this time, restrictions will be eased enough to allow for members to participate in the proceedings, which are to be held at Estonian House in Sydney. We will forward reminders to you over the coming months and keep you appraised of any potential changes.

The Company's Annual Accounts for the year ending June 30th, 2020 have now been completed and audited by Fitzpatrick Group. The report (see here) indicates assets of $876,079, with total interest of $26,396 being earned for the 2019-2020 year. It is anticipated that both the value of the asset base and interest earned will improve during the course of the 2020-2021 financial year.

Lachlan Bell declared winner of ECFA logo competition.


The ECFA Ltd is proud to announce that it has a new logo.  This logo (together with a number of variants) was designed by Lachlan Bell, a young Estonian from Sydney. The new logo combines items from Estonian heritage, being a sõlg (brooch) and a kilp (shield) and incorporates 8 stars from the Southern Cross to represent the states and territories of Australia.  Using the colours from the Estonian flag, the letters from the ECFA acronym are imprinted on the circles of this sõlg
For designing the winning logo, Lachlan has received the prize of $500, as the ECFA continues to support Estonian youth, culture and heritage across Australia.

Lachlans concept for the Logo is described here.

ECFA received over 60 entries and we would like to thank each of the designers for their efforts - well done! 

JULY 2020
The ECFA Board is pleased to announce the following funding awards to promote Estonian culture in Australia. A total of $20,250 was awarded.
To directly assist the National Estonian Summer Camp continue and strengthen the bonds within the Australian-Estonian community. This will be achieved through camp activities including:
  1. Australian-Estonian language teachers involved in the kindergarten groups around Australia
  2. Music including singing to show an insight to the Estonian Song Festivals
  3. Dancing to showcase and promote participation in the Estonian Dance groups in Australia
  4. Participation in creation of traditional Estonian Art and Craft.
  5. Providing our young adults with opportunities to develop youth leadership and mentoring skills that will flow on to a wider Australian-Estonian community or even Estonian communities abroad.
Awarded $7500.
Hans Ots Annual Award
This is an annual award to support youth from interstate mainly and from outside of Sydney to attend Sõrve Camp.
Awarded $4000.
Sydney Estonian Handicraft Association
The Sydney Estonian Handicraft Association would like to develop a digital archive to display the Estonian folk costumes that have been worn by people with Estonian heritage in Australia.
Awarded $1750.
Estonian Archives in Australia
Digitisation and conversion to a text document of the manuscript of “The Mahatma of the Baltics” by Friedrich Lustig.
Awarded $1000.
Sydney Estonian House Co-operative Society Limited
To assist in the cost of preparation and lodgement of Development Application plans for the refurbishment of the Sydney Estonian House.
Awarded $5000.
For the purchase of pastlad for the Virmalised dance group, which can be lent out to members for performances (pastlad are traditional, lightweight and flat (heel-less) Estonian footwear made of tan leather and fastened with leather laces. They are worn with pride by many dance groups in Estonia).
Awarded $1000.

The Logo competition for the Estonian Cultural Foundation in Australia (ECFA) has now closed. We have received well over 60 entries from all over Australia and even one from Indonesia! We are now ranking the entries according to our criteria with the view to assessing the most suitable submission. It’s not going to be easy as there were some fantastic entries. We hope to put all entries onto our website shortly, so WATCH THIS SPACE!  
The Board of ECFA wishes to thank all participants for their efforts – well done.
This notice is to inform you that the Board of the Estonian Cultural Foundation in Australia (ECFA) – previously known as the Estonian Relief Committee, has proposed to amend its membership fee policy to a flat $5.00 for all members (other than those granted honorary Life Membership). As required by our constitution, this motion will need to be approved at the next Annual General Meeting
In the meantime, we encourage all members to renew their membership for the 2020 – 2021 financial year now. To facilitate this, we now provide the following banking details into which you should deposit your fee  by electronic funds transfer (EFT). Banking  details are as follows:

Estonian Cultural Foundation in Australia
Commonwealth Bank
BSB:  062654
Account Number: 00900445

Please ensure that you insert your Surname as the Reference when depositing your fee. Fees are:
Retirees - $5.00
Fulltime Student - $10.00
All others - $20.00
For those of you who wish to pay by cheque, please forward it to our accountants as follows:
Estonian Cultural Foundation in Australia
c/- Fitzpatrick Group
7/1 Somerset Avenue
Please ensure that your envelope notes your name as the Sender.

May 2020
We are pleased to announce that Expressions of Interest (EOI) are now being sought from individuals and organisations who wish to apply for funding of projects in 2020-21 which satisfy the objectives of the constitution of the Estonian Cultural Foundation in Australia (ECFA) Ltd. The Invitation to lodge an EOI can be found here.
To apply for this funding, an Application Form (found here) needs to be completed and lodged with the Sectretary (ECFA) by 30th June, 2020.
$500 PRIZE
As previously announced, we are seeking a new logo design for Estonian Cultural Foundation in Australia (ECFA). A prize of $500 is being offered for the winning design. Following your initial feedback, we wish to provide additional guidance on the design criteria. This includes the following:
Colour  palette:                          Estonian flag colours        
Copyright:                                  Belongs to ECFA     
Design variations:                      No limit
Limit on entries:                         None – individuals or organisations may wish to submit multiple variations
Uses:                                         Anywhere ECFA wants:
                                                  (letterhead, documents, badges, T-shirts, caps, etc)
Form of submission:                  Digital - *pdf of *jpeg (high resolution)
The closing date has now been amended to July 30, 2020. The Board of ECFA reserves the right to judge the winner of the competition. Its decision will be final.
The logo must reflect our modus-operandi - a funding body, supporting activities across Australia that foster Estonian culture and heritage in Australia. 

Send your design ideas in to: board@estoniancfa.org.au

April 2020
The full implications of the COVID crisis are now becoming apparent. All Board Meetings are now being held by remote teleconferencing facilities and will remain the norm until further notice. Estonian House in Sydney is now shut for all functions and Melbourne Eesti Päevad, 2020 has been postponed until further notice.
$500 PRIZE
As you may be aware, the Estonian Relief Committee (ERC) recently changed its name to Estonian Cultural Foundation in Australia (ECFA) in order to reflect the true nature of its operating brief. We are now calling upon all existing or aspiring artists to design a logo suitable for the renamed organisation. The successful artist will receive a $500 prize and the selected design will be used for all ECFA related correspondence and media. So please get your thinking caps on and your pencils and crayons out! Send your design ideas in *jpeg format to:    
The competition closes on 30th May, 2020, with the winner to be announced by the Estonian Ambassador in Australia at a suitable venue (to be announced).

February 2020
It was agreed that the old ERC Limited Constitution be updated to reflect recent changes to its corporate state and reflect more closely its current operating mode. To that end, the Board will be considering various refinements, with the aim of providing a revised constitution prior to the next Annual General Meeting.
As part of the rebranding of the organisation, it was agreed to be a sponsor of Eesti Päevad, scheduled to be held in Melbourne in December, 2020. The nature and scale of the sponsorship is yet to be determined.

January 2020
It was agreed that two ECFA delegates (Juho Looveer and Hillar Ranniko)  be sent to the AESL Meeting in Melbourne held on 26th January, 2020. In general terms, no significant progress was made regarding a possible collaborative effort between ECFA and AESL, as the latter is still to register as an incorporated entity. ECFA did support a motion for the AESL to form a committee to “consider the purpose, function and structure of the future AESL, and to review any previous work in this regard.” The Committee was to report back to AESL by 31st May, 2020.   

December 2019
Board positions for 2020 were confirmed and remain unchanged from the past year.
In addition, the Board ratified the change in name of the Company to Estonian Cultural Foundation in Australia Limited (ECFA). An application to ASIC was submitted and approved. Appropriate changes to our web site and stationery will be made over the following months. It was further decided that a new Logo should be adopted. To that event, we will be seeking input from our constituency for logo ideas, with a prize of $250 being offered to the author of the winning design.
October 2019
The Annual General Meeting was held on 27th October, 2019. The minutes of the AGM can be found here. In summary however, the main items discussed and resolved were as follows:
1 Change of name: Members of the Company voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion to change the name of the Company to:
Estonian Cultural Foundation in Australia Limited 
(Eesti Kultuuri Sihtasutus Austraalias)
It was felt by the Board that this year marks a turning point for the Company’s future. The Board was strongly of the belief that if Estonian culture in Australia is to survive, we must look to our youth to engage with and promote the Estonian “story”. As a result, it is felt that the Company’s current name now reflects an era that has long passed and is not in keeping with our current and future objectives.
Should the Board endorse this motion, an application to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) will be lodged to bring the motion into effect.
2 The total equity of the Company as of 30th June, 2019 was recorded at $905,185.48. Total income received was $79,581.43, this amount being boosted due to a bequeath from the estate of Hans Ots.
3 It was noted that discussions about a collaborative effort between ECFA Limited and AESL had not progressed to any great degree during the course of the year. The issue may however crystalise at the AESL AGM to be held at the end of January, 2020.  
September 2019
Given the low rate of return from our existing term deposits, it was decided to seek the assistance of a financial planner to review and rationalize our existing cash assets. Accordingly, we engaged the services of Common Cents Financial Services Pty Ltd (CCFS) to advise the ECFA on an appropriate investment strategy going forward.
This year, several of our long term deposits have matured and so we were faced with considering new sources of income. As a result and with the assistance of CCFS, the ECFA has commenced investing in a range of funds that will deliver returns in excess of 4% - and in some cases up to 12% per annum. We have now invested in the following funds:  
  • La Trobe 12 month
  • Trilogy Monthly Income
  • AMP – Core Infrastructure
  • AMP – Core Property
  • AMP – Corporate Bond
  • Cromwell Direct Property
We believe that this strategy will increase our annual income significantly from current levels, enabling us to fund a greater range of individuals and organisations that promote Estonian culture in Australia.
August 2019
Funding for cultural activities announced during this month. A total of $17,682 was granted to several organisations, a summary of which is tabled below:
Recipient Purpose Amount ($)
Sõrve  Camp General purposes, with the stipulation that $4,000 be aimed towards supporting families with special needs or who are experiencing difficulties, in particular towards fostering links across states. 10,000.00
Lõke Musical Ensemble To cover the costs of a portable sound system 3,632.00
Aksel Haagensen Part allocation towards the production of documentary film regarding Estonian refugees in Australia. This was considered to be a worthwhile project in the light of the mass deportation ceremony held during the previous month. Whilst the final documentary film would be housed in Estonia, it could be used around the world. ECFA stipulated that a copy be deposited with the Estonian-Australian Archives 1,500.00
Sydney Mudilasring
Cover the costs of teaching staff 2,550.00
July 2019
A number of ECFA directors and members attended the festivities held in Tallinn to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the song celebration – the first song celebration being held in Estonia in 1869. This summer the song celebration took place for the 27th time and the dance celebration for the 20th time. 
The Estonian Song Celebration is a tradition, also listed in UNESCO listed treasures, that dates back to the year 1869. In almost 150 years, the song celebration has had a significant effect on the development of Estonian identity and politics. The tradition has enriched the Estonian language and culture. More than once has it encouraged the population to oppose at various time, occupying forces while pursuing the wish for freedom and self-determination.
A video of the songfest can be found here or at this link –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_NnbBCmjdQ .
It covers both days and goes for almost 8 hours!  Happy viewing.
June 2019
We attended a commemoration held at the Latvian Hall in Strathfield on 16th June, 2019 to mark the deportations of civilians from the Baltic States by the Soviet Union in June 1941. A powerful speech was presented by Lembit Suur, the contents of which are available here.
May 2019

A Memorial Commemoration was held in honour of Sir Arvi Parbo who passed away earlier this month. The Commemoration was held at the Melbourne Town Hall on Monday 27th May and was attended by many people from the Estonian community as well as the Australian Mining Industry. A tribute to Sir Arvi can be found in the Memorial Booklet. In addition, video proceedings of the event can be found at this link

Sir Arvi was our Patron from 2005 to 2015 and was very supportive of our efforts on a number of occassions. He was always positive and provided encouragement and advice to the Board on a number of issues. 

Sir Arvi was a genuine captain of Australian industry and his story from humble beginings is truly inspiring. Examples of other tributes can be found in this
article from the Australian Newspaper dated 2/5/2019 and this article from the Sydney Mining and Exploration Discussion Group.   

Puhka rahus!

April 2019

Results of the survey regarding the future of Estonian House are now available. Go here to obtain the results and here to view an interpretation of the data. The ECFA Board would like to thank Annie Talve for the preparation of the survey using the "Surveymonkey" format, collation of the data and the initial interpretation.
The survey was carried out to assist the ECFA Board in formulating its position on the future of Estonian House in Sydney and present its findings to a Forum to be held on 13th April, 2019.

The ECFA Board was not able to come to a consensus regarding its position ahead of the Forum. It is likely that a review of this postion will be conducted after the Forum has been completed.

February 2019

Ahead of the General Forum to be held on the future of Sydney Estonian House at the End of March, the ECFA has prepared and distributed a survey to its members, friends and colleagues, seeking input regarding their thoughts on the matter. This survey is found at the following link and we urge everyone who has had any involvement with Sydney Estonian House to complete and lodge the survey. It will only take a few minutes.


If you know people that wish to complete the survey but do not have access to the internet, a hard copy can be downloaded from here and then printed out for their benefit. Hard copies should be mailed to:

The Secretary
Estonian Cultural Foundation in Australia Limited
Fitzpatrick Group
1 Somerset Ave
Narellan NSW 2567
At the last ECFA Board Meeting, it was decided to form a Finance Committee (FC) which would make recommendations to the Board regarding the mangement of the Company's exisiting funds.The objective is to maximise the return on funds so as to be able to distrubute more funding to a larger spread of qualifying organisations. Members of the FC include Mart Rampe, Kaili Ford and Hillar Raniko. 
January 2019
1 Summary of Recent Activities

This summary (which can be accessed here) captures the outcomes from the Annual General Meeting held at Tarra Gardens on 28th October, 2018 and includes commentary on:
  1. Re-election of Directors -  Mart Rampe, Dr Peeter Muttik, Maie Barrow, Ingrid Tartu, Hillar Raniko, Kaili Ford, Tony Moll and Dr Juho Looveer, 
  2. Outline of Financial position – our cash position increased to $853,742. Funding to the value of approximately $20,000 was provided to a number of Estonian focused organisations in Australia, 
  3. Collaborative effort with AESL – a draft Funds Management Agreement and Statement of Intent had been prepared and tabled to facilitate a collaborative effort between AESL and the ECFA Limited (ECFA), and 
  4. Sydney Estonian House – the ECFA is a significant shareholder in the Estonian Hose Co-Operative Society Limited which owns Estonian House. The ECFA is keen for the Co-op to move ahead with the “Future Options” process in regards to the future of Estonian House.  

2 The XXVIII Estonian Festival - Sydney
The ECFA was a strong supporter of this festival which took place between 27th  and 31st December, 2018. Activities were carried out at a number of venues in Sydney, culminating in the New Year’s Eve Ball at the Ivy Ballroom in the Sydney CBD. It is understood that the Festival events were generally very well attended and received. Congratulations to Aet Madison and her team for organising the Festival – no mean feat!
3 Council of Estonian Societies in Australia (AESL)
The ECFA sent three representatives to the Annual General Meeting of the AESL, held on 31/12/2018. One of the main topics for discussion was the proposal to form a collaborative arrangement between the ECFA and AESL, whereby AESL would focus solely on its role as the Peak Estonian body in Australia and ECFA focused its efforts on fundraising and distribution of funds to worthy Estonian cultural organisations located in Australia and that fell within the AESL umbrella. A pre-cursor to such an arrangement, is the incorporation of AESL  as a registered charitable body under Australian rules and regulations. It is now up to AESL to follow up on these discussions and advance a viable business plan to its member organisations (including the ECFA) to vote upon.

4 Visit to Taara Gardens
During the 24th of January, members of the ECFA Board had the pleasure of meeting with the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of RSL LifeCare, Ms Laurie Leigh. It was Laurie's first visit to Taara Gardens and she impressed us all with her relaxed but authorative style. Her credentials are impressive (check here) and we look forward to her and her team enhancing the Taara Gardens aged care experiance.
In addition, we were given a "tour de force" of the village by Jenny, who pointed out all of the significant improvements that have taken place since RSL LifeCare took over - see following photos. 

Since amalgamation, RSL LifeCare has invested:
  • $12.0m in the refurbishment and extension of Agris Hutrof House,
  • $3.9m in the redevelopment of the retirement village and units, and
  • $0.9m in furniture, vehicles, computers, plant and equipment
RSL LifeCare is also in the process of upgrading the HR system for employee self-service of leave and payslips and they are implementing an exciting program for staff/residents called AIM “All Interactions Matter”.
It is without doubt, a fantastic outcome for our folks at Taara Gardens!

It was also with great pleasure that the Board awarded Certificates of Life Membership to Krista Ford and Imbi Chad. Both Krista and Imbi were long serving and highly valuable directors of the ECFA Board over many years and this Certificate recognises their selfless and voluntary service to our organisation over many decades. Sadly, another of our stalwart members and directors, Lea Holm, passed away just before Christmas. She too, was a highly valued member of the Board and will be missed. 

5 Activities for 2019
Looking ahead, we see the mooted collaboration between AESL and the ECFA as the most important event for 2019. Should it proceed, it will have a dramatic impact on the way that the ECFA operates in the future.
In the short term, the ECFA will be preparing a submission to be presented at the upcoming forum on the future of the Sydney Estonian House.  

December 2018

Here are the details of a press release made on 26/11/2018.
The Kooskõlas choir has just passed the first audition to be accepted to sing at Laulupidu 2019 in Eesti. 
Kooskõlas is an Estonian choir from Australia,  with 74 singers from Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, and regional NSW.    The choir is led by conductor Dr Naomi Cooper, a specialist in community choirs.
Laulupidu 2019 is the 150th year since this amazing event commenced.  Being celebrated in conjunction with Eesti’s 100th anniversary of Independence, this is a major event for Estonia.  When the previous NSW-based Kooskõlas attended Laulupidu in 2014, the massed choirs had over 34,000 singers, and an audience of over 100,000 people.
The acceptance at this stage was based on two specific songs – Emakeelelaul (Song of the Mother Tongue) and Kuulajale (For the Listener).  The choir still needs to learn another 13 songs and pass the second audition in April 2019 for the acceptance to be confirmed.
To assist the choir, Siim Selis, second in charge of Laulupidu 2019, is coming to Sydney for Eesti Päevad in December 2018, and to conduct workshops for the choir early January 2019.  This shows how seriously the choir is taking this project – many thanks to the ECFA (Estonian Cultural Foundation in Australia / Eesti Abistamise Komittee) for their support for this project. Siim will also be working with choirs at Eesti Päevad, and later at the Sõrve camp for Estonian youth.

A scene from the last Laulupidu in Tallinn.