The Tales of Friendship Force Perth’s
Journey to North-America in 2016
Members of the Exchange
Anna Kristancic; Ron & Daphne Cuthbert-
Gay Meehan; son;
Geoff Graham; Susan Lee ;
Glen Green; Veronica Franklin ;
Lynda Walker; Robert Mansell;
Pranom Visalpattanasinn; Margaret Walsh (ED)
Florence Keen Rowland
US and CANADA EXCHANGE JULY - AUGUST 2016
Seattle July 10 -17
Flathead Valley July 21 – 28
Medicine Hat, August 1 – 8
Seattle-Tacoma Friendship Force 10 – 17 July 2016
Date: Monday 11 July From: Daphne Welcome Brunch Seattle City
The day dawned dull and overcast, but this was not going to upset our first day of Exchange in Seattle. As Ron &
I had arrived at our hosts 2 days early we had spent the previous evening helping with the table decorations for
the welcome brunch.
We arrived at the First Methodist Church and began the setting up. It was great to meet all the lovely hosts and
guests from the Seattle club as well as catch up with friends from the Perth club as well as meet Florence from the
Oklahoma FF club.
We feasted on some sumptuous food, then Bart the ED from the Seattle club, welcomed us to their club. This was
followed by a few words from Margaret our ED, then Mark their president also gave us a few words of welcome.
After the brunch we all headed off to the Space Needle to get a sky high view of Seattle and the beautiful
surrounding area. This was followed by a trek to view the most fantastic glass creations by Dale Chihuly at the
Chihuly Garden of Glass. These glass creations were the most beautiful we have ever seen, many being placed
throughout the gardens making them a pleasure to walk through.
Date: Tuesday 12 July From: Ron OPEN DAY – Activities with Hosts
Ron, Daphne and Margaret went on the Underground Tour of Seattle at high noon and discovered a fabulous tour
guide named Amara. She led us on a very amusing tour of the underground that gave a great insight into how
Seattle became the city it is today. She led us from a sewerage plagued lumber town that burnt down to a more
modern town with a thriving prostitution industry. The gold rush of the 1890's in Canada made Seattle a major
place to stock up on supplies required by the prospectors. The underground tour is a must do in Seattle. The tour
that we took was 75 minutes long and involved walking both below and above ground - the first 15 minutes was
spent receiving very "punny" stories of the founding fathers of the city. As with all good things, the tour finished in
the gift shop.
We then headed to the Klondike Gold Rush museum which gave further information on the gold rush in Canada
and the part played by Seattle.
We continued on to the Frye Museum but unfortunately the main gallery was closed so we left.
Next we visited the University of Washington as our host Joe had both studied and taught there. We had a drive
around and were shown the main square that included a large pond and fountain. The university has some 50,000
students and sits on land that is roughly 2 miles long and 1 mile wide.
We headed home for an early tea as Joe and Joyce both had a church meeting to attend. We were given the
option to go with them to town and look at other things but we declined as we had other things to do at home.
Notes from a few other Ambassadors and hosts
We went into town to the Pike Street Market where we watched the guys throwing the fish and then we went to
the gum wall. A young girl gave me a piece of gum which I chewed and then stuck to the wall, so there is a bit of
my DNA left in Seattle. I took a couple of photos. After this we bought a Dungeness Crab and took it home and
had a salivating late lunch. I have already done the Underground City, and I agree it is fascinating. We went to
dinner at Duke and Melinda's house, lovely property in the hills with horses and walk trails. Veronica and Robert
were also there with their hosts.
Susan, host Bob and Anna, after a wonderful breakfast (Bob) walked along the Golden Gardens beach, saw
beaver tree damage in the park, then went to Ballard Lochs and saw Sockeye Salmon coming through the fish
ladder, as well as the boats locking through lochs. Pike Place market was the next very exciting venue, especially
as a gas leak evacuated many vendors and visitors. Tea tasting and Hombow were on the menu. Walked through
the Convention Centre and Freeway Park, before visiting the downtown Central Library which was an amazing
piece of architecture and creative floor spaces. In the evening, Pat Nelson hosted us to a beautiful dinner with Ed
and Geoff as well.
Other activities by other people on other days
Ballard Lochs Pike Place Market
Date: Wednesday 13 July From: Veronica and Robert Boat trip to Tillicum Village
First of all, Seattle is beautiful with large houses, vivid gardens, mountains, lakes and islands - they have it all and
it is gorgeous. The people are also very charming and friendly.
After breakfast with our hosts Bart and Roberta, we set off to Seattle, about 25km away for our day trip to Blake
Island. As Bart is the ED, we needed to be there early to meet the rest of the FF and their hosts.
We had a pleasant trip to Blake island through the unusually calm Puget Sound and we disembarked at Tillicum
village on the island, where we were greeted with clam soup in a cup, by members of the catering staff of the
restaurant where lunch was to be served, the tradition was to crush our clam shells into the pathway. Tillicum
village was set up in 1962 for the Olympic Games so the structures were erected as a tourist experience of the
Native American Indians' culture. We then proceeded into a large hall with long tables already set up for lunch
which followed fairly quickly. The lunch was a salmon buffet with lovely unusual selections of a variety of salad
and accompaniments, rice and a meat stew for those who do not eat salmon. Waiters took our drinks orders and
we settled down to eat.
After lunch we were treated to a traditional native Indian show consisting of dance and narrative explaining how
their culture and beliefs were passed down through the generations.
We then had a short walk on the island before departing back to the mainland where we were treated to a
spectacular view of the Seattle skyline from the ferry.
On our return to Sammamish we went to an evening market to get a snack when Bart suggested that Costco had
the best hot dogs ever and so they were. The best part was the price - only $1.50 which included a never ending
Tillicum Village Costco – coming to Perth soon??
Date: Thursday 14 July From: Geoff Museum of Flight
The day started with a walk down by the waterfront with my host (Ed) and the family dog (Parker). Then off to the
Seattle Museum of Flight which is in Tukwila south of Seattle. The museum is on the edge of the King County
Airport so we had the added fun of watching some close up aircraft movements.
We started in a huge space housing some very large aircraft, some of which you could actually climb aboard,
have a good look around and even peek into the cockpit. First up was the Concorde, the first and only supersonic
airliner. Overall the impression was of a small passenger cabin (only four seats wide) and an even more cramped
pilot's cockpit. There was also a new Boeing 787 (Dreamliner) and a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet. On the latter I got
talking to one of the volunteer guides who was previously an air accident investigator and he had some
interesting, if worrying, tales to tell.
The next building was dedicated to space flight with a training mock-up of the Space Shuttle where you could walk
through the cargo bay. There were many space related displays but one of the most intriguing was the space
toilet for use on the International Space Station - it looked more like a torture chair!
A pedestrian bridge led us across the road to the other half of the museum. This held the "Red Barn" which was
the original Boeing workshops in the days of wooden aircraft. Unfortunately, we could not go in because it was
being set up for a large dinner that evening to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Boeing's founding. However,
there was a lot more to see.
My host Ed and I started on the World War II exhibits where we listened to a talk given by the flight engineer on a
B-29 Super fortress during WW2 in the Pacific. He had an entertaining tale of a bombing run to Japan where he
miscalculated the fuel on board and they had to ditch in the sea without making it back to their home base. They
were immediately rescued but the aircraft kept floating and eventually, after three days, a US Navy PT boat was
dispatched to sink it using gunfire, as it was a navigation hazard. The title of his talk was "The B-29 that was sunk
by a PT boat". Other exhibits included a World War I gallery and another huge area with its centerpiece the evil
looking M-21 Blackbird which is the world's fastest airplane and designed for CIA intelligence gathering.
Susan, Anna and I finished the day by taking our hosts (Ed and Bob) out for a wonderful dinner at Ray's
Boathouse on the shores of Puget Sound in Ballard (north of Seattle). The restaurant specialized in seafood and
we all made the most of it.
Some ambassadors took hosts out to dinner while others attended small group dinners
Geoff’s Photos from the Perth Seattle-Tacoma Exchange: https://goo.gl/photos/tPdQquiThesPahF38
Date: Friday 15 July From: Glen Chateau St Michelle Winery, Red Hook Brewery and Baseball
Our program for today started with a visit to the picturesque Chateau St. Michelle Winery located on 105 acres in
Woodinville, being part of the Hollywood Farm Estate of Seattle lumber baron Frederick Stimson.
A contorted Filbert Tree, commonly called Jacob Lauder’s Walking stick, because of its twisted branches and
foliage, takes pride of place in Flagpole Square outside the Chateau where we commenced our tour. The winery
is known for producing excellent Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and other world class wines.
In 1974 their Riesling won a gold medal in competition with some of the best in California and Germany.
Grapes are grown in several vineyards in the Columbia Valley and are blended by renowned German winemaker
Ernst Loosen. The winery was named American Winery of the Year in 2004 and 2005, and in 2014 was named
one of the Wineries of the Year for the 20 time by Wine and
Spirits Magazine, more than any other American Winery.
Our well informed Guide,
showed us through the
bottling plant, unfortunately
offline at the time, and then
through the cellars and finally
the tasting area, where we all
were able to taste a range of
lovely wines. Many of us
followed up by purchasing a few bottles and other items from the attached
Our proposed tour of the adjacent Red Hook Brewery had been cancelled at the last moment, however some of
our group lunched at the Pub before a free afternoon.
7.00pm came, and we all stood, as the Colour Party from the American Armed Forces marched into the Safeco
Baseball Stadium and the American National Anthem was sung magnificently by the female guest singer. Our
group was welcomed during the game, as were other groups of spectators. Some of us had played soft ball so
knew the format of the game, and everyone was given a simple written explanation sheet.
I was lucky as my host was a game regular so we had excellent seats but the home side, the “Seattle Mariners”
failed badly. Like my host Kay, I had a Hot Dog and a Beer at the start of the game and others also pursued
similar gastronomic delights!
Waiting for 4 of our group to eventually find the parked car after the game was not the best end to the night,
however, we had experienced the national sport of the United States of America.
Date: Saturday 16 July From: Anna Farewell to Seattle
After another lovely breakfast, Bob, Susan and Anna drove to Discovery Park, Seattle’s largest park which is in
the Magnolia neighbourhood. We enjoyed a lovely walk through the forest and particularly liked the huge maple
trees with their gnarled, twisted trunks.
We then had a long drive to Brian and Judy Thomas’s home in Renton where the Perth Ambassadors enjoyed a
most wonderful BBQ /picnic here with our Seattle hosts. A sumptuous spread was enjoyed by the group, with lots
of chatter and laughter. Bart the Seattle ED thanked us for our visit. Margaret graciously thanked our Seattle hosts
and the FF Club for a memorable and wonderful six full days and more in some cases. The Perth group sang our
FF version of ‘I am Australian’ and entertained the group with a pantomime. There were many, many laughs, and
a few new stars were discovered! The Seattle Club regaled us with some funny sayings from the Pacific
Northwest and USA Slang/Colloquialisms – many of which were known to us Aussies who watch American TV.
The Silent Skit – Spot the new stars!! ED’s cutting the Farewell Cake
FR0M the SEATTLE GROUP
US Slang for GETTING SICK (USUALLY FROM DRINKING)
Driving the porcelain bus.
She’s tossing her cookies.
He’s kissing the porcelain goddess.
Pickled Plastered. Smashed.
GETTING THE TASK/JOB FINISHED:
I’m on it like white on rice.
I’m on it like a diaper on a baby’s butt.
You Know You're from the Pacific Northwest when:
• You know more than 10 ways to order coffee.
• You feel guilty throwing aluminum cans in the trash.
• You say "sun break" and know what it means.
• You know more people who own boats rather than air conditioners.
• You feel overdressed wearing a suit to a nice restaurant.
• You stand on a deserted corner in the rain waiting for the "Walk" signal.
• You consider that if it has no snow or has not recently erupted, it is not a real mountain.
• You can taste the difference between Starbucks, Seattle's Best, and Veneto's.
• You know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Issaquah, Yakima and Willamette.
• You used to live somewhere else but won't admit it in public.
• You can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Thai food.
• In the winter, you go to work and come home in the dark, while only working an 8-hours.
• You never go camping without waterproof matches and a poncho.
• You are unfazed by weather forecasts that show only "showers followed by rain".
• You have no concept of humidity without precipitation.
• You know that Boring is a town in Oregon and not just a state of mind.
• You can point to at least two volcanoes, even if you cannot see through the cloud cover.
• You notice, "The mountain is out" when it is a pretty day and you can actually see it.
• You put on shorts when the temp gets above 50°, but still wear your hiking boots and parka.
• You switch to your sandals when it gets about 60°, but keep the socks on.
• You have actually used your mountain bike on a mountain.
• You think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or tourists.
• You buy new sunglasses every year, because you can't find the old ones.
• You design your kid's Halloween costumes to fit under a raincoat.
• You know the difference between Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye salmon.
It was sad to say goodbye to our new friends from Seattle, and it will be even harder tomorrow when we leave our
hosts. A huge thank you to the Seattle Friendship Group from the Perth Ambassadors for a wonderful program
and their hospitality.
Susan, Bob and Anna returned to Bob’s house where we relaxed on our final night together sharing more
personal stories and experiences while munching on Pot Stickers and Edamame. Hopefully a return visit by Bob is
on the cards. We are sure that other Seattle members will be visiting Perth in the future.
Underground City Mt Rainier from a Freeway
Date: Sunday 17 July – Thursday 21 Travelling to Kalispell
Pranom left us yesterday to stay with a friend. Veronica and Robert left our group to continue their travels in the
US. Ron and Daphne hired a car and drove to Kalispell as did Geoff, Margaret, Gay, Lynda, Susan and Anna.
Glen went to Vancouver Island for a few days. Florece caught the train and stayed in a hostel in Whitefish.
Date: Thursday 21 July From: Susan
Margaret, Lynda, Gay, Geoff, Anna and Susan left Coeur D'Alene and journeyed to Kalispell passing through the
Silver Valley and Wallace. We were told there had been wildfires through this area. The scenery along the journey
with the rivers and lakes was awesome.
We dropped Margaret off first to her host. There we saw humming birds outside the kitchen window. We were
picked up by our hosts from the Glacier International airport.
The welcome potluck dinner was held at the Village Greens Community Centre. There were many yummy foods
and variety in the huge spread. The pulled pork was a new experience for some of us. The president of Flathead
Valley Elaine Boddington welcomed Perth Ambassadors. Priscilla French, the host ED, who had visited Australia
before and had arranged a display of Australian memorabilia for us, said a few words and introduced our ED.
Margaret gave a brief speech and presented a letter from the Lord Mayor of Perth to the Flathead Valley
Councillor who specially attended. The letter read out by Margaret was very well received. We enjoyed a very
pleasant evening with the members of the Flathead Valley Friendship Force, many of whom are ‘Snowbirds’.
Then we left to enjoy another pleasant few hours with our hosts.
DATE: Friday 22 July FROM: Gay Glacier Park
We all had a great day today in Glacier Park, Montana. People set out at different times and did things in different
ways with their hosts. Lynda & Gay were impressed with Lake McDonald, so calm and scenic, a gorgeous view.
Then they drove straight up the mountain taking in the scenery on the way up, winding roads, rivers and creeks,
noticing the snow still on top of the mountains, an avalanche shoot and the damage done by the fires 12 year ago
creating sticks of trees. Many alpine flowers were in bloom including, goats beard, golden rods, fire weed and
bear grass. There are so many waterfalls and green scenes where grasses thrive and we see frozen snow peaks.
Lynda and Gay and others hiked on Logan’s Pass to the Hidden Lake, It was a bit treacherous walking across the
snow, Lynda developed the slow snow walk and she and Gay managed to get across quite a few snow patches,
but then were confronted by one that their host was not prepared to take and it did look pretty dangerous, so they
turned back and went off to enjoy a picnic lunch where they also ran into some other FF friends.
Ambassadors were shown lots of very scenic places like Birdwoman Falls, the weeping wall, Wild Goose Island
and Heaven's Peak to name a few. The Walk of the Cedars was so calming and in touch with nature, and here
Lynda and Gay also photographed the Avalanche Gorge rapids. At the McDonald Lodge they walked through to
the lake and noticed that the lake was now quite choppy since the little storm while they were driving there.
Other people saw different places such as Avalanche Lake, St Mary’s Visitors Centre, and various waterfalls and
lakes and walked and hiked various trails. Everyone agreed this was an Exchange highlight! A few stopped at
"The Huckleberry Patch" in Hungry Horse on the way back for Huckleberry icecream which was delicious.
Moose's Tavern for dinner was interesting with sawdust and peanut shells on the floor. A great day, a great night.
STOP PRESS – Margaret was the only ambassador who saw Grizzly Bears in the park
DATE: Saturday 23 July FROM: Florece Keen Rowland, Friendship Force Oklahoma A Day in Whitefish
Florece’s hosts Joann and Bob Sleadd are a very interesting couple. Bob is retired from the San Francisco Police
Dept. as a crime scene photographer. He instituted the way to take colored pictures for crime scenes instead of
just black and white. Joann is an artist, and some of us viewed her paintings in Big Fork. Bob takes pictures for
Joann to paint, which makes for a good combination of husband and wife. All our hosts actually had very different
backgrounds and stories to tell, their hospitality has been amazing.
Pricilla day hosted and picked up Florece to ride the Gondola to the top of White Fish Mt. Resort. Some hosts and
our ambassadors rode to the 6,000 ft. summit, looking out over the White Fish Mountain. The small museum had
pelts of different furs and examples of different animals found in this area.
We took some lovely photographs of the Alpine slide though none of us went down this way. The walk with the
museum guide was fun and educational as she named the alpine wild flowers. Some of us had lunch at the White
Fish Lodge, others at a Mexican Restaurant. Many went into the town of White Fish and did a little shopping.
Quite a few of us went to the Sculpture Center of the well-known Artist and Sculptor Sunti from Thailand. He has
so much talent and his work is unbelievable. The ‘Legends of the Americas Collection’ with sculptures of Chief
Joseph, Crazy Horse, Chief Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Chief Little Horse, Chief Crowfoot and more, were amazing, as
was a full size Buddhist Monk.
A variety of dinners and events concluded the day as well as just plain relaxing. Some energetic people went
dancing at the “Eagle”. We all had another good day and evening.
DATE: Sunday 24 July FROM: Pranom Scenic Raft Float and Lake Cruise
After another delicious breakfast we arrived at Glacier Raft Company in West Glacier. After a short bus trip we
donned a safety vest, grabbed a paddle and jumped into the raft and off we were on the Middle Fork of Flathead
River. Seven of us were in each raft with the guide. We had a leisurely paddle down the river, there were no
disasters, no one overboard and most people enjoyed their scenic float.
In the evening, ambassadors and hosts went on a lovely cruise on beautiful Flathead Lake. After a catered
supper, we were entertained by the band Tropical Marimba Montanas and commentary by the captain of our boat.
We all enjoyed our evening.
Pranom and Anna went home to some fantastic homemade organic ice cream made by our wonderful host
Valerie. Another perfect ending again amongst stunning scenery.
Date: Monday 25 July FROM: Lynda Bibler Gardens and Bison Ranch
We started our day at the home built by Louis A. (Sam) Bibler. Here in this hilltop garden, soil, water, and design
have been manipulated to create scenes of colour and beauty resulting in wonderful scenes of sweeping lawns,
fountains, water birds, bulbs and annuals. A wonderful location to eat our packed lunch.
After lunch we visited Spring Brook Ranch, where in the 1990’s Sam Bibler placed a conservation easement on
1,000 acres. Currently operated by Sam’s daughter Carol and her husband Jim, the ranch they now own, raises
bison and Tibetan yak. Here we enjoyed observing these wonderful creatures. The ED Gift was a donation made
though the ranch managers to the historical horseback trail under development in the mountains.
Dinner hosting at various places this evening completed another lovely day.
DATE: Tuesday 26 July FROM: Daphne
We woke up to another beautiful day in Kalispell. Today we're off to an Indian museum.
We all met at the Nazarene Church where 16 of us all boarded the bus, and off we went. Our first stop was a
quick view of the Conrad Mansion, which was restored by Sam Bibler with raised funds from the people of
Kalispell. This truly is a magnificent example of the architecture of its time.
The bus then took us along the lake front where we had the constant wonderful views of the Mission Mountains on
our left. We crossed onto the Flathead Reservation where we stopped at the Nine Pipes Museum to be met by
Bud Cheff our tour guide for the trip. Bud started his collection of Native Indian memorabilia when he was very
young and now has an extensive collection. When the collection got too big he opened the museum so that others
could also enjoy seeing all of his treasures. Bud it turns out, is one quarter American Indian Iroquois Mohawk. Bud
surprised us with a song and a little Indian dance to finish up the tour. A very delightful gentleman.
We entered and had a very satisfying lunch at the Nine Pipes Lodge next door, some taking great pictures of the
surrounding views. On our trip home we first stopped off at a cherry picking farm, where we all had our fill of
yummy cherries. Then it was off to Big Fork for a little shopping. Big Fork is a very quaint area renowned for its
arts. We departed the bus back at the church. Ron and Daphne took their hosts Vicky & Leland out for tea and on
the way home saw a balloon, so they became "balloon chasers" and followed it until it landed and they took many
photos. Another great day in Kalispell.
DATE: Wednesday 27 July FROM: Ron Wild Wings Bird Recovery Centre and Lunch
This morning we went to Wild Wings Bird Recovery Centre just outside Kalispell. The centre receives damaged
raptors and must release every bird that successfully recovers. It can keep permanently damaged birds as long as
they are used at least 12 times in educational talks. We sat in chairs in the sun as the volunteer handlers brought
around a variety of raptors so that we could see and photograph them close up. We saw the following raptors;
Arthur - ground nesting hawk Harley - Harland hawk Tica - snowy owl
We also saw - Duncan - red tail hawk, Katniss - Harris hawk, Sweeney - Swanson hawk, Homer - great grey owl,
Bentley - great horned owl, Spencer - barred owl, Igor - barn owl, Frank - northern Pygmy owl, Lacey - osprey
As you can see there was a great variety of raptors and everyone enjoyed the presentation.
We then went to lunch at Brenda and Jerry's country home. The grounds were lovely although no one would want
the lawn mowing job. We had a traditional 4th of July lunch - sausage in a bun, watermelon, beans and potato
salad. Desert was chocolate cake with ice cream.
We performed our skit and sang the friendship force song. Our hosts had nothing organised but did seem to enjoy
our performance. We left straight after eating as we were going out for tea.
For dinner our hosts took us to a friend’s house on a lake. We enjoyed a ride on the lake in a speed boat before
dinner. Some other neighbours joined us for dinner and we held a FF recruiting evening. We had just finished
dinner when a storm broke to give us a light and noise display. The power went out about 9.00pm and we were
told that this is not unusual - and that it would probably be off for 5 hours as that was usually the case. We were
done for the evening and so said our goodbyes and headed home. There was no shortage of deer sightings on
the trip home. We had a great day to finish off the exchange.
DATE: Thursday 28 July FROM: Margaret Kalispell to Calgary by Airport Shuttle
Boarding the comfortable bus at the Red Lion Inn at the Kalispell Mall for a respectable 10 am departure.
Drove along Hwy 2 around the south side of Glacier National Park through West Glacier, East Glacier and
Browning. Final glimpses of the beautiful USA Glacier National Park and the coninental divide before
merging into the Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada the far south of the Canadian Rocky Mountains
Border crossing Port of Piegan / Carway. We all exited the bus and were taken into the office for processing
by a very miserable lady, our challenge, to make her smile. Achieved! – who can resist 10 fun loving Aussies?
The beginning of Alberta farmland with colourful yellow Canola crops, some grain crops still green from
excessive summer rains this year and other crops almost ready to harvest. Magnificent wind generators seen
throughout the province. Short stop at Fort Macleod and onward to Calgary home of the 1988 Winter
Olympics – COP – Calgary Olympic Park.
Dropped Ron & Daphne at the International Hotel downtown, Gay with a 5W friend. Onwards to the Alma
Hotel at Calgary University for Anna, Geoff, Susan, Pranom & Margaret. Lynda & Glen met by 5W friends.
DATE: Monday 1 August FROM: Anna To Medicine Hat
Ten of us were picked up by Ace, our driver, and we all piled into our Prairie Shuttle with our luggage stowed in a
trailer behind the bus. We drove out through Calgary eastwards towards Medicine Hat. The scenery along the way
consisted mostly of prairie grassland. We stopped at Tim Hortens for a break and to buy some lunch to have later,
then off to the Badlands, a scenic panorama of hoodoos, pinnacles, coulees and buttes. It was fascinating
countryside for all.
Our next stop was Dinosaur Provincial Park , a UNESCO Heritage Site along the Red Deer River (just 90 mins
from MH), and situated in the largest area of the Badlands in Canada - and one of the richest sites in the world for
late Cretaceous fossils. Many people hike in this park. The Visitor Centre and Royal Tyrrell Museum Field Station
had a really great display of dinosaur and other vertebrate fossils and information. (Over 49 different species of
dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous Period - 75 million years ago - have been found in the park. Many other kinds
of animal fossils were also found here.)
We rewarded ourselves after a walk down the hill by having icecream, then drove back to Medicine Hat.
When we arrived at the Medicine Hat Visitor Centre about 4.30 pm, we were greeted by a banner welcoming us,
and some loud cheering. Heather and Bev Exchange Directors and our hosts were there to welcome us. It was a
wonderful feeling to be greeted like this.
Off we went with our hosts to get to know each other, have supper and settle in.
MEDICINE HAT NEWS……In mid-October 1907, the famous British writer Rudyard Kipling and his wife stopped
in Medicine Hat during their train trip across Canada. They toured the area, witnessed various events and
commented on what had impressed them. Referring to a natural gas flare that they had seen, Kipling was moved
to observe, ‘this part of the country seems like you have All Hell for a basement, and the only trap door appears to
be in Medicine Hat.’ (Medicine Hat News October 17, 1907)
DATE: Tuesday August 2 FROM: Geoff Hutterites, Etzicom and Potluck Dinner Welcome
Our first day started with some confusion and a long queue of cars roaming the Canadian prairie unsuccessfully
looking for our first stop, which was supposed to be the Hutterite colony of Silver Sage. In the end we gave up the
search and retreated to the Museum at Etzicom.
There we were treated to a magnificent display of historical objects ranging from animal skins through to a couple
of vintage petrol pumps displayed in an authentic setting. One notable exhibit was a series of player pianos which
our guide “played” including a rendition of “Hotel California”. Other displays included a wonderful display of dolls,
a hairdresser’s salon complete with an authentic barber’s chair, a replication of a 1900’s general store and a
period bedroom. The museum had also collected an amazing number of windmills ranging back over 100 years.
After a nice communal lunch we set off for the Hutterite colony, this time armed with more accurate
directions. The Hutterites can trace their way of life back to the 16 century and arrived in Canada about 100
years ago from Europe. They have a tenet of pacifism and live in structured communities that they call
colonies. We were met by Barbara and two young cousins in traditional costume who introduced us to one of the
“bosses” who then took us on a tour. We saw their workshops, gardens, school, dining hall and food storage. As
the tour progressed more ladies and children joined our group eager to show off their way of life and
The main impression of the colony was of an efficient and well managed group of families that were both self
contained and at the same time also able to mix with the rest of Canada. This colony was founded 1999 as a
division from another colony and today consisted of about 17 families. However their facilities were designed for
the future with a capacity for about 80 families - at which time the colony will be expected to split again to found a
new daughter colony. This forward thinking was evident in the farming equipment that they purchased, the
capacity of their infrastructure and the area of land that they own.
From there my hosts took me on a side trip to the Red Rock Coulee. A coulee is a small valley or gully and this
one was populated with large round red rocks of 2 meters or so in diameter. These rocks had been ground to
their round shape by a glacier thousands of years ago then exposed by natural erosion. The result was an
unusual sight in the middle of the Canadian prairie.
The day was completed with a welcome dinner (or “pot luck” supper in Canadian terminology) that was put on by
the Medicine Hat Friendship Force club. As part of the ceremony Margaret Walsh read out a letter from the Perth
Lord Mayor to the Mayor of Medicine Hat and his reply. Both clubs sang a stirring rendition of their national
anthems with our contingent helped by the powerful voice of Glen Green.
DATE: Wednesday August 3 FROM: Glen Stations of The Cross, MH Council, Thermal Berms
Today dawned drizzly and cooler than we had so far experienced. We were privileged to be taken on a tour, by
FF member George Kambeitz, of “The Stations of the Cross”, brick artworks designed and created by Jim
Marshall, a local artist who started his career providing Black and White Sketches for the Alberta Government.
His Brick designs are cut while the bricks are still soft and, as well as these magnificent depictions of Christ’s last
earthly journey, there are many of Jim’s works around the city and State.
We were also permitted entry into St Pat’s Church, an edifice built entirely
of concrete poured on site but, with an internal wooden ceiling which was
installed in more recent times and above which are the original high
After leaving the Church grounds we were welcomed by the Mayor
of Medicine Hat where our ED and the Mayor unveiled a
Friendship Force Plaque, strategically placed on the wall of the public relaxation area of
a strikingly modern City Hall.
After being shown the Mayor’s office overlooking the River, and enjoying lunch in that
same area, a former councillor, Mr Les Pearson, provided us
with a lengthy tour including the Council Chamber. Les spoke to
us of how Medicine Hat owns all the utilities and develops land and
how all residents must vote in Council elections.
He told us it is a Retirement City and also has a high
number of low paid workers. The city has had to
shoulder the responsibility for the restoration of
4500 Gas Leases which have been
abandoned since the Gas Price dropped. An
interesting fact about the Province of Alberta is that it has NO RATS.
Initially, it was a huge undertaking because Alberta covers a very large
area. Rats were declared a pest in 1950 by the Alberta government and
the extermination program started in 1951. Medicine Hat has a full time Rat
Patrol which keeps the city rat free despite being situated in the midst of Crop
With the weather being unkind, we were unable to see the Thermal Berms or Dykes which the city has erected in
strategic places around the river. Les instead spoke to us of how 1 in 10 people had been severely affected by
several large floods and many businesses had to shut down, including the Brickworks which now house a
museum. The Berms or dykes have been built with safety concepts including erosion control blankets,
reinforcement mats and waste evacuation components and are large earthworks rising to above the 100year
water levels of the floods. Les was able to join us for lunch and also for the Farewell Dinner held 7 August at the
Medicine Hat Golf Course.
DATE: Thursday August 4 FROM: Anna Medalta Pottery, Teepee Building, Esplanade Museum
A lovely fine day in Medicine Hat started with a tour of Medalta Stoneware (Pottery), and our guide Alex showed
us around this old factory which was once state of the art. From the time it was built in 1912, it was expanded and
upgraded to keep up with demand, changing products and to take advantage of new technology. Medalta's
beehive kilns were based on medieval designs. We noticed little archways which were where the fire entered the
kiln via a large gas pipe, temperatures reaching 1,400 degrees F (hot enough to make a penny evaporate!). The
jigger machine was purchased used, in 1912 (mechanised interpretation of the traditional potters wheel). The
whole firing cycle took about two weeks from loading the kiln to cooling and unloading. This is a fascinating old
factory and museum, and only a limited number of pottery reproductions are being made here today.
Next to Police Point Park where the Perth Ambassadors had lots of fun constructing a teepee with guidance from
Valerie. We also learnt about the differences between a Blackfoot teepee that had four main poles to start with
and a Cree teepee that had three main poles. Normally our teepee would have 19 poles but we put up 12. Thank
goodness, as there was more hilarity than work being achieved. Next came the canvas instead of buffalo hides
and the inside hides and blankets. Of course we celebrated with an inside pow wow! Actually the First Nations
People only used the inside of the teepee for sleeping and there was often a small fire in the centre.
We had roasted Weiner sausages for lunch and the MHFF ladies put on another lovely spread of food which was
enjoyed by all. Toasted marshmallows and watermelon completed the meal.
We then went downtown to the Esplanade Museum and Archives, opened in 2005. This houses an Art Gallery
and Theatres as well, and cares for more than 25,000 artefacts, over 600,000 and millions of documents which
chronicle the evolution of the community. We particularly enjoyed hearing about the Blackfeet and Chief Crowfoot,
and the recent history of these First Nation People. An exhibition dedicated to the Canadian Forces Base and
Defence Research Suffield was also interesting here, as well as the old artefacts.
A quick tour of next door Duggan House built in 1886 completed the official part of the day.
We could then relax at the Medalta Markets for the evening, and most of us started off there. Later, some of us
enjoyed a lovely dinner at 'The Local' in the city.
DATE: Friday August 5 FROM: Susan Greenhouse, Red Hat Co-Op, Bowling.
This morning we went to Westland Green House in Red Cliff for a guided tour. Ralph Van Dam local owner
showed us through and explained how the green house is operated. It is a family business. Ralph explained how
the tomatoes are grown, coconut fibre and synthetic chemicals being used to aid growth. Bumble bees are bred
for pollination. We were given a taste of the cherry and Roma tomatoes. They did taste so nice! Lettuce greens
grew around the outside pipes near the tomatoes.
Further down from the tomatoes were rows and rows of egg plants and peppers. Workers are used in shifts. The
produce has to be graded by machine and the packaging is done manually. We were also shown the cool room.
The boxes of produce are loaded onto trucks ready to go to the distribution site e.g. Red Hat.
We then proceeded to Red Hat Co-op where the produce is sent to. We met our guide, donned a cap over our
heads and were told to follow her. We were requested not to take photographs. Red Hat is the central packaging,
marketing and distribution facility for independently owned greenhouses.
The packaging facility uses packaging lines, with a combination of manual and automated systems. Produce
brought in boxes or need to be boxed and packed as specified. They were shipped all over Canada, and to
Mexico and the USA.
We had lunch at Tops Pizza. After lunch we went to a very small lawn bowling club and Sandy Morris gave us a
few instructions. We were divided into teams of three and competed in the hot sun. There was much laughter as
the bowls went all over the place in some cases. A few of us appeared a bit unfit!
Some like me, needed a short nap before getting ready to go for the Ambassador and Host supper at Paradise
Valley. We met Margaret with her host, Pam. Daphne and Ron with their host joined us. Susan ordered salmon
with rice and vegetables and had a satisfying supper as did all the others. Dessert was ice cream at Tim Horton’s.
Geoff and Anna and hosts went to the local baseball game where the Medicine Hat team the Mavericks
won. Dinner was 'Taco in a Bag' - most interesting. This was another lovely day in Medicine Hat for all.
DATE: Saturday August 6 NAME: Gay Prairie Gleaners & Cream Can Corn Roast
The first activity today was a visit to Prairie Gleaners. This organisation is an amazing charity organisation that
makes dehydrated soup packs for the needy of the world. They depend on donated vegetable food resources,
and have their regular donors who fulfil all the requirements, then volunteers who cut the vegetables ready to go
into the choppers and then onto trays which slide into large racks which are then sent into the hydrators and dried
out completely leaving almost all the nutrients. They are bagged so that each bag (approx. 1 kg) will make 25
litres of vegetable soup by just adding water, and full instructions and contents are printed on the bag. These are
sent to selected charity organisations that then send it to disaster struck places and to starving people.
We all worked for 2 hours cutting vegetable bad bits and stems off, dropping them into bins for the next step. It did
feel quite rewarding.
Lunch was at the food court where we could choose from a selection of venues, we managed to find a section
where we could all sit together.
The afternoon was free time until we met again at Echo Dale Park for a Cream Can Corn Roast. This roast is
done in the old-fashioned cream cans over a fire pit in the park. Then, the food was ready, so the organisers
opened one can and it showed a selection of smoky sausages, then onions and capsicums, then on the bottom
some corn still in the husks. When the second can was opened it exploded and the top layers of food went all
over, but more seriously burnt the arm of the guy who was opening the can. We hoped his injury is not too bad.
(We found out later he had treatment in hospital and all is well). Anyway, we ate too much again then had a
contest, looking for signs and identifying objects around the lake. At least that walked off a bit of the excess.
DATE: Sunday August 7 Lynda & Pranom The Butterfly House and Farewell Supper.
It is obvious this location has been created by people that love the beauty of nature. By simply walking through
the Butterfly House door you are transported to a tropical climate, where you are surrounded by tropical plants,
landscaped fish pools and beautiful, exotic butterflies. The Owl Butterfly seen here was fascinating in its
appearance. It’s life cycle being that after 22 days it hatches from the egg to become a caterpillar for 60 days,
then forms a chrysalis for 22-30 days. As an adult it survives about 22 days.
There are many beautiful butterflies and plants to enjoy here. The staff are very enthusiastic and prepared to take
the time to share their knowledge. Should you ever be in this area I suggest you take the opportunity to enjoy this
location. Afterward you can also enjoy a refreshing ice-cream as you browse the items for sale.
This visit was on our last day in Medicine Hat and added beauty to a very enjoyable itinerary
The Farewell supper started at 5.30 pm at the Medicine Hat Golf Course. We had a lovely meal again. Line
dancing was included in the entertainment. Our ambassadors had a good time and participated in the Line
dancing, singing our National Anthem and the FF Song. Our Skit was again very well appreciated. Each
Ambassador received a small album with photographs taken of them or the group during our time here. What a
lovely surprise, the Club really looked after us very well.
The ED Gift was a donation to the Fort McMurray Bushfire and Flood appeal and many of our host club were very
moved by this gesture as many had families affected.
Every one enjoyed the evening and there were many hugs with the hosts and the members of Friendship Force of
Medicine Hat. We were very impressed with the team work of Medicine Hat throughout our time here
A wonderful Exchange – possibly one of the best according to the more travelled Ambassadors
DATE: Monday August 8
All Ambassadors departed Medicine Hat today. Most of us went via Vancouver for a few days and then off home.
Gay and Geoff, Ron & Daphne and Margaret travelled on to various places in Canada and the US.