J. Joosten

John Joosten was born on the 23rd May 1940 in Brunssum Holland, while his father Gerhard Joosten, sergeant in the Dutch army was a P.O.W in Neubrandenburg Germany.In 1965 John started work for the interior decorator company ‘De Oude Zon’ (The Old Sun). This is where he learned his trade as a carpet and lino-layer, as well as upholsterer.

In 1963 John was invited to an inaugural meeting to set up a youth group in Our Lady of Fatima Parish Brunssum. This is where John’s life changed forever, for at that meeting he met his future wife Mia Lagerwaard.

On August 6th 1965 they married in the Our Lady of Fatima Church, in their hometown Brunssum.

In June of ‘71 the Joosten family John, Mia and daughters Jenny and Petra left Holland on the Greek ship ‘SS Australis” and arrived in Sydney in July.

On the first Sunday in Australia the whole family went with Tina Wildenburg to the AGM of the CDMA.

(Catholic Dutch Migrant Association).

John has not willingly missed any AGM after that and has been an active member over the years.

John also got involved in the Sunrise Choral Society as a singer and soon (and for the next 30 years) became president. He made sure that every year this choir was present and singing for the members of the CDMA at their AGM and in 1986 John received life membership from the CDMA NSW for outstanding services rendered.

After living at the East Hills hostel the family moved to Hoxton Park, whilst in Hoxton Park, Mia opened her house to elderly Dutchies for coffee mornings and would do that again in St Marys.

In 1981 the idea for a NSW Holland Festival was born, John and three other people started to organize and in 1982 the first Festival was held. It later became known as the biggest event ever organized in NSW for the Dutch Australian Community. The NSW Holland Festival in Fairfield made a huge profit and it was then that John started lobbying the Federation of Netherlands Societies for a Dutch Australian retirement Village in the Western Suburbs. The aim of having that Festival was decided, and now there is a Dutch-Australian Retirement Village in Chester Hill “The Abel Tasman Village”.

In 1978 the Rembrandt Dutch Club was formed in the Industrial Area in St Marys and when John and Mia moved to St Marys in 1980 he soon got involved in the organization of the club.

In 1985 John with the help of his brother Harry, started the Rembrandt Choir, now known as the Great Western Male Choir.

John being self-employed was also involved in the Chamber of Commerce. In 1986-87 he was Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce.

In late eighties-early nineties John was involved in the establishment of the NSW Male Choir Association. And is still involved with the now Australian Male Choir Association.

In November 2001 at the AGM of the Federation of Netherlands Societies, John was presented with the Anton Kool Award for special services to the Dutch Community.

In 2002 John and Mia took over the organization of the Senior Holidays.

On Wednesday 26th April 2006, at the Rembrandt Club St Marys the Birthday of Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands was celebrated with a luncheon, for members and their guests and also for the aged friends from The Abel Tasman Village.

The Rembrandt Male Choir sang the Dutch and Australian anthems as well as a variety of songs fitting this special occasion. The Consul General Mrs Margarita Bot surprised everyone by presenting, in name of the Queen of the Netherlands, ‘The Membership of Oranje Nassau’ to the president of the Rembrandt Club Mr John Joosten.

In 2008 John joined the committee of the Nepean Multicultural Access and became President in 2009.

John was elected Chairman of the Federation of Netherlands Societies in 2010