Dubbo Australia Day Awards – Cultural Person of the Year

O Weyand

Olaf Weyand has played a significant role in the nurturing of Cultural Life within Dubbo and the surrounding areas since his arrival in the district from The Netherlands in 1951. His love of music, photography and many other cultural pursuits is evident in his service to the Dubbo Community.

The purchase of a flute from Mawbey’s Music in Dubbo in the early 1970’s, sparked a need for lessons and so the inspiration for community musical workshops was born. Olaf pursued this idea until it became the Orana School of Music. His participation in the inception of The Orana School of Music is well documented; with Olaf’s continued involvement, the Orana School of Music grew to become a vibrant part of the Dubbo Community. The School opened permanent accommodation in Depot Rd in 1987, where discussions began with the Department of Education to finally develop the community based School of Music into the Macquarie Conservatorium in 1996. The Conservatorium moved to the current premises in 2003. Olaf Weyand’s dream of affordable and accessible music lessons for all, continues to inspire musicians of all ages. Olaf continues to serve on the Board of the Macquarie Conservatorium, to this day, after approximately 45 years. In 2015, a very generous donation from Olaf and his wife, Jane, has ensured the annual “Weyand Senior Woodwind Scholarship” for future generations.

In 1956, Olaf Weyand learnt to fly a Tiger Moth aeroplane and in 1959 began over 12 years with Davey Air Services as the Chief Pilot. In true community spirit, Olaf flew in the Sydney to London and Return Air Race in 1969; sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat and the Royal Aero Club of Sydney.  From his love of flying and his commitment to the community, he established AirLink Airline in 1974, which went on to be an integral part of the culture of the Dubbo Region, eventually becoming part of Regional Express (REX) Airlines. Olaf became involved in photographing the region from the air in his time as owner and Chief Pilot of AirLink.

Also during this timeframe, Olaf instigated the idea of on Orchestra for Dubbo. After 2 to 3 years of groundwork, a connection with the then Head of the Woodwind Department of the NSW Conservatorium, Neville Thomas, and an initial public meeting of 40 interested musicians, the Orchestra was born in 1977.

In 2003 Olaf contacted the new Dubbo Artz Committee and became an active supporter in the lobbying of Dubbo City Council for a tiered theatre for the city. His tireless enthusiasm for this venture, knowledge of the cultural community and unlimited support of the Dubbo Artz Executive ensured the eventual success of this community based impetus for the proposed tiered theatre.

In 2009, Olaf published the story of his early life up to the end of World War II – “The Promise of the Shells”.  An extremely inspirational autobiographical account; Olaf is now working on the sequel, which continues with his life, post-World War II, his immigration to Australia and his life in Dubbo and the surrounding area.

Olaf Weyand, youngest son of renowned Dutch Artist Jaap Weyand, who was greatly influenced by fellow Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, grew up in the shadow of Nazi occupied Holland, but never lost sight of his love of cultural pursuits instilled in him by a family thoroughly influenced by music, literature, poetry, languages, theatre and art. He brought this with him when he immigrated to Australia and has continued to inspire his chosen community with this love of all things cultural, to this day.  Olaf is a much loved and respected member of the cultural and broader community of Dubbo.

The Cultural Person of the Year Award, awarded for the first time on the 26 January 2016, was instigated and lobbied for by the Dubbo Cultural Forum. The need to recognise the art/cultural community alongside the very worthwhile citizenship and sporting awards, was recognised by the Dubbo City Council in 2015 and installed as an annual Australia Day Award in 2016.

The Dubbo Artz Committee offer delighted and sincere congratulations to Olaf, as the recipient of the Inaugural Cultural Person of the Year 2016, Dubbo Australia Day Awards.

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