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Michiel Gijsberts

Michael Gijsberts - President

Michael started his career in Holland at the Taxation Office in Eindhoven. After his migration to Australia in 1957 he was employed by a company, packaging Christmas cards, where he remained for 25 years, ending up as warehouse manager. After that he owned and operated a newsagency / post office for 3 years. The next move was back to Holland for a few years, where he worked in the printing department of Philips in Eindhoven. Having arrived back in Australia he commenced working in 1987 at the Netherlands Consulate General in Melbourne, where he became the Chancellor and Passport Administrator. In 1999, because of closure of the Consulate General, Michael went into early retirement. Michael married Marianne in 1966. They have 2 children and 5 grandchildren.

To contact Michael, phone: 0419 549 376 or email: houdoe@netspace.net.au

Alfons Alfons Melenhorst - Vice President

Alfons and his wife Betty migrated to Australia in 1989. In Holland, Alfons owned a retail nursery and a landscape/paving business in Krim, a town in the province of Overijssel. He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce in De Krim, as well as a member of the ‘Welzijnsraad’ (Welfare Council), of that town. In Australia they settled in the Latrobe Valley, where Alfons again started a landscape/paving business, whilst Betty went to work as a radiographer at the local hospitals, which was also her profession in Holland. For a number of years, Alfons was a committee member and the ground manager of the Holland Festival. When that finished, he became involved with the Dutch Club Abel Tasman, first as a volunteer and in 2015 as a committee member. He loves reviving and making old and traditional Dutch games, which have become popular at Dutch Festivals, Family Days, etc. He is also a keen soccer fan.

To contact Alfons, phone: 0418 512 369 or email:

Monica deKnecht Diane Read- Secretary

Diane first attended the Abel Tasman Dutch Club at a dusk to dawn Klaverjas card drive 30 years ago with her parents Rita and Peter Van Benthem who have been long standing members of the Club. Diane has volunteered as bar staff at the Kermis with her parents, and at the Abel Tasman for functions and dance nights over the last 10 years. Professionally Diane worked for Qantas for 23 years and held a Management position in the Cabin Crew Department. She has since been working for Embelton for the past 7 years as the Executive Assistant and also manages the office and customer service team. Her community involvement included; Auskick Administrator, Team Manager for junior football and School Council President for 10 years, and these days volunteers on the phones at the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal. Diane has been married to Darren for 30 years and they have two sons.

To contact Diane, phone: 0413 189 445 or email: diread2011@hotmail.com

Tony NyhuisTony Nyhuis - Caretaker/Maintenance

Tony was born in Hengelo, Holland on 1st November 1935. He migrated to Australia and arrived here on 4th September 1958. Being a painter in Holland, he continued in this trade in Australia. It didn’t take long for Tony to become and/or stay involved with various organisations in and around Melbourne. Rotary for 35 years, Probus for 40 years, Dutch Carnaval Club for 18 years, Melbourne Tukkers Clog dancers for 15 years. Holland Festival committee for 12 years to name but a few. In 2003 he joined the Dutch Club Abel Tasman and soon became a committee member. He then became the Caretaker and Maintenance Manager of the Club. In that capacity he was instrumental in the renewing of the facility and has overseen a complete renovation of the building from 2005 till 2011.

To contact Tony, phone: 03 5941 5738 / 0418 561 920 or email: a.tnyhuis@bigpond.com

Mauro Affinata -
Bar Manager / Club Manager

Mauro is the Bar Manager / Club Manager and takes care of bookings.

To contact Mauro, email:



Jan BylstraJan Bylstra - acting Treasurer

Jan became a member of the committee in 2017. He and his wife Mieke migrated to Melbourne in 1972. They have 3 children all born in Melbourne. As an electronical engineer Jan had various positions in the telecommunications industry, including Telstra, and is now retired. He has been a member of the Erasmus Foundation committee in various capacities from 1995 - 2005 and again from 2011 to the present. He is now the convenor of the Erasmus Foundation, which became part of the Dutch Club Abel Tasman in 2016.

To contact Jan, phone: 9807 3170 / 0419 528 250 or email: jbylstra@telsource.com.au

Gerda VellingaGerda Vellinga - Committee Member

Gerda came to Australia in 1987 with her (Irish) husband. In the Netherlands ,Gerda worked as a Secretary at the United Glassworks in Schiedam, also her place of birth. Gerda and her husband lived in a few countries before he was offered a job with BHP Petroleum and settled in Melbourne, where Gerda started voluntary work within a week of arrival for Amnesty International. Her 2 children were both born in Melbourne within the first 3 years and are now adults. Gerda first started coming to the Abel Tasman Club when she became involved with Dutch Radio and is now frequently seen at lunches, happy hours and other events. Gerda became a Library Technician and worked for 12 years in a public library and 12 years in a school library. She retired from work in December 2017. She also still likes to do voluntary work as she has done all the years she’s lived here. Gerda has been a life guard amongst other things and is often seen on the beach with her dog. She is also an avid bird watcher and loves bush walking.

To contact Gerda, phone: 0409 598 728 or email:

Kirsten McStea - Committee Member

Paul GubbelsPaul Gubbels - Past Treasurer (in memoriam)

The beloved and respected Treasurer of the Dutch Club Abel Tasman, Paul Gubbels, passed away peacefully on 23 November 2019. Paul was born in 1942 in Tegelen (Limburg) as the third of eight children and the family migrated to Australia in 1953 when he was 10 years of age. Paul believed that it was a special time, as almost everything in his life changed in a very short space of time. Language, culture, food, school, friends, climate and so much more. Originally the family spent some time in the Pater Maas Hostel in Daylesford, then travelled to Devereux Creek (near Mackay in Qld) for the cane season, then back to Hepburn Springs and Daylesford, eventually settling in Springvale in 1956. His secondary education was at St Bede’s Mentone and his working life comprised working at market gardens when still at school then working in a factory for a year before being employed as a clerk with Kelly and Lewis in Springvale, while commencing his accounting studies. He was a CPA and had worked in accounting for most of his life. He was married to Fay and had 4 children and 8 grandchildren. Fot the Dutch Club Abel Tasman he was an outstanding Treasurer for 12 years. Together with some long standing and dedicated committee members and some more recent ones, Paul was a very important part of that committee. Prior to becoming member of the Abel Tasman Club Paul fulfilled a similar role as Treasurer for the Holland Festival and the Dutch Courier. Paul has been an active figure in the Dutch Community and will be sadly missed.