Short words by Bob Ant

Hi everyone,

Today (Monday 26th) was a celebration of Jack Wightman’s life. The assembled crowd heard from his son a very moving and personal description of his life. It was good to see some old faces, members from Moruya and Batemans Bay clubs and two representatives of North Rocks in Sydney. The Rotary presence was large and thank you to members and their partners for your support. The guard of honour was a fitting tribute.

Much thanks also goes to Frank and John Doyle for collecting the masses of Rotary stuff that Jack was minding. To the florist (opp the Kinema) who made a beautiful arrangement for us.

On Sunday I was absent fro the Markets, due to another commitment, and to all that were able to help out, congratulations for a great job.

The sad news on Friday of the passing of George Barker hit hard. George was a founding member of our club and a wonderful man who gave to the community, his family and to all who knew him. George’s funeral is this Friday at the Anglican Church in Tilba Street, Narooma at 2pm.

Take care

Bob Antill 0400 104 731


Beacon 15th October 2015

short note by bob ant

This week we are off on an adventure to Moruya on Wednesday evening. I will send out a bus time table for everyone tonight when numbers are known, let Anthony know today please (Monday 12th Oct).
Last week our guest speaker was author Peter Smith. This night could not have been possible without the enthusiasm of Laurelle to organise, publicise and find such an interesting speaker. Thank you Laurelle.

Yesterday I was able to get Radar out onto the water to look at oyster farming in the inlet. My thanks to Charles for explaining the process to Radar.

Our thoughts are with Michael and Donna as they take their last visit to Michael’s sister in WA.

On the 12th of November we are meeting at the Kinema for End Polio fundraiser and the premiere of the new James Bond Movie, a great movie and should be a great night, thank you to Chris for organising it and for John and Janette for their support.

Have a great week



The Clarke Gang – Murderous Thugs or Larrikins?

Peter Smith on the Clarke Gang

The Clarke gang was arguably one of the most troublesome of all the bush ranging gangs, yet most people haven’t heard of them.

Why? Author Peter Smith has dealt expertly with this and many other interesting issues in his new book, The Clarke Gang – Outlawed, Outcast and Forgotten.

Peter Smith holding a gun owned by a member of the Clarke Gang
Peter Smith holding a gun owned by a member of the Clarke Gang

Peter summarised some of the key points at last Thursday night’s meeting.

With roots in the unrest caused by the colonial system, the bushrangers initially had a lot of community support as they were seen to be active against the system.  Plus, the “bad guys” were better horsemen and better at bush survival, and often embarrassed the authorities who were trying to catch them, all of which went down well with the locals.

In addition, the police force didn’t exist as such – instead there were disparate systems, eg the town constables were under the control of the magistrates. Eventually the police force as we know it today was created – the NSW police force, with a mandate to wage war against the villains.

One of the worst acts by the bushrangers against the police was near Braidwood when four policemen were murdered.  This, together with other changes saw the bushrangers lose some of their community support.  In 1855 the Felons Act came into being, at which point bushrangers lost all rights, they could be shot on sight, giving them the same status as mad dogs.  Rewards were posted; four and five thousand pounds – a significant amount of money in those times.

So they became outcasts.

The Clark Gang, when they were finally caught, had a one day trial, and were then hanged.

“You young men have now received the last sentence of the law.

“You will pass from the world as felons, convicts, bushrangers and I very much fear, murderers.”.

Someone organised a petition protesting against their execution but it only raised eighty-five signatures, and so ended the lives of the members of the Clarke Gang

A highlight of the talk was when Peter reached into his bag and produced a revolver, number 170, owned by Pat O’Connell, a member of the gang.  He waved it about much to the consternation of those sitting close!

An interesting speaker, Peter kept the large audience of Rotarians and visitors hanging on his every word.

News from the North

Ted Bladwell sends his regards. These days Ted lives where the weather is a bit warmer, but offered the opinion that he regrets leaving. Ted has a stack of old newsletters – please send them, Ted! If any other members or ex-members have copies, please send them to Frank so he can plug the gaps.

News from Overseas

via John Rungen

Rotary and “ONE”, an international advocacy organization, joined other partners in downtown Chicago on 24 September to demonstrate a commitment to ending extreme poverty and inequality and to promoting action on climate change on the eve of the United Nations launch of its Sustainable Development Goals.

Their ambitious goals constitute a road map for finding solutions to the world’s most pressing problems, and dovetail with Rotary members’ work to create positive change in their communities and around the world. As dusk fell over Chicago, participants in the Under One Sky event held up blue lights transforming the plaza where they were gathered into a field of fireflies to #LightTheWay to a more just world.

“This is a great opportunity for people to network and join an event where we are all focused on creating a better world” said Cheryl McIntyre, president of the Rotary Club of Chicago.


Beacon 8th October 2015

2015-10-04 - Radar playing Erhu
The Erhu, played for us by Radar

The Erhu  is a two-stringed bowed instrument , sometimes known in the West as the “Chinese violin” or a “Chinese two-stringed fiddle”.  Radar, our Rotary exchange student gave us a masterful rendition.One could easily imagine the Mongolian horses galloping across the Steppes.

Peter has returned from his travels abroad, but unfortunately his camera failed to return with him.  It is still languishing in the lost property section of DB at the Hamburg Bahnhof.  I will not attempt to retell the Pythonesque series of events involving dodgy international transactions, delivery of dangerous goods and a helpful native called Helga, you need to hear these things first hand, so if you did not attend the meeting last Thursday – make sure you interrogate Peter next time you see him.

Michael is in training to walk across the planet.  He has a madcap scheme to walk from Perth to the South Pole next year to raise money for his school building project in Africa – more info on that in due course.



A short note note by bob ant.

Well we survived the last great Southern Blues Festival.  Thank you one and all for your contribution to making this a great boost to our fundraising efforts. We made over $5,000 gross and I feel it should be more than $3,000 net.

This will boost our fundraising and help toward a good local cause. This is why we are in Rotary, service to the community and hopefully having some fun on the way.

Again thank you all for your efforts, see you on Thursday night …. bring ten friends !!

Cheers – Bob

Archived newsletters

Bob has been rummaging in the dark recesses of his computer and found some old copies of the Beacon, which have now been organised and uploaded to the website.  To find them, click on News, scroll to the bottom, click on Older Posts and again scroll to the bottom.

Why is it useful to have all the old newsletters available?

Well lets assume you remember that Mr Armstrong paid a visit, but would like to know when that was. You could enter this into the Google search box:


and find that he paid a visit on 3rd July 2014.   The “site” bit just tells Google to restrict results to just those for our website. Too easy!

BUT there are significant gaps – prior to 2009 and between 2011-07-07 and 2014-06-06.   If anyone has copies of the newsletter from this period, please send them to me, or put them on a USB stick.  If you only have paper copies,  I will scan them.

Cheers – Frank