What a weekend!
The Expo was a great success. It was fabulous seeing more than 500 visitors roll through the doors on Saturday. I’m sure all visitors gained valuable information about renewable energy, recycling and waste reduction. Most exhibitors I spoke to told me that they were kept busy with questions, inquires and sales. General feedback from visitors was it was a great day, and thanks to Rotary for organising the event. Our local Federal Member Dr Mike Kelly was very impressed with the Expo and thanked Rotary for having the foresight to coordinate it. A big thank you to all exhibitors and sponsors for their generous support.
The dinner and forum on Saturday night was also informative with a good turnout of Rotarians and community members to listen to highly qualified speakers. Once again thanks to Frank Eden, John Doyle, Chris O’Brien, Sandra Doyle, Angie Ulrichsen and Laurelle Pacey for their fantastic organisation of the Expo.
Of course, there was no rest on Sunday with a busy market leading up to Christmas. With the approach of summer, the last markets before Christmas and a fine day, we had the biggest turn out of stallholders for some time, and the crowds turned up to try and seek out a bargain. Thanks to Chis O’Brien, John Doyle and their hard-working helpers who made it all happen. (Gross market takings gate $1,180, van $710.10, wishing well $57.20.)
This Thursday is our Italian night. The cost is $25.00 for a two-course meal. It should be a great night with an excellent guest speaker. Carmel Mackin will entertain us with her presentation ‘Italy from Toe to Top’. Carmel first came into contact with Italy and the Italian language over 40 years ago. However, it is only more recently that her love for both developed, via two extended trips to the land of La Dolce Vita.
Have a great week.
The Week that Was
International toast: Having recently returned from Alaska, Rod Walker proposed our international toast last week to one of four Rotary Club’s in Alaska’s capital Juneau – the RC of Juneau-Gastineau. It’s a breakfast Club of 45 members who meet on a Thursday.
Last Thursday our guest speaker Mark Hemmingsen of Electric Vehicles Canberra, also an Expo exhibitor, focussed us on ‘all things sustainable’. He spoke of Canberra’s potential to become the electric vehicle (EV) capital of Australia, noting new developments in Canberra will have charging points for EV. He said EV’s advantages included being cheaper to run, fast and powerful, reliable, convenient (can refuel at home), required less maintenance because fewer moving parts to break, not being oil dependent and environmentally friendly.
First the Expo
The expo got off to a good start on Saturday with people trying to get in before the official start at 10. It was soon evident we would have quite a busy day.
Thanks to our trusty ‘gatekeepers’, no one got in through the door without divulging their postcode; from that we could monitor numbers plus where people were from. About 500 people came on Saturday, 87% of them were from Batemans Bay to Eden. Last year we estimated about 600 people over two days. On analysis of postcode numbers as a proportion of recorded 486 entries: Bodalla/Narooma/Bermagui 57%, Moruya/Batemans Bay 22%, Bega to Eden 8%, Yass/ACT/Queanbeyan 4%. The remaining 9% came from Shoalhaven/Illawarra, Sydney, elsewhere in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia.
Our local Federal Member Dr Mike Kelly who officially opened the Expo was very impressed with the Expo. He said the economic reasons for getting behind the push to renewable energy are ‘overwhelming’, noting ‘it’s about our children’s future’. ‘There’s great world leading stuff happening in Eden Monaro,’ he said, but lamented so much Australian-designed renewable energy technology was being taken up overseas rather than in Australia.’ He believes the Eden-Monaro area had the potential for being the flagship for Australia with renewable energy driven by grassroots’ movements.
Dr Kelly also presented prizes to Narooma Public School students who won the poster competition around improved garbage bin lid designs for the school playground. This was a huge success with the kids, thanks to Sandra and teacher Michelle Symons.
Then the Expo Forum
The Renewable Energy Forum at Club Narooma on Saturday night featured three expert speakers in front of about 60 people, fewer than last year. Mark Shorter of Eurobodalla Shire Council spoke of ‘these exciting times’ of an ‘energy revolution’ with homes at the heart of this revolution. Solar, he said, was the most viable renewable source in our area after going through the possibilities of each source in this area. By the end of this year, Council will have installed more than 700kW of solar power capacity at 27 council facilities. Council is investigating the potential of large scale solar farms in the shire as well as methane and biogas harvesting from Council’s landfills and sewage facilities.
Kylie Hitchman from ClearSky Solar Investments said ‘there is no holding back renewable energy projects’ and that it was possible to generate 100% of our energy from renewables. She added that increased energy efficiency and energy storage were also part of the equation, and the grid was still essential. ‘We’re seeing more control of power generation at the community level often by community groups partnering with council’, and spoke about investment possibilities in projects around Australia, returning 6-10% p.a.
Richard Kirkwood from Divall’s Earthmoving and Bulk Haulage in Goulburn outlined his company’s commitment to sustainable practices which have minimal impact on the environment, and to solar projects including for their own business and four solar farms. The diverse arms to Divalls and how they originated were quite fascinating. Divalls employs more than 200 people full time and is the largest employer in the Goulburn area outside of the Council.
A word from our Expo coordinator Frank…
Wow! I am so happy the Expo has been such a success and that’s down to everyone who helped out, including on the day. I would especially like to thank Laurelle for publicity, Rachel for her great graphic designs, Angie for her efforts with sponsors and her enthusiasm, Chris for organising the sponsors and the dinner (which was scrumptious), Sandra for her terrific Facebooking and John who acted as facilities manager. Tim Dolstra did an even better job than last year putting together an amazing promotional video.
Michael took charge of the sale of the solar lights [approx $1,000 raised] and word has it that he has been offered a job by one of the exhibitors. Bob Aston kept us all in line and focussed, and delivered a very good speech or two. Finally thanks to David for some entertaining MCing.
Our sponsors and exhibitors deserve special praise. Without their support we could not run the expo.
Postscript from Victoria
Former Narooma Rotarian Ian Thomlinson was inducted into his old Rotary Club of Warrandyte in Victoria this week, having moved back to Victoria earlier this year. Congratulations Ian.
Ian is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Narooma and a former Assistant Governor and a greatly respected Club ‘statesman’. Ian and Micki always added a lot of fun to Club events (Ian’s role as the Christmas Fairy being a highlight), and they are missed by all who knew them.