Welcome to the second half of the 2019/20 Rotary Year
The fires that have impacted our beautiful south coast community have changed all of us forever. I know we are all greatly saddened when we drive up and down the highway and see the devastation caused to historic towns such as Mogo and Cobargo as well as our stunning national parks and forests. In all of this, we have been very lucky especially when we hear heartfelt stories of homes and properties destroyed. Fortunately to date none of us have had to experience the loss of our home and valued possessions.
At the Evacuation Centre: On 31 December, Rotary and Lions responded to calls to prepare and cook food for all those arriving at the evacuation centre. It was a mammoth task, cooking for thousands of people initially before the job was taken over by others as numbers needing feeding were reduced. Supplies seemed to come from nowhere with local businesses large and small donating food and other goods, especially when the power failed. Sometimes the only food we had to cook were a few sausages from someone’s freezer, while at other times were serving up fillet steak, chicken and fish. It shows that when the chips are down the community rallies and responds. Some of our Rotarians continued helping out at the Evacuation Centre, as needed.
Thank you to all Rotarians who helped. You are champions. Thank you also to the volunteers who assisted us and Lions on the barbecue, the offers of help far outweighed those needed to cook and serve. I would particularly like to acknowledge the work and leadership of Cr Lindsay Brown at the Evacuation Centre; Lindsay’s drive and determination made it all happen.
I have also been impressed with the offers of assistance we have received from all over NSW, Australia and abroad. Volunteer groups from Wollongong have offered to travel down the coast to assist with rebuilding, residents in a retirement village have offered cash, Rotary Clubs in the USA and UK have asked how they can help and we have been contacted by many individuals including Tim Hoare, the grandson of Eric Hoare (a leading member of our Club many years ago) to offer assistance.
In coming weeks the Board will consider requests for assistance to rebuild our community. Hopefully we will be able to make a small difference to the lives of those who have lost everything in this tragedy.
It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of Judy Gray last Sunday. Our thoughts are with Mal and his family at this difficult time. I understand Judy’s funeral will be held in Tumut on 3 February. I will update you when I have more information.
Australia Day celebrations: On a brighter note, I along with Angie and Lynn, represented the Club at the Australia Day Celebration on Saturday evening. Other members including John Doyle, Sandra Doyle, Lynda Ord, Chris O’Brien and Robyn Miller were also representing the Club along with the RFS and the Community Choir. It was a great night where we were able to honour our volunteer firefighters along with other community volunteers and celebrate Narooma’s community spirit.
At the ceremony I was privileged to announce Rory Spurgeon as our 2020 Rotary Scholar. I am sure Rory will be a great ambassador for Narooma and the Club. Rory plans to study Health Science at ANU. I look forward to seeing you all on Thursday night
This Thursday is our Youth Night. We will hear from our 2020 Tertiary Scholar Rory Spurgeon as well as our 2018 Scholar Alicia Bate (doing Bachelor of Animal Science at Charles Sturt University), and Tahlia Arnold (given one-off scholarship) will also be at our first meeting of the year.
THE WEEK THAT WAS
It was disappointing to miss out on both our barbecue in Rotary Park last Thursday (dangerous fire weather!) and our markets on Sunday (cancelled on Council’s instructions so NATA Oval could be used by evacuees). Proceeds from the markets would have gone to one of the bushfire appeals.
OUT AND ABOUT
From Moruya Rotary
At this stage Moruya Rotarians still have their houses standing and most have power, but a few still can’t move back home while others are having to cope with no sewerage and electricity.
On another sad note Moruya Rotarian Alan Jennaway died last weekj. He was a long time and well respected member of the club.
Last week some Moruya Rotarians had a busy week catering for the RFS Communications Centre and crews in the field.
From Batemans Bay Rotary
All Batemans Bay Rotarians are safe, but our hearts go out to John Haslem and Hardy Pradhan who lost their homes. Donations to the Bay have come in from all over Australia which have been received by Bay Rotarian Maureen Manning who organised storage in the Industrial Estate.
Bay Rotarians, with the Bay’s Australia Day committee, organised an Australia Day Breakfast. Bay Rotarian Dave Ashford was MC. They served 1200 free breakfasts with most people making a donation to the Bush Fire Appeal, raising $3,313 topped up with donations at their Sunday Markets of $417. They received great media coverage by ABC TV, SBS and the Bay Post. During interviews, members of the community said it was what the community needed, something to enjoy after the wave after wave of bushfires since November.
From Bega Rotary
One initiative by Bega Rotary was to establish a bank account to facilitate donations and payments for fodder to assist farmers in the wake of the devastating fires around Cobargo. Bendigo Bank provided the initial contribution. Bega Rotary sees this as a short term contribution until the major funders mobilise. By Monday morning, 166 donations had been received totalling $52,770 with the first loads of bales already delivered. You can donate at Bendigo Bank: BSB 633000: A/C 171138555
Meanwhile, the Rotary Clubs of Bega, Merimbula and Pambula are working together to provide relief to individuals and communities in the Bega Valley Shire to recover from the recent devastating bush fires. This is through the Rotary Australia Benevolent Society grants program. Donations https://donations.rawcs.com.au/75-2019-20.
Over the long term the clubs both jointly and individually will seek out projects to rebuild infrastructure, institutions and communities to adapt to changing climate patterns.
Thursday 20 February: Ange Ulrichsen has organised an excursion to Narooma Marine Rescue in the old Pilot’s Station on Thursday 20 February at 6pm. Marine Rescue Unit Commander Paul Houseman will take us through the facility, moving to the Golf Club for dinner at 7pm when Paul will be our guest. Hopefully a few from Marine Rescue will join us for dinner. It’s also a great time to invite guests.
Wednesday 26 February: The Combined Rotary Christmas Race Presentation Dinner at Moruya Golf Club.
Dinner meeting at Narooma Golf Club.