Narooma Rotary Beacon 27 February 2020

Narooma Marine Rescue’s Gilly Kearney  and Paul Houseman- our hosts last week.

Bob’s Buzz

Hello Everyone

   Thank you to Angie for organising our visit to Narooma Marine Rescue last Thursday, a very informative night. We are indeed fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated group of volunteers to look after our coast and be on call to assist those in need. Our meal at the Thai restaurant afterwards was most enjoyable, allowing us to support one of our local businesses affected by the January bushfires.

   Our first market for the year took place on Sunday; it was a beautiful sunny day with lots of stallholders and a good crowd of visitors looking for a bargain. Thanks to Chis for all her work in making the markets happen, to John Doyle and Ange for ensuring the food van ran smoothly, and thank you also to members, friends and partners who helped out, either marking out, staffing the gate from the early hours or cooking or serving in the food van. It was great to see Tony Butcher come along and help at the food van. Tony and his wife have a weekender at Mystery Bay and they helped us greatly at the evacuation centre on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Hopefully we will see more of him in the coming months.  

   Don’t forget our annual Cinders Trivia Night is next Thursday, 5 March. Peter Bull assures me the questions will be challenging yet fair to all concerned. Please invite friends and partners to come along; we need some assistance to beat the Moruya crew on our own turf. We will need firm numbers to Charmaine by Monday 2 March, the two-course dinner will cost $32.00.

   Elsewhere in the Beacon you will read a wonderful email from Tim Dunkelberg. Tim was a Rotary Exchange student in Narooma in 2011/12. Tim tells us about the positive impact our Club had on him as a 15/16-year-old and how he is now involved in the Rotary Family. We can be proud of the fact that our small Rotary Club can and has made a difference.

   We still need a member of the Club to assist Ange at RYDA on Monday 30 March. Please let me know if you can help.

   Therese and I are away this week catching up with friends from our time in Nyngan so Laurelle will be in the chair. Please remember that the meeting will be held at the School of Arts’ Studios, behind the BP and Kinema. Our guest speaker will be PDG Phil Armstrong. Have a great week everyone.

Regards Bob


We welcome PDG Phil Armstrong of Moruya Rotary Club as our guest speaker. He will talk about BlazeAid in Moruya and outline Rotary’s support for various fire recovery funds.

Please note a change of venue because our normal Golf Club room won’t be available until next week. We will meet at the normal time 6 for 6.30 at the School of Arts Studios (red cottage behind the BP and Kinema). Please park behind the Kinema (off Garvan Street – the street behind the Kinema) or in the Council car park beside the Kinema and walk down behind the Kinema to the cottage.

Please BYO drinks; wine glasses, coffee and tea are available there. We will phone through an order of takeaway fish and chips to The Inlet to be picked up by one of us and taken back to the cottage.

Hope to see you there.

The Week that Was

Great night last week

What a fascinating night last week at Marine Rescue. Paul Houseman took us through the history of the volunteer organisation, established in 2009 with the support of the NSW Government, and with Jillian Kearney showed us their control room.

It brought together members from three former marine rescue organisations along the coast – the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association, Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol and Volunteer Rescue Association’s marine fleet – into a single integrated service. It is not a Government agency but a not-for-profit, community-based organisation.


Our markets manager Chris O’Brien described the February markets as a ‘medium sized market’. Takings were gate $1,055.00, van $621.35, wishing well $130.20 (includes $27.50 from evacuation contributions).

Out and About

This Sunday – Clean Up Australia Day

Our Club has registered with Council to again clean up between Mill Bay and the Apex Boat Ramp on Sunday morning 1 March at 9am – tide should still be ‘lowish’. The high school students will have done a lot of that area so we may just check along the shoreline. Another group will do the shore from the bridge to the end of the caravan park. Start from pool so end up with bags at Ken Rose Park bins. So far Bob Aston, John Rungen, Ange Ulrichsen and Laurelle Pacey have volunteered, but more are welcome. Please contact Laurelle if you can help.

Rotary marks its 115th anniversary

Our market day last Sunday was the 115th anniversary of the founding of Rotary, thanks to the vision of Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on 23 February 1905 so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Over time, Rotary’s reach and vision gradually extended to humanitarian service. Members have a long track record of addressing challenges in their communities and around the world.

Paul Harris said, “Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves”. 

Former Exchange student Tim thanks us for the opportunities

Dear Bob and Narooma Rotary Club,

I am not sure how many of you will remember me. I was your exchange student in 2011-2012.* A lot has happened since my time with you, but a lot of decisions I have made since have been greatly influenced by the experiences and lessons you gave me. I thought it was important to share this with you.

Today I attended my first Presidents-Elect Training seminar as I will be the president of the Riga International Rotaract club in the upcoming Rotary year. One of the topics discussed was the motto that Holger Knaack [incoming Rotary International President] has set for this year: ‘Rotary opens Opportunities’ .

Due to my time in Narooma I found this very fitting. You not only gave me the opportunity to visit a beautiful spot with some of the friendliest people I have met so far, but you as a Rotary Club gave me the opportunity to become who I am today. You also gave me the opportunity to see the value community service can give in life and to spread this further in the world.

It is very important for me that you know that this is not normal for a youth exchange, sadly also not for one with Rotary. Narooma sets an example and there are so many other Rotary clubs that I have met since then, that could learn from you.

Some of the things that were exceptional were:

  • During your meetings, you treated me, the 15 year old boy, almost like a regular Rotary member (and I was always taken along to the meetings – this I have so far only seen in Narooma and nowhere else!)
  • You let me be a part of events you held.
Tim Dunkelberg with then President John Messner

Through this, there are so many things I can now implement in projects that I help to facilitate.

Rotary today has problems with attracting younger members and a big part of that problem that I see, is that Rotary invests a lot of time and money into young people and after their time and money has been invested they see their duty as being fulfilled. They never get into contact with Rotary again. This future generation of possible Rotarians is ‘’lost’’. Narooma is very different! Due to the way that you engaged with me, Rotary will have one more young member. If all clubs worldwide would be like yours, the statistics that I saw today would look very different.

The fun and engaging projects that you did set an example for me and my time in Rotaract. At the moment our Club has just some smaller projects. Most of them are fundraising events and one is more hands on. In the fundraising section we organize Regular Pub Quizzes, we host an event where we ask university professors to be DJs at a local night club and take entrance fees as well as some other smaller ones. With this we can annually raise about 10 000 Euros. During Christmas we use a small amount of this money to cook a three course meal together with a Christmas party for 250 people that did not have as much luck in their lives.

Tim ready for the ducks in the 2012 Narooma Duck Race

The biggest project that we are planning now, in direct partnership with one of the local Rotary clubs, is directly influenced (one could also say 100% stolen) from your club. We are organizing a Rotary Duck Race in Riga (the Capital of Latvia); this project was initiated by me but you were the ones that enabled it.

Overall, I wish to say is – “thank you”. I feel that when I was with you and just 16 I did not understand the impact that opportunity would have. Therefore it is important for me that you know how important and valuable the work is that you do. This is especially true for my host parents during that year – Jeremyand Heather, Bob and Merinda, Phil and Daiva.

After I left you and returned to Germany I finished high school. The year after that I spent in the Peruvian rain forest where I was a volunteer in a project where 40 young boys without families lived and learned.

When this also impactful year that taught me a lot about how lucky I am ended, I started my studies. Since then I have been studying medicine in Riga, Latvia.

I hope this letter shows you how, with your service, you have truly made my life better and I will be trying to pass this service on to many other people. I also hope that it will further motivate you to do the great work that you do.

With gratitude,

Tim Dunkelberg

 *Tim came from Karlsruhe in southern Germany, a city of about 300,000 people.

NEXT WEEK – Cinders Challenge

We are back at Narooma Golf Club to welcome our Moruya Rotary friends in the annual battle for the greatly coveted Cinders Trophy. Please bring your partners and all your friends (particularly if they are trivia buffs!) to the Golf Club for our annual Cinders Trivia challenge with Moruya Rotary Club. Moruya currently holds the much coveted Cinders trophy and competition will be keen on the night. As Bob said, please send firm numbers to Charmaine by Monday 2 March.

Narooma Rotary Beacon 20 February 2020

Bob’s Buzz

At last week’s Club Assembly – PE Rolf Gimmel and President Bob Aston

Hello Everyone

I am looking forward to this week’s meeting. We will start at Marine Rescue Headquarters on the hill where the Marine Rescue team will give us an insight into their volunteering role and how they support and assist those boaters who venture out to sea. After the demonstration will head to the Na Siam for a feast of Thai food. Please remember to let me know by 4:00pm Tuesday if you are or are not attending on Thursday. I need to give firm numbers to the restaurant by Tuesday evening.

At last week’s Board meeting, we formally approved payments that we have made to the various bushfire charities including the Cobargo Bushfire Appeal ($750) and the purchase of the shipping container for Nerrigundah ($1,100).

We also discussed how we can best support our 2018 Rotary Scholar, Alicia Bate as she starts afresh at a new university.  

Other discussions included the possibility of a combined meeting with Lions and Quota (Angie to follow up) and future directions of the Club. We agreed to revisit the idea of a ‘Business Breakfast’ to see if a different format will encourage younger people to join Rotary. Please let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions.

Regards Bob


This Thursday we meet at Narooma Marine Rescue (old Pilot’s Station) on the southern headland at 6pm for a tour of the facility. We will then go down to the Na Siam Thai restaurant on the Flat for dinner at 7pm. Bob has organised for them to do a banquet for us @ $30 a head. Please let him know final numbers by 4pm Tuesday.

Also, please don’t forget the Markets are this Sunday.

Out and About

Clean Up Australia Sunday 1 March

Our Club has registered with Council to again clean up between Mill Bay and the Apex Boat Ramp on Sunday morning 1 March, with timing TBC depending on tides. So far Bob Aston, John Rungen, Ange Ulrichsen and Laurelle Pacey have volunteered, but more are welcome. Please contact Laurelle if you can help.

Cinders is coming on Thursday 5 March

Please make sure Thursday 5th March is in your diary. Please bring your partners and all your friends (particularly if they are trivia buffs!) to Narooma Golf Club for our annual Cinders Trivia challenge with Moruya Rotary Club. We’re the hosts this year which means we also have to come up with the questions (thank you Peter Bull!). Moruya currently holds the much coveted Cinders trophy and competition will be keen on the night. Moruya Rotarians are currently organising numbers for a bus.

We feed BlazeAid at Cobargo

Our Club has volunteered to provide a meal on Thursday 19 March to the BlazeAid teams working out of Cobargo. BlazeAid is a volunteer-based organisation that works alongside rural families after natural disasters helping rebuild fences and other structures that have been damaged or destroyed, and also helping rebuild local communities. They have been repairing fences in the wider Cobargo area since 23 January. Up until this weekend they have been supplied with dinners from the international charity World Central Kitchen which has operated out of Kelly Eastwood’s Café and Cooking School at Bermagui. We will need a few volunteers to provide salads etc to take down there where we will provide a barbecue dinner to be ready for the volunteer workers at 6.30pm. Please let Bob know if you can help. Dessert ideas?

Bushfire recovery (from Moruya bulletin)

At the Shire level, involving all three clubs, PDG Phil Armstrong is working to establish BlazeAid teams at Moruya. Each team would be led by a skilled fencer supported by fit handymen or handywomen. This activity is centred at the showground. Already there are 110 cases identified as needing new fences. Priority would go first to perimeter fencing for large stock holders. Internal fences and the needs of hobby farmers would be lower on the list. The immediate need is to find fit volunteers and catering teams.

At the District Level, again involving PDG Phil, District Governors past and present are assessing the needs of clubs in the fire areas and possible uses of Designated District Funds. The RAWCS Rotary Australia Relief Fund is now well on its way to top the million dollar mark.

Pride of Workmanship Awards

Our annual Pride of Workmanship Awards are on again this year with the presentations on Thursday 16 April. This is one of our most prestigious events of the year, probably second only to the Changeover. Hopefully we will again have a good response from our local businesses. Please let Laurelle know if you think we should target any particular business.


Our guest speaker is PDG Phil Armstrong who will bring us up to date on BlazeAid at Moruya and Rotary’s involvement in the Bushfire recovery in our area.

Narooma Rotary Beacon 13 February 2020

Bob’s Buzz

Hello Everyone

Well what a relief to see the rain tumbling down over the weekend. Let’s hope it is enough it’s enough to put out the last of the fires, replenish our water supplies and help our farmers without doing too much damage to the fire-impacted bushland.

Laurelle reports on last Thursday’s meeting later in this Beacon but I was delighted we could make a donation to Narooma Pre-School from the proceeds of last year’s Busking Championships. The updates on the Pre-School provided by Kathy Phipps (Director) and Michael Gardner (President Pre-School committee) were most informative. Michael’s also spoke in his capacity as a member of Narooma Oyster Festival committee and the Chamber of Commerce and reported on their trip to Parliament House in Canberra that day.

Narooma PP Rod Walker, left, President Bob, Quota representatives Carol Hodges and Susan Pryke, Nerrigundah RFS Captain Ron Threlfall, Narooma Lions President Margaret Latimer and Secretarry Sandra Rafferty, and Cr Lindsay Brown at Nerrigundah.

Last Friday PP Rod and I visited Nerrigundah to hand over a shipping container to that community purchased jointly by Rotary, Lions and Quota.  It will be used to store community assets, including tools recently donated to the village, so that the old Field Studies building can be converted into a community hall. I think this a great way the town’s three service organisations can work together to do something practical for this village so devastated by the fires. Thanks to Cr Lindsay Brown for coordinating the purchase and getting Rotary, Lions and Quota involved.

This Thursday we will hold our first Club Assembly for the year. Please remember that if you wish to raise a matter please let me know beforehand so that I can be better prepared. At the Assembly I would like to discuss the future direction of the Club including the proposal held over from last year to hold a business breakfast to encourage younger generations to get involved in Rotary. I would also like us to consider if we need to continue with weekly meetings, maybe it is better to meet once a fortnight.

RYDA will be on again this year, we need at least two volunteers to help on Monday 30 March, please let me know if you are interested.

Regards Bob


A board meeting at 5pm at the Golf Club, followed by Club Assembly.

The Week That Was

Last week President Bob acknowledged the efforts during the bushfires of our very own John Doyle who is a volunteer with the Dalmeny-Kianga RFS. Former member Michael O’Connor is also an active member of that unit.

Busking Championships Coordinator 2019 John Rungen presented the cheque to Narooma Pre-School Director Kathy Phipps and President Michael Gardner.

As Bob mentioned, it was great to be joined last week by Kathy Phipps, Director of the community-owned Narooma Pre-School, and President of the Pre-School management committee Michael Gardner. They will use the $500 donation to buy a xylophone (already have a number of drums which are very popular) and put towards the cost of some indigenous murals which sounded like they might include something musical.

Kathy spoke of the trauma of some kids as a result of the dislocation and uncertainty their families experienced through January, adding “music and art are natural therapies for kids”. She said it was a great honour to be director of the Pre-School which relies on the generosity of volunteers both in time and money. They both invited us to drop by some time.

Michael then spoke about the difficult times many local businesses are facing following the disastrous loss of tourists over the holiday season due to the fires. “Narooma has burnt, but it hasn’t burned,” he said, explaining that many local businesses rely on the summer tourist season to see them through the year and many families have less income because of a loss of casual jobs or shifts. Many local businesses could fail as a result. “It’s going to be a rough year and winter is looking pretty scary.” He said Narooma businesses were not receiving the assistance other areas directly impacted by fire are receiving, but they were receiving great support from our local MPs Mike Kelly and Andrew Constance, hence their approach to Canberra politicians last Thursday. Unfortunately a Cabinet reshuffle that day reduced the anticipated interest from other politicians including Prime Minister Scott Morrison . “We’re out there championing the cause [on behalf of local businesses], doing the best we can,” he said.

More on the Nerrigundah container

During the devastating fires on New Year’s Eve, the Nerrigundah community lost its meeting place/community hall (the Agricultural Bureau) as well as many homes in the Belowra-Nerrigundah-Cadgee area.

The ruins of Nerrigundah’s community hall after the bushfire on New Year’s Eve. Note the toilets at the back survived. Photo by Susan Pryke.

Steps have been taken to secure the NSW Department of Education’s old Field Studies Centre in Nerrigundah as the community’s new meeting place. The Centre has not been used for at least 15 years and escaped major fire damage so became the repository for the many goods donated post-fire, including much appreciated tools.

What will become the new community hall at Nerrigundah, after a few repairs.

Our Club joined with Narooma Lions and Quota to purchase a secure shipping container (each contributing $1,100) so these goods could be moved out of the Centre and stored safely so repairs could begin. The donation was coordinated by Cr Lindsay Brown in conjunction with Nerrigundah RFS Captain Ron Threlfall.  The container was delivered on site last Friday by Bay Removals for free. On Saturday Tim Burke of Narooma installed shelving in the container which he donated.

Out and About

Cinders Thursday 5 March

Please make sure Thursday 5th March is in your diary. Please bring your partners and friends (particularly if they are trivia buffs!) to Narooma Golf Club for our annual Cinders Trivia challenge with Moruya Rotary Club. We’re the hosts this year which means we also have to come up with the questions. Moruya currently holds the much coveted Cinders trophy and competition will be keen on the night. Moruya Rotarians are currently organising numbers for a bus for the night. Very sensible.


Meet at  Narooma Marine Rescue (old Pilot’s Station) on the southern headland at 6pm for a tour of the facility. We will then return to the Golf Club for dinner about 7.

Narooma Rotary Beacon 6 February 2020

Bob’s Buzz

Hello Everyone

For our Youth Night last Thursday we welcomed our 2020 Rotary Tertiary Scholar Rory Spurgeon to our meeting along with his parents, Chris and Alison. We also welcomed Tahlia Arnold, Crystal Elmasri and Aisha Thomas and Aisha’s father Andrew to our first meeting of 2020. The Club has assisted Tahlia for the past two years at the University of Wollongong; the Board has agreed to assist Crystal this year in a similar way as she begins her studies, also at UOW. Unfortunately, our 2018 Scholar Alicia Bate could not join us. These young people are great ambassadors for their school and community I am sure that with our continued support they will do well in the future. 

Tahlia Arnold and Rory Spurgeon at our Youth night last week.

Due to some scheduling issues, the combined meeting with Moruya and Batemans Bay set down for 26 February has been cancelled. Funds raised at the Christmas race day will now be presented to Meals on Wheels and Yumaro at the next Moruya race day on Monday 16 March. The Christmas Race day at the end of last year was an outstanding success enabling a donation of $24,000 to Yumaro and Meals on Wheels towards the purchase of a ‘people mover’. A fantastic result.

Organisation for this year’s Busking Championship is well underway thanks to the committee led by Friend of Rotary Di Riley. This Thursday we will present a cheque to Narooma Preschool from profits made at last year’s Busking Championship.

Once again Narooma was fortunate not to be impacted by fires on the weekend; sadly those to the south and west of us were not so lucky. Our thoughts continue to be with those impacted by this ongoing natural disaster.

Regards Bob


We welcome Narooma Preschool committee President Michael Gardner and Preschool Director Kathy Phipps who will receive a cheque for $500 from the money raised at last year’s Busking Championships.

The Preschool will put the money towards their musical instrument programme. They intend purchasing a few more drums to add to their collection.


It was wonderful to have four young people associated with our Club as our guests last Thursday.

Our Rotary Tertiary Scholar for 2020 is Rory Spurgeon. He heads off this weekend to the Australian National University in Canberra where he has been accepted into the Bachelor of Health Science course with hopes to swap to a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) – Science which is a research-based four-year degree. He will live on campus and is looking forward to playing a lot of sport including AFL and soccer.

Crystal Elmasri is being assisted with her expenses this year as she heads off to the University of Wollongong to study Law with a particular leaning to Immigration Law. She said she is really grateful for Rotary’s assistance. She said she has always had a passion for law and for knowing her rights, and loves discussing controversial issues. She was a member of last year’s MUNA team.  

Aisha Thomas last week

Tahlia Arnold is now starting her third year of psychology at the University of Wollongong and has been accepted as an honours student. As part of her course this year, she will attend a week-long course or conference in Singapore.

Aisha Thomas was also in Narooma High’s MUNA team last year. She is now doing Year 12.

Unfortunately our 2018 Tertiary Scholar Alicia Bate was unable to join us last week; 2019 was her first year on the scholarship. She wrote:

Dear Rotary

Unfortunately due to our current situation I have made the decision it is better to stay home and wait for what is to come and so I can not share your story with you all myself tonight. On a more positive note. I’d like to let you know what I have done over the past year and my plans for the future.

I began my Bachelor of Animal Science at Charles Sturt University. I was staying on campus and this led me to make some wonderful friends. Unfortunately the overall experience did not live up to my expectations… As my long term goal was to become a vet, an extremely long course, I decided Charles Sturt University was not for me. This has ultimately led to me making a new decision in my career path.

Thankfully 2019 was not so bad for me. I would officially like to announce to you all my engagement to my fiance Denny who is a local boy from Moruya.

This year I will begin a Bachelor of Science at the University of Wollongong at the end of February. I will do a Biology major, with Chemistry and Earth and Environment minors. I have also decided to pick up two mathematic units to fill my credits from Charles Sturt, as well as pick up some distance education Agriculture subjects to widen my teaching subject capabilities.

I look forward to seeing you all again when this monster leaves us. Alicia

On the Evacuation Centre

Bob thanked everyone who assisted at the Evacuation Centre in early January, particularly on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day when we were inundated with evacuated holidaymakers and residents from other areas as a result of the bushfires. Bob said he was very proud of the community’s efforts and “how people just came together”.

Our Club was again asked to be on standby should we be needed to man the barbecue at the Evacuation Centre last weekend. However that call never came.


More on Moruya Christmas Rotary Races

The Rotary Race day Committee did extremely well both with the race meeting gate and ticket selling. David Ashford reports the combined Rotary Clubs, assisted by a $6,000 Rotary District Grant and a $250 donation from Moruya Golf Club, raised $18,430.80 (after taking out costs of $1,489.25).  Moruya Jockey Club donated a further $5,569.20 to make the combined total of $24,000 raised for Yumaro and Meals on Wheels.  

The cancellation of the 26th combined meeting means we will not celebrate Rotary International’s anniversary this year with our neighbouring clubs, nor will there be any dinner associated with the presentation. The Race Day committee hopes to get some coverage from Sky TV of the presentation, publicising Rotary and the work the Moruya Jockey Club does in our community.

Batemans Bay guest speaker on insurance

Insurance man Brett McDonald had everyone at Batemans Bay Rotary’s full attention when he was their guest speaker last week. The Bay Rotary newsletter reported he said present losses from bushfires on the South Coast amounted to $1.65 billion and was expected to rise to at least $2 billion.


A board meeting at 5pm at the Golf Club, followed by a dinner meeting.