Narooma Rotary Beacon 27 August 2020


Some of our crew at last week’s Zoom meeting including our Tertiary Scholars Rory Spurgeon and Cassidy Ker – Lynn Hastings, Frank Eden, Ange Ulrichsen, Iris Dormeier, Mike Young, David McUInnes and Charmaine White..

No Rolf’s Rambles this week but here’s a quick review of last week’s meeting. How wonderful to have our current two Tertiary Scholars Rory Spurgeon and Cassidy Ker join us on Zoom. We had already caught up with their impressive exam results via emails in a recent Beacon, but so much better to hear from them personally.

Rory had also filled us in on his first semester, from being involved in so many societies, sporting events etc. to lockdown and online learning. He spoke more about living on campus, but for the lockdown they were strongly advised to go home. He reckons studying online involves a lot more work than face-to-face. Although everything has opened up more now, there are still a lot of restrictions. He is really enjoying going to the chemistry lab which is face-to-face

Cassidy is living off campus and is glad she was able to enjoy last year at Wollongong Uni pre-Covid. Most of her lectures are now online which she is finding a challenge. Law lectures last two hours which are “really exhausting”, and exams are three hours online but she can type faster than write by hand so that is an advantage. She said the style of writing is quite different to school; she struggled with the transition initially but added she has been grateful to Narooma High English teacher Pam Walpole who got her into the habit of doing things early

We’re certainly getting a lot more proficient at Zoom meetings, recent technology for many of us, although sometimes finding the microphone mute and video buttons still eludes a few. We will all get there eventually!


This week we’re back at the Golf Club for a face-to-face meeting over dinner. Hopefully more can make it this time. If you are coming, please let Rod know before 4pm Wednesday (this afternoon).


Thanks from Narooma RFS

You may have seen the lovely thank you note circulated by Rod from Narooma Rural Fire Brigade for our recent donation. Narooma RFS Secretary Angela Marshall wrote:

During last summer’s terrible fires Narooma station was in constant use and was also the hub for many other emergency services involved in that crisis. It quickly became apparent that the station was not prepared or equipped for the task and the brigade has decided to upgrade the station facilities so that we are better prepared for coming fire seasons and other emergencies.

Our donation will be put towards this work of new lighting and desks in the office, a new computer and printer, and installing a pantry for ration packs and food donations.

Dapto Rotarians visit Nerrigundah

Nerrigundah RFS Captain Ron Threlfall, Ag Bureau secretary Trevor Kincaid, Dapto Rotary secretary Rod Young and president Dennis Couley, and Ag Bureau treasurer Liz Kincaid with Dapto Rotarians and some Nerrigundah residents behind.

About 20 Dapto Rotarians visited Nerrigundah last Saturday to check out how local residents are faring with their recovery from the bushfires. They were met by Nerrigundah RFS Captain Ron Threlfall and several Nerrigundah Agricultural Bureau representatives, and one Narooma Rotarian (your editor!). Dapto Club had earlier given $3,000 to the Nerrigundah Agricultural Bureau to help with converting the former Department of Education Bournda Field Studies Centre – Nerrigundah Annexe into a new community hall to replace the former hall which was destroyed in the fires (all but the loos!). The former Field Studies Centre survived the fires, although was singed in many places.

A few in the Nerrigundah community have been having fortnightly working bees on the conversion, aided by various generous people, such as some tradies from Sydney who installed a shower and laundry for the use of locals who no longer have such facilities and two kitchen flatpacks.

 The Dapto donation has gone towards concreting paths to the loos, shower, and laundry and a slab where the hall will be extended to accommodate more people (post Covid!). They are keen to donate more, once a specific need is identified. They also passed on some new books for the local school library (Bodalla), courtesy of the Rotary Club of Liverpool.

Several children’s books were also handed over from Liverpool Rotary for Bodalla School.

The Dapto Rotarians stayed in cabins at the Big 4 Moruya Heads Easts Dolphin Beach, making it into a greatly enjoyed fellowship weekend. They organised a bus to take them into dinner at Moruya. They also met up with a few Moruya Rotarians on Sunday morning at Quarry Park, a Moruya Rotary project. They wanted someone to give them an overview of that project and of Moruya’s contribution to the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Who better to talk about the history than Moruya Rotarian Chris Greig Adams whose family was so closely involved with the quarry and the Bridge.


Bega Rotary

Bega Rotary Club has to again postpone their Book Fair, due next month, because of Covid. They hope to hold another Book Fair in January, Covid dependent of course. They are unable to accept book donations because still have so many from the Summer Book Fair that was hampered by the bush fires. 


It looks like another Zoom meeting with a possible guest speaker. More details to come.

On a lighter note, courtesy Moruya bulletin

Teacher:        How old is your father? Kid:                 He is six years old. Teacher:        What? How is this possible? Kid:                 He became a father only when I was born.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

Letting’ the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting’ it back in.

Narooma Rotary Beacon 13 August 2020

Rolf’s Ramble

At an informal meeting with some Board members, we discussed free Facemask handouts and a possible set-up for hosting a Covid-19 Safe Rotary Market on Sunday 27 September. Fingers crossed.

Many thanks to David and Rachel for your efforts with Club facemasks, and thank you to Ange for inquiring about District facemasks. Turns out the District is – at $20 a pop! Information has been sent to all members, including an order form, should you be interested in buying your own.

We’re also one step closer to donating a ‘Thank You Meal’ at the Cobargo Hotel for volunteers at the Cobargo BlazeAid Camp. This is to show our appreciation for their much needed help with erecting new fences for local farmers following their destruction by the bushfires. If you would like to donate, you can drop it into Charmaine or direct deposit into our Charity account BSB: 641 800 Acc: 200808137 Ref: BlazeAid. The Club will make up any shortfall. Thank You.  

THIS WEEK Thursday 13 August

We plan to have our weekly meeting at the Golfie for a face-to-face with a sit down meal. We’re in the 1st Hole Conference Room 6 for 6:30 pm. Please let Rod know ( by Wednesday 4pm if you would like to attend.

NEXT WEEK Thursday 20 August

We will hold a 6pm Zoom meeting when we hope to hear from our scholarship students about their First Semester. Both Rory Spurgeon and Cassidy Ker achieved very good results (see below).  

The week that Was

At Eurobodalla Shire Council meeting this week, it was mentioned that our Rotary Club had recognised Cr Lindsay Brown for his leadership in Narooma during the bushfires by making him a Paul Harris Fellow.

Out and About

News from our Tertiary Scholars

PP Bob Aston with Rory Spurgeon earlier this year

Rory Spurgeon, our 2020 Tertiary Scholar, has been in contact with his counsellor Bob Aston with his impressive results plus an update on his first semester at ANU.

Hi Bob

I hope you and the Rotary Club are going well. I have been really enjoying my university experience. When I first arrived I met lots of very nice people in my hall (Fenner Hall). I also went to many social (tea nights, bar nights and dinners) and sporting events (interhall sports training and games). I joined the ANU AFL team (still haven’t played a game yet though), the science society, physics society, computer science society and Fenner green (gardening club).

I was also elected to be the first year sports rep for Fenner Hall. This involves organising social sporting events for everyone at Fenner Hall, and helping out with the inter-hall sporting events (where Fenner plays against the other halls in lots of different sports).  

For the first four weeks of uni, all my classes were in person and I was really enjoying what I was learning. I got to know my lecturers for Chemistry, Programming (advanced), and Health in the 21st Century very well. I was learning very interesting concepts in all my courses and really loving it.

When COVID became serious, the university had a break for a week and everything went online. Compared to the first part of the semester this was less enjoyable however I was still learning interesting things and having a good time. After a few weeks of being locked down I decided to go back to Narooma. This was because the university was strongly encouraging everyone to leave, everything was online, and the accommodation contract could be canceled for free.

Once back in Narooma, I continued doing all my studies online and attended a few Fenner events which were organised online. I found it more difficult to learn when not being face to face however I just put in more time so I still got the most out of the courses.

I attached a screenshot of my texted results for Semester 1: two high distinctions and two distinctions. This semester [Semester 2], I have returned to Fenner Hall and it is similar to the start of Semester 1 (except everything is socially distanced).

My application to transfer degrees was approved. I am now doing Bachelor of Science – Advanced (Honours) (BSA). Although I was very happy in my old degree (Bachelor of Health Science), I am still very interested in physics and the BSA allows me to major in physics. I am also still trying out computer science and considering majoring in that.

My current courses are Physics 1, Chemistry 2, Mathematics and Applications 1, and Structured Programming (Advanced). After this semester, if everything goes well, I will have minors in chemistry and computer science and be on my way to majoring in physics and computer science.

If there is anything else you wanted to hear about let me know.

Thanks, Rory Spurgeon

Cassidy Ker, our 2019 Rotary Tertiary Scholarship winner, has also sent us her exam results for her first semester. She is doing a Bachelor of Psychological Science-Bachelor of Law at the University of Wollongong. She received two distinctions and two credits… a wonderful result.

Lae community donates to bushfire recovery

(adapted from ABC News 30 July 2020)

Bega Valley Mayor Sharon Tapscott has thanked the community of Lae City in Papua New Guinea for its generous $61,000 donation to the region. She spoke of the amazing story behind this donation for which the people of the Bega Valley are incredibly grateful; these people have little themselves. The minimum wage there is 3.5 kina (one Australian dollar) per hour.

The fundraising began with the Youth of Lae City pushing wheelbarrows around the streets, collecting bushfire relief donations for their ‘cousins’ in Australia. A young woman from the Youth of Lae City explained that people realised they had benefited from Australian-built health centres and hospitals in the past, so this was their turn to reciprocate ‘from the heart’. With additional support from Lae Rotary Club, they raised $61,000. [It’s interesting to note that our Club helped fund a health centre or hospital in Lae over several years in the late 1990s/early 2000s through Jeremy Ferguson’s PNG connections.]

Youth of Lae City fundraising to help bushfire communties in Australia. Courtesy Helen Taylor

Lae Club President Huon Gulf wrote to District 9600 in Queensland, where clubs have an association with Rotary Clubs in PNG, Solomon Islands and Nauru), looking for a bushfire recovery contact in the Eden-Monaro region. They subsequently contacted  PDG Phil Armstrong who had just been recognised for his leadership of the combined Districts’ Bushfire Recovery Committee.

Former Merimbula President Andy Thorp followed it up with the Lae contactsand with Bega Mayor Tapscott and Chair of the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast and Co-chair of the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, Mick Brosnan.

The Lae community then sent the money to the Rotary Club of Merimbula which transferred $50,000 of the donation to the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund to support bushfire impacted communities. That fund focuses on unmet needs and aims not to duplicate the provisions being met by other agencies and charities, a trialed recently in Cobargo.

Merimbula Rotary used the balance to buy two trailers which will initially be used by the BlazeAid camps in Bemboka and Towamba. When the camps close, the trailers will be repurposed for firefighting and provided to the Rural Fire Service.

Rotary builds Kiah Pavilion

The Rotary Clubs of Merimbula, Pambula and Bega have completed the Kiah pavilion project in response to an approach from Council and the Kiah Community.

The pavilion is located near Kiah’s tennis courts and RFS shed and provides the Kiah community with a large undercover meeting space with an electric barbecue, a sink, seating area and landscaping. It means the Kiah community will once again be able to gather together for various social, sporting and educational activities, while the Kiah Hall is rebuilt.

Rotary funded this project to the tune of $45,000 which included a large donation from the Rotary Club of Northbridge in Sydney.

Rotary exchange programme on hold

Rotary’s Youth Exchange Program (YEP) sends about 150 teenagers overseas each year and hosts a similar number of foreign students. However, the coronavirus pandemic is testing the resilience of young people on student exchange in Australia and abroad.

Rotary International has urged students to strongly consider ending exchanges and fly home if possible and safe. Eighty of the current contingent have returned home to Australia or overseas. While some are glad to be home, others have resisted a premature end to their exchange despite it being a greatly restricted experience. Rotary’s long-term youth exchange program has been suspended for 12 months.