Narooma Rotary Beacon 26 August 2021

Andrew’s Thoughts

Well, the week was as anticipated what with lockdown which looks like it will be ongoing for some while.

President Andrew

With Zoom skills mastered, it was good to see everyone on Thursday. A special mention to Bob Aston, and Susanna Chung who both joined in after some while or eventually!

I have spoken with our AG Adam de Totth and confirm he won’t join us this Thursday via Zoom. He’s keen to see and speak to us face to face so his visit will be rescheduled for more certain times.

I shall send out Zoom invitations before Thursday; I suspect this will be the norm for some while. Please try to join in, as it is important that we remain connected and care for each other’s wellbeing.

Stay safe and keep fingers firmly crossed. So it’s onwards and upwards mes amis!

This Thursday

A Zoom meeting at 6.30, hosted by President Andrew. You should receive an invitation soon.

The Week that Was

Last week’s Zoom meeting

While President Andrew updated us on the Prostate Support Group last week, Bob Aston had an interesting and relevant Rotary story via Nyngan and Northern Ireland.

When Bob was a member of Nyngan Rotary Club, the Club hosted a student from Cookstown in Northern Ireland, probably 1997 or 1998. Jonathan Coulter stayed with the Astons for a couple of months during his Rotary Exchange year. Bob said initially he wasn’t that keen on staying with the local school principal, but he soon settled in. Jonathan lived with his parents and sister in Killymoon Castle, just outside Cookstown, a smallish town a little over an hour from Belfast.

When Jonathon returned home after his 12 months in Australia, he studied pharmacy at university. He was awarded a PhD in pharmacy from Queens University in Belfast in 2006 and now lectures and carries out research at the University. His broad area of research relates to the use of drugs to treat prostate cancer. Therese and Bob spent a week with Jonathan and his family during their overseas jaunt in 2016.  

Hopefully the Prostate Support Group launch will be able to go ahead at the Men’s Shed on 5th October.

Iris Dormeier and Radar at the 2016 Duck Race

Lynn Hastings also some news about Narooma’s former Exchange student Jui-Da ‘Radar’ Lin from Taichung in Taiwan. Radar was with us 2015-2016 during Bob Antill’s year as President. She spotted Radar on Instagram in a white coat with a stethoscope in a hospital but because the information was in his language she could not glean anything more. Bob says Radar is studying medicine, he thinks possibly radiography, and would be about half way through his course.

It was also great to finally see Susanna Chung. We all look forward to meeting her face-to-face sometime soon.

News from or Tertiary Scholar Cassidy Kerr

Our 2019 Tertiary Scholar Cassidy Kerr is doing a double degree in Law and Psychology at the University of Wollongong. In the last semester she received distinctions and credits. This is her last semester on our Rotary Scholarship. She wrote to Rod Walker, her counsellor:

I am extremely pleased with my results as this has been my highest achieving semester yet! Thanks for your support; I hope all is well during these trying times.

As this was my last payment, I just wanted to thank you again for providing me with this opportunity. This scholarship has supported me during times (like now) where work has been scarce and allowed me to focus entirely on my studies. It has kept me motivated throughout these three years and I cannot thank you enough for choosing me and supporting my ambitions. I look forward to the future and hope that all is well at Rotary.

Then President Rod Walker announces Cassidy Kerr as Narooma’s 2019 Rotary Tertiary Scholar at the Australia Day ceremony.

Out and About

Carers’ Accommodation for new hospital

Narooma and Batemans Bay Rotarians had been invited to Moruya Rotary’s meeting this Tuesday to consider the possibility of the three Eurobodalla Rotary Clubs assisting in providing accommodation for carers and relatives in the grounds of the new Eurobodalla Regional Hospital. That meeting has, of course, been cancelled because of the lockdown.  Speakers would have been Phil Greenwood from Tuggeranong and Lyn Corbin from Pambula on their experiences in building carers’ accommodation in new hospitals. Hopefully this meeting can still go ahead ‘post lockdown’.

More on Bees

Last Saturday (21 August) was World Honey Bee day to celebrate these busy geniuses and their importance. Thinking of how much everyone enjoyed Robin Burbidge’s recent talk, a fascinating column in the ‘Traveller’ section of Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald was all about bees.  While Robin gave us some fascinating insights into their world, here are some other interesting aspects.

Did you know entomologists consider honeybees the smartest of all insects?

  • They’re capable of learning and solving problems
  • They can count up to four
  • They communicate with nest mates and indicate distance to a food source (as Robin explained)
  • They can recognise and distinguish between human faces (part of the reason possibly why bees see Robin as a ‘friend’).


No meeting scheduled.

Narooma Rotary Beacon 19 August 2021

Andrew’s Thoughts

Well, what a week of mixed fortunes. It started with committee meetings for both Business Breakfasts and for the Prostate Support Group, followed by the monthly Board. It must have been a premonition because we decided to defer our Business Breakfast program until the Spring, hopefully October, due to Covid-19. We also decided to cancel the August market for the same reason.

The Prostate Support Group is progressing well. Julie, Mike and I agreed on marketing house styles etc., and we shall place printing orders once we are able to. We have almost sold all of the raffle tickets to help fund all this! The plan is still to launch at the beginning of October. On Tuesday I met with local celebrity Paul West, and we hope to have a feature interview on his ABC South East radio show mid-September to publicise our Group.

Also on Tuesday, I met with the Presidents of RCs Moruya and Batemans Bay, together with two of the Rotary Race Day coordinators. The Race Day is on Easter Saturday so a date for the diary. Importantly, we discussed Rotary Projects to be put forward for the proceeds of the Race Day. Be assured I was not backward in coming forward with our Support Group!

Robin Burbidge was an inspiring speaker last Thursday, as Rod Walker acknowledged.

On Thursday we had an excellent dinner meeting with guest speaker Robin Burbidge on Natural Beekeeping. I, for one, was enthralled with his presentation and his obvious passion for his subject (see later report).

With the cancellation of the Business Breakfast, we decided to have Club Fun Night this Thursday at Lynch’s to savour the Nepalese Curry. Then along came 5pm Saturday! 

On Sunday, I was due to make a presentation to Taliya Smith of our local VRA on behalf of AG Adam De Totth. At the 2021 Rotary NSW Emergency Service Community Awards held on Saturday and streamed online, Taliya was announced as the winner of  the Rotary Emergency Services Youth Scholarship (see story below). Sadly with the lockdown her presentation has been deferred, but I have congratulated her on behalf of our Club and assured her of a special event once restrictions are lifted.

So where from here? We are obviously in lockdown for seven days at least, and our curry night at Lynch’s has been deferred. I have sounded you all out regarding a Zoom meeting, and the response has been entirely positive. So I shall polish up my Zoom skills ahead of time and John will send out his usual invites etc.

These are challenging times for us all, but let’s keep our chins up, and as ever, onwards and upwards mes amis!

The Week that Was

Narooma volunteer wins NSW Rotary award

Taliya Smith of Narooma

Narooma local Taliya Smith, aged 19, was the only far south coast recipient among the eight winners of the prestigious 2021 Rotary NSW Emergency Service Community Awards (RESCA) announced on Saturday by Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott. The ceremony was streamed online. The community-nominated awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of emergency services workers and volunteers.

Taliya won the $1,000 Dorothy Hennessy OAM Emergency Services Youth Scholarship for an outstanding volunteer aged up to 25 for training and educational materials or equipment. The Minister described Taliya as “a courageous and dedicated VRA Rescue Operator trainee”.

Taliya was thrilled with the news. She joined VRA Rescue last year after the 2019-20 bushfires when she decided she wanted to help her community and saw a post calling for VRA volunteers.  Taliya will use the scholarship to support her training in indigenous mental health initiatives so she can contribute to her community’s resilience. She also wants to learn about Aboriginal fire management.

Taliya works at Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Regional Health and Community Services and Narooma Home Timber and Hardware. She has previously received a NAIDOC award for leadership and responsibility.

It’s interesting to also note that Rotary NSW has established an additional emergency services scholarship for a PhD candidate to investigate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in emergency services workers and volunteers.

Last week’s meeting

This hive on a North Sydney street taken by our super sleuth Gero Mitchell shows the shape of honeycomb bees naturally form, as Robin described.

Our guest speaker last week was Robin Burbidge who gave a fascinating talk about natural beekeeping. He started in conventional beekeeping but then “saw the light”, thanks to meeting his now mentor Adrian Iodice at Upper Brogo.

Robin had many of us quite mesmerised with his reverence for bees, praising their role in nature and their gift to the plant world. He explained that natural beekeeping is based on doing as little as possible to the swarm, trusting their intelligence. When some intrusion into the hive is necessary, he approaches the hive almost in a meditative state. We also heard about Kenyan Top Bar Hives which let bees build their own combs.

Laurelle Pacey toasted the Rotary Club of Zamboanga City Central in the Philippines, Zamboanga being the home of the Philippines’ first ever gold medallist, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz. (A question in the Good Weekend quiz this week!)

Easter Rotary Race Days

The three Eurobodalla Rotary Presidents – Andrew, Chris Manahan (Moruya) and Nicole McDonald (Batemans Bay) – met last week with Easter Rotary Race Day organisers David Ashford (Batemans Bay) and Mike Dent (Moruya) to propose a project for proceeds from the Easter Rotary Race Day. Andrew proposed the Prostate Cancer Support Group, Batemans Bay would like to help fund a support vehicle for palliative care operating out of Moruya Hospital, while Moruya’s preference was for accommodation for carers and relatives in the grounds of the new Regional Hospital. All worthy projects.

Did you know…?

All metals used in the 5,000 gold, silver and bronze medals in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were derived from precious metals recovered from 79,000 tonnes of electronic waste from all over Japan, including six million mobile phones. The waste yielded 31.8 kg of gold, 3,493 kg of silver, and 2,200 kg of bronze. Amazing!

Narooma Rotary Beacon 12 August 2021

Andrew’s Thoughts

Our President Andrew Lawson and fellow local Cobargo BlazeAid coordinator Peter Provost at the dinner for Cobargo BlazeAid volunteers on Thursday sponsored by Narrandera and Narooma Rotary Clubs.

As reported last week, a major achievement for our Prostate Cancer Support Group was getting formal approval last Monday from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. As you know, this will be our main project for 2021/22 so we are off and running. Mike, Julie and I met this Tuesday to further plan, and an official opening and commencement at the Men’s Shed by the end of September is eminently doable.

To put our planned Group into context, our area has double the national average of prostate cancer sufferers, yet the nearest Support Groups are currently Yass and Shoalhaven. I am delighted to also announce that the Lighthouse Surgery (Braveheart Healthcare) will be the medical practice officially aligned with our Support Group.

Funding for the Support Group from sales of the Whale Watching raffle, thanks to Narooma Charters,  is going really well. We have raised over $1,100 to date. As ever, Ange is doing the heavy lifting but, to be honest, I think we should all be more actively supporting the cause.

On Thursday evening we hosted, helped by the very generous donation from RC Narrandera, a dinner of appreciation for BlazeAid at Cobargo Hotel (see below). Seven of us joined the dinner, which by any measure was a resounding success and will have generated much goodwill.

This Thursday we have our dinner meeting at the Golf Club and Robin Burbidge will tell us all about Bee Keeping. No doubt his talk will have a ‘sting in the tail’!

I am very conscious that Covid hangs over us like the Sword of Damocles. At this week’s Board Meeting we shall obviously be thinking long and hard as to how we may be affected. But regardless, it’s onward and upward mes amis!


Our monthly Board meeting is this Wednesday at the Golf Club at 4pm.

This Thursday is our first August dinner meeting at the Golf Club when we shall hear from Robin Burbidge on natural beekeeping. No ‘Honey’ or ‘Sweet’ jokes please! This is a delayed event so we look forward to finally catching up with Robin. Please let John Rungen know numbers by Tuesday PM.

The Week that Was

All Narooma Rotarians who ventured to Cobargo Pub last Thursday enjoyed the evening with Cobargo BlazeAid volunteers. Cobargo Pub is of course President Andrew and Lynn’s ‘local’. Everyone greatly appreciated the generosity of Narrandera Rotary Club, our ‘twin’ club, which sponsored dinner for the volunteers.

President Andrew praised the work of BlazeAid volunteers which he said epitomizes this year’s Rotary theme of ‘Serve to Change Lives’

President Andrew told the volunteers, “we’re all so grateful for the job you amazing BlazeAid people are doing. What you’re doing really epitomizes this year’s Rotary theme of ‘Serve to Change Lives’.”

Cobargo BlazeAid coordinator Peter Provost said their volunteers have clocked up 102,000 man hours since early 2020, mainly fencing properties in areas burnt out by the bushfires. They hope to finish in December.

He said the Cobargo BlazeAid camp peaked last year at 100-120 people and 666 volunteers had passed through. At the moment Cobargo has 15 BlazeAid volunteers; six live in the camp and the others are locals who do a few days a week. Some have been involved since day one.

“What we all get from helping in this way is the satisfaction from helping people in their recovery as well as enjoying the camaraderie,” Peter said. “For some property owners, just having their fencing redone somehow seems to kick them into gear and help them move on from the fires.”

Since the start, feeding the volunteers has been a mammoth effort with some food and meals provided by various individuals and community groups, particularly Tilba and Cobargo CWAs, as well as occasional contributions such as Thursday’s dinner by Rotary. Our Club has previously provided a barbecue meal at the BlazeAid camp and paid for two meals from Cobargo Hotel.

You might be interested to know the Australian Bureau of Statistics values 102,000 volunteer hours at $4.26m. That is an absolutely extraordinary volunteer effort!

Out and About

Rotary Race Day

Rotary Race Day Chairman David Ashford has called a meeting with Moruya Jockey Club’s Ken Brown and the presidents of Batemans Bay Moruya and Narooma clubs to bring everyone up to date with the 2021 Covid-19 restricted Rotary Race Day. Proceeds of the Race Day are to go to community projects for the three Clubs. The meeting also will be an opportunity to discuss future Race Day community projects, particularly for 2022.

In the past over $170,000 has been raised for the community, going mainly to the Moruya Hospital Oncology Unit, Surf Clubs, defibrillators, Muddy Puddles and the Yumaro/Eurobodalla Meals on Wheels people mover. Hopefully well before next Easter, with vaccination, full Race meetings can return to the Jockey Club. The Rotary Race Day was moved from the Sunday before Christmas to Easter Saturday.

From Moruya Rotary

Covid-19 restrictions are extracting a heavy toll on Moruya Rotary’s fundraising efforts, as well as on our own. Running the canteen at Moruya Race Course is the Club’s major revenue source, but low numbers of racegoers are resulting in low takings at the canteen.

The Moruya bulletin reports last week’s takings were possibly their lowest ever. After they extract rent and food costs there won’t be much left for the charity account. The frustrating is the task of setting up and running the canteen is basically the same as for any other race day. They’re all hoping the next race on Sunday 15  August will be busier.


Unfortunately the August Business Breakfast has been cancelled because of Covid-19 fears. We hope to resume the breakfasts in the Spring.

Narooma Rotary Beacon 5 August 2021

Andrew’s Thoughts

President Andrew

Exciting news!  The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia has formally approved  our new Support Group. Now the hard work begins! Last week Julie, Mike and I had an excellent meeting with Bernie Perrett and Geoff Broadfoot at The Men’s Shed. Our Prostate Cancer Support Group will meet at the Men’s Shed on the first Tuesday of every month 6.30-8.30PM, hopefully commencing on 7 September.

Apart from that, it was a quiet week, what with five Thursdays. However, Ange continues to trail blaze with her raffle ticket selling!

This week, we shall be hosting, with RC Narrandera, a dinner for BlazeAid at the Cobargo Pub on Thursday at 6.30PM. Please feel free to join us!

Ange and I will continue to plan ticket selling days at the Plaza and hopefully Julie outside the IGA. As the Covid-19 lockdown continues, our August Market looks less likely and so we all need to help to clear the tickets.

So as ever, onward and upward mes amis!


About five of our Rotarians will join about 12 BlazeAid volunteers for dinner at Cobargo Hotel. 6 for 6.30pm. Our twin Rotary Club of Narrandera and Narooma Clubs will sponsor the BlazeAid volunteers’ dinners; Narooma Rotarians will pay for their own, about $25 a head.

The Week that Was

From Moruya Rotary

Moruya Rotarians heard from four Anglicare employees last week about homelessness in the local area. Last year there were 383 cases of homelessness involving 7,300 interactions, that is—interactions with police, employment services, Housing NSW and other government bodies. Typical clients would be couch surfing, living in tents or cars or totally without a home. All were treated under the Anglicare maxim of ‘Dignity, Respect and Integrity’. They said that problems are worse now as a result of Covid, working from home, and the chronic shortage and rising costs of rental accommodation.

Anglicare has four ‘transitional’ properties which can provide very temporary cover. Pauline Sullivan, who handles emergency accommodation, spoke of the basic needs of people in the most desperate situations – being unable to keep clean and very conscious of the smell of their poverty.

A ‘shopping list’ was distributed to each table at the Moruya meeting, the ‘Pantry Appeal’ listed ordinary bathroom toiletries. Thanks to Michel Nader’s generosity, the local branch has as a hub a quite large shop in the carpark beside the River restaurant. Initially it was stocked with a truck load of donated goods from Sydney immediately after the bushfires. Moruya Rotarians heard that as individuals, they could help keep the hub stocked by donating goods, particularly perhaps those listed in the Pantry Appeal. Providing showers and laundry facilities was more difficult; Moruya Rotarians were left pondering whether they could help provide either a fixed or mobile unit to wash and dry clothes and people. Courtesy the Moruya bulletin

NEXT WEEK 12 August

Our first August dinner meeting will be on the 12th when we shall hear from Robin Burbidge on Natural Beekeeping. Robin Burbidge is a Natural Beekeeper and joins us to talk about the beauty and wonder of the European Honey Bee. Robin will share his experience of growing and learning through connecting and working with Bees and how we can help support this amazing insect. No ‘Honey’ or ‘Sweet’ jokes please! This was postponed from an earlier date so we look forward to finally catching up with Robin.