Narooma Rotary Beacon 23 September 2021

Andrew’s Thoughts

Well naturally, it has been a very quiet week. It’s a shame to see Eurobodalla Shire in lockdown still and with Covid in Narooma, while there’s been an easing down here in Bega Valley Shire.The important thing is that with 52% double jabbed and over 80% single jabbed, we can hopefully see ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ and can soon revert to our usual meetings and see each other again in the flesh.

As for this week, Mike, Julie and I are Zooming to continue the planning of the Support Group. Don’t forget that we have our Club Zoom on Thursday, at 7.30 as already advised.

At last year’s Lift the Lid fundraiser – local milliner Anne Colquitt of Hat Savvy and Mike Young, with Bob Aston behind

A reminder that the Lift the Lid on Mental Health Day is on 10 October. Last year our special hat night was great fun and it confirmed what we suspected, that Mike was the ‘Mad Hatter’! It is obvious we shall not be able to participate in the same way on 10th October, but with the significant impact that Covid-19 restrictions have had on mental health, I suggest that we have our own fun when we are able to.

So, hang in there, hope for the best, and as ever, onwards and upwards mes amis!


A Club Zoom this Thursday to catch up with everyone at the later time of 7.30pm to see how that suits. Andrew has already sent invitations to you. Get back to him if you haven’t received one or since lost it.

The Week that Was

Taliya Smith receives part of her prize

Taliya Smith receives part of her recent prize

You might remember that local lady Taliya Smith of Narooma VRA was announced as the winner of the Rotary Emergency Services Youth Scholarship at the 2021 Rotary NSW Emergency Service Community Award ceremony some weeks ago. The lockdown though has prevented her receiving her awards.

Well, Mike Young caught up with Taliya this week at work at Narooma Home Hardware and presented her with the trophy she won for being a finalist in the Rotary Emergency Services Youth Scholarship.  President Andrew intends presenting her with the Winner’s trophy at our next face-to-face Club meeting, whenever that may be, hopefully with her family members present. Her $1,000 scholarship prize will assist her with further training and/or equipment to assist her community.

Rotary Rural Inspirational Women’s Award

Bega Valley Police Officer Sarah Bancroft of Millingandi was awarded the Rotary Rural Inspirational Women’s Award on Sunday. She was nominated by Pambula Rotary Club. Sarah works with PCYC in the Bega Valley Shire and is committed to helping young people troubled by drug use, mental health and other issues.

Sarah Bancroft

Sarah has been particularly focussed on the indigenous community, going way beyond the call of duty to help those youngsters and their families. Sarah also runs a before-school program two mornings a week where young people are given breakfast, fun and fitness. Sarah has also worked tirelessly to raise money to take two teams to the Rugby League tournament called Nations of Origin.

Hers was one of five Rotary Inspirational Women’s Awards presented by the Rotary Clubs of NSW at a virtual celebration on Sunday. The awards are open to all women across NSW who aren’t Rotarians and acknowledge and celebrate community service performed by women, through their various activities and endeavours, over and above their normal daily role.

Out and About

Pambula Rotary has Trivia night online

Pambula has been trying Club meetings with a difference. Last week they had an online trivia night which proved to be lots of fun,  the only question no one could figure out who won. With the fabulous prize of a lockdown haircut from one of the Rotarians (hairdresser!) on offer, the prize was unclaimed. Everyone appreciated though seeing everyone’s smiling faces .

From Moruya Rotary bulletin

Through Phil Armstrong’s efforts, Moruya Rotary will receive a AUD$30,000 grant from the Rotary International Britain and Ireland Disaster Recovery Trust towards the Moruya Showground kitchen renovation. The kitchen was the evacuation hub during the bushfires. This is a shining example of how Rotary funds cross the world.

The other news is the District 9705 Environment team has been progressing as well. Confidently led by PDG David Brawn and assisted by PDG Michael Milston, has nearly completed the District Environment plan. It will help Rotary clubs understand and implement the new area of focus ‘Protecting the Environment’.

Free webinar Mental Health Day 10 October

Australian Rotary Health will celebrate its 40th birthday and Hat Day on Sunday 10 October by hosting a free online webinar, joined by experts in youth mental health. Everyone is welcome. Special guests include Professor Michael Sawyer OAM, Dr Nicole Hill and Dr Lisa Mundy. Another guest will be announced at a later date. While free, a donation to Australian Rotary Health mental health research would be much appreciated. Make sure if you join in the webinar, you wear a hat to help everyone Lift the Lid on Mental Illness.

NEXT WEEK Thursday 30 September

No meeting at this stage.

Narooma Rotary Beacon 16 September 2021

Andrew’s Thoughts

Mike Young and Norm Ingersoll draw the 2021 Whalewatching Raffle

Our Board Meeting last Wednesday confirmed what we already suspected. In view of the continuing lockdown, we shall Zoom on the second Thursday of the month at 4.00pm, and at 7.30pm on the fourth. Let’s see how that works out; we’ll be flexible if needs be.

Both the Business Breakfast and Prostate Cancer Support meetings are deferred until we have some certainty going forward… hopefully November (he says with fingers firmly crossed!). The market for September has also obviously been cancelled; we plan to recommence as soon as possible. Finally, the Duck Race on Australia Day will be held as normal. 

On that note, after last week’s Government announcements, it is now clear that normality will only return after the 70%/80% vaccination levels. It is also clear our vaccination status is going to be linked to our NSW QR code readers upon entry to various locations, including the Golf Club. So I urge us all to get fully vaccinated so that we can enjoy our mutual fellowship again as soon as possible. 

It was excellent to see that Mike Young and Norm Ingersoll of Narooma Charters drew the Whale Watch Raffle last Saturday, all suitably distanced and fully masked. It was won by Dorothy Rule of Kianga who was suitably thrilled.  Thanks to all, especially Ange, for the ticket selling efforts which have raised almost $1,700 for our Prostate Cancer Support Group project.

Looking to happier times in the future, please make diary dates for our Christmas Dinner on Thursday 16th December (location to be advised), and on 9th January Lynn and I are hosting an open lunch for you all and your families in Wandella. 

The next Zoom will be on the 23rd at 7.30. So onwards and upwards mes amis!


No meeting this week, not even a Zoom meeting! Stay safe and hopefully sane… apparently we’re almost there…

The Week that was

Whale watching Raffle

As Andrew mentioned, our Whale Watching Raffle was drawn on Saturday by Norm Ingersoll of Narooma Charters.  Norm and Nick Ingersoll have been donating this prize since at least 2014, an initiative of PP Ange. The $1,692 we raised will assist the soon to be launched Narooma Prostate Cancer Support Group.

When Mike Young rang the winner Dorothy Rule of Kianga, she was absolutely delighted.  Mike said Dorothy has lived here for 20 years and never been out to Montague Island. With little time left of this year’s whalewatching season once we come out of lockdown, Dorothy can transfer the tickets to the 2022 season if she wishes.

Update on Prostate Cancer Support Group

Our launch of the Narooma Prostate Cancer Support Group has obviously been delayed because of the Lockdown. The proposed launch is now Tuesday 2 November at the earliest, should the post Lockdown restrictions be sufficiently eased. Otherwise the launch will hopefully occur in December. The intention is for the Group to meet at the Men’s Shed on the first Tuesday in each month at 6.30pm

Our Support Groups Subcommittee consists of Andrew, Julie Hartley and Mike Young, with Gordon Bentley also volunteering to assist when he can. Gordon suggested some visitors over summer may also be interested in coming along. To find out more about the Support Group, please contact Andrew Lawson at

Narooma Rotary Tertiary Scholarship

Our Rotary 2021 and 2020 Scholars Elise Dixon and Rory Spurgeon

Bob Aston reported at the last Board meeting that all this year’s Year 12 students have information and application forms for our Narooma Tertiary Scholarship. With the Lockdown it is obviously difficult to do any follow up but having a really good Year advisor will hopefully help. We wish all Year 12 students the best of luck, clear heads and continued resilience through their studies and exams. Applications are due on 8 November with interviews 11 December.

Busking Competition

With the amount of preparation involved with organising a Narooma Busking Competition and the uncertain times we are in at the moment, the Board decided to not hold the Busking Festival in 2022. We hope to run it again in 2023 with widespread community support. These arrangements have been endorsed by the organiser of the Australian National Busking Championships instigator Alan Spencer of Cooma.

Out and About

Lift the Lid on Mental Health Day 10 October

Presumably showing Professor Michael Sawyer OAM, left, Dr Nicole Hill and Dr Lisa Mundy who will be taking part in the 10 October webinar on youth mental health.

Unfortunately chances are we may still be in lockdown so perhaps we could all wear a hat for our Zoom meeting on Thursday 14 October, the closest day to World Mental Health Day on 10 October. Watch this space!

Australian Rotary Health will celebrate its 40th birthday and Hat Day on Sunday 10 October by hosting a free online webinar, joined by experts in youth mental health. Everyone is welcome. Special guests include Professor Michael Sawyer OAM, Dr Nicole Hill and Dr Lisa Mundy. Another guest will be announced at a later date. While free, a donation to Australian Rotary Health mental health research would be much appreciated. Make sure if you join in the webinar, you wear a hat to help everyone Lift the Lid on Mental Illness.

World Polio Day is on 24 October

When Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries every year. Today, polio cases have been reduced by 99.9 percent. Just two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The GPEI’s new strategic plan for 2022–26 aims to interrupt all polio transmission in Afghanistan and Pakistan by the end of 2023. However, the outlook for a continued vaccination programme in Afghanistan is uncertain and depends on the Taliban’s position and the country’s security. Success also depends on stopping the virus in Pakistan, as the virus has often jumped back into Afghanistan just as the country was making gains.

The vaccination programme depends on full funding and political commitment; without that this paralyzing disease could return to polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million each year to support global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total yearly contribution of $150 million. 

On a lighter note

Without freedom of speech we wouldn’t know who the idiots are.

What’s the difference between COVID-19 and Romeo & Juliet? One is a Coronavirus and the other is a Verona crisis. (Courtesy Moruya bulletin)


It’s a Zoom meeting next week, Thursday 23 September, starting at 7.30 pm. The time is a bit of a trial to see how that goes. Feedback welcome

Narooma Rotary Beacon 9 September 2021

Andrew’s Thoughts

Well, not surprisingly it’s been a quiet week. I did manage to meet Mike and Julie in Wooli’s car park to hand over the Whalewatching Raffle tickets and monies, suitably masked and socially distanced!

We have an important Board meeting on Wednesday where we shall have to make some tough decisions. But we are where we are and have to accept reality. Restrictions will be eased at 70% / 80% vaccinated, the sooner the better when we can return to some sort of normality. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for November and December!

Still with fingers firmly crossed, and hopefully on a happier note, I would love you all to come to Wandella for an open lunch on Sunday 9 January. Bring spouses or lovers, spouses and lovers, family, children, dogs and importantly, healthy appetites! A few of the upper echelons of the area’s CWA will hopefully join us too.

We have a Zoom on Thursday which I urge you all to join, as we shall be reporting back on our Board meeting.

Keep your chins up, and onward and upwards mes amis!!


This Wednesday 4pm:  Board Zoom Meeting 

This Thursday 4pm: Club Zoom meeting. Please note the earlier times.

Out and About

From Moruya Rotary

Our friends at Moruya have been busy during lockdown reorganising  their operations of Moruya Jockey Club kiosk (their main fundraiser), ready for when races and crowds are back post lockdown.

Update on RYLA 2022

The D9705 RYLA Committee is working towards holding RYLA in January 2022, Covid-19 willing, the venue and format still to be determined it but will be Canberra.

The Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) is an impressive programme that aims to empower Australia’s young emerging leaders. It’s a week-long programme where young people can meet life changing people, be enthralled by inspiring stories and develop skills through challenges and activities designed to put their leadership into practice, in a supportive and encouraging environment.

Applicants must be nominated, interviewed, and financially supported by District Rotary Clubs.

Our District still does not have exact costs for the week but every Club who sponsors a RYLA 2022 candidate will receive a $300 discount per candidate.  The RYLA committee wishes to extend our sincere thanks to the District Board for their belief in the value of RYLA and for their invaluable financial assistance.

On a lighter note

Read about an amazing lady in Meadowbank, Auckland who posted jokes or sayings in her local park throughout their lockdown for the enjoyment of her local community, a fresh batch every morning.  Here are a few…

Virtual meetings are basically séances… “There’s somebody who wants to join us… Are you there… We can’t hear you…. Can you hear us?”

What’s the best way to keep milk fresh? Leave it in the cow.

I had a fun childhood. My Dad used to push me down the hill in old tyres. They were Goodyears.

NEXT WEEK Thursday 16 September

Was to have been a breakfast meeting but not even a Zoom meeting!

Stay safe and hopefully sane… apparently we’re almost on the other side…

Narooma Rotary Beacon 2 September 2021

Andrew’s Thoughts

It’s been a week where probably our worst fears have been confirmed. So it looks like it will be Zoom meetings for the foreseeable future. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Andrew-1.jpg
Our noble leader Andrew

We had a good catch up last Thursday for the seven of us who Zoomed. It was good to see our old mate Gordon Bentley who managed to escape the clutches of Dubbo just before the lockdown and who will probably be around Narooma for a while.

So what for the future? We shall obviously formally adopt a draft programme at our upcoming Zoom Board Wednesday week, but we have to be realistic. Our breakfast program has been moved to Spring and it looks like the Prostate Cancer project will follow the same route.

In order that we don’t get totally Zoomed out, I am proposing only two meetings per month on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays. Let’s see how that works.

But let’s not lose what we have gained so far in 2021. We’re becoming a close knit group which is great, and we need to keep in touch, and care for each other. For those not comfortable with Zoom. let’s call them from time to time to see that they’re travelling well both physically and mentally. 

Keep those chins up, mes amis!!


Not even a Zoom meeting this Thursday.

The Week that Was

Our great Cobargo night keeps on giving

Our Club and Cobargo BlazeAid received more good publicity this week in the September issue of The Triangle, much to President Andrew’s delight. It was about our wonderful night at Cobargo Hotel with the Cobargo BlazeAid volunteers, hosted by Narrandera and our own Club.

Andrew also put in a plug for how we would welcome people from the Cobargo, Bermagui and Tilba area who may be interested in becoming Club members. Our story had previously run in local online papers Narooma News (as well as the hard copy) and the Beagle Weekly soon after the dinner.

Moruya on D9705’s Environmental Team

Moruya’s Rotary bulletin had an article this week about our District’s Environmental Team. You will recall that last year Rotary International added the Environment as a new seventh area of focus. In response this year, Rotary Down Under has been running a series of relevant articles under the heading ‘Our Earth Our Home’.

Our District has set up a committee under PDG David Brawn of the Rotary Club of Berry. Its charter is to encourage Rotary clubs in District 9705 to embrace the new area of focus and to initiate environmental projects in their areas. Moruya President Chris Manahan and Derek Anderson are members of the committee which hopes to recruit more members. Maybe it’s time for our Club to explore our Renewable Energy Expos again?

The photos that launched our Radar news

Our  former Exchange student Jui-Da ‘Radar’ Lin from Taiwan

Lynn Hastings recently spotted our  former Exchange student Jui-Da ‘Radar’ Lin from Taiwan on Instagram in a white coat with a stethoscope. So here are the photos! Radar was with us 2015-2016 during Bob Antill’s year as President. Bob and Lynn think Radar is studying medicine, possibly radiography, and would be about half way through his course, so he’s possibly doing an internship.

Out and About

More postponements due to Covid-19

Due to the ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation, RYPEN 2021 has been postponed. RYPEN Coordinator Darren Wallace said they are investigating possible dates for the camp in the first half of 2022, and will advise all clubs of the new dates ASAP. They plan on running another RYPEN in November 2022.

On a lighter ‘Lockdown’ note…

Now is definitely not the right time to start surrounding yourself with positive people.

Yeah, I have plans tonight. I’ll probably hit the living room around 8 or 9!

Never in my wildest of wild dreams did I ever think I would go up to a bank teller with a mask on and ask for money.

Chinese doctors have confirmed the name of the first person to contract Coronavirus. His name is Ah-Chu.

Is September too early to put up the Christmas tree? I am up to date with everything else.


Wednesday 8 September, a Board Meeting on Zoom at 4-6pm (please note earlier time).

Thursday 9 September, a Zoom Club meeting 4-5pm (please note earlier time).

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.

Narooma Rotary Beacon 29 July 2021

Andrew’s Thoughts

Gero Mitchell last week gave a fascinating insight into her life, thanked here by VP Ange Ulrichsen

Like all good married couples, Lynn and I shared everything last week including a horrible stomach bug, so I was unable to see you all. Thank you Ange for chairing the meeting in my absence.

By all accounts it was a really good meeting with Gero giving a great talk. It was also good to have a Visiting Rotarian, the new President of RC Coolamon (near Wagga Wagga) Albert Suidgeest who has bought a holiday house in Dalmeny and will be a neighbour of Lynn Hastings.

Ange was outside Aldi again on Saturday selling raffle tickets. What a star! Please feel free to help!

We have no meeting this week. However, our core Prostate Support team of  Julie, Mike and I will meet Bernie Perrett from the Men’s Shed  on Tuesday and some detailed planning will follow. I shall meet Dr Gundi Muller from the Lighthouse Surgery on Thursday with a view to that practice being part of the team too. We are looking to formally launch by the end of August.

Next Thursday is the BlazeAid dinner at Cobargo Pub. I have booked and, assuming there are no changes to Covid rules, then we shall certainly go ahead. You may have seen they have just passed 100,000 volunteer hours! So please come along and support these great people.

As ever, our plans will be governed by Covid, but stay positive. Onward and upward mes amis!


No meeting (was to have been the now postponed Greek dinner at the Men’s Shed).

The Week that Was

Our meeting last Thursday

It was lovely to have Mike Young back from Broome where he has been spending time with his family. Tourism there is “going gangbusters”, Mike said.

With the start of the Olympics, our International Toast by Julie Hartley was appropriately to the Rotary Club of Tokyo. They normally meet for lunch on a Wednesday at Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel but are not meeting at the moment because of Covid-19 concerns and restrictions. They have 339 members (!).

Our guest speaker Gero Mitchell, one of our recently inducted members, filled us in on her life to date, and what a fascinating story she told. Her roots are firmly in Narooma being one of the Mitchell family of sawmillers (hence Mill Bay); her father Ted Mitchell managed the family’s Batemans Bay sawmill. Her childhood and school holidays were largely spent in Narooma. School was in the Bay and then at Loreto Convent in Sydney. She graduated in pharmacy at Sydney Uni and travels followed. She spent a few years in New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands as Clerk of the Court. Then returned to Australia, a stint with Festival Records, being the ABC’s first female Concerts Officer. A few years with WEA Records followed where clients included Cold Chisel, Richard Clapton and Sherbet; that’s where she first did catering. “I learnt a lot about catering from my mother; she was a great cook and I loved to help her in the kitchen and my parents had the most wonderful parties.” Then London and from there to Greece where she stayed for 20 years where her work included organising concerts, functions and catering etc and became fluent in Greek.

Gero moved back to Australia in 2000 and established a small catering company in Sydney with her cousin Chris while also teaching cooking at evening college. But in 2015 she decided she’d had enough of Sydney and moved to Narooma in to be closer to her extended family Chris and her aunt Mina Watt. “It’s lovely being here in Narooma,” she said.

Gero tries to keep up her Greek. She studied Linguistics and Modern Greek externally through UNE and does regular Zoom linkups with friends in Greece.

President of RC Coolamon (near Wagga Wagga) Albert Suidgeest visited last week

Our visiting Rotarian Albert from Coolamon said he had only been in the Club less than 12 months when he was nominated President Elect (more common than we thought!). About 20-25 members turn up at meetings each week. A major fundraiser is through the annual Gears and Beers Festival around Wagga Wagga (Coolamon is roughly the half-way mark).

Out and About

From two of our Tertiary Scholars

Rory Spurgeon (2020) achieved amazing results with three High Distinctions. He writes:

University life was becoming much more normal [last semester] and I had chemistry labs and some lectures in person which was great. I was also volunteering doing chemistry ‘peer mentoring’ so I had quite a few contact hours with people in science (outside of Fenner Hall). COVID restrictions were also becoming much more relaxed. However all of this may be changing since the new outbreak so I’m not sure how the next semester will look. 

Elise Dixon and Rory Spurgeon at our Youth Night in January

I am still having an amazing time at uni though and I’m keen to keep learning. I’ve been given permission to do my first research project this semester which I am especially looking forward to. Also I have had to speak to a sub dean to plan my degree (it’s a bit disorganised as I was doing health science first semester last year and a lot of the courses have prerequisites). I will still be doing a full load of three courses this semester.

Elise Dixon (2021) was hoping for better results than her three credits and a pass, but she was not disappointed in view of the times. She is finding it difficult under current circumstances travelling between Narooma and Canberra but is working to improve her results this coming semester. Elise is very thankful for Rotary’s support and looks forward to seeing us all again.

July to be Supporting the Environment Month

The Rotary Foundation Trustees and Rotary International Board of Directors have both unanimously approved adding a new area of focus: supporting the environment.
It is now Rotary International’s seventh Area of Service with moves afoot to make Julys ‘Rotary Supporting the Environment Month’.
Categories of service activities are supported by global grants. Supporting the Environment joins peacebuilding and conflict prevention; disease prevention and treatment; water, sanitation, and hygiene; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and community economic development.
Our Secretary John sent an email to members on 24/7 on behalf of the chair of D9705 Supporting the Environment Team. The Rotary Clubs of Sydney are presenting another free webinar in their Climate and Peace series on 10 August with links to the District Support the Environment page and the D9705 home page, for registration.

NEXT WEEK Thursday 5 August:

We’re welcome to join BlazeAid volunteers for dinner at Cobargo Pub 6 for 6.30pm, Covid-19 restrictions permitting.

If you would like to go, please contact President Andrew by Monday evening; he will liaise re numbers with Cobargo Pub. The cost to Narooma Rotarians will be about $25 a head; the RCs of Narrandera and Narooma will be sponsoring the BlazeAid volunteers.

Narooma Rotary Beacon 22 July 2021

Andrew’s Thoughts

Well it has been a strange and almost conflicting week in some respects. First up, because of the Covid-19 threat, we cancelled our breakfast meeting. This was a very hard decision indeed. It was gratifying that our intended speaker Cath Peachy of Oyster Festival fame agreed that we’d made the “right call”.

At the same time we decided to cancel this month’s market. That was an easier call what with the restrictions on Regional NSW and concerns of possible visits by ‘delinquent Sydneysiders’.

This Thursday we were due to have Dr Michael Holland speak about the new Moruya Hospital. But due to his work schedule he is unable to come, so we shall have a club night dinner. Feature speaker will be our very own Gero Mitchell on ‘This is My Life’. I might also be first up for a three minute talk on experiencing English pop stars!

Among all the bad news was our Board’s great decision to approve the prostate cancer initiative. On Saturday Ange and I sold whale watching raffle tickets at The Plaza. The response from the public was simply wonderful with great expressions of support, voluntary donations, and some heart breaking tales stories.

So very strange times mes amis! Let’s hope we clear this Covid hurdle soon and we can resume our normal schedule.


President Ange inducted Julie Hartley and Gero Mitchell into the Club in late 2020

Dinner meeting at Narooma Golf Club 6 for 6.30pm. Our guest speaker is one of our newest members Gero Mitchell. Her talk is ‘This is My Life’.

Coming soon hopefully, will be a similar talk by Julie Hartley who was inducted at the same time as Gero.

The Week that Was

From Moruya Rotary

Moruya Rotarians had their Club Assembly last week.President Chis Manahan listed four areas in which he particularly sought members’ ideas – Membership, Youth, International and Community projects. Chris saw Membership as the most important. Last week’s Moruya bulletin showed a table of ages in the Moruya Club which Chris identified the need to recruit younger members.

At the Assembly last week, they split into groups, each working on one of these four areas; the outcomes presumably will be incorporated into the Club’s plan for the year. A summary is in their bulletin this week.

While Moruya’s Membership plans are similar to our own, it was interesting to have them summarised so well.

Moruya’s Membership Report:

Leaflet and Publicity:  Perhaps Estate Agents should be approached to give a copy of the leaflet produced by Pauline Gleeson to new arrivals.

Retain Members by making meetings attractive: e.g. good speakers, Trivia nights etc.

Bring a Friend:  Encourage Members to bring a friend and ensure follow up.

Corporate Memberships: Approach businesses to sponsor employees to attend meetings.

Friends of Rotary: Some people might like to join us in activities especially those requiring physical efforts (given our aging membership!) or the Kiosk

President Chris also reported attending a meeting at Mollymook to discuss the initiative of Rotary International to make ‘Supporting the Environment’ a priority. Present were PDG and Chair David Brawn, AG Adam de Totth and Ulladulla Rotarian Peter Hodge. Each club in District 9705 has been asked to submit a list of projects that would come under the title of Environment.


We had scheduled to hold the Greek Dinner at the Men’s Shed but that has been postponed because of Covid-19 restrictions.

So our next scheduled meeting is the Blaze Aid dinner at Cobargo on Thursday 5 August. Members are being encouraged to attend, Covid-19 restrictions allowing.