Narooma Rotary Beacon 19 November 2020


Our DG DR Michael Moore

We join our District 9705 Governor Dr Michael Moore AM PhD on Zoom this Thursday night. Michael faces many challenges in trying to cover such a large District.

Michael is the former CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia and is a Past President of the World Federation of Public Health Associations. He is the chair of a number of health networks. Michael is a Distinguished Fellow at The George Institute for Global Health, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra and Visiting Professor at the University of Technology Sydney, was formerly a teacher and consultant and served four terms as an elected member of the ACT Legislative Assembly from 1989 to 2001. Michael was Australia’s first independent Minister when he was appointed as Minister of Health and Community Care. In 2017 he was honoured by being made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).


Last week’s meeting at Narooma Golf Club was pretty hectic as our meeting coincided with Narooma High School Year 12 Formal. Students in all their finery had to wait in the Seahorse Room before going up stairs. Because of a few delays we ended up in the 1st Hole room for our meeting. In all we had 16 members and guests in attendance, filling the room to capacity.

Martin Dunk at Cobargo BlazeAid

Our guest speakers Martin Dunk and Jude Turner gave us a wonderful insight into BlazeAid in Cobargo. Martin is a backpacker and is the current coordinator of the BlazeAid Cobargo site. He has been at Cobargo since August and will return to Sydney in a couple of weeks. Volunteering with BlazeAid is a popular option for backpackers because the volunteering is considered as ‘rural’ work, allowing them to extend their working holiday visa.

BlazeAid is a volunteer organisation formed by Kilmore East farmers, Kevin and Rhonda Butler after the Black Saturday fires of 2009. The role of BlazeAid is to help farmers rebuild fences as well as rebuild lives.

The BlazeAid Camp at Cobargo has operated since January. Since January more than 500 people have spent time there volunteering. Currently there are 21 volunteers in the camp with four jobs underway.

To date 351 farmers have registered for assistance and 104 properties have been completed. It is anticipated the BlazeAid will need at least another 12 to 18 months to complete all projects. When all work has been completed, it has been estimated that more than 4,900km of fencing will have been rebuilt. A great effort.

BlazeAid is a fascinating mixture of backpackers, grey (and not so grey) nomads and locals. Bega Valley Shire Council provides logistic support for the camp and many volunteer organisations such as Rotary assist in many other ways, including the supply of food and other supplies. Local businesses also strongly support BlazeAid. Bob Aston


Bay Rotary invites Royal Zoom

Interesting that Bay Rotarian Pam Thorpe invited Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, to a Zoom meeting with them to discuss the recent bushfires in their area and the Club’s efforts in the recovery. His Kensington Palace assistant responded:

“His Royal Highness was saddened when he heard of the devastation that was caused by the bush fires on New Years Eve 2019. The Duke was heartened to learn of efforts, the members of the Rotary Club have gone to in Mogo to help with the recovery efforts. Though you have been delayed in your efforts due to COVID-19 outbreak, it is encouraging to hear this has not deterred the members in wanting to complete the recovery of Mogo.

“The Duke was extremely grateful for your kind invitation having given careful consideration to the possibilities, however, I very much regret that his Highness reluctantly feels he has to decline.” He sent Bay Rotarians “his best wishes”.

Rotary plants help Cobargo Recovery

Bega Rotarians, Canberra-Weston Creek Rotarians and Brindabella Rotaractors joined the community day at Cobargo last Saturday with a big plant give-away to help the community recover its green environment.

Through the Cobargo Green Recovery team, Cobargo and Quaama residents affected by the summer bushfires could choose from about 4,000 trees and plants organised by the two Rotary Clubs. The plants were grown over winter by Rotarians and volunteers, many of whom were older and isolated at home and welcomed such an activity.

The Plant Replacement Project was led by Rotarian Margaret McIver with help from Canberra horticulturalist Paulene Cairnduff whose Phoenix Garden Recovery group helped re-green Weston Creek after their 2003 fires. 

The Cobargo Community worked for many months to make the day happen and almost everyone in the District seemed to appear. Headspace Bega and Red Cross were also there to offer support. A ‘welcome to country’ and songs in Yuin language started the day’s events. Bega Rotary provided a barbecue and there were fun events and live music for families.

When Cobargo’s re-building and infrastructure is nearly completed, some street trees will also be provided as part of this project.


PDG Phil Armstrong of Moruya Club and a long term supporter of our Club will be our guest speaker.