General meetings of members are held on the fourth Tuesday of each month except December. The last meeting of each year takes the form of a Christmas luncheon. For the time being, general meetings will be held at Windy Hill, Essendon. There is always fellowship before the general meetings, but the formal meeting commences at 10.30 am and runs until around 12.30 pm. Typically meetings start off with about 45 minutes devoted to Club business, then a half hour for morning tea. Then follows up to an hour to take in a presentation from a guest speaker or other person of particular interest. The majority of members at each meeting like to remain for lunch.
The next General meeting will be held on Tuesday February 28th. The speaker will be Professor Peter Seligman, honorary Professor of the University of Melbourne, a biological engineer at the Bionics Institute, and an associate of the Melbourne Energy Institute. Peter was a key member of the team that developed the Melbourne/Cochlear multiple-channel cochlear implant. He worked in the field for 30 years and was particularly responsible for the development and improvement of speech processors. In 1979 he designed the first portable Speech Processor for the University of Melbourne device. He joined Cochlear Ltd (Nucleus) in 1983 and was instrumental in speech processor miniaturisation and improvement, including the development of custom microchips to implement new speech processing strategies. He holds 21 patents. His special interest was the development of smaller behind-the-ear speech processors and totally implanted cochlear implants. In 2009 Peter retired from Cochlear Ltd. In that year he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Engineering.
At the first meeting for the year – in January 2023 – we had our own “Antiques Roadshow” with Bryan and Lorraine Sturton-Gill from DeBretts Antique Market, Mount Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds. They brought some treasured antiques from their personal collection, each with historical significance. Then Bryan and Lorraine reviewed items brought along by members and guests of the Club. They provided information about each item – origin and approximate date.
For information about DeBretts, please see the Facebook page by clicking here, or a description of the business by clicking here. The location (and more photos) can be be found by clicking here. Bryan would be willing to discuss value and saleability of items in private, and to take items for sale on commission.
At the last General meeting for 2022, held in November, the speakers were Andy Walsh and Mick Francis. Mick was the former CEO of the Magistrates Court of Victoria, Coroners Court of Victoria and Children’s Court of Victoria. Andy worked in Youth Justice and Community Safety programs. They spoke about the changing culture of court administration over the past 50 years, the little publicised programs to keep offenders out of court, and the similarly little publicised programs to help young offenders.
Our speaker at the October 2022 meeting was Eric Faulkner from Geelong, a lawyer by profession. Eric is from Northern Ireland and has had a lifelong interest in RMS Titanic. He gave a really engaging and informative account of the construction, launch and sinking of the ship.
At the September meeting the speaker was Ian Crawford, son of Dorothy Crawford and nephew of Hector Crawford. He joined Crawford Productions at twenty years of age. Ian became the director and producer of many Crawford television series and later he was an Executive Producer of all the company’s drama output. In 1980 he became the company’s Managing Director, which post he held until Hector and he sold their shares in the company in 1988. Ian’s speech spanned the late 1930s to the late 1980s, and is particularly about Crawfords and the travails of the company – the collapse of radio drama following the arrival of television, the company’s efforts to get drama onto TV, early TV series and serials, along with an inside look at such moguls as Sir Frank Packer, Kerry Packer, and Sir Reginald Ansett. His entertaining and informative speech was entitled “Crawford Productions and the dramas of early television!”
At the August meeting, the speaker was Bob Chalmers, retired teacher, and President of the Essendon Historical Society for more than 22 years. He spoke about “Fine Homes of Essendon” showing many interesting examples.
Further information about the Essendon Historical Society may be found clicking this link.
At the July meeting, the speaker was Elida Brereton, retired teacher, school principal and educational consultant. Among other significant achievements, she was Principal of Camberwell High School from 1994 to 2009. Elida gave a really engaging and entertaining talk focussing on the changes in schooling over the her four decades involved in education.
At the June meeting, the speaker was Wendy Todd, Account Manager at the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood – Melbourne Donor Centre. Wendy has worked closely with people faced with serious health issues, and is committed to help saving lives. In her current role, she partners with Lifeblood Champions who willingly share their time, expertise and networks to promote giving blood. More information can be found by clicking here.
The guest speaker for the meeting in May was not able to attend. Instead, members enjoyed a trivia quiz.
The speaker at the April meeting was Chris Banks, Manager of International Conservation at Zoos Victoria. He has built long-lasting relationships with many zoos and conservation organisations abroad, including Rhino Fund Uganda. He spoke about the conservation projects undertaken both in Australia and abroad. Zoos Victoria is committed to fighting wildlife extinction – see information here. A link to some interesting webinars about some of the conservation projects can be found here.
The Annual General Meeting of the Club was held in March. At this meeting there were reports on the 2021-2022 Probus year and the Committee for the 2022-2023 Probus year was elected. For information about the Committee, please click here.
The President for the 2022-23, Marie Daffey, was inducted. She thanked Maureen Scully, for her service to the Club as President for 2½ years: 2019 – 2022. Maureen was presented with a gift as an expression of the Club’s gratitude.
At the first regular meeting for 2022 – on Tuesday 25th January – the speaker was Richard Smith, for 10 years the Project Officer for the East Timor Friendship Project, a joint aid project of the Moreland and Hume City Councils. His role included coordination of project partners both in Australia and East Timor to support the development of the community in the districts of Bacau and Aileu. Professionally, Richard had 25 years with the ABC as a journalist, presenter and station manager. For a time, he ran his own communication and training consultancy following terms in all levels of Government and the corporate sector on career and organisation development. His talk for us touched on the political strife and disorder affecting the struggle for independence in East Timor.
At the February meeting, our speaker was Peter McPhee AM. He has been involved in many community organisations including Rotary (the Mitcham Club and Rotary International), the Whitehorse Historical Society, the Migrant Information Service, RSL, Jaycees, the Australia Day Council, Scouts and the City of Nunawading. Recently he completed 20 years as a Director of the Federal Government’s Migrant Information Centre, Eastern Suburbs. He has received many awards for his service to the community including a Member of the Order of Australia award in the 2021 Queens Birthday Day Honours. He now gives talks on a broad range of topics but specifically on Australian History with particular reference to veterans of WW1 and the Kokoda Track. In 2002 he walked the Kokoda Track and his talk for us was titled “Walking in the Footsteps of Warriors and Angels”. This is a memorial to, or recognition of, those who have walked the Track.
For comments or suggestions about speakers for regular meetings, contact Geoff here.
The last regular meeting for 2019, in November 2019, was a special celebration to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Club. The inaugural meeting of the Probus Club of Melbourne North was held at North Melbourne Football Club rooms on Wednesday 9th November 1994. The shortened “business” part of the meeting allowed time for the President to present some history of the Club and to recognise the founders and those who have made major contributions. An extended version of this presentation is available through the ‘Club History’ page. Please click here.
The Anniversary was toasted with bubbles and finger food, and founding members cut an Anniversary cake. Instead of our normal speaker we had some musical entertainment. Most members and guests remained to enjoy a convivial lunch together. For further photos from the Anniversary celebration, please click here.