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. 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 in the bistro at the Waterloo Cup Hotel.

header_1140_vec_logoThe next regular meeting will be held on Tuesday 24th September. Our speaker will be Amy Willet representing ‘Victorian Energy Compare’ from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Victorian Energy Compare is designed to read and understand your electricity bill and to ask your retailer for a better offer with the aim of saving money and reducing household energy consumption. She has requested that we bring along our Electricity Bills for demonstration purposes. For more information, please click here.

For comments or suggestions about speakers for regular meetings, contact Bob here.

Here is some information about past recent speakers:



In July 2018, our speaker was Captain Peter Somerville. A history buff and nature lover, for 35 years Peter has run tours of the Maribyrnong River on his traditional 1920s passenger ferry, the Blackbird. Combining scenery, stories and dry humour with a keen knowledge of the west’s industrial past, his cruises offer a unique look at both the river and the area’s rich heritage. Peter’s engrossing talk to us revealed an amazing amount of history concerning the Maribyrnong River and its environs.

IMG_0862Our guest speaker in August was Associate Professor Simon Stafrace. He is a psychiatrist with over 25 years clinical experience in adult and aged psychiatry in Victoria’s public mental health system. Simon’s current appointment is the Program Director of Mental & Addiction Health at Alfred Health. He has a passion to lead a mental health service that is welcoming; treats people with dignity; provides safe and effective care; promotes clinical and social recovery; engages families and friends; and is valued by the local community. His talk for us was on “Mental health and mental illness, particularly focusing on later life”.


IMG_0881At the September meeting  our guest speaker was Jim Callahan, a volunteer with Mercy Ships. This is a global charity that uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development aid to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1 billion, with more than 2.5 million direct beneficiaries. Each year, more than 1,200 volunteers from over 40 nations serve with Mercy Ships. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. For further information, including how to donate or volunteer, please click here.

Carol's BookIMG_0937At our meeting in October, the guest speaker was Carol Rosenhain, a Melbourne writer and historian who has been a passionate teacher of English and History at senior secondary level for many years. She is a keen researcher and traveller, with a penchant for all places of historical connection with the Australian Military. Her recent book The Man Who Carried the Nation’s Grief describes the extraordinary work of Major James Malcolm Lean. As Officer in Charge of ‘Base Records’ during World War II, J M Lean had a crucial role as the link between anxious families and the bureaucracy of the AIF. For further information about the book, please click here.


In November, at our final regular Club meeting for 2018, our speaker was Club member Dr Frank Evans. His topic was “Roofing East Timor”. He gave an excellent background to the geography, history and politics of this newly independent nation. For over a decade, through the Rotary Club of Doncaster, Frank has been involved with a project to provide training and opportunities for the people of Timor Leste to help them help themselves to greater sustainability as a nation and as a people. From a start of “zero base” the ‘East Timor Roofing and Training Cooperative’ is now a fully established incorporated limited liability Company in Timor Leste. The project was allocated an old market site in Baucau by the original United Nations Administration and now has a large fully equipped factory on the site with machinery to roll flat steel coils into corrugated roofing iron, purlin section, wall frame stud and track, and guttering. Other roofing products manufactured are pre-fabricated roof trusses, as well as water tanks and more recently grain silos.


The first regular meeting for 2019 was held in  January. Our speaker was Bev Moss speaking about “Buckingham Palace in my Underwear”. One Saturday morning in 2001, she ignored the usual Saturday chores and read the paper instead. She didn’t know why she read the Employment Section, because she had a job in which she was happy and retirement probably beckoned. This deviation from the domestic routine led to a decade of exciting travel and adventure including taking visitors on tours of Clarence House, home of the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and meeting interesting people both famous and ordinary. Her message is – don’t let age be a barrier to what you want to do. Life is out there and wants you to grab it by the throat. Bev gave us a most entertaining and challenging talk encouraging us all to live life to the full.

IMG_1016At the February meeting our speaker was Dr Andrew McLean, PhD (Equine Cognition & Learning), BSc (Zoology), Dip Ed. Andrew is the winner of the highest Australian science award, the Eureka Prize for Science, and is in great demand as a trainer, coach and speaker on equitation science. In addition to establishing the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre, he has written 5 books, including an international best seller, and authored 35 peer-reviewed journal articles. He also has an impressive record of personal riding achievements.

bfg10598_ccd9090b69c3a8ff764b2d70905885e6Andrew also began training elephants in Nepal in 2007, which led to the establishment of the not-for-profit H-ELP Foundation (Human Elephant Learning Program), of which he is now Senior Vice President. This cooperative project focuses on the optimal management, welfare and training of elephants in Asia using innovative training techniques based on learning theory and the elimination of punishment.

To find out more, and to donate to the work of the H-ELP Foundation, please click here.

IMG_0265_cropIn March 2019, the Annual General Meeting of the Club was held. Reports were received on activities of the Club over the 2018/19 Probus year, and the Committee for the next year was appointed. The retiring President Vic Ryall installed Allan Rodger as the President for the 2019/20 Probus year. For more information about the current Committee, please click here.

IMG_1028bAt our meeting in April, our speaker was Associate Professor Sharon Brennan-Olsen. She is a Program Director at the Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS), part of a collaboration between Western Health and the University of Melbourne. Her research interests are the social determinants of musculoskeletal diseases and health service utilisation, and the biological mechanisms that may underpin the social gradient of musculoskeletal diseases. Her work encompasses a key focus on community engagement and knowledge translation. For our meeting, her topic was: “We all have two ages ‘Chronological and Biological’: The biological age is where the fun is!” AIMSS is conducting clinical trials and volunteers are welcome. For further information, please click here.

IMG_1036aAt the regular Club meeting  in May, our speaker was Bill Reid, a member of the Alma Doepel Supporters Club Committee who, along with many others, has given countless hours to the restoration of the Alma Doepel. This is a three masted top sail schooner built in 1903 in Bellingen, NSW, by Frederik Doepel, and named after his youngest daughter Alma. She sailed mainly around the coast of Australia, carrying goods such as timber, wheat and jam. She was also used in World War II as a supply vessel in Papua New Guinea, before returning to commercial service around Tasmania in 1946. From 1961 to 1975 she was stripped of her rigging and used to carry limestone, before being sold, for the scrap value of her engines, to the Melbourne Company, Sail & Adventure, in 1976 for the advancement of youth through Sail Training.

Alma Doepel 1988From 1976 to 1987, Alma Doepel had her first restoration and returned to full sail to take part in the Parade of Sail in Sydney Harbour in January 1988. She was then used as a sail training ship, based in Melbourne, until 1999 when the need for work on the hull and lack of funds put a stop to this activity.

Alma Doepel 2019In April 2001, Alma Doepel was taken to Port Macquarie where she was berthed at Lady Nelson Wharf and open to the public as a static exhibit. In January 2009 the Alma Doepel returned to berth No 2 Victoria Dock (Melbourne) for her second restoration to return her to survey so she can recommence sail training. Bill Reid told us about this ongoing work. Further information may be found by clicking here.

DSC_0001At our regular meeting Club meeting in June, our speaker was Dr Heather Wheat. Heather is a former tutor and research officer at the University of Melbourne. For more information, see her Facebook page by clicking here. Her talks are mainly about her travel blogs, and she spoke to us about her personal experiences in far east Russia particularly the Kamchatka Peninsula and the “Ring of Fire”, a series of active volcanoes [one the largest in the Northern Hemisphere]. Kamchatka is sparsely populated and covered with snow for most of the year. Wild life, brown bears, deer, wolves and bird life is abundant. Her talk was a wonderful travelogue, accompanied by excellent photos and a good geography lesson about this remote part of the world.

DSC_0003At our Club meeting in July, our speaker was Mel Higgins, a retired teacher, now speaking to groups on behalf of RACV. His talk gave all sorts of useful tips to seniors about safe travel … both as drivers and as pedestrians. For more information click here. Useful further resources are available at the RACV site here.


At our regular meeting in August, our speaker was Merilyn Hoysted, a member of the Ceramics and Glass Circle of Australia. She is passionate and knowledgeable about ceramics and her thoroughly researched presentation was supplemented with a display of Scottish pottery. Her talk concentrated on the largest pottery in Glasgow – that of John and Matthew Perston Bell. These brothers were not potters but were successful in establishing one of the most profitable businesses (1841 – 1919), exporting all over the world including to South East Asia and Australia. For more information, click here. Product images may be seen by clicking here.