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.

IMG_0667At the first next regular meeting for 2018 (in January), our guests were Susan Fleming (physiotherapist) and Caroline Hodza (occupational therapist) from Yooralla’s Independent Living Centre (ILC). This centre supports people with disability and seniors, their families and carers to access information about communication and assistive technology. For further information about the Yooralla ILC, please click here. Also, the website for the Independent Living Centres, Australia, has a list of products and suppliers in a National Equipment Database (click here).

AWC Logo

IMG_0740 Our guest for the February meeting was Leah Royle from Australian Wildlife Conservancy. The Australian Wildlife Conservancy protects some of the largest remaining populations of many endangered species like Bilbies, Numbats and Gouldian Finches. For more information about Australian Wildlife Conservancy, please click here.

In March, our regular meeting was followed by the Annual General Meeting. Reports were presented on activities over the past year, and the Committee for the 2018/19 Probus year was elected. For information about the current Committee, please click here.

Our speakers at the April meeting were two of our own Club members speaking of their musical passions. One spoke about the Austral Salon of Music (click here), which began its life in 1890 as a club for women writers. It has evolved over 128 years to an organisation (open to all members) whose aim is to introduce aspiring young musicians to an interested audience. Our other speaker ran a U3A class (click here) on jazz appreciation for many years. We were given a brief introduction to the history of jazz from its origins in New Orleans in the late 19th Century and mentioning some of the great jazz musicians of the 20th Century.

The speaker at the May meeting was Warren Sparrow from Angel Flight Australia. This is a charity which coordinates non-emergency flights to assist country people to access specialist medical treatment that would otherwise be unavailable to them because of vast distance and high travel costs. Warren is a retired air traffic controller and a volunteer with Angel Flight as an “earth angel” – driving patients and families between airports and their appointment. Further information about Angel Flight can be found on their website – please click here.

IMG_0834In June, our speaker was Kirsten Wood, a lecturer in horticulture at Holmesglen Institute of TAFE. She has a particular interest in the science of gardening, and  talked about recent developments in soil technology  applicable to better gardening. She referred to the work of Gabe Brown on regeneration of his North Dakota ranch. His TED talk can be seen  here.



In July 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. He has also worked in private practice in hospital and clinical settings. Simon’s current appointment is the Program Director of Mental & Addiction Health at Alfred Health. This position is responsible for the delivery of clinical specialist and primary mental health services in the inner south of metropolitan Melbourne, and a psychiatry research centre in partnership with Monash University, known as MAPrc (Monash-Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre). 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 next regular meeting, our first for 2019, will be held on Tuesday 22nd January. Our speaker will be 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 will tell you how she did just this! Come along and hear Bev’s entertaining story and her enthusiasm for not letting age stop you from doing things you enjoy.

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