Wednesday at 12 midday for 12.15pm
Bowral Bowling Club
40 Shepherd St
Bowral, NSW  2576

0409 122 141
District Site
Venue Map
Tickets are now on sale for Highlands Theatre Group's performance of Anne Of Green Gables.  Your ticket to the performance on Friday 1st November 2019 will include canapés and light refreshments. They will be served from 6.30pm, prior to the performance, by the Rotary Club of Berrima District. Proceeds from this performance will go towards supporting Rotary Youth programmes for residents of the Southern Highlands. These programmes include MUNA (Model United Nations Assembly), RYPEN (Rotary Youth Programme of Enrichment), RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) and NYSF (National Youth Science Forum). The Rotary Club of Berrima District wish to thank the Highland's Theatre Group Inc for their assistance in this fundraiser.

To purchase tickets to the Rotary Fund Raising evening please follow the link through to the Friday 1st November date.

The wonderful story of orphan girl Anne Shirley and her new life when she comes to live at Green Gables. Based on the timeless classic by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables Based was first published in 1908, not long after the end of the Victorian era, ‘Anne of Green Gables’ has been masterfully adapted for the stage and features beautiful, new music and inspiring choreography. It is a family show for young and old.
Please share this and invite all your friends and family.  Our last fundraiser with Highlands Theatre Group was a sell out and we hope this one is too!
Fire! Fire! Fire! The call that stirs the blood of our speaker this week – Bruce Hansell.  Bruce is a volunteer member of the Berrima Rural Fire Service, carrying on from his participation with the RFS in Armidale.  His total service spans over 12 years, during which he has earned a number of qualifications to help him fight fires and attend serious traffic accidents.  He is also qualified to drive one of those big red trucks, which I am sure many of us would like to do as well.
Not satisfied with just the RFS activity, he is also an active member of the Bowral Men’s shed and the U3A organisation as well as doing volunteer driving for the NSW Cancer Council.  He has kindly offered to see if the Men’s Shed can do some urgently needed repairs to our Rotary lectern.
Bruce regaled us with statistics that highlighted the importance of the RFS in our communities and also covered some interesting aspects of the history of the Berrima unit, which currently has 15 active volunteers and five new joiners in training.  However, he did note that the membership was over 40 in the early days, but the reduced numbers reflect the increased involvement of other bodies such as the SES, NSW Fire & Rescue, NSW Forestry and the CFU.  He assured us the relationship with these bodies is in good working order despite some issues that arose during the Tathra fires.
He finally ran through some of the unique equipment they have housed in their shed in Berrima and noted the changes and improvements that have occurred in this area in recent years.  In this regard, he thanked the Club for our proposed contribution towards the purchase of a pretty fancy stand-alone LED lighting system that will be a handy addition for their night-time work – particularly at vehicle accidents which make up around 90 per cent of the callouts at Berrima.
Berrima Marketplace Playground Upgrade
We seem to be finally zeroing in on a Concept Plan that should meet the approval of most stakeholders, although no doubt there will still be one or two dissatisfied customers. This will now have to go to the next available Council and then on to public display to allow community feedback.  We need to achieve certain milestones by August of this year to satisfy the NSW Government funding  requirements, so the timetable will inevitably be tight.
Where’s Wally FUNdraising Adventure Journey
Our adventure has been rescheduled to the 26th of May.  Please adjust your diaries accordingly.  Have you got your teams ready?  Times running out .... You can still make bookings for this great day out in the Southern Highlands via the same Trybooking link (  For further information about attending please contact Bridget Cosyn on 0418451298
Dear Rotary Club of Batemans Bay, Rotary Club of Canberra Weston Creek, Rotary Club of Cooma, Rotary Club of Moss Vale, Rotary Club of Nowra, Rotary Club of Woden Daybreak, Rotary Club of Aurora Gungahlin, Rotary Club of Berrima District, Rotary Club of Canberra East, Rotary Club of Narooma.
Congratulations on being a ShelterBox Bronze Champion for 2017-2018.  Out of over 1100 clubs in Australia you are among an elite group that are dedicated to ensuring families in disaster have shelter in their time of need.
I hope by now you have received your award certificate or our local ShelterBox representative is arranging to present you with this. Attached to this email is your ShelterBox Champion digital logo that you can use to showcase your dedication to disaster relief on your website, social media and newsletters.  
Please use your ShelterBox Champion digital logo to showcase your dedication to disaster relief on your website, social media and newsletters.  
We would encourage you to include this logo on your home page to promote the great work you are doing in disaster relief.
I have included some information below if you would like to include this in your communication channels.
ShelterBox is proud to be Rotary International’s Project Partner in disaster relief, further strengthening a global circle of friendship. 
This year ShelterBox has launched the ShelterBox Champion Awards to formally acknowledge the amazing support that Rotary provides in supporting families that are left without shelter.
Natural and other disasters are inevitable and frequent, and the need is continuous. In 2018, with global Rotary support, ShelterBox provided shelter and life-saving items for 42,000 families robbed of their homes by disaster and conflict. That is 210,000 people helped on the road to rebuilding and recovery. 
ShelterBox Champions are made up of an elite group of Rotary clubs that have identified the continuing need to prepare for and immediately respond to the worst day ever. We would like to congratulate ShelterBox Champions who have made a lasting impact in worldwide disaster response by supporting ShelterBox annually for three consecutive years.
Once again we would like to thank you and congratulate you on your efforts for being one of a handful of ShelterBox Champions in 2017-2018.
We look forward to continue working together to ensure families receive the emergency aid they need following a disaster. 

Kieryn Deutrom
Volunteer Program Manager
ShelterBox Australia
Who knows much about Rare Cancers (affecting 6 or less per 100,000 of the population) and even Less Common Cancers (affecting 6 to 12 per 100,000)?  Well those RCBD members who made it last Wednesday certainly now know much more than most, thanks to contributions from the Manager of Community Engagement (Zac Hulm) and the Patient Care Co-ordinator (Brian McDade) of Rare Cancers Australia (RCA). This is a Bowral-based organisation that provides a range of services to rare cancer sufferers and their carers and families. 
The unfortunate truth about such cancers is that they are so uncommon that they do not get sufficient attention from Big Pharma or the relevant research organisations, as they do not provide the “bang for a buck” of more common afflictions. They also often have difficulty getting pharmaceutical support from the PBS system in a timely manner.  Therefore, the treatments are usually much more expensive than the average, and often require travelling overseas.  RCA does what it can to help the sufferers, using funds primarily derived from grants and donations.  If you feel inclined to help them in some way, please visit their website at
Where’s Wally FUNdraising Adventure Journey
We have rescheduled WHERE’S WALLY to the 26th of May.  Please adjust your diaries accordingly.  You can still make bookings for this great day out in the Southern Highlands via the Trybooking link :
Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens
A number of us will be attending Earth Hour event at the SHBG on the 30th of March from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm, where we will attempt to enter the Guinness Book of Records by participating in the largest solar lantern display in the shape of a footprint that has ever been attempted. The target is to have at least 1500 solar-powered lanterns on display.  Unfortunately, those available at the event have been sold out, so you may have to bring your own.
In support of our Community Services Director, Chris Webb, we will also be helping out by providing BBQ facilities at the Gardens for the Autumn Open Gardens and Plant Fair which will take place on the 27th and 28th April, 9.00 am to 4:00 pm both days. The 2019 event promises to be an exciting one for SHBG and the Fair. As well as the activities at the Gardens site, they are featuring four town gardens - ‘Bangala’, ‘Gowan Brae’, ‘Timbarra’ and ‘Wirreanda’ in Bowral, and the extensive and historic rural garden ‘Rotherwood’ at Sutton Forest. All five gardens are very different and we all look forward to visiting them in April. 
Further information on SHBG activities is available on their website at
Changeover Dinner
This highlight of the Rotary Year is fast approaching, and I have asked Geri Gardiner to help me get it organised.  We are looking at a few venue options, and we will update you as things firm up.  As a first step, we have settled on a date that fits in with our President Elect’s busy overseas travel schedule over the next 3 months or so – put Wednesday the 26th of June in your diaries.  Could all Directors also start thinking about their yearly reports so I don’t have to chase you too hard on the final days.
Next Week and Beyond
Thanks to Frank Rodrigues, we have a suite of excellent speakers promised over the next couple of months.  The details are available on the Home Page of the RCBD website at
A bit of catching up to do this week, so I will start with the great presentation on the 27th February from member Krischan Keller and his two Youth Case Managers, Senior Constable Matthew Davenport and Senior Constable Daniel Korn. They enlightened us regarding some of the great work they are doing at the PCYC Mittagong with some of the less-privileged amongst our local school leavers.  They focused particularly on two of their key programs.
Fit For Life is an early intervention program designed to engage youth who are at risk of poor choices and anti-social behaviour. Through physical fitness, nutrition and social engagement, Fit For Life aims to improve overall wellbeing as well as prevent and divert youth from offending behaviours.
Fit To Learn is a program designed to re-engage disengaged youth into the education system, allowing them to further develop intellectual and social skills. This program encourages participants to explore their strengths in building respectful relationships within a school environment whilst also developing emotional intelligence skills preparing them for future employment.
On Wednesday 6th March we had one of our irregular social evenings at the Botanic Gardens.  Our thanks to Chris and Charlotte Webb, not only for allowing us to access the Gardens but also for all of the equipment and infrastructure they made available for our use.  A good number of members, family and friends turned up and, thanks to our RYLA stalwarts Lyndall, Melissa and Bridget, everyone enjoyed a Gourmet BBQ meal followed by a touch of chocolate.  The highlight of the evening was a display of Blues prowess on the keyboard by one of our recent RYLArians, Mikki Dunne. 
Mikki is apparently self-taught and not able to read music, but promises to have a great future as a musician.  To this end, he is currently contemplating doing an Arts/Music degree at Wollongong Uni. Several of us encouraged him to pursue this option, including a couple of his fellow RLYArians, Emily Wheatley and Sean Wilson, who had come all the way from their respective universities in Canberra to bolster the audience.
We had a double whammy at the meeting this week with presentations from our most recent RYLArian, Julia McGrath, and Community Worker Nicole Blaik from Highlands Community Centres.
Julia gave us an excellent summary of the activities they undertook at the most recent RLYA get-together in Canberra in January.  This was the first one that combined attendees from both Districts 9700 and 9750, and by all reports, it went very well with around 50 participants.  Berrima District was well represented by our District RYLA Chair, Lyndall Dalley, ably assisted by Bridget Cosyn and Melissa Meredith.  Julia obviously enjoyed herself and participated in all the exercises with suitable gusto.  There is no doubt that this is a great Rotary program in promoting self-improvement and self-confidence in our youth and we should continue to actively support it next year. Lyndall tells me that they are planning to limit the numbers to around 40 next time so the can provide better individual attention to each RYLArian, so is likely to be a long waiting list next time now that 9700 has some clear air to plan ahead.
Nicole, given the nature of her work, was perhaps a little less upbeat as she gave us a rundown on her activities at the HCC. Firstly, she described what a community worker actually does, which is a combination of supporting clients who need a great deal of help with their lives, providing referrals to other organisations, running programs to increase resilience of those in need, organising relevant events and liaising with the wider community.  She then went on to tell us about a couple of the programs she runs. 
The principal one is My Life My Dreams which goes under the banner “a program to empower women to live their best lives”. She profiled the candidates for us – aged from mid-30s to mid-50s; nearly 50% from single parent households; main source of income usually a pension or social benefits; often have mental health and substance abuse problems; most had experienced domestic violence. MLMD gives these women reason for hope by providing employment opportunities, better education and improved life skills. It also provides better health outcomes, an increased social network and a feeling of empowerment for the women who participate.
The other program she covered is On Track which our Club has made a major contribution to. This program picks up young people who usually have just left school and are searching for some direction in their lives. With one of the highest unemployment rates in Australia (25.4%), the Highlands are not well-placed to provide such direction.  On Track provides practical skills, well-being and soft skills such as managing emotions (often anger management is an issue), self-esteem, confidence building and goal setting.  It then provides work experience opportunities in a choice of aged care, retail, hospitality or construction which are the four biggest employers in this area.  Nicole sounds like a great asset to the HCC and we hope to see more of her in the future.
Sorry, it has been a while since the last Banter but the hot weather has introduced a level of ennui.  Last week’s meeting was a good example of the old adage “quality is better than quantity”.  Those who did attend were challenged by John Smythe to give an impromptu talk on a random subject selected from a list he had prepared ahead of time.  These varied from “What is your earliest childhood memory?” to “What was your favourite Christmas?” and even “Subject of your choice?” (I wimped out by selecting this one!).  We should do this again as it gave individual members an opportunity to tell us a bit more about themselves – always an engaging subject.
This week’s presentation was an equally engaging and perhaps more relevant subject – the Southern Highlands Community Hospice.  Their General Manager, Carisa Wells, gave us an overview of hospices generally, their benefits in relieving pressure on the hospital system while providing intensive personalised care, and some of the realities surrounding palliative care.  As many of us have had some association with palliative care already, and may well have much more in the future, this was of particular interest to the attendees.  Carisa also outlined some personal experiences that underpinned her passion regarding the development of a full-scale hospice facility in the Southern Highlands.
Carisa then went on to tell us more about the state of play in this area.  At the end of last year, they finally received DA approval to build a 10-bed facility on Bowral Street directly across from the hospital.  This will be done in partnership with local knee and hip man, Dr Nick Hartnell, and will be on land that has been designated as being exclusively for medical-related facilities.  The actual development could take up to two years to complete so, in the meantime, they will start offering “in-home” services, which can either be rolled into the completed hospice or continued in the home depending on circumstances at that time.
Finally, Carisa spoke briefly about the four hospice shops in Bowral and Mittagong and the 300+ volunteers that make all this possible.  She indicated that more volunteers would always be welcome, and I will circulate an application form for this in due course.
Trust us to pick the wettest day of the year so far to have our Christmas Party starting at the Exeter Croquet Club! The unfortunate, but sensible, decision was made to cancel this part of the event and move to the Tap House in Moss Vale a bit earlier than planned.  We had a good roll up there for a very convivial evening scoffing tapas and quaffing craft beers.  My thanks to Martin Fenaughty in particular for organising both venues, and Lyndall Dalley for her promotion and administration efforts.  We will try to reinstate a croquet afternoon some time next year before daylight saving ends.
I managed to squeeze in attendance at the Triple Care Farm Graduation Day in what has been quite a busy week.  It is hard not to be impressed by the outcomes of this facility run by Mission Australia and funded to a large extent by the Sir David Martin Foundation.  My understanding of the statistics this year is that they have engaged with over 400 young adults at risk of which around 120 were via the new detox centre at David Martin Place.  Of these 120, nearly 80% completed the program and, of these, 60% went on to do the 12-week residential program at TCF.  As usual, the 30 or so graduates were the highlight of the day with some outstanding presentations both verbal and musical.
Finally, with the help of Pru Goward and her staff we have made some progress with rearrangement of the Community Building Partnerships grant.  The CBP administration team are now proposing that our grant be rolled into the larger Stronger Country Communities grant so that our March 31 2019 spending deadline no longer applies.  Provided the Council agrees and RCBD gets suitable undertakings on the use of the funds and adequate recognition at Berrima Marketplace, this should be a reasonable outcome for all concerned.  Thank you Pru!
I would like to wish all Members and Friends and their respective families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  See you back on deck on the 16th of January.
Derek White
President RCBD
Another great meeting last week with a presentation from our Honorary Member, Jennifer Star PHF, founder of Tara.Ed, being the highlight.  This was particularly pleasant for me as I have heard so much about the wonderful work of this great young lady but had never had the opportunity to meet her in person.  I was not disappointed I assure you.
Over the 10 years that the Club has worked with her on her projects in India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan she has achieved so much with very limited funding – including engaging with over 18,000 students and a multitude of local teachers.  She works roughly along the lines of the “learning to fish” principle, don’t just go and help the kids but instead guide the local teachers on how to educate their students better.  Jennifer has plans for new programs in new countries and it is obvious that her new son, Sebastian, is hardly going to slow her down.  I hope we will be able to continue to assist this Bowral High graduate achieve her dreams well into the future.
It was also an unusual meeting in that our members were outnumbered by the visitors.  Not only did Jennifer’s parents and infant son attend, but there were also a number of people there who had been associated with Tara.Ed over the years, some of whom had travelled to the Asian continent with her a number of times.  No wonder she achieved recognition as NSW Young Australian of the Year in 2012.  Go Jennifer!
The rest of the meeting was somewhat colourless by comparison.  However, we did get the opportunity to thank Ian at the Bowlo for his catering services over the year, and to celebrate our last meeting there for the calendar year by breaking Christmas crackers and hacking into a delightfully sinful chocolate cake to mark the occasion.
From The President
Our Meeting of the 7th November was a Club meeting.  I find such meetings very useful as they give us a chance to talk more fully about important matters and projects and get good feedback from members on suggestions.  I think this is important as it the members who actually have to make things happen.  
We talked about the very successful movie evening last week where we sold 199 of the 200 tickets on offer and will bank well over $3,000 after the raffle income and event costs are taken into account.  A great outcome and thanks again to all concerned. We also discussed the good feedback that we had  received, not only for the event itself but for the video we showed regarding Mental Health First Aid.  This emphasises the importance of having next steps developed in the near future to build on the momentum created.  Lyndall McGrath and her team will work on the development of a couple of seminars to expose the wider community to the benefits of MHFA. 
The guidance from District on the distribution of Drought Relief Funds was also a topic that caused much discussion.  It was generally agreed that it is actually easier to raise the funds than to distribute them in a fair, cost-effective and tax-effective manner.  Shelley Boyce undertook to investigate possibilities for us to partner with a drought affected community in Western NSW to see if it was worthwhile for us to undertake the fairly bureaucratic process required to apply for, distribute and account for up to $5,000 of the RAWCS multi-million dollar pool.  I also gave a quick update on the Berrima Playground upgrade project.  There was a site meeting last week at Berrima Marketplace involving Wingecarribee Shire Council staff, Berrima District Rotary members and design consultants Play by Design (who did our concept plan).  PbD has been tasked to prepare a new concept plan for the whole park with early emphasis on the playground component, with a 7-week timeline.  In parallel, I am negotiating with the Community Building Partnerships Grant Scheme managers to incorporate our $30,000 grant into the overall picture.  This is a little complicated due to the 31 March 2019 deadline on completion of our part of the project, which has to be fitted into a considerably longer timeline for the whole playground upgrade under the recently obtained Stronger Country Communities Grant.  
Our meeting of the 14th November saw Helen Richards as our Guest Speaker.  Helen is a Clinical Nurse Consultant and Stomal Therapy Nurse at Ramsay Health Care’s Wollongong Private Hospital, but this represents only a fraction of what she does for bowel surgery patients. Active in the Illawarra region she has run education days and acted as volunteer Ambassador for the Illawarra Combined Rotary Clubs bowel scan campaigns.
For 15 years she has run a bi-monthly support service for patients and their families.  In 2013 she volunteered to go to Kenya as a stomal therapy nurse and has made return visits over four years. For the last two years she was a delegate to the World Council of Enterostomal Therapists, most recently at the 22nd annual congress in Kuala Lumpur.  Helen regularly and generously donates medical supplies and consumables to our Medical Aid for Oceania and Worldwide (MAFO) project. While delivering one of these donations earlier this year she met MAFO’s client, Dr Gary McKay of DAISI, and found herself volunteering once again, this time for one of DAISI’s training and surgery missions to the Solomon Islands, from which she has only recently returned.  Helen explained (in quite some detail!) exactly what a stomal therapy nurse does and left members in no doubt that the care and advice such nurses provide to bowel surgery patients vastly improves their quality of life.  She also described the conditions in third-world countries where things we take for granted like pain killers are often simply not available in their hospitals. Training of local doctors and hospital staff by volunteer medical specialists from Australia and other developed countries is vital to the health care systems of those countries.  The talk was clearly appreciated by members and demonstrated that the work of Helen and her colleagues is a credit to their profession.
Our meeting of the 21st November coincided with White Ribbon Day.  Their Ambassador, Garry Ponder, came along to  talk to us about their organisation which focusses on helping female victims of domestic violence.  Garry was appointed an Ambassador for White Ribbon earlier this year, and has been busy raising funds for them along with other responsibilities and activities on their behalf.  He said that the Government only provides 17% of the funding required so a lot of fundraising is required to keep them going (sounds like Rotary!).  He also provided a number of daunting statistics about the high proportion of women who suffer from this problem each year, while noting that a large number of offences go unreported for a variety of reasons. He also noted that there are a significant number of offences by females against males which get a lot less attention. Finally, he noted that White Ribbon operates a female shelter in Bowral which is underutilised, either because the victims are unaware of its existence or they are reluctant to go to a local shelter for fear of ongoing harassment.  Still lots of work to be done in this area it seems.
On Rotary matters, I advised that we are under some pressure to utilise the Community Building Partnerships grant ahead of the March 31, 2019 deadline despite the fact that it will be difficult to implement within the timeline for the WCS Master Plan process.  We will see if a political avenue can be opened up to gain more flexibility in this matter.  It was also noted that there seems to have been little progress in accessing and distributing funds from the RAWCS Drought Relief pool as yet.  Shelley Boyce is working with a group from Goulburn to see if this process can be facilitated in some way.
December 5th, will be our AGM.  The Bowling Club is not available so we are proposing to hold it in a private room at the Bangkok House restaurant in Mittagong.  Please join us on this occasion.
Earlier this year Berrima Rotary had the pleasure of meeting Dr Alfred Chidembo who told us his story of growing up in rural Zimbabwe where his father insisted he had access to books and therefore access to knowledge. Dr Chidembo has recently graduated with a a PhD in Materials Engineering from University of Wollongong. In 2015 Dr Chidembo set up Aussie Books For Zim (ABZ). ABZ collect gently used and new books, stationery and library furnishings (otherwise destined for landfill) and ship them to Zimbabwe to set up libraries in rural disadvantaged communities. They seek to improve literacy in disadvantaged communities and to empower children with knowledge and the confidence to help them shape the world they live in.
ABZ need help to ship 60000 books to Zimbabwe. Follow the link and watch the video to hear more of the story. 
We had no speaker this week as we had a Club only meeting to allow members to participate in Lift the Lid on Mental Health Day (formerly Hat Day) as part of Mental Health Week. We had a particularly spirited discussion centred on Mental Health First Aid after yours truly had heard a talk from the co-founder of this organisation, Betty Kitchener, at the D9710 District Conference in Cooma over the weekend. 
Youth Direct Bridget Cosyn updating us on the latest n mental Health First Aid
The discussion was most apropos as two of our members, Bridget Cosyn and Lyndall McGrath, had recently attended a two day training course on this subject. A number of possible actions were canvassed including showing a short relevant video at the upcoming Charity Movie Night at the Empire and approaching 2ST to see if there was a way short information bites on the subject could be aired.  I also undertook to raise the matter at the upcoming Presidents’ meeting to see if a joint Highlands Club activity might add value.  Watch this space!
I advised that the Wingecarribee Shire Council has appointed an external consultant to develop a master plan for the Berrima Marketplace with an early focus on the proposed playground all-abilities upgrade.  The consultant happens to be Play by Design who provided the original concept plan that has formed the basis for our engagement with the local community and the grant applications that we have lodged.  I also updated the members on the highlights of an excellent Cooma Conference.
Eric Conley then outlined his suggested first steps in capturing the volunteer hours and dollar and i-kind donations that the Club makes over the year so they can be recorded on My Rotary.  There was some debate about what constituted relevant activities but it was agreed that it would be better to err on the generous side to start with and judgements can then be made as to what should be recorded against each project or activity.  It will be instructive to see what the total community impact of the Club has been by the end of the Rotary year.
Members were reminded that next week the meeting will be held on Tuesday night at Highlands Golf Club to enable all three Southern Highlands clubs to meet with District Governor Margaret Hassall at the one time.  The meeting was then concluded by a lively fining session related to the assortment of unusual headwear worn (or not worn) to mark the occasion.
John Smythe with his wining Hat! 
What a fabulous meeting we had this week! After stressing out all week because we could not use the Bowling Club due to Tulip Time commitments and needed to find another venue at short notice, we lucked out at the Scottish Arms in East Bowral.  Not only did they provide an excellent venue but also a terrific meal choice and a drink thrown in.  Cap all that with a highly informative and captivating presentation from the world-famous botanical artist, Susannah Blaxill, what more could you ask!?  It is a tribute to her pulling power that there were more non-Rotarians at the meeting than Rotarians. 
Susannah ran through 60+ slides demonstrating her marvellous attention to detail, colour and shadow in her botanical art.  She also revealed her fascination with garlic, onions, pears, mushrooms, eggplants and a variety of other unlikely botanical items.  She also introduced us to the subtleties of water colours and charcoal to render the detail of the various vegetables, fruits and seed pods.  
Even a crass mining engineer like me was fascinated by the processes she uses and the artwork she produces.  No wonder she is prized in a number of private and public collections around the world.  And all of this from an artist who is unashamedly self-taught. As a final bonus, she explained the true meaning of FAIL – First Attempt In Learning – which would be a good thing for us all to remember.  Even her “failures” looked pretty good to me.  I suggest you view a compendium of Susannah’s work at if you want to know more about this wonderful artist.
A slight change of pace this week.  We were lucky enough to snag the services of Dr Michelle Mulvihill, one of the three co-founders of the Dignity organisation, as our speaker.  Michelle and two of her female friends decided several years ago that there was a lot of talk about helping the homeless in the Southern Highlands, but not a great deal of identifiable action.  They decided to contribute their own capital to change the dynamic, and they were off and running.
In the past three years they have established twenty five emergency accommodation centres, which house up to 200 men, women and/or children on any given night. An extremely high percentage of these people do not return to being homeless. Dignity supports them in both the short and long term so that they experience success and can sink foundations back in society.  The accommodation facilities are of the highest quality and the residents are provided with a comfortable bed, food, showers, new clothing and other personalised support and are generally treated like valued human beings.
Dignity has such emergency accommodation services in the Southern Highlands, and also in Goulburn, Nowra, Illawarra, Wollongong, Queanbeyan, Campbelltown and Northern Sydney.  The uniqueneness of Dignity lies not only in its capacity to bring fresh resolutions to today’s problems, but also in its innovation and use of technology to solve social issues.
They have a 98% success rate in ending homelessness for those who engage with them. This means that the downward spiral of homelessness is broken.  They often cover the bond for people to start their own rental arrangements, and they have been fully repaid in every case.
They were recent finalists in the Telstra Business Awards as Social Changemakers, and won the local Southern Highlands Business Award for the best not-for-profit organization in the local area.  The Berrima Club is examining ways in which we might engage more closely and effectively with this organisation down the track.
At the end of the meeting, members were tasked with selling a bunch of tickets for the movie fundraiser, Bohemian Rhapsody, scheduled for the 1st of November at the Empire.  Come along and bring your friends and relatives for what promises to be a fun evening highlighted by watching the story of Queen accompanied by music we all know and love.  Get moving as tickets are selling fast!   Tickets are $25 each and include food and refreshments as part of the package.   Don't forget there will also be a raffle plus a prize for the best dressed!  Please return any unsold tickets to Lyndall (not the theatre) as soon as possible as tickets are also being sold at the Cinema and through Trybooking.
Another fun day for Berrima District Rotary.  We took ourselves off to the PCYC facilities at Mittagong for a guided tour by the Manager and RCBD member, Krischan Keller. The meeting began with a sumptuous picnic lunch beautifully prepared by Melissa Meredith, and a rundown on the current PCYC operations from Krischan.  He also regaled us with his plans for future developments at the site with a particular focus on the fitness components and the introduction of more sports to fully utilise the potential of their large multi-purpose building.
He proudly showed us the brand new refrigerator that houses a large supply of packaged soups provided by Dignity that are available for collection by anyone who needs them.  Dignity restocks the supplies as they are consumed and there are plans to widen the range of meals over time. I offered the services of our members to spread the word about this service, and Krischan undertook to provide us with suitable flyers in due course. He also noted that one of the main drivers for the establishment of the Mittagong facilities was to serve not only Wingecarribee Shire but also Wollondilly Shire.  Therefore his forward plans include more activities to the north.  In addition, it was of some interest that they provide space for a distance education program that offers alternative and part time schooling for students that are unable to fully engage with the local public school system.
Once we had completed the grand tour, we were given a quick lesson on the use of the archery equipment and then challenged to wing a number of arrows towards the seemingly distant targets.  To my surprise, not only did a number of us get pretty close to the bullseye, but I am reliably informed that Lyndall even managed to nick the apple in our version of the William Tell challenge. Perhaps there is the kernel of an inter-Rotary Club activity here!
We had the pleasure of the company of a couple of potential new Rotarians and a welcome make-up from Ian Langford of Bowral Mittagong. 
Melissa’s mum, Pru, also joined us for the meeting. Krischan finally reminded us of the PCYC Ambrose Charity Golf Day fundraiser at the Highlands Golf Club on the 23rd of September.  Anyone who would like to nominate a team of four for the Ambrose event would be more than welcome with the cost of entry only $35 per head (
Wow, what a meeting!  The main event was the Rotary 4-Way Test Public Speaking Competition, and not only did we have 5 great speakers from Bowral High (2), Frensham, Moss Vale High and Oxley, but we had a swag of visitors from the Bowral Mittagong and Moss Vale Clubs as well as teachers from the four schools.  We were also graced with the presence of our District Governor Elect, Peter Ford, who came all the way from Murrumbateman to be with us. I suspect that, despite their excellent turn-out, RCBD members were significantly outnumbered in the end.
After a tightly fought competition, the judges from each of the three Southern Highlands Clubs had a very difficult task in selecting the winner.  My congratulations to Jade Gillis from Oxley College who was chosen unanimously as the winner, but only by a very small margin.  Jade will now go on to compete at the District level and we wish her all the best in the next round.
At the conclusion of the competition, Chris Young gave a very polished and informative wash-up by giving each speaker some pointers on how they might develop their public speaking skills for future presentations. Then Peter Ford helped me present Participation Certificates to each of the contestants.  It must have been quite a challenge for each of them to stand up and speak to such a large and somewhat older crowd. In due course a suitable winner’s prize will also be delivered to Jade. 
My heart-felt thanks go to all those RCBD members who made this event such a success – Bridget Cosyn, Lyndall McGrath, Melissa Meredith, Chris Young and Richard Krohn in particular.  Also I would like to express my appreciation for the positive support from the other two Highlands Clubs, and I hope this will be the first of many successful combined activities this Rotary year.
It was a good week for women in Rotary and for women associated with Medical Aid for Oceania – not that MAFO had anything to do with their success!
Among the 20 finalists in the Rotary Districts of NSW Inspirational Women’s Awards were Dr Vera Sistenich and Helen Richards CNC STN. Vera is a team member of HandUp Congo, a regular client of MAFO’s shipping and logistics services, and Helen frequently donates medical consumables to MAFO. In the end Vera took out the award but we congratulate both of our associates and all of the finalists. 
Dr Vera Sistenich
Vera volunteers with Handup Congo, whose medical and health care supplies MAFO ships to the Democratic Republic of Congo every year. She is team leader of the Emergency Medicine Education Project, a RAWCS initiative sponsored by the Rotary E-Club of Greater Sydney. In 2015 Vera launched a far-reaching training program in the DRC, a nation of more than 80 million people with no paramedics and few ambulances. She has now trained more than 400 doctors and nurses in seven provinces and has moved on to help develop an academic program there in emergency medicine. She will be there again in October this year, despite the two outbreaks of Ebola virus that have occurred in recent months. As if all of this wasn’t enough Vera also managed to fit in the birth of her first child – a son, Marcus – in July.
Helen is a Clinical Nurse Consultant and Stomal Therapy Nurse at Ramsay Health Care’s Wollongong Private Hospital, but this represents only a fraction of what she does for bowel surgery patients. Active in the Illawarra region she has run education days and acted as volunteer Ambassador for the Illawarra Combined Rotary Clubs bowel scan campaigns. For 15 years she has run a bi-monthly support service for patients and their families. In 2013 she volunteered to go to Kenya as a stomal therapy nurse and has made return visits over four years. For the last two years she was a delegate to the World Council of Enterostomal Therapists, most recently at the 22nd annual congress in Kuala Lumpur.
Helen Richards
The Inspirational Women’s Awards (RIWA) were established eight years ago to recognise women and young women who best exemplify Rotary’s motto of Service Above Self, in the community service the individual performs above and beyond their normal role. The Awards are an initiative of the Rotary districts and clubs of NSW.
The award this year coincides with the despatch by MAFO of 24 boxes of medical equipment and health care supplies to the Democratic Republic of Congo for distribution by HandUp Congo founder Lucy Hobgood-Brown and Dr Vera Sistenich. The air freight consignment will arrive in the DRC capital Kinshasa ahead of the mission team’s arrival in early October.
South African Air Cargo to DRC
We had a most entertaining lunch meeting last Wednesday when the Captain of the Mittagong Fire + Rescue Unit, Gerry Conway, regaled us with anecdotes about his 15 years in that service.  Not only did he cover a wide range of topics, but he also did it in a most entertaining fashion.  I was sorry to have to cut him off after 40 minutes as I am sure he could have continued on in the same vein for a lot longer!  We hope to catch up with him again in the not too distant future as Melissa and I would like to arrange a vocational visit to his Fire Station before the end of the year.  
On another note, it was good to receive a couple of committee reports this week with promises of upcoming meetings of a number of other committees soon.  This will be very helpful for the Board to enable them to plan and prepare a budget for the year ahead.  I understand that the first fundraising event of the year last week was well attended and most enjoyable, as well as providing funds for the Wingecarribee Vocal Muster program and Rotary Youth activities.  Well done Lyndall and Melissa.  Keep up the good work.
I received advice this week from the Wingecarribee Shire Council that they are about to appoint an external consultant to assist with the preparation of a Master Plan for the Berrima Marketplace Park.  I understand they will place a high priority on the proposed all-abilities playground upgrade in this planning process which will enable us to get our teeth into something concrete there soon.  We are also expecting an announcement this month from the NSW Government on the success or otherwise of our joint application for a grant under the Stronger Country Communities scheme.
Other than that, don’t forget we have the 4-Way Test Speaking Competition this week and I understand we have nominations from most of the local high schools for this event.  If last year’s competition is any indication, it should be a most entertaining lunch session.  Come along and support your local students in their endeavours.
On Wednesday the 15th August Berrima Rotary had a social evening at the home of Melissa and Graham Meredith.  We started the evening by acknowledging the transfer of Rose Conley from Bowral Mittagong Rotary Club and officially welcoming her to the Rotary Club of Berrima District.  We are thrilled to have a member of her calibre join us. 
After her induction we were treated to a sumptuous supper consisting of Soup Shots, a delicious lamb casserole and crusty bread washed down with mulled wine and followed by yummy brownies and melting moments.
We were entertained by Sebastian Arancibia who is a student at Chevalier College and currently participating in the Wingecarribee Vocal Muster.  The "muster" is a foundation purely for the purposes of assisting young people to pursue their dream to sing. This is being facilitated by presenting cash awards, singing tuition awards and other incentives to school students throughout the Shire.  Sebastian was accompanied by his family and friends as well as the Wingecarribee Vocal Musters founder - Richard Lane.
Sebastian has contacted us thanking us for the opportunity to sing and play and to support the “Youth Working for Youth” program. He said it was an amazing experience and he was looking forward to doing it again in the future!
We were also joined by a number of non-Rotarians, including some staff from a local business - Worthington Clark.  Thank you to their boss who sent us a generous donation on the Thursday after hearing about Rotary Youth Programmes from his staff.
We wish to thank everyone for attending - we raised $800 which we will be using to send two children off to the RYPEN Programme in September with the rest going towards our other Youth Programmes - RYLA, MUNA and NYSF.
A special thank you to Melissa and Graham Meredith for opening their home to us and to Geri Gardiner, Bridget Cosyn, Melissa Meredith and Shelley Boyce for their delicious catering contributions.  Thank you also to Katrina Hill from Far Ago Hill, Canyonleigh, for her contribution to the base ingredients of our Mulled Wine.  We look forward to our next Youth Working for Youth Supper Club in a couple of weeks.  Stay Tuned! 

I want to donate to the fund:

Visit or call 1800 732 165

I’m a farmer needing immediate assistance:

Assistance is available right now from the following places:
Support type
Commonwealth Government Drought Hotline
132 316
Farm Household Allowance payments
Rural Aid
1300 327 624
Fodder, volunteer help
Salvation Army
13 72 58
Household expenses
13 11 14
Mental health
Frontier Services
1300 787 247
Volunteer help
NSW Government (Rural Assistance Authority)
1800 678 593
Freight subsidies, low interest loans
02 8337 0210
Household expenses up to $3,000
Drought Angels
0409 548 414
Bills, stock feed, groceries

I want to donate goods to farmers:

  • The Fighting for our Farmers 2018 Drought Relief Fund only accepts monetary donations.
  • Queries on fodder/stock feed donations can be directed to Rural Aid on 1300 327 624.

I want to volunteer to help farmers:

  • You can register to volunteer on-farm via Rural Aid. Call 1300 327 624.

If someone exhibits signs of poor mental health:

Please note that there is no lunchtime meeting next Wednesday. Instead we are having a social meeting - YOUTH WORKING FOR YOUTH. Interested in what Rotary does in your local commuity? Why not come along, bring your family and enjoy a delicious supper, a couple of glasses of mulled wine and a solo acoustic musical performance from Sebastian Aranciba from the Wingecarribee Vocal Muster.

Tickets are $25 for Adults and $10 for under 18's

The monies raised from this event will be used to fund our Youth Projects - RYPEN (Rotary Youth Programme of Enrichment), MUNA (Model United Nationals Assembly), RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards), and NYSF (National Youth Science Forum). So far this year our BBQ at the Botanic Gardens raised enough money to send two students off to the RYPEN Camp in May. The Youth Workers at the Highlands Community Centre have identified two more students that they would like to be able to send along to the September Camp. So please come along, and bring your friends and family for a great night of food, music and social discourse.

Please contact us via by Monday 13th August to confirm your place.


Rotary Australia, in partnership with the National Farmers Federation and Channel 9, have launched FIGHTING FOR OUR FARMERS - 2018 Drought Relief Fund.   It's an appeal to big business and everyday Australians, so we can provide some emergency relief. 100% of donations go to the farmers and is tax deductible via Rotary and RAWCS. Every dollar counts.

The link for the donation page for the project is:




Just a reminder that there will be no lunchtime meeting of the Rotary Club of Berrima District this week.  Members are urged to attend a make-up at the Rotary Club of Bowral/Mittagong on Tuesday night where the speaker is Dr John Hewson.  


In Australia, farmers are the lifeblood of our country and they are in crisis.  Record breaking heat and lack of rain means farmers are struggling to feed sheep and cattle, and keep crops alive.  Families on the land are suffering and they need our help.  Channel 9 and Rotary Australia have partnered with the National Farmers’ Federation, launching an appeal to big business and everyday Australians, so we can provide some emergency relief.  100% of donations goes to the farmers and is tax deductible via Rotary and RAWCS.  Every dollar counts. 
The link for the donation page for the project is:
The RAWCS website home page has the link also:
The Rotary Club of Berrima District (RCBD) is a bit different from other clubs in the area.  We are a smaller Club with a very big agenda.  Internationally, we are partnering with Ramsay Health Australia to re-assign surplus medical equipment to third world countries where there is a critical need for such equipment.  We call this our MAfO Project (Medical Aid for Oceania.  We are also currently fundraising to provide and install some all abilities play equipment into the park at Marketplace,  Berrima. We take both our work and our fun very seriously.  In general we focus on the young folks both in our area and internationally, and aim to help the community become the best they can be.  Curious yet?  Just contact us on  to learn more.
Club Executives & Directors
Director Vocational Service
Director Club Service
Director International
Director Rotary Foundation
Director Youth
Immediate Past President
Sergeant at Arms
Director Community Service
Public Officer
Youth Protection Officer

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Angus Willmot
Oct 23, 2019 12:00 PM
Dance in the Southern Highlands
Vocational Visit
Oct 30, 2019
Melbourne Cup
Nov 06, 2019 12:00 PM
Ric Mejias
Nov 13, 2019 12:00 PM
at Berrima Retreat
David Sommerville
Nov 20, 2019 12:00 PM
More Steam Trains
Mitchell Kleem
Nov 27, 2019 12:00 PM
New Member Interviews
Dec 04, 2019 12:00 PM
Dec 11, 2019 12:00 PM
Dec 18, 2019
Christmas Party
D9710 Conference
Mar 06, 2020
Ulladulla 6/8th March
Upcoming Events