October 2019
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
Oct 30, 2019
Nov 06, 2019 12:00 PM
ARH Fundraiser
Nov 13, 2019 6:00 PM
at Berrima Retreat - 6 for 6.30pm
Nov 20, 2019 12:00 PM
More Steam Trains
Nov 27, 2019 12:00 PM
New Member Interviews
Dec 04, 2019 12:00 PM
Dec 11, 2019 12:00 PM
Election of Officers for 2020/2021
Dec 18, 2019
Christmas Party
View entire list
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Berrima Rotary have put their heads together to implement some changes to our meetings.  One of the options we were talking through was the option of becoming an E-Club.  With the view of possibly becoming a Hybrid E-club, we invited Angus Robertson along to you meeting and he gave us a frank and informative talk on the pros and cons of an E-club.  Angus had been a charter member of an E-club as well as a member of traditional club.  We decided to put this idea back on the shelf, and so we have moved on to another option.
We have now decided to move our meetings back to every second week, on those weeks we will continue with the traditional format with speakers and lunch.  The alternate weeks we will meet for a casual drink at a pub, do a vocational visit or some community service, in this way we will have regular contact with all members and add some variety to the meeting calendar.  This will all come into effect in December.
During the past months we have had some very interesting speakers, challenging us to think beyond our everyday.  Peter Tyas spoke to us about his youth and his introduction to Dentistry, a story that was charming and somewhat serendipitous!  He has had an interesting career and most engaging we simply ran out of time.
Bill O’Gorman introduced us to his life from racing cars to Jazz Bands, several our members attended a “Shhhh Jazz” concert at Bowral Bowling club inspired by his passion for Jazz.  What a wonderful addition to the events calendar of the Highlands.
Our very own John Smythe told us stories of his youth, his love of cricket and his rise in his chosen profession.  He from humble beginnings to very successful career.
Happy Birthday Berrima District!! Members gathered to celebrate the clubs Birthday.  It was a top night with pizza, vino, games and one very delicious Birthday Cake.  It was a chance to share fellowship in a relaxed atmosphere. Surely the success of the night could be measured by the amount of laughter and the fact that we were ushered out when the restaurant closed.
“Boys and their Trains”, David Sommerville spoke of his love of trains, in this case one big and very historical Engine.  We heard of a total dedication to the restoration of his Garret 6029.  It is hoped that we can possible work out some fundraising using the services of this mighty steam train.
Alfred Chidembo is a friend of Berrima Rotary and we were very pleased to have him address our club again.  “Aussie Books to Zim”, Alfred’s charity are making significant impacts on the lives and futures of the children of Zimbabwe. It was wonderful to hear that our club member Barry Barford and our project MAFO have help Alfred in working out logistics for his books.
A fantastic event “Soiree for Michael” was held at one of our members home.  The aim of the event was to help Michael Connelly raise funds to attend RYLA in 2020.  Michael is a local young man who has been involved with ‘Vocal Muster’ a brainchild of Richard Lane. Michael provided entertainment for the night of good food, good music and good company, a perfect mix.
4 Way Test Public Speaking Competition
August saw the Rotary Club of Berrima District host the collective Southern Highlands Rotary Clubs 4 Way Test Public Speaking Competition.  We had a great turn out with excellent speeches from students representing Oxley College, Bowral High School, Frensham School and Moss Vale High School,  Our adjudicators had a hard time picking a winner but after much deliberation Brodie Van Egmond, from Frensham School, was the unanimous winner and will be going onto the the district competition early next year.
With the permission of the students we have reproduced three of their speeches here.  All the students understood that the 4 Way Test is about ethically solving the problems that happen in society today.  The future is in good hands ... Happy Reading!
Rural and Remote Mental Health Speech
I’d like you to raise your hand if you have anything to do with the farming industry, if you know a farmer or someone who has something to do with the farming industry? Alright, everyone see that? Take a look around… Now I would presume these people you know, some of them would be family or friends right? People you would value? Well I’d like you to think about this. Those of you that put your hand up… One in five of you are either personally affected or within direct relation to someone with a mental health disorder. Let that sink in. One in five of you are, in one way or another, dealing with a mental health disorder or helping a loved one with it.
Rural and remote mental health is an issue on the rise. Suicide rates in remote areas are higher than in any major city within Australia. If you live in a very remote area, you are deemed twice as likely to die from suicide compared to those who live in the city. Coming from a small country town, this is heartbreaking.
Today I’m going to address the crushing issue around rural and remote mental health and suggest ways to possibly fix it using the rotary four way test; is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? And will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Is it the truth? In 2011 the Australian Burden of Disease Study identified that mental and substance use disorders accounted for 12.1% of the disease burden over Australia. Mental and substance use disorders were the third leading cause of disease and burden after illnesses like cancer and cardiovascular disease. Mental health disorders managed to outweigh illnesses such as dementia, strokes and even road traffic related incidents.
The biggest issue mental health in rural and remote areas is the fact that it is affecting so many people yet is not being addressed. The silent stigma around people from the bush being tough, acts as a catalyst to farmers avoiding recognition and diagnosis of their depression, anxiety or other related issues. In 2011 and 2012, 3% of remote residents accessed mental health services compared to the 7.6% in city areas. In very remote areas, that number plummeted to just 1.5%. Residents of very remote areas accessed mental health services at just one fifth of the rate as city residents. Please, let that sink in! The sad truth is that mental health disorders are consuming rural and remote areas and without any help, they could be the death of farmers.
Is it fair to all concerned? Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it is safe to say that no one deserves the kind of lifestyle associated with depression. Imagine waking up each and every morning, feeling as though you meant nothing to anyone and then having to keep to your thoughts and emotions to yourself? Drought, particularly, has been a major facilitator in provoking mental health disorders among the bush. This drought has also caused financial pressures on farmers and remote residents. Over the past few years, as rain has continued to be absent, farmers convince themselves it is their fault that their respected enterprises are slowly failing. That it is their fault their stock are starving. It is their fault that they can barely get a meal on the table for their own family. This is completely and utterly wrong. It is unfair farmers and people from remote areas have to deal with mental health without the access to support facilities. It is unfair they are expected to be tough because “that’s what people from the bush are like”.
Will it build goodwill and better friendships? There has been a normalization around the term “rural masculinist paradigm” (par-a-dime). This term refers to farmers feeling pressured to be physically and emotionally tough as well as strong and able to solve any problem. It has been normalized for farmers to be resilient even with an unrelenting workload associated with running a farm is on your shoulders. Mental health issues are ruining relationships among farmers as no one believes they can speak up about the rough week they’ve had. There is a ripple effect in communities associated with farming. It’s situations like drought that can have a long lasting effect on many peoples wellbeing. It starts with not wanting to get up to work. Then the next day it’s not feeling like going into town. Then it’s been a week or two and the local grocers have had a big decline in sales. You know after a couple of months some people can’t deal with the drought and leave town. Now that’s no good for anyone. If people were educated around the signs and symptoms of mental health disorder then this ripple effect could be diminished. Knowing what anxiety looks like, what depression sounds like. It could reduce the tearing away of goodwill within the community and increase the friendships within communities instead.
Will it be beneficial to all concerned? It is so important for communities alongside individuals to be educated so it can make that conversation with a mate a little easier to start. Currently, no one is benefiting from mental health disorders. Speaking up and reaching out is the hardest but most important thing for someone to do, that is struggling with a mental illness. A simple conversation could save someone’s life. That is how people could benefit. In 2001 and 2011, suicide rates in remote areas were 2-3 times higher than suicide rates in major cities. By reducing this number a whole range of people would benefit rather than be negatively impacted by suicide. Wives, husbands, children and families would have their loved ones sit at the table with them once again to eat dinner. Rather than the children asking why mum’s place isn’t set at the dinner table. Friends could enjoy Friday night footy at the pub altogether, rather than gathering for a wake after a good mates funeral. Suicide isn’t affecting one person. It affects many. And the only way to stop it, is for people to learn how to communicate.
The four way test is about ethically solving problems that society faces today. Problems that people find important to address. Rural and remote mental health has run its race in being overlooked. It is time we start getting some facilities out there and get cracking on reducing the stigma around “country people don’t complain”. It’s all about hope, especially in small communities when we are enduring times of drought. The strength of people in rural communities is second to none and it is possible to keep fighting this issue in rural Australia. Don’t let any conversation be your last with someone. It’s only one phone call. One five minute conversation. It’s only one “hi dad, how’s it been going mate. I’m thinking of you”, that can save someone’s life.
Brodie van Egmond, Frensham School
School Expectations
Good morning/afternoon today I will be talking on the subject of School Expectations. The expectations that are put on today's youth are incredibly high. From a young age, we are taught to forego everything we are interested in and do what will get us better grades to get into university, or the career we are aiming for. These expectations that are set upon us by schools and families cause many students to take courses they are not passionate in but also affects others who want to be there.
Today I will be breaking down this idea with the Rotary four-way test. Firstly is it the truth that students are picking subjects that are going to look better for universities and employers, 2) is it is fair to all those involved, 3) will it help build better friendships and finally is it beneficial to all concerned.
Phrases like 'I don’t want to be there' or 'why do I have to this' are familiar to every student since they chose a class that will grade better over a class they would prefer to do. Truth be told students are going through this same process of picking classes that grade better every year, leaving them to be miserable and not to enjoy school. In a survey, I had conducted the majority answered in favour of picking a subject that would grade better. This trend implies many of today's youth to be caught in a cycle of always trying to please everybody and forgetting themselves. Pleasing people isn't a terrible thing, although it is when it negatively affects you for an extended period. Choosing these unwanted subjects isn’t only going to affect the person that chose them but also the rest of the class and teacher. By not wanting to be there you are going to create an environment that is unproductive for you and others around you. This will not only lead to failure but also a failure for other people around you who may want to be there. It will also cause the teacher's ability to be affected creating a vicious cycle of unproductiveness being unfair to all involved.
For many people who do not know what pathway to take after school, they are picking a broader selection of classes across many different subjects and are the ones who are happier and the people who are making new friends because they are generally enjoying what they are doing in school. Now this isn’t saying that all who know what they want to do are unhappy, yet the majority is because they are always stressed, always playing catch up since they are way in over their heads, but also are not going to make any new friends because they are also not enjoying the environment that has been pushed onto them.
Consequently, students, these days are taught many things and are expected to know everything and if we miss one lesson we have set ourselves up for failure. Looking around this room, I can see students from many different schools and I'm sure we all have that one class that we all wish we could drop because we don’t have a passion for it. Yes, we may do well in it, however, we lack passion for our work causing us not to be the best we can be. And it is these exact classes that are slowly causing us to lose passion with all our other classes harming them all.
Therefore, I believe that the curriculum is in dire need of a massive overhaul since its last comprehensive review in 1989 along with a few minuscule changes. Thirty years since its last revamp and it is in dire need to reflect modern needs and standards, but also decluttering of the now obsolete irrelevant matters. Yes, the curriculum may have been relevant thirty years ago, suited for the pathways people want to pursue then, although time has changed since then to where not everyone is going to university instead they are going into business and other pathways. New pathways with universities such digital currency advisors, printing organs used for transplants and other careers that never existed back need the curriculum to be updated if these new careers are going to be achievable for the future. Now everyone born from the early 2000s or the iGeneration has grown up with either an iPad, laptop, computer, phone or some other digital device. This influx has changed our home and work but not our school which is the truth. ACARA or the Australian Curriculum, Assessment Reporting Authority says and I quote “The Australian Curriculum sets high standards across the country and internationally” end quote. ACARA is not wrong when they state that and it does align with the UN Human Development Index education sector. So why are so many Australian students lacking passion for is being taught?
Even the controversial National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy or NAPLAN shows a declining trend since introduction for students once they reach high school, especially in year 9 results. Is this due to the pressure of expectations of parents wanting primary schools to score high by them only teaching what is expected in the NAPLAN exam and in high schools they are teaching the broader curriculum?
Why is a country as lucky as we are in failing in a crucial building block for life and by Australia failing as a whole no one is benefiting instead we are falling behind and that’s the truth. To conclude the expectations put on today are incredibly high and students should do what they would like not what is forced upon them. Before I finish I would like everyone think of what their expectations are of themselves, the expectations others and the expectations people have put on you… Now think of want you want, do they align To quote Malala Yousafazai “Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons”
Colin Cooksley, Moss Vale High School
The Demise of the Australian Dairy Industry
I am not trying to milk it or anything, but the truth is the dairy industry is in crisis.
The sound of Dad closing the front door at 4:00am wasn’t unusual in my household. It was a reality, an annoying one, but one I soon realised was something iconic.
The unrelenting hours spent milking the 400 cows twice a day, were physically tiring as supermarkets have maintained the same unsustainable price of milk for the past 20 years. Fancy just $1.20 for a litre of milk- it is cheaper than water!
My family has been working in the dairy industry for 4 generations now, so I am aware of the early mornings, long long days, freezing fingers and sick animals. But nothing prepared us for how tough it was to stay afloat once the price battles. In 1980, 40 years ago there were over 200 dairies in the Southern Highlands now there are only 8.
It saddens my family that the milk industry is in demise, as we had good farming practices and suitable infrastructure’s in place, but not being paid a fair price to continue a viable business, we had to close.
The supermarket wars had a direct impact on our whole livelihood as we were forced out simply because of the price of milk. This wasn’t a choice my Mum and Dad wanted to make. Their continuous devotion and love of our farm is known throughout the community
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have the luxury of having fresh milk straight from the vat, every day on my Weet-Bix and in my milo. I would race over to the dairy before school each morning to fill the 5L billy to the absolute brim, to bring back to the house.
I’d race over hoping that I’d get there before the milk truck had come and drained our vats, because how embarrassing to live on a dairy farm and when visitors arrived to find that the kitchen fridge had no milk to make them a cup of tea.
What I loved most about the milk that came back in the billy was the 2cm of cream that would rise to the top and the satisfaction of dipping my spoon in and putting a dollop straight in my mouth, and I can tell you there’s nothing like truly fresh cream, but unfortunately that’s just a memory now.
Leaving dairy farmers unsupported, is that fair to all concerned?
The dairy industry is struggling to survive. Despite high demand for supply, there is a continuous mass exodus from the industry because of a combination of; skyrocketing feed prices, water costs, inconsistent milk prices and dry conditions.
Each one of these by itself is hard to battle, but combined together at the same time, is too much for too many people to cope and continue. Let me give you some background information, in 1980 there were 22,000 dairy farms in Australia and today there are fewer than 6,000, this has resulted in the lowest production of milk in 20 years.
The industry has been proactive in trying to defend itself and those who work within it but It took eight years for the dairy industry to persuade just one supermarket to increase the price that was barely covering costs. The problem is supermarkets are commonly signing contracts with processors to supply their stores with house brands in individual states.
The processor buys the milk from the farmers then processes, packages and delivers it to the supermarkets along with their own labelled brands. Well-known brands include Dairy farmers, Pauls and Devondale. We supplied our milk to Parmalat also known as Pauls; we averaged a low 55 cents per litre. So Coles and Woolworths could sell a litre of milk for $1.20.
The price of $1.20 still doesn't make sense to me, as you can buy water at $3 a litre, soft drink at $4 a litre and Gatorade at $5 a litre." So when I am asked “Is it fair to all concerned? I can confidently say a firm, first-hand experience, No.
Meanwhile, Woolworths and Coles are doubling their retail profits and making a substantial income. I have spoken to many people who are willing to pay a higher price for milk, in support of our local communities.
Dairy farmers across Australia collectively say that costs are far higher than their income. The work that goes into 1 litre of milk is far more than simply just milking a cow. It includes maintaining the correct soil and pasture types and undertaking pasture improvement programs.
The pressure of the drought throughout Australia has impacted the dairies running costs significantly, particularly supplementary feeding, which has a real effect on a farmers’ bottom line.
The crisis surrounding the milk industry cannot build good will between the farmer and the retailer because the farmer is being taken advantage of.  Good will is defined as “friendly, helpful, or supportive feelings or attitude”.
I don’t believe and I’m sure you will agree with me that $1 milk is not valuing the efforts of the farmer and it is not even reimbursing them for the true cost of production.
It is nearly too late for a solution to curb the demise of the Australia dairy industry. However, a possible solution could include; forming a farmer’s co-op where the general public could buy and have access to fresh milk without a middleman.
This would be beneficial to all concerned. As Farmers would be able to set a fair price for their product keeping it at a consistent price consumer would be happy with, because the middleman wouldn’t be taking the ‘’cream’’ like they are currently doing.
The greed from certain supermarkets selling $1 milk has given them benefits but not the farmer or ultimately our communities.
It was an emotional day when the day the cows left on the truck. Generations of our own breeding, routine and passion for the industry lost, simply because of the price set by the supermarkets for ‘our’ milk.
So I may no longer be able to dip my spoon in the billy for the cream but if nothing is done at all then very soon you won’t be able to reach for Australian milk in the fridge to make your cup of tea or pore on you breakfast cereal. As without any dairy farmer there just won’t be any Australian milk.
Mairi Menzies, Frensham School
The Rotary Club of Berrima District
District 9710
Club No: 28217
Chartered 13th August 1991
ABN: 14 784 296 315
PO Box 1311
BOWRAL   NSW   2576
Our Motto : Service Above Self
We meet every Wednesday at 12:00 PM
Bowral Bowling Club (Jack High Bistro)
40 Shepherd Street
Bowral   NSW   2576
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