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Rotary Club of Burnie News

Belle Binder – MD of Left Field

In 2023, Belle Binder was named an AgriFutures® Rural Women’s Award State Finalist and received the Encouragement Award for Tasmania.
        Now 42 yrs old, Belle is the founder and Managing Director of Left Field, which is successfully introducing changed concepts of people management on Tasmanian farms.
        She has a quite remarkable personal story. As a teenager in Devonport, Belle was kicked out of home by her very self-centred and domineering father. She took to the streets and found drugs, moved to Newcastle NSW and found stronger drugs; “experienced ‘rock bottom’, which taught me resilience and empathy – these now fuel my entrepreneurial spirit.”
        Belle reckons that drugs arose from her being bored, but seeing that drugs dragged down the performance of people around her made her decide to change her direction and get her life in order.       
        She started several small ventures and while each was initially a success, this success attracted competitors, reducing thereby the scope for her ventures to grow.       
        Then, in July 2020, when Covid’s impact was at its peak, Belle started Left Field, a labour hire organisation focussed on supplying the Tasmanian horticultural industry with dedicated and motivated farm workers.
        Belle said Left Field promotes the importance of farm culture; “culture permeates every aspect of farming – the habits, assumptions, traditions, and acceptable behaviour on a farm – affecting productivity, employee retention, and profitability.”

We meet Frank MacDonald Prize winners

We were privileged to listen to Xander Power (Marist College) and Jacob Rittman (Penguin HS), who were accompanied by Emma Cohen (Burnie HS English & History teacher). The two boys were very capable and did us Rotarians proud.
        Seen at right: (L to R) Xander, Jacob, Emma.

The Frank MacDonald Memorial Prize is an annual competition that commemorates and preserves the meaning of the Anzac spirit in the Tasmanian community. Our speakers tonight were two of the six Year 9 students selected from around Tasmania to go on a 10-day Study Tour in April 2023 (incorporating Anzac Day) and:
– visit the Australian War Memorial in Canberra
– attend monthly educational meetings in the lead up to the Study Tour
– undertake research into individual soldiers prior to touring European battle-grounds.
       The Tas. Dept. of Education invites essays from Year 9 students throughout Tasmania and whittles the candidates down to a final group of six students to take part in the Tour.
Jacob said their time was focused on Ypres and surrounding locations. They saw the Menin Gate with its 54,000 names of missing soldiers who have no other proper grave and they participated in the 8 pm service, held every day since 1928. They walked in trenches that were only 1.2m deep and they visited the huge 100m diameter crater that is all that remains of Hill 60 which had been destroyed by explosives placed underneath by experienced British and Allied mine workers.
       They also visited other famous battlegrounds, such as Polygon Wood, Fromelles (where there are remains of 5,500 Australian soldiers) and Tyne Cot cemetery – the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world.

Xander said the group focused initially on the region near Amiens (the Somme). More than three million men fought in the Somme battles, of which one million were either wounded or killed, making it one of the deadliest battles in all of human history.
         They visited Ablain St. Nazaire cemetery, the world’s largest French military cemetery with 40,000 French soldier’s graves. They saw the famous Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge, which bears the names of all Canadian soldiers who died in France with no known grave.
          Pozieres was another destination for the group. This part of the Somme battleground is of particular interest to Australia, as it was the scene of bitter and costly fighting by Australian Divisions in mid-1916. The Australians suffered around 12,000 casualties.
           Another destination in the Somme was Villers-Bretonneux, where the main memorial to Australian military personnel killed on the Western Front in WW One is located. The Sir John Monash Centre there is a museum and interpretive centre for Australia’s most famous General in WW One. While there, the group left their hotel at 2:40 am to be present during the Anzac Day dawn service.
         After all that, the group had one day in Paris before returning to Australia. Oh, and they ate snails too!
         What an amazing experience!

Vale Past President Graeme Muir (1930..2023)

The Rotary Club of Burnie hereby seeks to mark the very recent passing in June 2023 of Past President Graeme Muir, our longest serving member. Some basic facts:
Date of Birth:         8 July 1930
Partner’s name      Dorothy (deceased)
Date of Induction:  20 Oct. 1968 (Graeme had been a member of Apex)
Classification:        Fabric Retailing
Senior Active:        20 Oct. 1983
Awarded Paul Harris Fellow in 1992 

Offices Held:
70/72 Community
74/75 Fellowship   (+ 78/79)
79 – 81 Attendance
81/82 Program
84/85 Bulletin
88/89 Vocational
92/93 Pres. Elect & Membership
93/94 President
94/95 International Service
08 – 23 Attendance

Some of Graeme’s Rotary experiences:

In 1971-72, Graeme was Community Service Director under President Ken Webb who was a hard task master. Near the end of Webb’s year, Ken said he wanted to build a rescue ambulance. ‘There was a need to be able to mobilise auxiliary lighting, jacks, cutting tools, hoists, to name just a few items’ Ken said. Graeme’s committee, though, refused to help; they’d had enough of these never-ending jobs from their President! Graeme gave this news to Ken, but at the following week’s club meeting – while looking pointedly at Graeme – Ken Webb announced that he had obtained a suitable ambulance and even had found most of the materials to equip it. 

 In 1992, the Burnie Marine Board and a company, North Limited, agreed to host a yacht race from Melbourne to Burnie. The Royal Melbourne Yacht Club organised the race details, while a consortium of Burnie service clubs (Burnie Rotary Club taking the lead) organised the on-shore activities at the Burnie Port. Graeme Muir, himself on the Burnie Marine Board, was also a member of the service club consortium.  Graeme recalled that one man came to him and said; ‘I think you have a problem with toilets.’ Graeme agreed – there simply were no toilets on the wharf! The man said; ‘I will supply all the toilets and I will supply the cleaners to look after them. You forget about it.’ Many years later, that man, Murray O’Connor, became President of Burnie RC.

SPECIAL ALERT for April 24

Burnie Rotary club’s meeting on Monday April 24 has been CANCELLED. This is because the following day, Tuesday April 25 is Anzac Day – a public holiday, which draws with it the need for our host venue – the Burnie RSL – to spend time on the Monday to prepare for all the events that will take place on the Tuesday.
           Thus, our next two upcoming meetings now will be on Monday April 17 and Monday May 1.

Burnie’s Communion Restaurant & Brewery

After the club’s inspection of Burnie‘s new IRB (see previous post of Mar. 18),  the Rotarians adjourned to the nearby Communion Restaurant for their  evening meal. The owner and Master Brewer, Andrew Taylor then conducted the members through the on-site brewery. Photo at right, with Andrew at left.

Club visit: Burnie Surf Lifesaving club

On March 6, members of our club visited the Burnie Surf Lifesaving Club to inspect their new Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB), for which purchase Burnie RC had donated funds. See photos at right.



When – Sunday, 7th May to Friday, 12th May 2023

Where – Camp Clayton, Ulverstone

What is RYLA?   Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is an intensive leadership experience organised by Rotary clubs and districts where you develop your skills as a leader while having fun and making connections.

For more information, see <https://rotary9830.org.au/programs/ryla>

or contact Burnie Rotary Club [Roopa Mulik ph. 0447-420-924 or George Austin ph. 0438-450-801]

Famous Federation St. in Burnie

Julie Harris, our Guest Speaker on Jan. 30, is part of the “Harris dynasty” of newspaper owners. Seen at right with Rot’n Wayne Richards, Julie is also a member of the Burnie Concert Band. Her talk, though, was based on the activities of the Friends of the Regional Museum in Burnie, of which she is President.
      At the recent Australia Day ceremony in Burnie, the Friends were acknowledged for creating the Community Event of the Year – the re-opening of Federation Street at the Museum in March 2022. This recognition was very gratifying, Julie said.
       The Burnie Museum opened in 1971 and at that time it was the only such museum in Australia – largely due to the initiative and hard work of Peter Mercer and his staff in the 1940’s in establishing Federation Street based on authentic 19th Century architecture and objects. 
       Julie said; “What a shock it was when the Burnie Council closed the museum in 2020-21, including Federation St.” However, relying solely on volunteers, the Friends were able to keep the street open to visitors for a limited time each week. This surprised the Council!
    Julie also reported that Laura Courto started as Curator of the Museum in October 2022. Laura has recently graduated with a PhD from Cambridge University.
   Julie continued; “We have good links with UTas and local schools and we often receive donations made directly to the Volunteers!”
     She listed some of the many significant historical collections that are housed in the Museum, e.g., those from APPM, David Chalk, Emu Bay Railway, Marine Board, Van Diemen’s Land, etc. plus around 1,000,000 photos from the Advocate newspaper archives and over 340,000 photos from Winter’s Photo Studios. Many of the latter are glass negatives and the quality of the photos made from these is simply astonishing! Some of these are currently on display in the Burnie Art Gallery – well worth a look!
   Julie predicted the Museum might soon have more staff than before it closed down!

Special Australia Day BBQ

Celebrating Australia Day 2023

As part of the annual Australia Day Ceremony in the Burnie Arts and Function Centre, the Council presents its prestigious Awards for:

  • Citizen of the Year
  • Senior Citizen of the Year
  • Young Citizen of the Year and
  • Community Event of the Year


The Rotary Club of Burnie provides a BBQ at the end of this ceremony. Held in the courtyard of the Centre, all food is supplied free to the public.

A friend of Burnie Rotary Club provided this short video of the events on January 26, 2023.