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Rotary Club of Burnie News

President Themba – As he really is!

You might have noticed from previous posts on this website that our President is usually in a photo or two. On July 24 (Saturday) he let his guard down while at a birthday party for a former Rotarian in our club (who had joined a new Rotary club).

 In fact, Themba went all the way back to his childhood days. We just thought you might like to know this.

New Member – Dilani

In the past four months, Burnie Rotary Club has inducted three members from one family: Chandra (husband), Dilani (mother) and Nethmini (daughter). Originally from Sri Lanka, they came to Tasmania when Chandra obtained a position at Latrobe Hospital. Last week, Dilani told us about her life in Sri Lanka.

Both her parents were teachers and the Education Dep’t moved them to several places while she was growing up. Her schooling was disrupted by political instability in the country and she was forced to wait three years before progressing to higher education. Eventually, Dilani entered Ragama Medical Faculty; initially this was a private medical school, though when Dilani started it had been taken over by the Government.
       The government provides 100% free education, but it is highly competitive to get into good schools in Sri Lanka. “My daughter, Nethmini, was interviewed when she was 2.5 years old! … overall, the standard of education in my country is higher than it is in surrounding countries”, she said.
        Dilani worked as an intern in two Colombo hospitals; Lady Ridgeway children’s hospital and Castle Street hospital for Women. Then she had to move to the north and east areas of the island, where the civil war was going on.
       Dilani also worked in a mental hospital before moving to the National Hospital in Colombo, where she worked in the Accident and Orthopaedics services. That hospital has over 3,000 beds and over 7,000 staff.

“Don’t Meth With Me!”

At this week’s club meeting, Past President John Glen told us about the club’s plan to expose all 600 Grade 10 students  on the West and NW Coasts to the very real dangers of getting involved with the drug methamphetamine – ‘ice’. The same event last year, “Don’t Meth With Me” (DMWM) generated feedback from schools and community organisations that was overwhelmingly positive.

The presenters who were here last year will be here again this October, plus we are seeking to add a presentation by a former Meth addict from Victoria. The intention is to be ‘hard hitting’ again, though we have deleted a couple of scenes from what was shown to last year’s students.

Some Education Dep’t staff in Hobart have not shown enthusiasm; it seems they view us as encroaching on ‘their territory’ – yet it is very clear that the Dept’s efforts to steer kids away from Meth have proven ineffectual.

Another induction in to Burnie Rotary

At our meeting on July 5, President Themba inducted a new member (Dr) Pui-Lin Lau. Pui-Lin is now our sixth Rotarian with a medical degree. Conclusion: There is no safer place to be than in Burnie Rotary Club!

Induction of Dr Pue-Lin Lau

Guest Speaker: Marcus Johnston

On Mon. 28 June, Marcus Johnston told us of his experiences at  this year’s RYLA week at Camp Clayton. [RYLA = Rotary Youth Leadership Awards]
Six fellow “RYLArians” attended as well (below) – living proof that “you will make friends for life”. Marcus described the events of the week. It seemed hard to fathom that so many things could be packed into the week. Marcus has used one technique taught at RYLA to secure his first job.

Pres. Themba handed a memento to departing member Jim Forsyth: Jim has been a Burnie member for 14 years, but is moving to WA to be nearer to his children.

Two new members were inducted: “Net” Wijewardhane (at L) and Dr Wing Sze Lau (at R)

Burnie Rotary Changeover Luncheon

On June 20, club members and their partners assembled at the Beach Hotel in Burnie to mark the end of the 2020-21 Rotary year and to begin planning the 2021-22 year. President Themba Bulle welcomed several visiting Rotarians, including Rotary District Governor Michael Plunkett and his wife Gayle.

In his President’s Address, Themba announced that the club had inducted five (5) new members during 2020-21 – including one induction during the luncheon (Amy Bartlett, at right) – and a further two people might join in the near future.

Earlier in the year, it had been intended that Themba would hand over the ‘chain of office’ to an incoming President, but circumstances later dictated a change of plan; Themba will continue as President for the 2021-22 Rotary year.

Amy Bartlett - Inductee
General view
Jim Forsyth leaving for WA
John Pease Fines Master

General view of room

Jim & Kaye Forsyth – soon to depart Burnie and live in  Western Australia

Venerable Fines Master, John Pease, and Corporal Ian Guest 

Burnie Rotary assists hospital in Zimbabwe


The Rotary Clubs of Burnie and Bulawayo South aim to refurbish the Plumtree District Hospital near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.  The hospital is in desperate need of medical and IT equipment (anaesthetic machines, ultrasound scans and the like).

 This Rotary project aims to raise US$100,000, of which $80,000 will be used to buy equipment and the remainder will fund project management, advertising, training, maintenance and sustainability.

Burnie’s President, Dr Themba Bulle noted that; “Our club will donate AU$10,000 and we will receive a modest contribution from the Rotary Foundation through their World Grant Scheme.”

The Rotary Districts where the two clubs are located have also earmarked a total of US$20,000 for the project – provided the clubs raise the remainder (approx.  US$70,000).