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Rotary Club of Burnie News

Aid to Tonga

Breaking News: Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) is seeking donations to provide funds for humanitarian programs to assist the people in Tonga recover from the Jan. 15 volcano and tsunami disaster. All donations made are issued a tax deductible receipt by email as soon as the funds are confirmed in the RAWCS account. For more information and to donate see <https://directory.rawcs.com.au/42-2021-22>  or see the Contacts page of our website.

First Meeting in 2022

Jan. 10 BBQ in Oakleigh Park, Burnie


   The Eaters



  The Drinkers



  The Workers

AGM & Breakfast Meeting

Burnie Rotary’s AGM for year ending June 30, 2021 was held on
Dec. 20 during a Breakfast Meeting at Food & Brew in Burnie. 

The AGM was uneventful. 

Two club members, Dilani (mother) and Nethmini (daughter) are both very pleased. “Net” had just received a very high ATAR score after her Year-12 exams and is certain to receive offers of placements in medical schools at several Australian universities.

Pui Ling Lau – Club Member

Dr Pui Ling Lau was introduced by PP Paul Kearney, who noted that Pui Ling is a very caring doctor who is liked by all and sundry.

Pui Ling comes from the very populous Hong Kong. There are about 7,000 persons per square kilometre in Hong Kong, compared to Tasmania’s population of 8 persons per sq. km.

Hong Kong’s standard school system is 12 years: Primary 6 yrs, Junior Sec. 3 yrs, Senior Sec. 3 yrs. Almost forty per cent of students who graduate from secondary school go on to enter University. 

In Pui Ling’s case, her medical studies extended for six years; two years of intense study at university, three years of clinical studies (working at four different hospitals), and one year as an intern (with very long hours and intense exposure to patients). She also underwent vocational training to become a GP; in all a further six years of study. With her Hong Kong qualifications, she was able to move to Australia as a doctor.

The changing political environment in Hong Kong was a key reason why Pui Ling and her husband chose to leave and come to Tasmania. Her husband was a paediatrician in Hong Kong. They have three children, aged 13, 10 and 8 years. In Hong Kong, Pui Ling still has her parents and two brothers.

Pui Ling is very happy to be living on the NW Coast and we are pleased to have her as a member of our club.

Mark Viner – a new BAFC

This week, the club welcomed Mark Viner (seen here, centre, with Secretary George Austin and President Themba Bulle) as Guest Speaker. Mark is the Executive Manager of Burnie Arts & Function Centre (BAFC) and he talked about the Burnie Arts Live Performance Season 2022 and the reimaging of BAFC.

Mark graduated M.A. in History and History of Art at Cambridge University in 1987. He has extensive experience and achievements in the Art & Cultural industry. 

He talked about the “Human Nature – People Get Ready Again 2022 Reboot”, “Leonard’s Beautiful Pictures” and the classic musical – “Mamma Mia” by the Burnie Musical Society.

He said that since the 1970s, BAFC has served the local community as an event and performance space, as well as an annual performing arts centre for the state, national and international artists. Despite the high utilizing rate of 5,000 visitors per week, there is still an inadequate cultural attraction at Burnie. Renovation of BAFC is to start in late 2022, the aim being to create a multifunction area for the local community; a regional gallery, museum, café, retail stores and possible indoor markets may be incorporated alongside vibrant live performances and a wide variety of community events.

Mark said his team is currently focusing on the visitor’s experiences, but he welcomes open discussion.

Heather Chong – Tas. Rotary District Governor



DG Heather visited Burnie Rotary Club on November 15. She is seen here with Senzeni Bulle, wife of President Themba Bulle.  

Heather said:

Our district, D-9830 has just over 1,100 members. If the number drops below 1,100 we can be required to amalgamate with a Victorian Rotary District. Thus, I am trying to ensure we end up with a net two new members per club. Then, having got new members, we must realise the need is to ensure that they want to stay in the club.

The District Conference will be in Hobart in April 2022. We will be offering ‘Home Hosting’ in an effort to reduce costs for members who don’t live in Hobart.

Finally, let’s focus on the Homeless: Think what your club can do.

Australian Rotary Health

On November 15, Burnie Rotary Club welcomed the Chairman of Australian Rotary Health (ARH), Kevin Shadbolt, to our meeting. Earlier in his life, Kevin served as District Governor of Rotary in Tasmania – on two occasions!

In accepting on behalf of ARH a donation of $59,000, which came from the estate of Russ Radford (a former Somerset Rotarian) Kevin said “every cent received in donations to ARH goes towards medical research.”

Kevin explained that ARH is currently funding 40 research projects aimed at combating mental health issues and a further 50 dealing with other, general health issues. For many years, ARH is now focusing on the mental health of children, because it has been found that a high proportion of people who are diagnosed with mental health issues in older age, showed symptoms of mental illness already when they were teenagers.

See www.australianrotaryhealth.org.au  for more information (or email admin@arh.org.au )

Claire Griffiths – RCS Graduate

Claire has a five year old son and a nine week-old daughter (see Post of Sept. 3rd below). Her graduation from the Rural Clinical School (RCS) is only a few weeks off. Claire  said:

  • My family home is in Burnie and  I certainly intend to live and work on the North West Coast, even if I have to leave for a period of time. In January, I will start as an intern on the Coast.
  • I’m a palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) woman, and the entry pathway to university that I used is called the ‘Aboriginal entry Application Process’. During my third year at Hobart, a few of us were able to move to the RCS at Burnie, ahead of the usual intake at the start of the fourth year.
  • I have played many ball sports, especially rugby, touch football and “Aussie Rules”.
  • During my studies, I went on a cultural exchange to USA and investigated Native Indian medical concepts.
  • During my course, I surveyed the potential for “Social Prescribing” in Tasmania. Social Prescribing enables GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer patients to a range of local, non-clinical services to support the health and wellbeing of these patients. I found ‘rural’ GP’s here were mostly in favour of these concepts.  
  • I seek to be a rural generalist GP, that is with extra skills which I can apply when circumstances require, such as to work in an emergency department or to be able to carry out certain surgical procedures. As well, I see it as important to have skills that would complement activities in whichever local community I might find myself working.

Mental Health

Peter Truman (below, seen at right with President Themba) was the Guest Speaker at our “Hat Night”, which aims to raise funds for Mental Health Research.

Peter trained as a Psychiatric Nurse in UK and worked there as well as in New Zealand and Brisbane before arriving in Tasmania in 1991.

He said that since the 1990’s, there has been an emphasis on moving mental patients out of hospital (or ‘asylum’) and into the community, made possible by having a better understanding of the needs of patients and availability of more specific medicines.  An emphasis on early treatment has been important.

Peter said: – Bipolar patients can cope well outside of hospital care, though occasionally they will need some help; – Paranoid Schizophrenia patients comprise a very small number of all mental patients, but Peter has found these to be the most difficult to deal with; –  Clinical Depression patients have a limited ability to manage themselves, though they are easy to medicate for; –  Reactive Depression  cases appear to be increasing, possibly due to the impact of government impositions in the fight against the Covid virus; lockdowns, job losses, income loss, etc..Peter works within CAT – a part of the Mental Health Services system – located in Burnie and comprises Mental Health Nurses; Clinical Psychologists; Peer and Carer workers; Social workers; Occupational Therapists; Psychiatrists, and other specialist medical staff.      

To a question from the audience, Peter agreed that the number of young people exhibiting mental disorders is definitely increasing. He sees this as a consequence of how our society has changed – for the worse, he reckons – over the past thirty or so years. These days, young people have grown up believing they can have everything immediately and it is scandalous how easy they find it to incur huge debts – without limits!

“Get Brassy”

Allan Jamieson writes: “I was privileged to attend the Get Brassy! concert at Leighland Christian School on Friday, 8 October as a representative of the Rotary Club of Burnie. The performances by the young children – some of whom were shorter than their instruments! – were to the credit of everybody concerned, with special mention to the assistance offered by the City of Burnie Brass Band.

The students began by playing plastic instruments , then just two days before the Friday concert, they were handed proper brass instruments. They even showed that after only one lesson, they could drill behind Drum Major , Rotarian Wayne Richards and follow Wayne’s Mace signs.

I have never tried to learn to play an instrument, let alone to read music, but I came away feeling that at my age (81) it might not be too late to start. Those young musicians had received less than 20 hours of tuition, yet their skill and confidence could not be denied!”