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Rotary Club of Burnie News



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.

What is “Burnie Works”?

Rodney Greene  (at right) is in charge of “Burnie Works”, a community collective, making change in the areas of education, employment, justice, and family wellbeing. Collective Impact concepts are as old as time, but nobody has tried to use this approach to tackle all of a community’s needs. We’re the first.

Rodney said it was clear that the local community considered its Council’s efforts to be poor: ‘We must do better!’

Local school attendance has dropped from 90% prior to Covid to 50% today. It is quite clear that many families in our community have a history of non-work generations. How can a child in such a family grasp the value of education and of gaining suitable employment?

Burnie Works coordinates actions of groups that tackle community issues in different ways, to achieve an enhanced overall outcome. One example is Books in Homes a concept that provides books-of-choice to children living in low socio-economic circumstances. Burnie Works encourages a love of reading by providing students in Burnie public primary schools with three new books of choice given to young children in each of terms 1, 2 and 4 of the school year . The kids get to keep the books. Information is included aimed at educating children and families about the uses of our local library.   

Marinus Link – Bess Clark

Bess Clark, CEO of Marinus Link Project, is in charge of 70 employees working on this project.   

Marinus Link involves the laying of approx. 255 km of undersea HVDC cabling and approx. 90 km of underground HVDC cabling in Victoria and AC/DC converter  stations at the ‘old Tioxide site’ and at the Latrobe Valley in Victoria. For several reasons, there will be two cables; the first 750 MW stage is expected to be in  operation in 2028 and the second 750 MW circuit a couple of years later. Thus, the total capacity of the link will be 1,500 MW, which is of the same order of magnitude as Tasmania’s current power generation.
          Hydro Tas. is already building, and facilitating the creation of, new ‘greenhouse gas-free’ power generation to equal that of current hydro dam generation.

‘Marinus Link will also comprise the laying of a fibre optic cable of capacity 150 times greater than all three current Bass Strait fibre optic cables combined.’

One Mental Health Journey

Visiting Rotarian, Lindsay Morgan, is a strong supporter of Beyond Blue, the Australian mental health and wellbeing support organisation. In the past 12 months, this organisation had noted a 42% increase in the number of contacts made to their 1300 224 636 number.
          On Oct.17, Lindsay revealed his personal experience, which he convinced himself for too long was NOT a mental health problem. He fought against the advice of his GP, of a psychologist, of his wife and of his friends. The initial inkling of this situation arose when he suffered a heart attack. Rushed to hospital, he was saved, but his GP insisted that Lindsay would have psychological problems within ten years – if he did not already have such problems!
          Lindsay began avoiding meetings and parties where he felt incapable of conversing adequately. He left his job. His body strength weakened and his memory suffered as well. Still, he did not acknowledge that he had a mental problem.
          He suspected that he had been placed on a Suicide Watch by his GP. Eventually, he did accept that he needed to seek help to cope with his psychological problems. He ended his talk by saying:
            “If you think you might have a problem, for God’s Sake go to someone! Don’t deny that you have depression!”

Mental health consequences cost Australia about $600 million per day and there are 9 suicides a day (7 men, 2 women).

  • In any one year, one in four people will suffer from a mental health problem
  • Shizophrenia is the most common mental illness 
  • One in five people are affected by depression
  • Globally, 1.1 billion people have a mental health problem
  • About two-thirds of those with obsessive compulsive disorder are women
  • 200 Australians attempt suicide each day
  • A tendency to anxiety can be inherited
  • Half of all mental illnesses occur before the person turns 14 years of age


Rotary Tasmania Gynaecological Cancer Project

Last week, several Burnie Rotarians were at a meeting in Ulverstone, where Ms Biddy Fisk, Co-Chair of Rotary Tasmania Community Care, informed us of the above-named Project.
A Tasmanian project, monies raised will go towards supporting access to vitally important clinical trials for Tasmanian women suffering from gynaecological cancer.
Clinical trials give patients the opportunity to obtain medications that they may otherwise not be able to access, and that are not always fully funded. Research shows that patients who participate in a clinical trial have improved survival.
There are 3 major focuses of this project and ways you can support it: 

1 AWARENESS PARTNER, e.g. putting our project logo/cancer ribbon on your products, or wearing our logo badge and/or beanie. (logo at right)

2 SUPPORTING PARTNER, e.g. organise an event/function to support patients in your community

3 FUNDING PARTNER, e.g. making a monetary donation (donation to RAWCS account gives tax deductibility) or holding your own fundraising event.
For more information, see Cancer Project

OR, contact: Biddy Fisk, Co-Chair | Rotary Tasmania Community Care
0419-345-835 | biddyandtom@bigpond.com

R-A-W: Rural Alive and Well

Lauren Harper (seen at right with Secretary George Austin) works to promote RAW, which seeks to understand and improve the mental health of rural people, especially of farmers and farming families.
          Lauren explained that RAW is 60% government funded and also receives a good deal of corporate sponsorship.
          The RAW field staff prefer to ‘walk alongside’ rural people (not confront or arrive from behind); they find this approach is most effective in drawing out the inner thoughts of people who – by nature – tend to be reserved (‘toughing it out’). Mostly having rural backgrounds themselves, the field staff understand what it is like to live in that environment. They also undertake a series of training modules prior to being assigned to a rural area of Tasmania.
          Lauren said anyone can make a referral to RAW, if they are worried about someone: “We also accept self-referrals. To speak with us directly, call 1800 RAW TAS (i.e., 1800 729 827) – it is manned 24/7 365 days a year. In recent months, over 50% of calls have been self-referrals, which percentage is quite encouraging. Being prepared to ask for help is half-way to being healed.”

Little Penguins in Burnie

Our club heard from Ms Perviz Marker, seen at right with Rot’n Paul Kearney, on Monday 26th September. Perviz arrived in Burnie in 1990; “the little penguins keep me happy here”, she said.

The Little (or Fairy) Penguin is the only species of penguin that breeds in Australia. There are dozens of colonies scattered from the NSW North Coast, south to Tasmania, and west, to an island off Fremantle. Phillip Island (Victoria) is perhaps most well-known, with over 30,000 pairs. Perviz said only around one-third of all chicks survive.

Burnie’s colony at Parsonage Point is a real tourist drawcard; the 600 penguins there drew some 11,000 visitors to see them in 2017. The Friends of Burnie Penguins, a volunteer organisation, started in 2004, runs tours at dusk every night during the six months – October to March – each year. There are 35 volunteers at present.

There is now a live, continuous YouTube video showing the insides of some burrows in the Burnie colony. See:                             https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhLQp6XxWt4  

Treasurer David Bennett handed Perviz a donation from Burnie Rotary Club to aid the Friends of Burnie Penguins.

Burnie’s Kommunity Kids and Ian Edwards

Ian has been the chief organiser of Kommunity Kids, an activity that helps young people living in Shorewell Park. Not only is this Burnie suburb ranked in the lowest decile on the ABS Socio-Economic Index among all 55,000 Statistical Areas (“SA”) for Australia; it has been the second lowest of all SA’s in regard to this Index.
        Ian said he began working as a special community orientated police officer in Burnie in 2008. He is now a Board Member of Burnie Community House in Shorewell Park and a member of Somerset Rotary Club. He grew up in the Blacktown area of Sydney, not the most salubrious part of that city; he reckons he was a ‘bit of a larrikin’. He readily emphasises with the Shorewell kids – something young police officers these days can fail to do, as they often lack that background.
       The Kommunity Kids program runs every Wednesday afternoon. Children and parents turn up, ride bikes on a special bike track, play football, cricket, grab a sausage or some soup.  Ian said the bike track concept came about after some kids began raising money for its construction. With intersections, a roundabout and traffic lights, kids are taught the ‘two-second’ rule (the proper distance behind the vehicle in front of you). Thus, they learn the road rules long before they step behind the wheel of a car. 
         In the beginning, Ian said there was a lot of angry behaviour in Shorewell, but he believes strongly in doing things with people, not to people. Thus, he said, find some activity that a child may find interesting and a challenge, and so build the person’s self-esteem. The Kommunity Kids playground area now has an outdoor chess table and recently, Ian saw two boys – well known for being troublesome – sitting very quietly playing chess.

Past President Themba Bulle presented Ian with a cheque for $1,500 to aid in the good work he does for the Shorewell Park community.