Quick finder

Rotary Club of Burnie News

The Power of Surf Lifesaving Clubs

On March 21, Burnie Rotary hosted two high-profile members of Tasmania’s Surf Lifesaving clubs.

Stuart Payne is president of SLST (Surf Life Saving Tasmania) and oversees the 14 Surf Clubs, 7 volunteer marine rescue services and 2 jet boat rescue services in Tasmania. As well, SLST supports Tas. Police on flood rescue operations (i.e., inland). Stuart said there are over 1,000 ‘nippers’ in Tasmanian surf clubs and, while they have fun, they also learn about proper beach conduct and smart swimming rules.

Shane Askew is president of Burnie Surf Lifesaving Club, which is over 100 years old. With close to 400 active members, the Burnie club is considered Tasmania’s foremost club. It also competes successfully in local, state and national competitions. Shane pointed out that from December to March each year, the Burnie club has about $60k worth of rescue equipment at the beach and this needs around $10k per year to maintain. The club receives no regular income, so this is a challenge. Given that the Burnie club must patrol both West Beach and also the beach to the east of the Yacht Club, their existing IRB (Inflated Rescue Boat) is indispensable, but unfortunately this boat is 15 years old now and the club is very keen to obtain a new IRB. Their efforts to this end have been very credible, but the club is short of the final $6,000 needed to buy a new boat.

In the photo below, Stuart and Shane are flanked by Pres. Themba and David McCarthy.

Burnie’s Slime Run fun day

Burnie Rotary Club was pleased to help a very community-minded local group to conduct a new event for the public; a “Slime Run”. This was not a race, but just an opportunity to have fun – albeit finding oneself covered in slime in the process.

At right, the eager runners and the fun that resulted.

Rotarians assisted, but stayed out of the fun! At left, Roopa is in the control centre and at right, Pres. Themba helped wash off the slime afterwards.

National Youth Science Forum

At our meeting on March 7th, we commemorated  International Women’s Day. Brielle Gardam was our Guest Speaker.

Brielle had been our nominee to attend this year’s National Youth Science Forum (NYSF). Normally, the Forum is held in Canberra and/or Brisbane, however, the presence of Covid virus meant this year was different: Week 1 was effectively a “Zoom”-like gathering and Brielle was sitting at home. In Week 2, she did manage to visit Monash University in Melbourne, which she found to be absolutely huge and very hard to explore in any detail.

Some things she experienced: extracting DNA from strawberries, talking with scientists at the very large proton accelerating synchrotron in Switzerland and hearing from scientists in Brisbane about the technical issues involved with design and delivery of a Mars lander onto the surface of that planet.

Despite the enforced change of plan, Brielle found NYSF very rewarding. Prior to NYSF, she had just one idea of what she would do in future, but now she has dozens of possibilities to consider.

Throughout her talk to the Rotarians and other guests, it was  obvious that Brielle is a very capable girl who is unlikely to be fazed by any ‘roadblocks’ or challenges put in front of her in future.

Brielle was a most suitable person for us to have as the Guest Speaker this year when we commemorated International Women’s Day.

A “Men’s Table” in Burnie

On Feb. 28, Burnie Rotary hosted Mr Ben Hughes, who helped start the “Men’s Table” movement in Sydney in 2011. Ben moved  away from Sydney, but others in that first Table still meet once a month. Ben came to Launceston six months ago and has already helped establish four Men’s Tables in Tasmania; two more are soon to start.

A Men’s Table (see https://themenstable.org/) creates a unique environment for men to talk  about their lives, their challenges, their highs and lows with a group of men whom they learn to trust and respect.  The Vision: Healthy Men, Healthy Masculinities, Healthy Communities.

A Men’s Table creates a sense of belonging, community, peer support and camaraderie that is lacking for many men; even for some who already have a group of mates. A Table can begin with two or more men, but  membership of any able is capped at twelve; there can be several Tables in a town if demand warrants.

There are only a few simple rules:

  • There is one meeting a month
  • You only need to bring your ears
  • No man is required to speak
  • When one man speaks, everybody else is silent and listens
  • The only cost is the price of a meal
  • We run to a set of guidelines that ensures no politics, religion or business talk and no alpha male behaviour.

The Men’s Table survey From Couch to Community in 2021 was completed by 98 men across 12 Tables, who were asked: In the past 12 months –

  1. Have you experienced mental health issues or been concerned about your mental health?
  2. Have you had times when you’ve felt life isn’t worth living?

53% of respondents had experienced a mental health issue and 19% had experi-enced a feeling that life was not worth living.

Ben will be starting Tables on the North West Coast and would love to hear from any men who are interested in helping themselves but equally important helping other men. Ben can be contacted at ben.hughes@themenstable.org  or 0424 99 33 66

Rotary Bowls Night

Each year, Burnie Rotary Club invites all members of Rotary clubs along the N-W Coast to attend the annual Rotary Bowls Night at the Burnie Bowls Club.

Of course, the bowls don’t always play fair and will curve the wrong way and can roll too far, so the evening is in no way a highlight of our Nation’s summer game of Lawn Bowls (for this reason, we do not show a photo of an actual game in progress).

While this is a ‘fun’ evening, there is a serious aspect as well; members of the Burnie Inner Wheel Club do the cooking  – the meal is an event in its own right and well worth travelling many miles to experience. The Burnie Rotary Club pays its entire meeting receipts from the evening ($1,150 on this occasion) to the Inner Wheel Club to assist its charity work – for a great many years, the Inner Wheel clubs in Australia have supported Cord Blood research. The Burnie Inner Wheel ladies run their own raffle among the Rotarians as well. 

Photo 1: The organiser, Bruce Clark (at left), with the winning team  Photo 2: The Inner Wheel Club ladies with Burnie Rotary president, Themba and Bruce Clark.

Ian Jones: Burnie’s latest Citizen of the Year

Ian Jones (seen at right of Club President Themba Bulle) was born in Burnie and attended the local State School and High School (during which he was named Junior Citizen of the Year in 1970). He then moved to Hobart and found work in an office equipment firm, before moving to Sydney and a job with NCR (National Cash Register).

The world beckoned and Ian went to Hong Kong, where he was offered a job in Shenzhen designated in 1980 as the first Special Economic Zone in China. Ian’s job involved managing a hotel and restaurant.

He returned to Tasmania and was introduced to the Burnie Chamber of Commerce ten years ago by a former Burnie Rotarian, John Packham. Ian is now President of the Chamber. This position has put him in close contact with politicians of every stripe, as well as with the Burnie City Council. That the seat of Braddon in the Fed. Parliament is currently held by a Liberal member, he said, has been a great help to our community.

Ian can be found working in the RSL. “My father fought on the Kokoda Track and became a Life Member of the RSL, but – while I am not a member, I spend every Monday, Wednesday, Friday here plus many Saturdays and Sundays!         

“The Citizen of the Year Award gave me a nice feeling – I think it is in my blood – but I am only one person: where are the other volunteers from among the younger generations?” Ian said we must sell the concept of volunteering to those generations.

 Ian is encouraged that funding of over $2 million has been obtained to take health services to veterans living in the North West, instead of sitting back and waiting for veterans to ask for help.

RAWCS – What is it?

Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) was set up by the Australian Rotary District Governors in order to attract tax deductible donations to Rotary projects that benefit society. It funds both overseas aid projects (e.g., Rotarians Against Malaria) and also projects within Australia (directed towards disaster aid). Funds exceed $30 million and have come from three sources; Government, Philanthropists and Public Appeals. At present, RAWCS has 531 active projects; 375 overseas and 156 within Australia.    

           Ken Moore (at right), is a Past President of our club and a Past District Governor of Tasmania’s Rotary District (comprising 47 Rotary clubs). Ken is currently serving as Regional Coordinator-Southern Region RAWCS, encompassing Victoria, Tasmania and a handful of clubs in Southern NSW and Eastern South Australia: it is the second largest of the five RAWCS regions, in terms of number of districts/clubs and volume of activity.

          At our club meeting Feb. 7th, Ken described some RAWCS service projects, such as:

          Bushfire relief: RAWCS recently received a generous donation from an overseas organisation to assist the many individuals and areas affected by the bushfires along South-Eastern Australia (including 2019-2020) and recently in Western Australia. Expressions of interest are invited from Rotary Districts or Rotary Clubs for bushfire relief and recovery projects within their localities. Projects must provide relief to either people in need or to the local community; demonstrate a timely response and specifically who will be the target for the aid. Furthermore, the proposal needs to be realistic, demonstrate sustainability and show how it will be achievable within the requested budget (max. $100,000) and timeframe (max. six months).

          Applications close on 31st March 2022.

Our newest Medical Student

Ten years ago, Burnie Rotary Club decided to offer a two-year scholarship to a student commencing their final two years of study at the UTas Rural Medical School in Burnie – now known as the Rural Clinical School. Yesterday, our newest scholarship winner, Olivia Eade, was at our club to receive her award, together with a plaque to record her induction as an Honorary Rotarian in Burnie RC.

Olivia, seen at right with Secretary George Austin, then  told us a little about herself:

“Though born in Burnie, I’ve subsequently lived in Ulverstone and then Hobart, where I eventually started my medical degree course. Now, I’m back where I began – and I’m enjoying it!

“I love surfing and I’ve discovered how great the surf beaches are along the coast; the water’s much warmer than down south too. Oh, and I also play the piano. 

“I’m now starting my two years at the Rural Clinical School, which has a very good reputation. This can lead to me ending up as a Rural Generalist doctor – a GP who has broad knowledge, skills and attributes in primary, secondary and emergency care in rural and remote areas. Burnie’s school ensures that the students will be exposed to a lot of practical training.

“I believe rural areas end up providing doctors with strong ties to their patients, something that excites me.”

Dr “Mandy” Lau from Hong Kong

Dr Wing Szu “Mandy” LAU is from Hong Kong, where an average family of (say) 6 people are constrained to live in an apartment of just 45 m2. Her surname (Lau) derives from the early Han Dynasty, 2,000 years ago. As a young girl, Mandy had a ‘crush’ on a famous Chinese actor; strangely, this persuaded her to consider studying medicine. In Hong Kong, as a GP, she worked mainly with children.

Her elder sister lives in Western Australia and she still has two younger sisters and one brother living in Hong Kong – by choice!  Mandy says “I consider Tasmania will be my final destination!”

Mandy joined Burnie Rotary Club “because I think the Rotary movement is dedicated to bringing help and peace to Society.”

Mandy (third from left) is seen here with Past President John Glen, visiting Rotarian Wendy Wang from Taiwan and Vice President of Burnie RC – and newest Australian Citizen – Roopa Mulik.


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.