Vol 2, Issue 2. March 21, 2021
President Mel's letter, March 2021
Dear Fellow Members
Welcome to Year Two of Melbourne Bearbrass Probus! We have just had a successful Annual General Meeting with three new members to the management committee – thanks to Julie, Jill and Greg for getting involved. The future looks very exciting for our club, with ten new members (soon to be eleven) since the beginning of 2021 and plenty of new interest groups and events on the horizon. 
It also looks like an acceptable “normal” has returned to our lives, which will allow our club to operate on a face to face basis, only resorting to online gatherings when circumstances demand.
Our March Bulletin, thanks to our newest (and only) life member, editor Tony Thomas, is chock-a-block full of great stories about some of our remarkable group of members and recent and  upcoming events. So, read on and don't overlook the "Read More" link at the bottom of an item -- there's often a lot of content spilled over.
Best Regards – President Mel.
Sandra called to the Bar
Pic Left: Sandra's daughter Corinne and Sandra behind the bar pulling beers at Sandra's first pub, The Tower Inn in Slapton Village in Devon in 1999. Sandra: "Corinne's there very much the Landlady in Training. We  had lots of fun and the villagers were very welcoming and super friendly."
Our Bearbrass has acquired its first barmaid, with the arrival of former pub owner Sandra Wallace. 
Sandra was an English war-baby born in London at the height of the German bombing. Her father George was a ships’ carpenter at the London Docks repairing damaged ships from the war zones. “He worked for days on end to ready them to sail again. He would come home exhausted after working so hard. Many, many times he would return to the docks to find the ships had been bombed by the German planes overnight. They would then start all over again!”
Sandra came out with her parents to Sydney in 1947 on a six week voyage as a ten pound Pom. Her family bought land in Cabramatta in Sydney’s then far west and built their home there. As a teenager her family moved to Avalon Beach where she spent many happy sunburnt years.
She trained as a primary teacher, moving around NSW teaching in schools large and small. One of her favourite appointments  was as the Deputy Principal of Lightning Ridge PS. She found it a bit of a Wild West ride, back in the early eighties! She spent ten years as the Principal of Birchgrove PS in Balmain.
The 2021-22 Bearbrass Management Team

The current management team all stood and were elected unopposed for 2021/22, with the current president continuing on for 2021/22 because there was no nomination for President. The committee was expanded by one by amendment of standing resolutions to accommodate three new members. The new team includes Mel Gray (President), Anne Fairhall (Vice President), Sue Hoile (secretary), and Mike Brophy (Treasurer). The committee members are Cate Thompson, Tony Thomas, Jill de Araugo (new), Julie Cookson (new) and Greg Jeffrey (new). Chris Don has volunteered for the non-committee role of Assistant Secretary (Membership).

Picture: The new team plus Ray Duncan (meeting organiser) and Elias Lebbos  (Rotary). Committee member Greg Jeffrey is absent.
New member Helen is for the high jump

You might not pick member Helen Johnson as a sporting great, but in her day she was a top netball player playing for the Victorian State team, the Australian Universities Team and later for the Canadian Team, and that was when her height was only 5ft 6in.

Today’s players are a foot taller. “But 60 years ago people thought a girl of 5ft 6in was tall,” she says.

She was also into high-jumping in the era before Western rolls and Fosberry Flops; she just did scissors jump into a sandpit – no soft landings then into a big airbag.
What else? Long jumps, swimming (backstroke) and sprinting. TV coverage – nah, TV hadn’t reached Australia then.
And before we forget – and this is not sporty stuff – their son Michael is an orthopedic surgeon at the Melbourne Children’s Hospital, which we learnt only 30 minutes after learning that the son Jim of another new member, Rosemary Kiellerup, is another Melbourne orthopedic surgeon – how spooky is that?
Picture: Centre is Louis XIV, standard poodle named after his mentor. His pets are on each side.
Ladies and  Blokes who Lunch
Congrats to Julie Cookson for organising a great lunch for 21 at the Melbourne Wine Room at South Wharf on Saturday March 20. Choosing a Saturday was a good move as it enabled several members to come who can't come on weekdays because they are working to keep the wolf from the door. "Everyone went home happy from  enjoyable company and bucketloads of tasty food," Julie says. "Lots told me they're looking forward to the next one."
Pile-on for Bright holiday
Seventeen members and friends have booked for our first country trip – to Bright and the Ovens Valley  in the first week of May – officially May 3-4. Thirteen are in the group booking of  John Bright Motel (at a discount). Two couples are lodging independently. The exercise is being ably administered by Jan S, who is now working on a possible WhatsApp group for the travellers. This would allow all to keep in instant touch – for example, if a local departure time changes or anyone wants to post up pics of where they’ve been. She’ll also help organise car pooling if anyone would like a lift.
The visit will take in Porepunkah and Wandiligong, which are a hive of local produce, and the splendid Alpine National Park spreads out to the east of town. 
There’s still scope to join the party by emailing
Picture: River pool at Porepunkah
Kiellerups zoom in on  family
New members Denis and Rosemary Kiellerup are veterans on Zoom meetings, for an unusual reason. Their eldest son Jim is an orthopaedic surgeon (mainly hips and knees) and the younger, Steve, who was an office manager, has had a kidney transplant.  So during the lockdown it was risky for the family to get together. Instead they’ve had regular Sunday evening meet-ups on Zoom.  But Denis in particular isn’t thrilled by any Bearbrass Zoom event – “I enjoy socialising face to face,” he says.
We remark to Rosemary about orthopedic surgeon Jim: “It must have been gruelling training to become a specialist?” 
“Yes, more than nine years,” she says. Jim trained not just in Melbourne but in Europe and the UK.
Bearbrass knows its wine (sometimes)
Following President Mel’s superbly-organised wine tasting event on February 12, Jill de Araugo is putting on another next Friday (March 26), again  at Clarendon Towers. It was virtually booked out within hours. The deal is that we look at one (red) grape variety in some detail in a palate training phase and then indulge in a bit more of the best!
 Six wines (from Australia, France, Argentina and Chile) will be offered in a mix of open and blind tasting. The top two wines will then be available in drinking quantities. A great evening’s entertainment for $25 per head. Come to think of it, Jill and her squeeze Neil won the coveted Barossa Pearl trophy bubbly for best guesses at Mel’s previous tasting. We’re in the presence of conosseurs   connoiseurs. connosseurs
 connoisseurs! (got it right at last).
Book Group thrives at Dock
Book Group
Six of us had our first book meeting at the Dock Library on March 15  discussing Booker Prize winner for 2020, Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stewart.
We all initially thought we hated it but by the time we’d finished our comments, we appreciated the book a lot more. The author had really given us something to think about. Next book: The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean.
We’ve abandoned Zoom meetings and have a permanent third Mondays booking at the Dock, Meeting Room 2. Our group is at its ceiling of 10 designed to avoid unwieldy conversations. However, we’re happy to help another book group get started at the Dock, just call Cate at
Helping our organisers
Our hard-working event organisers ask a favour of members: where an RSVP is requested, do please respond by the deadline date. Otherwise organisers get caught in a no-person's-land where bookings remain rubbery, restaurants are inconvenienced, and all that. So when you see an RSVP, please respond promptly and make the planet and universe a more gentle and orderly place :)
PS We don't know where to put this item, but we've had expert technical help this issue from our new CIO (Chief Information Officer) and committee-man Greg Jeffrey. Fingers crossed that he's not poached away from us by a better salary offer :)
Thriller for next movie outing
Susan B’s movie group is heading for the Classic at Elsternwick next Wednesday (24/3) 3.30pm to see The Black Messiah (trailer alongside). Book asap there if interested. This follows the group’s great morning for seven at Kino in city for Minari a month ago, which we (and Golden Globe) rate as one of the best films in ages (actually, Best Movie, Foreign Language). The group meets on last Wednesday of the month and the time  of day depends on the session times. It repairs to the nearest café for mostly-peaceful discussion. Julie C, Cate T and Anne F are also mobilising our film buffs.

Hi, we're keen to expand our retiree membership to enable more activity groups to get under way. We offer you friendship, recreation, fun and stimulation. To inquire just email our friendly secretary, Ph 0419 134 206. The dues are negligible - $30 to join and $60 per year. It's the best investment you can imagine.