Vol 1, Issue 3. October 8, 2020
Letter from President Mel
President Mel’s October Report
Welcome to our third bumper version of the newsletter. And remember, click when you see "Read More" to get the full story, not just the precede. 
Another massively busy month for Bearbrass Probus! With the lockdown dragging into its third month we were still able to keep connected thanks to Zoom and the internet.
We have had three great speakers since the last newsletter – Pete Williams gave us an inspiring story about his volunteer work with bushfire ravaged communities since Black Friday, Ralph Alphonso’s made us all envious as he regaled us with his adventures photographing our furthest outback people and places and Rowan Callick scared us all witless with his predictions for the behaviour of China under the leadership of Xi Jinping.  The coffee mornings, cocktails for Probus day and quiz events meant we are all keeping (relatively) sane and getting to know (and recognise) each other a little better.
Of course involvement at the moment means we must use technology to communicate and I know some members are struggling a bit. Well, good news! Greg Jeffrey has been undertaking a Digital Mentoring course over recent weeks, run by Probus South Pacific. He is now available to provide support to any member struggling with technology issues and will provide a few specific training sessions over the coming weeks. Contact:
Thanks Greg for stepping up!
Well hopefully, by the time the next newsletter comes out we may be able to have some face-to-face contact – who knows? Until then, stay safe
President Mel.
Left: Mel and Pam with Grandson Lenny.
Super line-up of speakers!
Our speaker for October 20 is new member Jim Dixon. He’ll talk about an amazing trip he made to Kar Kar Island north of Lae, Papua New Guinea, in the Bismarck Sea. Jim was then a young volunteer worker  surveying native land ownership there – a very touchy business. Jim has retained copious photos from that trip and his stories are like a Boys’ Own Annual, they’re too good to disclose in advance. 
Moreover, we’ve got some spectacular speakers coming up. On Nov 3 we’ve got a distinguished meteorologist Dr Dick Whittaker who’ll give us a talk on how the weather forecasting for D-Day on Normandy in 1944 won the battle. The weather forecasters picked a slight calming in the weather for June 6-8 whereas the Germans thought the seas would be too rough to permit any landing. It was touch and go and D-Day might have become a complete disaster for the allies if the forecast was wrong.
Eight club in for the Antarctic
Four Bearbrass members and four partners/friends are heading for the Antarctic on New Year’s Eve. They’re taking the 14-hour sight-seeing flight from Tullamarine. Members are Mike S., Tony T., secretary Sue H., and Heather A. Seats are still available as at October 7.
The flight is OK lockdown-wise and you don’t even need a passport. Our team will be on a B787 Dreamliner which has the big windows. You’re shifted around seats to share the views (220 passenger-capacity). You can also wander around and peer through unused windows.
The plane flies much lower than normal to get the views (but not too low…) and keeps its flight plan flexible to stay in clear weather on the continent, which is a lot bigger than Australia.
The world is Alison's oyster
Member Alison Besselaar and her husband Walter (below, at Queenstown NZ in pre-Covid bliss) know South-East Asia like we know Southbank and Docklands. Of their careers in teaching they’ve spent 11 out of 37 years working the arc from Japan to Indonesia. 
Alison grew up on an 800ha sheep and cattle stud farm at Bessiebelle in western Victoria. It specialised in Herefords and Romney Marsh sheep (today better known as “Kent” sheep). Her schooling there was at the one to two teacher primary school – and as a teacher herself she taught later in similar country schools. 
She went on to nearby Heywood High but by third year she got an opportunity that changed her entire life-- she was awarded a Rotary Student Exchange slot to Japan. She took some Japanese lessons at Port Fairy and set off for Tokyo in 1970 able to count to ten and say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ [is that ‘sayonara’?]. It was not all family sweetness and light at home – her loved war-veteran grandfather nursed anger at all things Japanese and didn’t communicate once with her during her Japan stay. 
Bushfire talk by a "Flemington Hooligan"
Our speaker on October 6 was Pete Williams, self-described as a one-time Flemington Hooligan kid. His talk was on Victoria’s bushfires and especially the terrible 2009 fires. Pete helped lead the community recovery at Flowerdale, where 13 lives and 234 homes were lost that Black Saturday. He continues to work for fire-stricken communities. We had 35 members and friends log in.
If you missed the talk, the recording is here:
Passcode: VEN39%vH 

Jim’s view of getting ahead in PNG 
Jim Dixon’s an expert on accounting standards but his life hasn’t been all dull. For example, when our new member was a student in 1967, he did a training program for PNG volunteer aid workers. This took him first to Port Moresby and a chance to try out his Pidgin English skills on the locals before helping with land surveys in Kar Kar Island in the Bismarck Sea, topped by an active volcano. 
Above, Back row:  Son Grant Dixon,  daughter Melissa Stone.
Front row: Callum Stone, Karin, Jim, twins Madeleine and  Lily Stone.

Membership Report, October 2020
Membership Report for October 2020
Our membership continued to grow last month with two new members. Please welcome Marie Grabar and Michael Porter. 
Total Members
At Foundation, March 2020
At 6th October
We would be delighted to have many, many more members so if you know someone who would enjoy what the club has to offer, do please invite them to a meeting or activity.
President Mel
Two members tickle the Tesla
Bearbrass members have a 4% chance of being called “Mike” and owning a Tesla all-electric car. So far two of our 50 have Teslas, namely Mike (Spike) Sparkes in Docklands and Mike Porter in Hawthorn.
They’re fanatics about the Tesla “ultrafast computers on wheels”. Spike’s one-year-old Tesla can drive itself except for right-angle turns, whereas Mike’s one-week old latest version heads off anywhere that Mike tells it while watching and adapting to all vehicles, bikes, walkers, lights and signs. In fact, all Teslas automatically upgrade to latest software roughly fortnightly. Mike says, “While I can just say, ‘Take me to Anglesea’ and off it goes, in fact, hands have to be touching the steering wheel while moving.  Tesla is not claiming for legal reasons to be offering autonomous or self-driving service – but it’s there and works beautifully. With cautions!” 
Neither Mike nor Spike bought their car to save the planet. Spike bought his Tesla Model 3 ($69,000) to placate his inner nerd and create a new experience, and also because he’d had a bad couple of years during his wife Carol’s fatal illness, and his spirits needed a lift. 
Bearbrass Book Group
The Bearbrass Book Group is going strong and after three meetings we have set a good standard of discussion, with friendly, insightful and informative exchange of interpretations and opinions of the books read and often, how they reflect our own lives. 
Last month we welcomed our newest member, Clive, to our group. The novel we discussed was “Bruny” by Heather Rose. It was part thriller, part political satire and even touched on Chinese political influence and ownership of key property assets in Australia. Once again, we had a robust discussion and left with more ideas and opinions than we had brought to the meeting. 
This month’s meeting is on the 19th October at 1.30pm. The book is “Burial Rites” by Hannah Kent. It is a true story of the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829, who is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. It raises some fundamental questions about truth, hypocrisy, inequality laying the foundations for a very good discussion.
Next month’s book is on the 15th November at 1.30. The book is “A Town Like Alice” by Neville Shute. 
We are considering running a December meeting on the 13th December, but are yet to select a book.
The club will continue into 2021 and hopefully we will be able to meet face to face for our discussions. There are still a few vacancies so if you are interested please email Cate -
Bearbrass Movie Group
Bearbrass Movie Group 
We formed to satisfy our “Movie Buffs” love of Cinema. 
Until we can return safely in person to the Cinema, we hold our fortnightly discussions on Zoom, (Wednesday 10.00 – 11.00am), after first watching the chosen movie in our own time. 
Members in rotation select a movie. This has resulted in an interesting cross section of genres, and lively discussion.
Films watched & discussed:
My Brilliant Career – Australian Classic, staring Judy Davis, Sam Neill & Wendy Hughes. Directed by Gillian Armstrong
Predestination – SciFi, filmed at Dockland Studios in Melbourne staring Sarah Snooks 
Mr Hulot’s Holiday –  1953 French comedy starring Jacques Tati
La Dolce Vita  - landmark cinema directed by Federico Fellini 
Charade – Suspense thriller plus romcom, starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. Music by Henry Mancini
Next up 10am Wed Oct 21: Controversial coming-of-age French 2020 drama, Cuties.
Like to join us? Email convenor Anne,
Trivia Nights: 3-way fun
Members have been having fortnightly fun with Trivia Nights on Zoom -- and getting to meet members of both our Rotary Sponsor (Rotary Central Melbourne or RCM) and drop-ins from our sister Probus club, Melbourne Sunrise. Sometimes we outnumber the RCM people who organise the nights and sometimes not. Sometimes they set the questions, sometimes our people do, and sometimes it's friends of our people teasing our brains. It's all a happy combination and a great example of our clubs inter-socialising. In fact we wonder what other Probus/Rotary matchups occur around Australia, let alone matchups involving two Probus clubs. 
Club Information
 Bearbrass Probus
Tuesdays at 10:30 AM
Library at the Dock
Top Floor
107 Victoria Harbour Promenade
Docklands, VIC 3008
0407 787 117
The club meets on the second Tuesday of the month, 10am for 10.30am start. Speakers offer a presentation at each meeting on a variety of topics.
Venue Map
Venue Map
Upcoming Events
Mission to Seafarers
Jun 06, 2023
2:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Trivia at the Nixon Hotel
The Nixon Hotel
Jun 08, 2023 6:00 PM
Table Tennis
Library at the Dock
Jun 08, 2023
2:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Cards 500 at the Seafarers
The Mission to Seafarers
Jun 14, 2023
2:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Trivia at the Nixon Hotel
The Nixon Hotel
Jun 15, 2023 6:00 PM
Athenaeum Library tour
Jun 15, 2023
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Walking Group (3rd Friday of the month)
Jun 16, 2023
9:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Book Group
Concavo Convesso Apartments
Jun 19, 2023
11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Workshop at Makerspace
Library at the Dock
Jun 20, 2023
9:51 AM - 12:52 PM
Mission to Seafarers
Jun 20, 2023
2:30 PM – 4:30 PM
View entire list
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Sheryl Tipton
June 5
Laura Walsh
June 8
Emilie Butcher
June 17
Kerry Franklin
June 18
Maryla Juchnowski
June 24
Julie Cookson
June 27
Tony Thomas
June 27
Judy Scott
June 29
Join Date
Kerrie Matthee
June 11, 2020
3 years
Pierre Matthee
June 11, 2020
3 years
Susan Bower
June 11, 2020
3 years
Neil Bechervaise
June 29, 2021
2 years
Executives & Directors
Guest Speaker Officer
Welfare Officer
Website Officer
Publicity Officer
Membership Officer
Outings, Activities and Tours Officer
Hospitality Officer

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.