Vol 1, Issue 4. November 7, 2020
Bearbrass President Mel Gray's Welcome
Welcome to the Melbourne Bearbrass Probus website.  At last, some green shoots of normal life are starting to appear! After so many months of lock-down I'm sure I'm not the only one appreciating some of the little things in life which I had previously taken for granted. They include sitting down at a coffee shop, eating out, seeing friends in their home and visiting the grandchildren.
Even though we've had government restrictions in place, there's been plenty of activity in our energetic little club. The speaker program has continued to be first class, the coffee meetings always interesting and entertaining, the book and film groups involved with engaging topics and vigorous discussions and the quiz nights providing great fun and knowledge.  And of course the Melbourne Cup and AFL grand final activities were also great fun. 
The recent lessening of restrictions has allowed us to meet again face-to-face for “picnics in the park” and the cycling group had its first outing. Our fortnightly “coffee catch-up” is now face-to-face at Buluk park in Docklands, the golf group and the wine tasting team are both active and we will be meeting for a lunch at a Docklands restaurant in the next few weeks. 
Continued lessening of restrictions means that we can now start additional activities like walking groups, tours of local landmarks and trips out of Melbourne.
I commend you to read the articles below, which give an idea about the type of activities we have been undertaking and stories about our interesting and fun membership group. Remember to click any "Read More" link for extra detail.
Should you want to find out more about our club please email or fill in the online membership application form on the "How To Join Us" menu at the top of the page.
All the best, Mel Gray
Coffee and cake in real time this time
From President Mel, Nov 5:
Recent lessening of COVID-19 related restrictions means that groups of up to 10 people can now meet outside.
SO… we thought that instead of having a Zoom based Bearbrass coffee catch-up next Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., we would have it face-to-face at the Buluk Park BBQ spot near the Dock library (same place as our famous picnics!).
There is a coffee shop on the edge of the park and we will ensure social distancing and if we have more than 10 people we will separate into more than one group. Simples!! Bring a chair, should you need one.
See you (face-to-face)for coffee 10:30 a.m. next Tuesday 10th November at Buluk Park.
Please keep an eye on your email, in case these arrangements need to be varied. Cheers Mel.
Our Nov 17 speaker: Kiwi John Brooks on Gliding
Here's the link for the meeting
Topic: John Brooks meeting, Bearbrass
Time: Nov 17, 2020 10:00 AM 
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 871 5357 7066
John will talk about
  •     Gliding in New Zealand and around the World
  •     How gliders fly
  •     What they can and can’t do
  •     Common questions on getting “shot down”
  •     Your first flight - you can look over my shoulder!
This Keynote talk is highly illustrated with pictures and video clips.  
Our club is called Gliding Manawatu.  Our club has a very keen female member who flies regularly.  There are women’s competitions, but the national and regional competitions are open to both men and women, and there are trophies and records specifically for women.
At the end of the presentation, I have a short video clip of a flight I did at my local club in the DG202 glider.  The camera is mounted in the cockpit next to my shoulder, so the viewer can see the instruments and the view the pilot sees.
How many in the club?  About 40 members Gliding Manawatu, 125 in my Terrace End Probus
When was club started?   Gliding Manawatu was founded in 1954; I have been a member for 40 years
What was your mainstream occupation and what was PhD on?  My first degree was in microbiology.  I was initially a fermentation research  engineer at ICI in UK, then a university academic for 40 years.  I lectured on Food Microbiology in New Zealand and Hong Kong and my PhD was on the energetics and stoichiometry of metabolism of C1 compounds by a bacterium called Pseudomonas AM1.  This had relevance to the Single Cell Protein work I did at ICI.  I am now retired but continue as a microbiology consultant through my company microTech Services Limited.
Cate blown away  on Darwin trip
Cate Thompson is our only member to have spent Christmas Day/Eve cowering under a mattress with a girlfriend and male friends during the Darwin cyclone of 1974.
She had stopped over at Darwin on her way to Europe via Jakarta, but Darwin was as far as she got. 
“I’d hardly settled in there before three emergency warnings in a row came in over the radio,” she says. “I was 19 and in a shared rented house at Nightcliffe. Would you believe, it had a straw roof and the roof blew off straight away. The warnings all said to get down under the bed but there was no space under mine. One of the rooms was brick and we all cowered in a corner there. The bed sailed away and we pulled the mattress on top of us. “We all hung on to it from below like grim death as the cyclone tore through. With such heavy rain the mattress became sodden and even heavier and provided better protection.
Pics: Cate at work with helpers and clients' deliveries
Picnic time for Bearbrass bears
Last Wednesday week, within a day of Melbourne outdoor lockdown ending, eight Bearbrass stalwarts were picnicking at Buluk Park next to Dock Library, Docklands. Weather was perfect, park was perfect, each attendee was perfect. Then we did it again with close to ten last Friday (more perfect weather) and yet again on Monday (imperfect weather, a bit windy and rainy but who cared?). By that time the bulk of our active members not otherwise committed had broken our e-club status and communed with real fellow members in three dimensions. Conversation was lively and mostly peaceful, as they say about US demonstrations. It was great! 
Pic is of Monday's picnic. No offence to the other picnickers on the Wednesdays, we've just run out of pixels and electrons to include those pics.
Our speakers, Dec 1: The Metro Tunnel
Cecilie Hollen and Nicole Cuiava will be guest presenting on the Metro Tunnel project. The online presentation will provide an overview of the project and allow participants to discover more about our tunnel alignment and stations, the benefits of the Metro Tunnel and the construction technology used on the project. The speakers are from joint tunnel principals CYP Design & Construction Joint Venture. Here's the link to our meeting - all welcome!
Time: Dec 1, 2020 10:00 AM
Meeting ID: 843 3105 4640
Excavating Chris Don's history
The Don family
Back row : Allie (James wife) James Don, Amy Don & Richard Don
Middle : granddaughter - Jamieson, Grandson Hudson & Richards wife Kylie
Seated : Chris with Kendrix, Lyn with Christian, Lachie & Ruby.
Member Chris Don’s career has been in conveyancing – but not the real estate kind. For example, around 1999 his company built overland conveyors that over several years conveyed nearly 16 million tonnes of rock and gravel between Jordon Valley & the old Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong. The project involved mining, excavating & conveying crushed rock from a huge area in the Jordon Valley Hills about 2 kms from the old airport. The work created levelled plateaus for new residential towers, shopping complexes & schools.
All this material was conveyed by rubber conveyor belting enclosed in precision-engineered, lightweight, prefabricated frame modules. 

Book Group Update
Cate Thompson writes: The Bearbrass Book Group is going strong, providing a great opportunity for members to meet, discuss and share ideas and opinions on a range of issues and topics that each book presents.
Initially, some of us were a bit wary of how we would ‘take to’ reading books that were outside our normal choice of reading, but it seems that doing so has been a positive experience. With each member selecting one book of their choice, we have covered a diverse selection, creating a great platform for a wide range discussion. 
The October meeting welcomed our newest member Sue Hoile, to bringing our membership to 8 active members.
Originally we were going to have a break from meetings in December and January, and re-convene in February 2021.  However, the enthusiasm for our meetings has resulted in a general consensus  to continue our monthly discussions over the traditional December/January break.
Jill's kept tabs on principals
New member Jill de Araugo admits her Portuguese name is unpronounceable unless you’ve mastered the nation’s gutturals so she’s ok with being called “de Rouge”. Her ancestors were vignerons in the Azores Islands in the mid-Atlantic, declared Portuguese territory in the era of super-powers Spain and Portugal ruling the waves. Eventually an ancestor Francisco Batalia de Araugo migrated to Victoria in the gold rush and started vineyards near Bendigo which were closed by the phylloxera virus at the end of the nineteenth century. She met hubby Neil on staff at Yarra Valley Grammar in the 1980s. “His own distinctive name, Béchervaise, is from his ancestors on the Channel Islands, who were either pirates or privateers depending on who the winning side was. 
Picture above: the couple at Petermann Island in Antarctic in December 2018
Movie Group Update
From Anne Fairhall:
As Convenor of the Bearbrass Movie Group I would like to thank our enthusiastic Interest Group members (our Movie Buffs!! ) for choosing a wide range of interesting Movies & for engaging in vigorous discussions about these films. Each film has challenged & stimulated our thinking in different ways. 
Recent films have included:  ‘The Death of Stalin', 'Cuties',  and 'Charade’.
We currently meet on Zoom each fortnight at 10am Wednesdays. 
Looking ahead, we may continue having a Zoom Movie Discussion Group for more in depth discussions & add to it a more social opportunity at the cinema as opportunity unfolds. This way we can combine having a coffee, lunch or dinner with seeing a film. We'll keep you posted.
How our club excels at Trivia
Congrats to our Mike "Lost Lamb" Sparkes aka "Spike" who won the coveted top spot in Rotary Central Melbourne's Trivia Night on November 5 in electrifying fashion. Bearbrass people, not to mention Sunrise Probus people, shine at all things trivial. We guess that Rotarians are so busy doing good in the world that they have no energy left over to memorise the capital of Ecuador and what baby lobsters are called. The Thursday quiz was doubly important because Rotary's organiser Rob Hines evolved it on the Kahoot! app and platform. This enabled all of us to vie for both speed of answer and accuracy, and at every step along the 50 questions, we were told how the leader board was looking, who had a run of 'wins' per questions, and how each of us was ranking.  This is all a breakthrough akin to the investion of the steam engine and the laser beam.  Anyway the three-way partnership between Rotary and our two Probus clubs is an excellent development and may even be unique in the metro area (in country towns clubs often blend). # 
Bike Group Blazes a Trail
Bicycle riding group ride report. By Greg Jeffrey
Finally, after months of social distancing, curfews, hotspots and rings of steel we were able to hold our very first Bearbrass Probus bicycle group ride on Sunday the 31st of October.
Going forward: These rides will happen every month and we welcome all members with an interest. Any type of bike, including e-bikes, are welcome just as long as it is good condition. The next ride will be in notified very shortly so if you have an interest in joining us please drop me an email at
Re last Sunday: The day was forecast as a lovely 21 degrees, dry with high overcast and low wind, so absolutely perfect for riding. This ride saw a low number attend, being myself and Milton D. which is understandable given that only very short notice was given about the ride actually being run (apologies everybody).
In any case Milton and I had a relaxing and leisurely pedal through a somewhat uncrowded Southbank, with a long unvisited beautiful Melbourne city skyline as the backdrop, past rowers busily doing their training at the boatsheds and along the main Yarra trail to Collingwood Convent for a coffee. Many people were out and about on the river trail, especially along the Yarra Boulevard section but all navigated without any distress. Gipps Street steps proved to be a little difficult but we found our way down.
After coffee we chose an alternate return route via the suburban streets of Richmond and East Melbourne (road bike lanes) to the MCG and tennis precinct. Our main choice here was whether to use Dennis Lillee or Bill Ponsford as the backdrop to our selfie! Bill got the job in the end and once snapped we again followed the Yarra back to Docklands for the ride finish.All up some 27kilometres with a lovely route in beautiful conditions. A most enjoyable morning with great company by Milton.
Club Information
 Bearbrass Probus
Tuesdays at 10:30 AM
Community Hub at the Dock
Multipurpose Room - 1st floor
912 Collins Street
Docklands, VIC 3008
0425 857 739
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
Jun 11, 2024
Breast Cancer Support and Therapy -- including paddling Dragon Boats!
Jul 09, 2024
"Glass full of wine"
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Upcoming Events
Coffee morning
Dymocks Cafe
May 28, 2024
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Trivia at the Nixon Hotel
The Nixon Hotel
May 30, 2024 6:00 PM
Bearbass Wine Tasting Group - May meeting
Ground Floor Conference Room
May 31, 2024
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Seamen’s Mission
Jun 04, 2024
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Trivia at the Nixon Hotel
The Nixon Hotel
Jun 06, 2024 6:00 PM
Trivia at the Nixon Hotel
The Nixon Hotel
Jun 13, 2024 6:00 PM
Seamen’s Mission
Jun 18, 2024
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Wednesday at the movies - June
Jun 19, 2024
4:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Trivia at the Nixon Hotel
The Nixon Hotel
Jun 20, 2024 6:00 PM
Coffee morning
Dymocks Cafe
Jun 25, 2024
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
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Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Vanessa Crothers-James
May 1
Cate Thompson
May 4
Allison Hislop
May 7
Fran Wright
May 20
Jenny Ferraro
May 20
Heather Cameron
May 23
Cheryl Markham
May 25
Judy Stinson
May 27
Glenys Yaffe
May 30
Spouse Birthdays
May 26
Join Date
Linda Rowe
May 1, 2020
4 years
Gail Bailey
May 8, 2021
3 years
Terry O'Keeffe
May 11, 2021
3 years
Marg Thomas
May 17, 2021
3 years
Chris Don
May 18, 2020
4 years
John Bone
May 18, 2020
4 years
Milton Dickins
May 18, 2020
4 years
Ross Fotheringham
May 22, 2023
1 year
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Vice President
Guest Speaker Officer
Welfare Officer
Website Officer
Publicity Officer
Membership Officer
Events 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.