Our club got excellent spreads not just in the December issue of Docklands News but the February issue as well. The first piece was about our club plus our member Julie Cookson; the second about our eight-person team that took the New Year’s Eve Qantas flight to the Antarctic (and back). It was terrific marketing for us, getting news of our existence into all the units in all the towers of Docklands.

As a bit of history, before Bearbrass launched a year ago, we had a marketing budget from Probus headquarters. HQ could spend it on a targeted Australia Post mail drop or ads in the trio of Docklands News, CBD News and Southbank News. HQ adopted our recommendation for the newspapers, and this was how we first got the word out.

The December story was titled, “Double the Docklands Probus” and had a color picture of our happy band at a picnic at Buluk Park near the Dock Library. The story read:

Probus clubs are associations that retired and semi-retired people use to facilitate social and interest opportunities. Their popularity among Docklanders means that the suburb now has two.

Docklands got its second Probus club this year, after the first had filled up with more than 100 members, forcing the overflow of interest onto a waiting list. It held its first meeting in March, a few days before our first lockdown.
Dubbed the Bearbrass Probus – to differentiate itself from the first Docklands group, the Sunrise Probus – the group of now 52 members have been meeting fortnightly on Zoom since the start of the pandemic.But now, with a Victoria that appears virus-free, the group is beginning to resume face-to-face activity.Julie Cookson has lived in Docklands for almost six years and joined the new club in March when it was set up.“I was actually in the first club. When I saw that the second was being set up, I thought it would be a really good opportunity to start in a group from the ground up and help build it,” Julie said.“To get to know people from the beginning makes a difference.” (and more).
The February issue’s story was headed “Bearbrass Probus Team Greets Antarctic”. It was illustrated by a glamour shot of our Secretary Sue – we knew that would be irresistible to the editor. The copy read:
A party of eight from Docklands-based Bearbrass Probus club, which now has 60 local members, saw in the New Year in spectacular fashion.
The group downed champagne as their Boeing 787 Dreamliner circled the smoking Mt Erebus crater in the Antarctic, brilliantly lit by the midnight sun.
The party was organised and led by retired IT executive Mike “Spike” Sparkes. Three other members of the one-year-old Bearbrass club booked in, plus two spouses and two friends. Despite the formidable expense of the Melbourne round trip from 5.30pm to 7.30am, they all said it was worth it.
“We got four hours of low-level cruising along the iceberg-studded coast and into inland mountain ranges and white wilderness,” Mr Sparkes said.
The Dreamliner, piloted by veteran Qantas pilot Lisa Norman, operated almost like a light plane, following paths of massive glaciers and traversing valleys and mountain ranges in the vastness of the continent – twice the size of Australia.
Bearbrass secretary Sue Hoile said, “As we circled the Erebus volcano, I was overawed by its size and beauty. It was completely covered in ice yet pouring out steam and CO2.
“The naked valleys of bare rocks were a landform standing out black and brown amid the whiteness. Those valleys have no ice or snow yet are surrounded by ice. The sea ice also comes in an amazing range of formations, each with its specific name and beauty.”
“We actually flew over a very small part of the immense mass. I have a greater understanding of the challenges faced by early explorers and the Australians now working at the research stations.” (and more).
The reach of Docklands News is impressive. The editor says,  “About 10,000 people now live in Docklands and some 60,000 people come to work here each day. We print and distribute 15,000 copies of the Docklands News at the start of each month.  With a conservative multiplier of 2.5 readers per paper, this translates to 37,500 readers. More than half of these readers are from outside Docklands.  They are visitors to the precinct who pick up the paper from one numerous pick-up baskets which we have placed in high-traffic areas. The rest go to residents and workers in Docklands.  We deliver into the letterboxes of every apartment and business within postcode 3008.”