Our guest speaker was one of our own.  David Stokes was born at the old Wagga Base Hospital in 1961, the son of Geoff and Norma of “Little Springs”.His father was born in Cooma, the son of the chief surveyor for the Snowy Mountains Scheme, and his mother was from Cootamundra, the daughter of a plasterer who did the local railway station ceilings.  David was a survivor of Gregadoo Public School which closed and he then went to Lake Albert Public School where he was Dux in 1973.His parents subdivided the farm into 8 x 100-acre blocks and sold up in 1979, whereupon they moved to Lake Macquarie, and David enrolled in a BComm at Newcastle University, majoring in Accountancy.
At age 21 David happened to be at Guadalcanal in the Solomon islands when by chance he met the Pope John Paul II, not long after the 1981 assassination attempt, who had just landed for a visit on his way to Australia.  “Ah, good-ay Your Holiness”, to which the Pope replied, “You must be from Australia”.
With such connections on high, David qualified as a Chartered Accountant and started working with KPMG, with stints in London (2 years) and Suva (4 years), before moving back to Sydney, then to a gold mine in West Papua during the 2008 financial crisis, his own on-line business in Bali when the Covid-19 pandemic came along, and finally back to Australia.  Somewhere along the way he also met fellow accountant and Rotarian David Pyke.  Just one darn thing after another.
In 2020 he started working for JLL on Transgrid’s Project Energy Connect infrastructure project to construct a new high voltage electricity transmission line between Wagga and South Australia.  He negotiated the acquisition of easements from 40 landowners, surviving one veiled death threat, before transitioning across to the HumeLink project between Adelong and Yass in 2021.This is challenging work, requiring an understanding of people, listening with empathy, and finding solutions.  There are some difficult matters. His family has come full circle with electricity supply.
David answered some questions on compensation and “why should we employ you if you only stay in jobs for a short while?”, and concluded to a generous round of applause.
Our Guest Speaker today was Dr. Kristian Girling Ph.D. John Gray did the introduction and told us that Kris is a frequenter of the Riverine Club and a member of his friendship group. He has a doctorate in Philosophy in Middle Easter Studies from the University of London. He has taught in both the UK and the USA. He now works in Human Resources and his wife is from Wagga.
Kristian has authored a book of the history of the Catholic Church in the Middle East which is available on Amazon. It is titled "The Chaldean Catholic Church: Modern History, Ecclesiology and Church-State Relations"
Kristian began by posing the question: Why think about the Middle East in Wagga? Because there are so many connections, from Agriculture to Immigration, from History to Trade.
In the West we have many false assumptions about the Middle East. Geographically it is a vast area from Morocco to Afghanistan, including many countries with a hugely varied environment. It is the Heartland of many ancient civilisations as well as modern ones, Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian etc. It has come under the influence of many European Powers and has many natural resources some of which have brought great wealth through the production of oil and gas.
Over 420 million people live in this region of the world. Egypt, Iran and Turkey are the most populous with many religious identities and languages. The biggest Jewish population outside Israel is in Iran. Religion is very important. Intense beliefs influence daily life. The three main languages are Arabic, Persian and Turkish.
There are some major themes which will influence life in this region: The transition from Carbon fuels which are a finite resource, to other income sources. Israel for example is heavily invested in Hi Tech. Security Issues, food, water and physical protection are high on the agenda. There are many monarchies in the the Middle East which are changing although at a glacial pace.
Australia has a longstanding interaction with the region, from the afghan camel traders to the Anzacs in various theatres of war, Beersheeba, Gallipoli, Tobruk etc. Migration from that area to Australia between 2001 and 2019 increased by 130% and of course here in Wagga we have many Yazidi from Iraq, Hazara from Afghanistan and Dinka from South Sudan, as well as others from Iran etc. The Saudis have many investments in Australia increasing to 5.1 billion dollars. We export a lot of grain including Barley to Saudi Arabia.
Kristian responded to a number of questions on topics from the Israel/Palestine conflict, to the position of women in Iran, to what does a PH.D. do.
Members were very interested in Kristian's talk and warmly applauded as President Phil presented him with a bottle of olive oil in appreciation.
Our own member John Smith, was Guest Speaker today, and to allow for an extended presentation, President Phil unleashed him early.
An aviator that John held in high regard, and that John had met during a trip to Oshkosh, "Bob Hoover" was the subject of todays talk. He was an American fighter pilot, Test Pilot, Flight Instructor, and record setting air show aviator.
We learned about his early life, an early fixation with flying, and his concealment of this interest from his parents. He learned to fly at age 16. paying for tuition by working in a grocery store. He got airsick and confronted this by flying aerobatics, day after day until he controlled the affliction.
He joined the USAF in time for WW2, impressed his military flying instructors, but was posted to a transport squadron because he was too tall for combat flying. That didn't stop him and he became an ace pilot in the Mediterranean theatre of the war.
There were many stories about his exploits during the war - He flew 69 missions, was shot down and captured,  escaped three times from prisoner of war camps and on the last occasion, near the end of the war, he highjacked a Focke Wulf and flew it to Holland.
He returned to America, and flew Sabre Jets in the Korean War, and was a compatriot of Chuck Yeagar, as a test pilot flying the Bell X1, the first flight to break the sound barrier.
From 1960, he flew at air shows in a Mustang called "old Yeller", and later flew an Aero Commander business plane at air shows until his retirement in the 1990's.
Bob Hoover retired from flying in 1999, but retained an interest in aviation and Bob met Australian Aviator and Moonee pilot John Smith at Oshkosh in 2015. They are photographed together.  Bob Hoover died, aged 94, in October 2016.

Amid catastrophes produced by nature and mankind’s cruelest impulses, ShelterBox teams of volunteers rush forward. From the earthquake that killed hundreds of people in Ecuador in April to the continuing refugee trail out of the Middle East, ShelterBox has sent aid to help hundreds of thousands of displaced households.

Notable missions since the disaster relief charity was founded 16 years ago include the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2010 quake in Haiti, where some 300,000 tents were supplied. In the United States, ShelterBoxes were delivered to those displaced by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Sandy in New York and New Jersey, and tornadoes in the Midwest.

In July, RI and ShelterBox announced the extension of a three-year project partnership to provide emergency shelter, a natural fit according to both organizations. Rotarians, along with Rotaractors and Interactors, have contributed $48 million, or 40 percent of ShelterBox’s revenue, from the UK-based nonprofit’s inception in 2000 through 2015. (ShelterBox was founded by a Rotarian but is independent of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.)

ShelterBoxes contain family-sized tents specially designed to withstand the elements and provide people with temporary shelter until they are able to start the process of rebuilding a home. 

The signature green boxes feature Rotary’s logo and are adapted to fit the emergency before being transported on scant notice. Most boxes include family-size tents, though the contents differ depending on the disaster and climate. Many are packed with solar lights, water storage and purification equipment, thermal blankets, and cooking utensils. Depending on need, the organization may deliver ShelterKits, smaller aid packages that include tools, ropes, and heavy tarpaulins used to provide emergency shelter and repair damaged structures. 

“The partnership between Rotary and ShelterBox has provided a place of refuge to people facing some of the most difficult and uncertain moments in their lives,” says RI General Secretary John Hewko. Tapping Rotary’s strengths, not just its funds, has nurtured ShelterBox, adds its chief executive, Chris Warham.

Scott Sanbrook representing the Committee For Wagga (C4W) was our guest speaker today. He is pictured with Sophie Uden technical assistant and President Phil Burgess.
Prior to his talk Sophie ran a web based video on the work of the Committee. It ran for about twenty minutes and was an excellent production that gave a comprehensive and detailed picture of the work of C4W. It can be accessed at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YFiEY6h-_uk
Scott and Sophie were introduced by PP Geoff Breust, former CEO of REX airlines and long time member of C4W.
Via the video and Scott's talk we learned of the vision and values of the Committee for Wagga.
To make Wagga Wagga - Australia’s most liveable regional city.
To champion positive change through leadership, action and collaboration for a thriving Wagga Wagga by:
  • supporting and promoting the city to ensure accelerated population growth;
  • identifying and implementing opportunities that will enhance our cultural, social, business and economic prosperity; and
  • providing a platform for community, business and government collaboration to effect positive change.
To achieve the above through commitment, accountability, being courageous and having integrity.
The C4W has been in existence for ten years and has achieved some outstanding results:
  • The increase in the River Levy Bank to cope with a 1 in 100 year flood. The committee was able to help persuade three tiers of government to stump up the $23 million required.
  • Leadership Program for new leaders.
  • Mentoring Program for emerging leaders.
  • CCTV in CBD at a cost of 1.2 million.
  • Lights around the Lake.
  • New Years Fireworks.
  • Special Activation Precinct at Bomen.
  • Planning for 100,000 population. Leaders meeting with Bernard Salt AO demographer.
The first CEO was Chris Fitzpatrick. Many others including Judy Galloway, Kay Hull, Geoff Crouch and Brett Somerville spoke on the video of the early days of the organisation and how it evolved.
Essentially C4W drives innovation and puts pressure on Wagga Wagga City Council to deal with issues that C4W identifies as vital for the enhancement of the city.
Scott said he is proud of the documentary which was produced by Adam Drummond current chair of C4W. Scott was standing in for Adam who was unable to attend our meeting today.
C4W has a long list of items that it wants to see delivered to make Wagga the most liveable regional city in Australia. They include:
  • Housing and Transport including the Wagga bypass, duplication of the Gobba Bridge
  • Upgrade of Wagga Airport.
  • Upskilling of locals and new migrants.
  • Social Housing
  • Inland Rail Corridor through Wagga
For a complete list go to C4W website: Committee4Wagga.com.au
President Phil thanked Scott and Sophie for their comprehensive presentation of the work and achievements of C4W. They were each presented with a bottle of olive oil and Sophie won the door prize of a bottle of red. Members showed their appreciation with a round of applause.
First off  was Guest speaker Steve Mathews Chair of Riverina Bluebelles, which is a mental health support group.  The group had been inactive through the Covid period and are in the process of a relaunch.
Steve Matthew's message to us yesterday regarding the launch of the new RBB Web site which will be at Romano's at 4.30 to 6.30pm on 11th July and would like as much support from Wollundry as possible. 
AHA ( Riverina) are producing 100,000 drink coasters for all the various hotels in the Riverina to use in their hotels promoting what RBB do.
He spoke of men's health and mental illness.  He encouraged all those  in the club to provide their email to help with the re-establishment of the RBB group.   He encouraged any members who may currently be experiencing any mental health issues to contact RBB via the website https://www.riverinabluebell.org.au/
The American Civil War was the backdrop for Doug Conkey's most interesting talk about the Gettysburg address. In 1863 the Battle of Gettysburg, a small hamlet, took place over 3 days from the 1st to the 3rd of July. The Confederate army from the South was led by Robert E. Lee while the Northern Army was led by George Meade. 170,000 troops took part in the battle and while the South lost 25,000 men the North's casualties were 28,000.  Lee withdrew his troops and left the battleground on 5th July.
In November of that year, Abraham Lincoln went to Gettysburg to dedicate the Union (Northern Army) Cemetery. The main speaker on the day was Edward Everett, a well known politician and clergyman noted for his oratory. He spoke for one hour and fifty seven minutes. The President had been asked to offer only a "few appropriate remarks".
Lincoln's address lasted only a few short minutes and comprised 269 words, but it has come to be regarded as one of the all-time great speeches.
Doug and Wendy toured the Civil War sites and Doug has very detailed interest in that terrible conflict which saw citizens of the same country slaughter each other. The rift in the American body politic is still very evident today.
Read the speech below.
Our newest Paul Harris Fellow Belinda Crain, is pictured here with President Richard Baguley and former refugee and Australian Citizen, Hung Kee.
Belinda Crain got the surprise of her life when she was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship for her great work as the CEO of the Multicultural Council of Wagga. Belinda is no stranger to awards as she was awarded the 2021 title of Citizen of the Year.
Prior to the granting of the award by President Richard, Belinda had given us a very comprehensive insight into the refugee community of Wagga.
Belinda began working with the Multicultural Council in 2008 after running Youth Services for the Wagga City Council. She is trained Social Worker as well as a nurse.
In 2005, Wagga was designated as a refugee resettlement city. There are now families from 14 African nations including from South Sudan and Burundi.
Of course Wagga has a long history of taking in refugees from post WW11 with an influx of Dutch, Italians, Baltic States, East Europeans and then Vietnamese in the 70's and now from Africa, Burma, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Tibet. In 2016 a big influx  of Yazidis arrived. There are now 1,500 Yazidis living in Wagga. They are a minority religious group from Iraq who were victims of genocide by ISIS. Seventy families have purchased their own home.
The Multicultural Council provides a range of services including: different pathways to residency; a health clinic; Dental and Pathology; a nurse led practice.
Belinda paid special tribute to Dr Geraldine Duncan who works with all the refugees arriving in Wagga.
The MCC also runs an employment pathways program for young people in social housing. It adopts a personal tailored style and has a target of getting at least 50 into work per year. This year 75 were placed in work.
Most refugees settle well and become loyal citizens of Wagga. Many have started new businesses e.g. Tibetan Tasty Treats, Two Barber Shops, and Asian Burmese Shop. The broader community is very accepting of the refugees especially when they see how hardworking and keen to succeed they are. A number of businesses, including Flip Screen, Viewco Glass, Coles have excellent employees and this in turn persuades others to offer employment.
The MCC is funded through Federal, State and Local Government Grants.
Belinda's talk was very well received and appreciated by members who were clearly impressed by her work and the positive contribution our new citizens are making to our community.
John Egan, who introduced Belinda also offered a vote of thanks which was supported by all members.
Guest Speakers
Helen Sturman and Barry Shields came to tell us about "Cycling without age"
Cycling without age is an organisation that commenced in Copenhagen ten years ago. Its aim is to give the elderly and disabled the opportunity to experience the pleasure of travelling in a tricycle. Each chapter is semi autonomous with the central body providing insurance and compliance with safety and health regulations.
Tumbarumba Rotary Club has purchased three tricycles which are made in Denmark and cost $18,000 each. The tricycles have a pilot and two side by side seats in front. They are driven by a electric motor and speed limited to 10 kph. Safety is of prime concern for the mostly frail passengers.
CWA (Cycling without age) has now spread to 52 countries with over 3,700 trishaws and 35,000 pilots (Riders). It arrived in Australia in 2016 and has a number of chapters in Australia.


    • First trishaws in Australia in 2016
    • Cycling Without Age Australia incorporated as a registered charity in 2019
    • Operational Chapters = 32
      • independently governed = 20
      • governed by Cycling Without Age Australia = 12 
    • Number of Cycling Without AgeAffiliates = 40
    • Number of volunteers = approx. 500
    • Oldest volunteer = 79
    • Number of Cycling Without Age trishaws operating in Australia
      • independently owned = approx. 50
      • owned by Cycling Without Age Australia = 25
All pilots are volunteers and passengers are taken on set routes for no charge. CWA is a not for profit and seeks donations only to sustain itself.
The looks on the passengers' faces says it all!
Website: www.cyclingwithoutage.org.au
Rotary Information
James Hamilton gave a very interesting information session on Wollundry Rotary Club's years of fund raising via Sunday Markets. Here is his report:
Sunday Markets – further information
Collections from 1979 to Nov 1996 was equivalent to $1m, then from Nov 1996 to October 2009 the second $1m was raised. Sunday Market was placed into recess in March 2014. The total gross collections of $2,280,270 less total costs of $238,259 resulting in $2,020,167 donated to charitable organisations. 1994 was the best year collection of $102,716 with 250+ stall holders attending each Sunday with stall fee of $8 and entry donation of 50 cents.
Christmas Markets on Baylis street were conducted from 2000 to 2007 in early December which attracted over 10,000 people each year into the main street of Wagga Wagga
Special markets were conducted at Wagga Beach car park on Australia Day for 2016, 2017, & 2018.
Penny the Pig
Penny the pig was constructed in 1996 made from fibre glass and it was motorised by a golf buggy. The idea of Penny the pig was to collect coins from children at schools and elsewhere. The eye lids and tail of Penny would move when coins were placed into the slot and a sound would emanate from Penny. One & two cent coins were no longer used in the community so collecting those coins. The cost to construct was $28,000 and the collections over a couple of years was $26,000. Penny the pig was handed over to Annie St Claire foundation. Presently, Penny is sitting in Rob Vidler’s yard in Mortimer place.
PDG Dr Henry Gardiner
I had a catch up with Henry last week in Merimbula. He has joined Merimbula Rotary club. He sends his regards to all Wollundrians. Henry is PP of Goulburn rotary club (former 9710 district), and he is PP of Kooringal Rotary club (former 9700 district). As both districts have merged recently forming District 9705, as far as we know, Henry is the only Rotarian to be past President in both former districts.
Rotary’s programs are developing the next generation of leaders, providing funding to make the world better place, and making peace a priority. Rotary programs are not just for club members but for general community members.

Seeking dynamic leaders to change themselves and the world?

One of the programs is Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is an intensive leadership experience organized by Rotary clubs and districts where people develop their skills as a leader while having fun and making connections.


What are the benefits?

Connect with leaders in your community and around the world to:
  • Build communication and problem-solving skills
  • Discover strategies for becoming a dynamic leader in your school or community
  • Learn from community leaders, inspirational speakers, and peer mentors
  • Unlock your potential to turn motivation into action
  • Have fun and form lasting friendships

What’s involved?

RYLA events are organized locally by Rotary clubs and districts for participants ages 14-30. Depending on community needs, RYLA may take the form of a one-day seminar, a three-day retreat, or a weeklong camp. Typically, events last 3-10 days and include presentations, activities, and workshops covering a variety of topics. Wollundry Club has been organising RYLA at district level for a number of years.
Your community might host a RYLA event for secondary school students to hone their leadership potential, for university students to develop creative problem-solving strategies, or for young professionals to learn ethical business practices.

How can you participate?

RYLA participants are nominated by local Rotary clubs. Contact your local Rotary club to find out more about RYLA events in your area, how to apply, and any costs of getting involved.
Examples of Rotary in action
RYLA in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, USA, challenged more than 80 students to participate in outdoor activities that developed team building, problem solving, and communication.
Outside of Warwickshire, England, RYLA participants learned to work together to accomplish a task and build trust.
In Helsingborg, Sweden, students from around the world learned from community leaders how to find solutions to everyday challenges.
Two teams of young leaders in Malawi worked together in a race against other teams to complete challenges that required teamwork and communication.
The entertainment for 2022 includes great local acts Deja Groove, Mollie Waters,
Groove Factorie and Nathan Lamont. 
We support our Riverina musicians after a tough few years.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the day's entertainment presented live on stage and

via the big screen TV.

With entertainers to keep the whole family amused, you will be able to put your feet up

while the kids play happily. 

The festival will be held in the picturesque Victory Memorial Gardens.

From humble beginnings, the festival has become a stand-alone annual event

which attracts more than 4,000 people.

The festival gives local wineries and food and dining outlets an opportunity to showcase

their goods. As a stall holder, whereelse could you go and show off your products and

abilities to over 4,000 people in one day. As a patron, where else could you
go and sample a great variety of food and wines as well as Yenda Beers and ciders.

You will be entertained continuously
and we have distractions for your children whilst you enjoy the atmosphere.

Our Guest speaker on Tuesday was Dr. Graeme Wren, providing members with an overview of the Australian and world space activities.  Dr. Wren has extensive knowledge and experience in the space program  both within Australia and in the United States working for NASA. 
The beginning of Graeme's presentation included a video giving a perspective of size ranging from 10 billion light years to the atoms within our bodies.  Click on the photo below to view the video.
Dr. Wren's presentation included some fascinating graphics that gave the viewer an idea of the volume of satellites that currently surround the earth and the heights from which they operate.  The satellites on the left are orbiting and the ones on the right are geostationary.
Graeme told an interesting story about a fist size chunk of glass that broke away fron the shuttle.    It had been hit by a tiny flake of paint...but it  was travelling 25,000 k's per hour at the time so it did some damage but was not critical. 
Due to a shortage of time, Graeme could not finish his last two slides, one of which was a brief video of eary test pilots.  This short and historic video is a minute long and shows sone interesting flying machines.  Click on the photo below to view the video.
President Richard presented Graeme with a bottle of wine and a thank you for coming along to Wollundry Rotary and sharing his knowledge and experiences in the field of Space.
"Nude Boot Scootin" and "Let's Get a Cow" were two songs that our guest speaker sang to entertain us and he did that to great effect. Grant Luhrs, an accomplished song writer and singer, gave us an interesting insight into his life and the music industry.
Grant has not always been an entertainer. He played Australian Rules football professionally including in six winning grand final sides, in 1982 he came to Wagga.
In introducing Grant, Past President Geoff Breust said he first met him at a Tourism Wagga stand in Sydney. The purpose was to showcase what our city has to offer. Kay Hull, former member for Wagga, was president of Tourism Wagga and had invited Grant to be part of the promotion. The Wagga stand was very popular, thanks to Grant's singing and playing with people dancing and joining in. Geoff described Grant as a big supporter of Wagga.
Beginning his address, Grant said hello to the Zoomers and thanked Rotary for the meal, the first decent one he has had in twelve months, he said, so tough are things in the music industry. The nature of the industry has changed with the digital revolution. Creative people have taken a big hit. Royalties have reduced, CD sales have dropped, digital streams pay about 1c for 1,000 streams on spotify.
Artists have therefore turned to live performances to earn a decent income. This has increased competition from overseas artists and of course Covid has restricted this form of entertainment severely.
In 1982, Grant came to Wagga with his first big song "Let's get a cow". This song became very popular and was promoted by Macca on ABC Sunday Radio. Macca and Grant are mates. Chad Morgan also sang this song which Grant felt extremely happy about as it was testament to its popularity in the world of country music.
Grant has a recording studio here in Wagga and his band is known as "The Chook Raffle Band". On a trip to China for Music Festival, this name proved difficult to translate the meaning into Chinese. Something like the chicken lottery band was the best they could do. Not quite the same meaning.
After attending the Gympie Muster and observing the seriousness of the line dancers, one of Grant's group said wouldn't it be funny if the line dancers were all nude. So was born the idea for the song "Nude Boot Scootin".  This led Grant, his band and our very own Geoff Breust, who was involved in Tourism Wagga, to the River Island Nature Retreat to attempt a world record for the most number of nude boot scooters doing line dancing. Not a pretty sight they said and hard to keep eye contact!
Grant loves what he does. Being immersed in the country and entertaining for a living, including five ship cruises is part of his dream job. Some of Grant's well known compositions are: "Full moon tonight"; "A Farming Man"; 'Nude Boot Scootin"; "It's Hard to be a Cowboy with a Poodle by your side"; "Two Old Ladies Dancing"; "Let's get a Cow".
After singing two songs which were enthusiastically received, Grant was thanked by President Richard for a very entertaining presentation and gave him a bottle of wine in appreciation. Loud applause from members!
Dr. Jonathan Medway Head Research Agronomist CSU with President Richard Baguley and Dr. Tim Hutchings, Wollundry Member.
Members were given a glimpse into the mind boggling future of farming by our guest speaker Dr. Jonathan Medway at today's meeting .
In his introduction to our speaker, Dr. David Golland (Wollundry Rotary) revealed a long association with Jonathan who  now leads the research at CSU into Developments in the exciting new world of Agriculture Technology. Originally from Quirindi in northern NSW, Jonathan came to his current situation via Farrer Ag College and then to CSU. He set up  the school of Agricultural Technology which deals with all aspects of applying digital technology to maximising farm production, including drones, driverless tractors and harvesters, satellite crop monitoring, remote soil carbon testing, animal management systems to mention some.
Dr. Medway, hereon referred to as Jonathan, began by thanking Rotary for the opportunity to speak. Wisely President Richard allowed Jonathan to begin his presentation early in the meeting because his topic was so interesting and so detailed that the usual ten to twenty minutes would not have sufficed.
Taking us through a brief recount of the development of the digital age, Jonathan said that in 1986 when he started his degree in Agriculture, no one owned a computer. Over the past thirty years we have witnessed an exponential growth in digital technology from brick like telephones to the modern smart phone which is really a hand held, multi function computer, to satellites, drones, internet connections that allow real time satellite images, rain forecasts, as well as information sharing across states and countries. Each new technology is billed as the answer to every problem but this is not always the case and we musn't forget many of the useful things from the past. 
While robotics, paddock ready systems of agriculture, are estimated to add $20 billion of the $40 billion required to reach the target of $100 billion productivity, there is a major deficit in digital literacy, data analysis and support tools. CSU school of digital farming is designed to address this need.
What began in 1892 as the Wagga Experimental Farm is now CSU's, remarkably diverse, production farm covering 1,900 hectares, where experiments with modern technology can be explored.
The Digital Farm School started this year and is in the process of updating farm machinery to use robotics in every possible application. Sensors in the ground and drones can measure soil carbon. Animals can be monitored for food intake, weight gain, location of animals to provide best food opportunities. Machinery is interlinked by satellite to allow one person to operate up to four tractors. Harvesters are programmed to strip crops and fill wheat bins automatically.
CSU has an archive of data going back to the 1970's. This coupled with new analysis tools provides useful information for soil profiling and and mapping.
Members asked a number of questions regarding the use of virtual reality, manpower to use the technology and where we are placed in the world with the use of digital technology.
Dr. Tim Hutchings gave a vote of thanks for this very interesting talk and referred to his own observed experience of automatic container loading onto boats and a fully automated stud sale that he was attending via zoom in his office.
Farming is indeed becoming hi-tech.
Guest speaker
Today guest speaker, Luke Grealy, was introduced by John Gray whose wife Norma had worked with Luke Grealy at the Wagga Cty Council many years ago.  Luke left the Council entering private enterprise in the Event Hire business but retired from that industry and returned to the Council as Manager of The Museum of the Riverina.
The museum is based at Willans Hill and is the process of redevelopment.  Part of the large redevelopment will be housing the winning portraits of the “Bald Archey’s” donated to the museum by the Late Peter Batey OAM. This is a fantastic opportunity for the museum and the Wagga City Council has committed to undertaking the annual awards.
Part of the new premises required the packing up, cataloguing and moving some very sensitive objects to temporary locations, some at the CSU, some at Council depots and some at Riverina Water.  The old building was insufficient to house the large number of acquisitions over the years. Some of the new items have been donated to the Museum have come from the Wagga Base Hospital including historical baby scales, a large number of items from Eilish Kendell relating the history of Kendell Airlines and prior to that being Premier Airlines.
The redevelopment is being funded by Government grants totalling $7.4M and the new area will have eight new galleries with the old Museum being storage.
At present there are 25000 visitors to the Botanic Gardens each year but only a small number venture to the museum.  Luke wants that to change after the redevelopment as there will be a wonderful display of Wagga and District history.  In the receipt of new donations to the new museum, they attempt to build the history of the particular items to ensure that future will have an understanding of the display and the story.
The recent completion of the book Huthwaites, The Friendly Store was very successful and contained a detailed history of retailing in Wagga Wagga.

Luke was thanked by our current Mayor, Greg Conkey, who is retiring from Council at the next Council elections. Greg was very upbeat about the new museum and commented that we lucky to have someone of the quality of Luke in the position of Museum manager
Our guest speaker on Tuesday was Lisa Simpson, Manager of Ronald McDonald House in Wagga.   The main objective for the charity is to provide a home-away-from-home for seriously ill children and their families.
There are 18 houses  in Australia.  Lisa is one of three paid employees with the rest of the staff volunteers.
There is also a Ronald McDonald Family Room at Wagga Base hospital.  Family Rooms provide a warm and safe environment within the hospital where they can spend time away from bedside.  There is a kitchenette , washing facilities  and a play area for children.
McDonalds funds the house to the tune of 20%.   People are often surprised that, assuming  McDonalds funds the majority of the costs of running the house.  The three following funding sources makeup all of the support for the home. 
The relatives and families of high risk pregnancies are also often guests at the house.  There are 4 separate sleeping quarters within the house that can each accommodate up to six people. The house is well used, however there are usually availible rooms with the average stay being 4.5 days.
Lisa had quite a few questions which she answered clearly and completely.  After her questions she had a short video relaying the experiences at the home of several local families.  To view the video click on the photo below:  (Note: if you have problems with the video, go to the top of the Bulletin and where it says..."Having trouble viewing this email? Click here to view it online."
The Changeover went very smoothly.
With the night EmCeed by PP John Gray, James Hamilton was called upon to say Grace, then the business started.
PP Paul Milde presented the Loyal Toast, Sec Phil read a long list of apologies, and John Gray proceeded to welcome all guests and visitors.
Came time for the Toast to Rotary International. One of our long standing members, PP David Byfield gave one of the best toasts to Rotary International the editor has heard. Subsequently it is reprinted here in full.
Toast to Rotary International
Distinguished guests, my fellow Rotarians and friends of Rotary.
While some of us here tonight have been in Rotary for many years and others have only been with Rotary a short time, we are all on the same journey.
A journey that began over a hundred years ago when our founder, Paul Harris, had an idea.
And it wasn’t just any idea; it was one of those planet altering ideas. He didn’t know it at the time, but we, in hindsight, sure do.
From humble beginnings and a group of 4 friends in Chicago, to a world wide Service Organisation of some 1.2 million Rotarians in 33,255 clubs, and in 210 Countries, that idea has taken root and bloomed.  Rotarians from across the world have combined to eradicate Polio and it has now been isolated to four pockets of the world. A super human effort since Rotary took control in 1985.
But what of the myriad of other programmes that Rotary runs every year?
Health programmes, water programmes, youth exchange, youth leadership, literacy, shelterbox, malaria, medical aid, scholarships, the list goes on and on. They are all worthy programmes that show what Rotary is about.
Service Clubs seem to have become less popular during the more affluent years, but Rotary is just as necessary today as it was when it was first introduced in 1905.
This coming year the new Rotary theme is “SERVE TO CHANGE LIVES”
And to me that means restoring dignity and offering a chance at a better life for those in need, without any strings and free of any political or religious overtones.
The journey of Rotary over the years has opened doors across international boundaries and lets Rotary in where other aid organisations have difficulty. The world trusts Rotary.
It has been a successful journey, a journey studded with highlights and surrounded by hard working Rotarians, and friends of Rotarians, all of whom are and have been donating time and energy for free. I am sure that it is a journey we are all proud of and one we want to see continue.
I am proud to be a part of Rotary International and to be an Australian and I ask you all to stand and join me in drinking a toast to Rotary International and Australia.
“To Rotary International and Australia.”
Representing the DG, Michael Moore, was PDG John Glassford. He replied telling of his fondness for Wollundry Club and his appreciation for all the work it does in both the local and international community, and the role it plays in making sure that things are done in the correct manner at District level. He mentioned that changes were underway, a comment that PP David Pyke and quite a few others saw as encouraging. PDG John also mentioned the huge growth in Rotary in Africa, indicating that some districts had more than trebled their numbers over the past few years. He is searching for the missing feature in western countries and feels it may be the business side, although the urge to help others is as strong here as there. 
After President James Ross gave a great summary of his year, Pat Ingram came forward to announce the list of donations that the Club had been able to make.
Hampered by Covid the Club was able to distribute just $32500, but these funds went to very worthy causes and the community is a better place for them. 
Guest speaker David Golland with Neil Pinto and James Ross at the time of his induction into our club in October last year.
The development of a Veterinary course at CSU was the topic of our guest speaker Dr. David Golland.
A driving factor in establishing a course at CSU was the desire to retain graduates in regional areas. This outcome has been achieved with 92% of graduates working in Rural and regional areas.
The project began in 2003 with a detailed report on the development of a Veterinary course. David referenced the influence of Professor Raidal. By the next year an interim curriculum had been devised and the first intake of students, 45 in all, began their studies. 30 of that first group of students went on to graduate in 2010.
The course is of five and a half years duration. Two and a half years is spent on pre-clinical work. The next two years is spent on clinical problem based learning and the final year of external clinical rotations, or placements, in three week lots, in various veterinary clinics.
The bar to enter the course is quite high. An ATAR of 90 is a prerequisite as are other attributes of understanding of animal issues, farming, etc., and good communication skills.
Each year about 400 people apply for the course, of that number the best 160 are interviewed with a final selection of 65. Interviews take place in front of a panel of lecturers who are looking for maturity, commitment and communication skills as well as the academic attributes required for such a testing course. Applicants receive a set of questions and have 30 minutes of reading time prior to the interview. Panel members have a grid for collating points. After all interviews applicants are reranked and the top 65 are offered places.
The aims of the course have been achieved and the course has been a great success in keeping 92% of graduates in Regional areas.
President James thanked David for his informative talk and members showed their appreciation with applause.

David Benn introduced our Guest Speaker today, and had collected a few anecdotes and personal details to set the scene.
Bronwyn Boyle has a business - Lachlan Boyle Consulting, dealing with communication and conflict resolution, today was her birthday and her Dad had died very recently. Despite these events, Bronwyn had soldiered on and was with us today.
First up, we learned that she had been a Rotary Exchange Student, spending a year at Wanaka, in New Zealand's South Island, and very close to Queenstown in 1988. She thanked Rotary for this opportunity, and it was evident that she would have been a logical selection for the exchange, and gained plenty from exposure to the Kiwis.
The talk started with a story about a woman who was not well dressed, in distress and crying, near the entrance to our Base hospital. Bronwyn consoled her, and arranged for social workers to attend.
The security guards were less sympathetic, they found it funny, but days later, the dishevelled woman credited Bronwyn with saving her life.
More stories followed, and it was clear that she was keen to engage in supporting those in emotional crises. She is the Secretary of Riverina Bluebell. 
The talk was intense, but the theme emerged - Open up lines of communication, and keep them open. There were observations about gender differences, and recognition that men have fellowship, and that involves interest and care for each other, and trust for mates that allows difficult issues to be explored.
One interesting difference between Men and Women that Bronwyn has observed is that women share and bond with new friends continuously, in new situations as they go through life. Men, on the other hand, will form lasting friendships as young adults, around 18 to 22 years, and these will be "best mates' all of life. Distance and time gaps will not diminish the bond.
Bronwyn impressed with her knowledge of human traits, gender based variations to behaviour and her empathy with a group of males that had recently had to confront a challenge to their behaviour.
Wollundry Rotary year of 2019-2020, President David Pyke
My year was a little unusual as I spent the first month studying new Rotary Innovations in Ireland. I attended a different pub every night looking for a Rotary Club but was unable to coincide the pub visits with Rotary.
Upon my return, Neil Pinto and I were summoned to a meeting with the District Youth officer to reconsider our decision to have a German Youth exchange lady for the first half of 2020, the latter of  half of 2019 being in Orange. At our first meeting we were not aware that the District had already made the decision that the Exchange student would not be coming to Wollundry. Through Neil Pinto’s brilliance, instead we got Sofi Seneme, and how lucky that turned out to be.
With the assistance of Katie O’Neill, John Smith ramped up the Saturday markets to the extent where the monthly profits were healthy, that state of play is continuing. This is a great Club event where we get 12 to 14 of our members working together with a smattering of other members joining those rostered for a coffee on the day. We should not underestimate the importance of the Saturday market for fellowship and, of course, making good money.
We had a visit from Lori Steiner, and husband Steve. Lori had been an exchange student at Wollundry in the 80,s and remembered many of the current members including J Gray, Burmo, Michael Knight etc.
My committee for that year was
IPP  James Hamilton
Sec and PE  James Ross
Treasurer   Adrian Whiting 
Committee Peter Crozier, Paul Milde, Colin Duff, Frank Fuller, John Hawkins, John Ferguson and Neil Pinto.
There was so much Rotary experience in that mob , one could not go wrong….however I did seem to get up the nose of the District Governor Elect on matters of District finance. We had a good relationship with our District Governor John McKenzie but the Club stance on reduction of District fees saw our Club being suspended from RI for a few months. It is quite extraordinary that a year or two later this matter has now been taken by other Clubs with some resolution likely in the future.
The gears and beers was a fantastic success in October 2019. Under the guidance of Phil McIntosh and a very capable team, the event made over $150K resulting in a total distribution in that year of $144,536, the largest single distribution to Tumbarumba Rotary of $15000 for the bushfire appeal. The gears and beers also distributed $21000 to other Rotary and Service Clubs for their assistance in the event.
The Christmas party was another great success at the home of Adrian and Rachel Whiting
All was travelling well until March 16, 2020 when the Government shut down most of Australia to deal with Covid 19. That meant cancelling the Food & Wine Festival, only two weeks before the event, and our Tuesday meetings became Zooms. They went well and we managed to have our first face to face meeting as the Changeover in June.
A year full of variables for me as President of this great Club.
Sofi gave an account of her year in Wagga Wagga including a power point presentation . She said that in January 2020 on her arrival she felt embarrassed not speaking very good English however, that has changed dramatically and her command of English is excellent. (It is interesting to note that many Wollundrians are very hard to understand at times, especially in the latter parts of  events of a social nature)
Sofi spent her first period of time with Monique and John Shepard, a time when she first enrolled in Wagga High School. After the Shephard family, she spent an extended period with Monica and Peter Jessop, followed by her final Host family David and Helen Mundy.  Sofi experienced a different style of schooling including the essential uniform policy not experienced in Sao Paulo.
Although the Covid 19 struck the world scene not long after Sofi arrived and the interstate Safari and District conferences were  cancelled, there were plenty of trips around the country she enjoyed. When we were forced into lockdown in March Wollundry Rotary registered with Zoom and had all our meetings through to the end of June as virtual meetings on Zoom. Sofi joined us from the Wagga High School library on each meeting day and gave us an update on what was happening in her routine. Unfortunately, as was with most of us, there was not much happening outside the school environment.
Sofi did manage to travel to the South Coast and try her hand a surf board riding and achieved that with ease.
Sofi did find the experience of heading off to school on a frosty morning and huge shock. A minus one in Wagga was a far cry from the temperate climate of Sao Paulo. During the Pandemic ABC National news interviewed Sofi about her Rotary Exchange experience and how she was coping with the drama's surrounding that time. As is her confident self, it came over so well.
In the latter part of her stay the lockdown eased and Sofi was able to experience more travel and went to Thredbo and walked to the Kosciusko summit, she climbed The Rock which described as being "pretty easy". She walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, strolled around the Opera House and thoroughly enjoyed the Sydney venture. Sofi travelled to Melbourne and met fellow Brazilian Exchange Student Marcella, bringing Marcella back to Wagga via a short camping trip where she described the camping as having "no dunnies", a good Aussie experience.
One of the highlights of her schooling at wagga High was attending the year 10 formal.
Sofi thanked all her Host families and the Wollundry Rotarians who made her trip so enjoyable.
George Weston,  representing the District Governor,  presented Sofi a certificate recognising her time on Rotary Exchange in Australia. James Ross followed thanking Sofi for sharing her time with us and gave Sofi a gift as a token of the love and affection we have for Sofi from Wollundry Rotary to  remember the Club. James also said we would love to see again in Australia in the future.
We were fortunate to once again have Dr Grant Bell, the Anglican minister from St John's in Wagga, address our meeting with a Christmas message. Grant was advised by James Hamilton that it should be short and "not too religious" . Grant acceded to that request and delivered an outstanding speech about the similarities between the work of the Church and that of Rotary.
Having been a Rotarian at Glen Innes in an early posting, Grant said that he researched the history of Rotary and had a substantial knowledge of Paul Harris.
The message was for each of us to work out what the spirit of Christmas meant. It meant different things to different people but, as Jesus said " it is more blessed to give than receive" The great difficulty for Grant was to work out what we give to friends and family who seem to have everything. If this is confusing then you can buy Dad another shirt as you did last year or Mum similar perfume or maybe adopt pragmatic approach buying something for your self, like a lawn mower for your wife, however,  Grant's wife did tell him last week that she wanted a Ryobi leaf blower. That sat pretty well with Grant.
Grant enjoyed the fellowship of Rotary but was determined to adopt the philosophy of Rotary as it married in with his Christian belief. He was impressed with the history of Paul Harris who was man of substantial faith. He delivered the very important message from Paul Harris who said " we know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that, though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that,  through his poverty, you might become rich.
We need to provide for others and many other core values of giving.
President Phil Burgess

Phil Burgess

Welcome to Wollundry Rotary
We meet Tuesdays at 12:30 at Romanos
Cnr of Fitzmaurice St & Sturt St, Wagga Wagga

Postal Address:  PO Box 229 Wagga Wagga 2650

Email address: secretary@wollundryrotary.org.au

Wollundry Rotary is home to the Saturday Markets, the Wagga Food and Wine Festival, 
the Gears and Beers Festival and the Wollundry Photo Competition.


Members: click below to download the club directory

Club Directory 


Club Executives & Directors
Service Projects
President Elect
Public Image
Immed PP
Executive Secretary
Protection Officer
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays:
  • John Ireland
    March 6
  • Pat Ingram
    March 20
  • Robert Pearson
    March 20
  • Peter Wilesmith
    March 21
Spouse/Partner Birthdays:
  • Maria
    March 1
  • Annette
    March 2
  • Gaye
    March 3
  • Mark Hillis
    Chrissie Hillis
    March 1
  • James Hamilton
    March 3
  • Bob Willis
    March 4
  • John Gray
    March 6
  • Col Duff
    March 25
Join Date:
  • Paul Murray
    March 1, 1995
    28 years
  • Phil McIntosh
    March 7, 2006
    17 years
  • Stephen McCoy
    March 7, 2006
    17 years
  • Stephen Anderson
    March 17, 2020
    3 years
  • Robert Pearson
    March 23, 2010
    13 years

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