North by Northwest live on stage

On 5 December a group of our members and friends attended the Alfred Hitchcock play North by Northwest at QPAC. This is an adaptation of the screen classic starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint.
Starring Matt Day as Roger O Thornhill and Amber McMahon as Eve Kendall in the leading roles, the thriller unfolded before our eyes including some very intense moments brought to life with some clever technology. The scene where Roger is being chased by a Crop Duster and the subsequent crash involving the plane and a truck was very effective and loud.
NorthxNW.jpgThe story is that of a man who is mistaken for a government agent in the Cold War era and the lengths the spies go to in trying to capture or kill him.
He is unable to make them believe he is not the man they are seeking and so begins the chase across the country involving many action packed scenes.
These pursuers have a co-conspirator in Eve who ultimately we find out is working as a double agent. Of course this soon becomes apparent and with Eve now helping Roger to escape they fall in love.
Mount Rushmore also features prominently particularly in the final act where the couple being chased by spies, climb up and down over the heads of the 4 presidents.
This is a romantic/comedic/thriller and the cast do well in taking us on their journey. All the character actors play their many roles well.
Alfred himself also makes an appearance in a scene as he did in all his movies.
A very unusual show but one you had to see to appreciate. There are many light comedic touches which makes for much more than just a spy thriller. A good imagination is also helpful.

Our next outing is a change of pace as we are booked for The Jersey Boys in January. We are planning an interesting set of theatre experiences for 2019, so if you’re interested in theatre or opera, why not consider joining Sherwood Probus.


Plants, friendship and fellowship – what’s not to love

Many members of Sherwood Probus are avid gardeners and lovers of things botanical.  September through to November are great months for exploring gardens and learning about the flowers and plants on display.

September saw members board an early morning bus with fellow Probians from Brisbane West for a trip to the Flower Carnival in Toowoomba. After enjoying morning tea at Queen’s Park,  there was time for a stroll before lunch at the City Golf Club. We then toured some of the magnificent prize-winning gardens, which had been announced just a few days earlier. Toowoomba is appropriately named as the Garden City. We travelled home via Spring Bluff so we could see the marvellous flower display at the station.

In October members met at the house of members Alison and Guy to learn how to take care of orchids. Guest speaker was Mr Michael Byrne, President of the John Oxley Orchid Society. He is seen having a well-earned cuppa in the beautiful garden and made himself available to help members who were having problems with their orchids; he also had some plants for sale.

Our final meeting for the year – our Christmas lunch at the end of November – was hosted by Maurie and Beth. Members celebrated the friendship and fellowship not only at this gathering but throughout the year.

Keep an eye out for details of meetings in 2019.


Inside Brisbane City Hall

The Brisbane City Hall was once the tallest building in the Brisbane CBD, although it is now overshadowed by many high rise office blocks, hotels and the like. Members of Sherwood Probus recently explored what the iconic building had to offer.

Our first stop was the Museum of Brisbane which hosts a variety of exhibitions throughout the year. One of the current features is 100% Brisbane in which Brisbaneites can give their opinions on many questions facing the city and the individual. It is possible to record your own opinions on these questions and for these to be incorporated into the data shown on the screen. Actor William McInnes told his story of Brisbane in a video featuring buildings, events, and people. Life in Irons, Convict Stories was a fascinating insight into how convicts fared in the early settlement of Brisbane.

It is well worth visiting the Museum of Brisbane – an upcoming exhibition focusses on fashion design with examples drawn from the portfolio of Easton Pearson.

Nicole Johnston is our local councillor for Tennyson Ward. She met us as we finished the tour of the Museum and we visited areas of City Hall that are not normally open to the public. These included the graffiti by soldiers which was discovered during renovations. Nicole then hosted us for morning tea, prior to us attending a concert by jazz singer Sharmy Russell. Sharmy’s style is influenced heavily by the American jazz singer Blossom Dearie.

After an enjoyable lunch, which some of us had at the Pig ‘n Whistle across King George Square, and others at Shingle Inn in City Hall, we headed back into City Hall to attend Council’s Question Time. This was a fascinating insight into how business is conducted by one of the largest Councils in Australia.

Our thanks to Councillor Johnston and her staff for hosting us to morning tea and the tour of City Hall. Thanks also to our tours coordinator, Joan, for organising an interesting day.



Priscilla Queen of the Desert at QPAC

On 10 October several of our members and friends went along to the Lyric Theatre at QPAC to see the stage adaptation of the movie Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

This is a story of a drag queen, Tick, wanting to meet with his small son who is living with his mother in Alice Springs. He plans to travel from Sydney to Alice Springs and asks two of his fellow performers, Felicia and Bernadette to accompany him. They make the journey in a converted bus called Priscilla.

We go along for the ride and experience some great music, extravagant costumes, and a wicked sense of fun on the way, particularly in the bar of a Broken Hill hotel.

Tony Sheldon, one of Australia’s most talented theatre performers, stars as transgender Bernadette, a role he performed on Broadway and the West End as well as the original musical in Australia. A surprise for Home and Away fans was the inclusion of ‘Alf Stewart’ (Ray Meagher) as Bob the mechanic, who helps the girls when their bus breaks down.

The story is not all light entertainment and has a special message of love and acceptance of alternate relationships. The love between a gay father and his son and acceptance of a love between an ex-Les Girls performer, Bernadette, and an outback mechanic, Bob.

We all left the theatre tapping our feet and humming the great songs.

If you enjoy live theatre, why not consider joining Sherwood Probus club members and friends who attend many theatre performances during the year.

Sherwood Probus goes bayside

Sherwood Probus club members and friends have made a couple of trips away from Brisbane’s western suburbs in recent months – we headed for the delights of Moreton Bay.

In June we took the train and headed first to Sandgate where after refreshing ourselves with coffee and tea with cake, we boarded the bus for Redcliffe. Some of us revisited/or saw for the first time the Bee Gees Way, walked the pier, then partook of lunch at places of our choice.  The weather was perfect for this relaxed day which was enjoyed by all participants.

Our next outing was in early August when a busload of us headed for Macleay Island. Macleay Island is located 30km from Brisbane at the southern end of Moreton Bay. It is the second largest of the four Bay Islands. At 6.5km long and 4km wide at its widest point, the island is easily traversed on a day trip. On this occasion we were joined by members and friends from Mt Ommaney, Indooroopilly West and Chapel Hill Probus clubs.

The tour arrangements were all well-coordinated. The bus picked us up at Magpies AFL Club in Chelmer and took us to the ferry at Redland Bay Marina, which is where we had morning tea before boarding the ferry for the journey to the island. It was handy that we were able to use our Go Cards. It was a delightful day on the water and after landing at Macleay we were picked up by a different bus which took us on a tour of the island. According to the Macleay Island website, the Island has a diverse and interesting history, both aboriginal and european. Lunch was at the Bowls Club before we headed back to the ferry for the return journey.

It was a great day full of friendship and fellowship. Our next trip is to the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers in September and we hope that is as enjoyable. Thanks to Joan for organising two great days out.

Sherwood Probus celebrates its birthday

Sherwood Probus Club was established in July 2000 and celebrated its 18th birthday in 2018 with a lunch and entertainment at its meeting venue, the Magpies AFL Club in Chelmer.

President Pauline welcomed members to the lunch and expressed her hope that everyone would enjoy the occasion. A two-course lunch was provided: crumbed crab claws with crispy noodles or beef minestrone soup for entree; and oven-baked barramundi or roast chicken for the main course. This was followed by deliciously rich chocolate cakes baked by our event and tour coordinator Joan.

As is traditional at our birthday and Christmas lunches, quizmaster Paul kept us all guessing, with two quite difficult quizzes. The first quiz was all about Australia: Pat had the highest score with 12 out of 18 correct. The second quiz was a more general This and that and Sue won with 14 correct out of 18.  Everyone, including the winners, was awarded chocolate for their efforts.

Birthday lunch_2018_7Marion kept us entertained while we waited for lunch to be served by reciting two poems. These two poems, My idea of a girl and McGinty, were written by her mother and were told with great skill and verve.

We didn’t quite know what to expect when Brian, with hat on his head but no shoes on his feet, came and sat down on a chair adjacent to the tables. He was closely followed by Paul, wearing a skirt and carrying a laundry basket. Henry (aka Brian) was duly chastised by Eliza (aka Paul) about not helping with the laundry and they launched into the Hole in the bucket skit. Everyone was highly amused and joined in the chorus. Many thanks to Paul and Brian for keeping us entertained.

Joan had made a birthday cake for each table and club members sang the birthday song and toasted the club.

Winners of lucky door prizes on the day were Joan, Pauline, and Dawn. Winners of the impressive raffle baskets, donated by committee members, were Marlene and Lorraine.Birthday lunch_2018_2

President Pauline concluded the day by thanking all who had contributed to the successful celebration, including club staff for the venue and meal, committee members for the raffle baskets, and Joan for her marvellous cakes, small treats and table decorations.

Sherwood Probus looks forward to another year of fun, fellowship and friendship in 2019.


The Merry Widow

On 23 June several members and friends attended Opera Queensland’s performance of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow at QPAC. There are many images from the opera to give you a taste of the performance at Opera Queensland (

The opera tells the story of a young widow who, on the death of her husband, inherits his fortune. She travels from her homeland to Paris where she is pursued by Parisian eligible bachelors who are seeking a wealthy wife. In order to keep the money in her own country, she is expected to marry a local not a Parisian.

Hanna, the Widow, is hoping to marry her ex-lover Danilo who was her childhood sweetheart. She finds he has chosen a life of champagne and the company of the ladies of the Paris nightclub scene to cope with the loss of her love when she married.

It is here we see the beautiful clothing of the Parisian Art Deco period of the 1920s with stunning and elegant gowns and sets.

Although Hanna pursues Danilo, he is not easily persuaded by her love and doesn’t want her money. She then becomes engaged to another in an effort to make him jealous. Around them a typical farce ensues with wrongful assumptions of who is romantically involved with whom, cheating wives and jealous husbands.

In the final scene Hanna reveals that she will lose her fortune if she remarries. Without money as a barrier to marrying her, Danilo can now admit his love; it is only then that he’s told that the reason Hanna will lose all her money on remarriage is because it will become her husband’s. Despite this they can now live happily ever after.

David Hobson was excellent in the role of Danilo and, apart from the height discrepancy with his co-star Natalie Christie Peluso who played Hanna, they were an excellent pairing. They were ably supported by the rest of the cast.

The Merry Widow was only in Brisbane for a short season and we were all pleased that we were able to attend.

Angel Flight – helping people from rural and remote areas to access medical treatment

Sherwood Probus Club’s Guest speaker for June was Barry Collis, OAM – an Earth Angel for Angel Flight. Angel Flight is not to be confused with Care Flight or the Flying Doctors. They do not carry medical equipment or offer medical services. According to the Angel Flight website Angel Flight Australia is a charity which coordinates non-emergency flights to assist country people to access specialist medical treatment that would otherwise be unavailable to them because of vast distance and high travel costs.

M2650 John with pilot Neil Richardson
Pilot and passengers – Image courtesy of Angel Flight website

Their role is to transport people to major centres so they can access medical treatment. Barry explained that Angel Flight was started by Bill Bristow, a former pilot, based on a scheme he saw in the USA.

Anyone requiring assistance from Angel Flight has to complete an application form, which is authorised by a registered health officer or social worker. It can take up to a week to coordinate air and land transport. We heard many examples of people who had been helped, including one passenger who had made 32 trips from Chinchilla to Brisbane for dialysis treatment. The longest flight arrangement involved 4 planes to transport a passenger between Coolangatta and Hobart.

Australia-wide Angel Flight has 3362 pilots who supply and maintain their own aircraft, and 4607 Earth Angels, who meet incoming flights and take passengers either to hospitals or their accommodation. Pilots who offer services on behalf of Angel Flight only receive reimbursement for petrol – this consumes approximately 80% of their funds. Everyone is a volunteer. The service receives no government funding and relies on donations and some fundraising by supporters. It does not pay for advertising itself – costs of any advertising are donated.

Barry’s presentation included photos of the many types of planes used by volunteer pilots. These included Cessna 18L and Cirrus SR22.

Club member Brian thanked Barry for his talk which highlighted the wonderful service that Angel Flight offers to the Australian community and presented him with our Certificate of Appreciation and gift.

Scrabble at Sherwood Probus

Research results suggest that playing Scrabble has many health benefits. Scrabble helps to lower the risk of mental illness by keeping brains stimulated and engaged. It enables players to connect with family and friends. It is also suggested that playing this long-established and well-loved board game helps to reduce blood pressure, while improving the immune system and memory. It appears that Scrabble players access different parts of the brain that help them to identify patterns in a random selection of letters.

While I’m not sure about the reduction in blood pressure as competition heats up among players, perhaps evidence of the health benefits of playing Scrabble, is demonstrated by Barbara, a long-standing Sherwood Probus Scrabble group who recently celebrated her 90th birthday. The group meets twice a month at Croll Memorial Precinct at Corinda. Do come long and keep your brain ticking over with new challenges. New and occasional players are always welcome.  Phone 3278 2409 for more information.  We look forward to seeing you.

Barbara Stuart 90 birthday

There’s more to bees than honey

Sherwood Probus Club’s guest speaker for May was Trevor Weatherhead, AM. After 16 years working in the Forestry Department and 5 years in the Bee Section of the Department of Primary Industries, Trevor and his wife started their own beekeeping business in 1988. This business focussed on queen bee raising and honey production. Trevor maintained his involvement with industry groups receiving many industry awards over the following 24 years, as well as Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia.

Many interesting facts emerged from Trevor’s illustrated talk. There are over 24,000 beekeepers Australia-wide, with around 650,000 hives. The numbers in Queensland are 4,500 and 120,000 respectively. Most honey comes from trees and average annual Australian production is 20,000 tons worth $100 million.  Around 40% of this production is exported. As well as honey, bees produce other goods such as pollen, beeswax, royal jelly, and propolis which has anti-bacterial properties.  In response to a question Trevor described the anti-bacterial properties of honey, especially Manuka. He considered some varieties of Australian Manuka honey to be superior to New Zealand varieties.

Honey display_2
Honey tasting and product display
Club member Beth tasting the honey







Trevor explained that 65% of Australian crops require honey bees for pollination. Total crop value is worth $8.35 to $19.97 billion. These crops range from watermelons, pumpkins, sunflowers, onions, kiwi fruit, to canola and almonds.  In Victoria almond growers pay $100 per hive to ensure their trees are pollinated. Trevor pointed out that, despite the large number of crops dependent upon honey bees, biosecurity has been overlooked. Forest fires and asian bees are two main problems faced by beekeepers.

Most members took advantage of the extensive honey tasting and display of different products during morning tea.

Glenda de Baar moved a vote of thanks, on behalf of members, and presented Trevor with a Certificate of Appreciation and gift.