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.



Going Greek

We are so lucky to have some excellent local restaurants. Our May dinner group outing was to the Graceville Greek Cuzina. In this restaurant they serve some amazing lamb dishes, among many others. What a lovely evening we had with good food, good wine and good company.


Sherwood Probus learn about Hyperbaric Medicine

Hyperbaric Medicine is used to treat a range of medical problems: wounds from diabetic ulcers to promote their healing; bone damage due to radiation; flesh eating bacteria; thermal burns; crush injuries; decompression injuries (bends); and osteomyelitis. Karren Simpson, a registered nurse with 15 years experience in hyperbaric medicine, who works as the Liaison Officer for the Wesley Centre for Hyperbaric Medicine (HM) was Sherwood Probus Club’s guest speaker at its April 2018 meeting.

At the start of her presentation, Karren illustrated the development of HM up to the installation of the Hyperbaric Chamber in the Wesley Hospital in 1998. HM was initially used to treat Caisson Disease or bends, first noticed in workers digging deep foundations for bridge caissons.

pressure-gauge-3109005_960_720Tissues go hard and can’t receive oxygen in diabetic and radiation injuries. Treatment involves pressuring patients (equivalent 14-18 metre depth) and giving them pure oxygen.  Under pressure, blood plasma takes in more oxygen making it available to the wounds.

Although the slides demonstrating a variety of wounds before treatment were somewhat confronting, we were then shown the same wounds after they had been treated and the results were most reassuring.

Guest speaker re Hyperbaric med_ed

Treatment at Wesley Hospital is covered by Medicare, but members were advised to check their entitlements with private health insurance providers.

Margaret Stevens thanked Karren for her fascinating and instructive talk and presented her with a Certificate of Appreciation and gift.



Bouncing back – a motivational story

Stephen Dale was the guest speaker at Sherwood Probus Club’s April meeting. His talk was entitled Bouncing Back Champion.

In 1989 at age 21, Stephen fell 30 feet down a cliff onto rocks. This resulted in severe head and spinal injuries, multiple heart attacks, torn internal organs and he suffered a stroke while in a coma. His family was told that, if he survived, Stephen would live a life of pain and dependency.

How had it come to this for someone who was a nice boy? He was bullied at school had turned to drugs and alcohol and extremely risky behaviour. At the age of 20 his life hit rock bottom.

After his accident Stephen spent a year in 4 different hospitals, had multiple operations, experienced unbearable pain. He lost over 45kg in weight as well as many cognitive skills. At this point, Stephen realised that there was one ability remaining in life: the ability to make a choice. He could either give up or fight to build a new life.

He designed ways to recover, which he did over a period of 10 years. He is now teaching people how to transform their lives and build a new future. He does this through his Resilience and Mental Health Workshops, which are presented in many organisations such as schools, sporting clubs and Government institutions. He relates his story in his book Bouncing back when you hit rock bottom. 

Gil Bambrick thanked Stephen on behalf of the Club for sharing his story and presented him with our Certificate of Appreciation and gift.


Sherwood Probus on a magic carpet ride

On 14 March 23 Sherwood Probus members and friends were lucky enough to attend the musical Aladdin at QPAC.

The ancient story of Aladdin has been given the Disney treatment to offer us this very entertaining show with the most colourful scenery seen in a musical. The costumes were something to behold and it would appear no expense was spared using thousands of Swarovski crystals to create sparkling Arabian outfits. The following photos, taken at the show’s launch in 2017, probably don’t do them full justice.

As the ancient story goes Aladdin finds a lamp and releases the Genie who grants him three wishes. Garett Jacobs who plays the Genie was the stand out of the show. His singing and dancing numbers were many and executed with such energy. Besides Aladdin and the Princess there were several other character parts which combined to help relate the tale and many of these added comedy to the story.

Of course there was also magic and we saw Aladdin and the Princess ride on the magic carpet which appeared to float above the city. This is where they sang the signature tune from the show ‘A Whole New World’.

A truly spectacular show and a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

The Theatre Group’s next major events are The Merry Widow and Beautiful: The Carol King story in June and August respectively. If you enjoy theatre amid pleasant company, why not enquire about joining our Club.

New members for Sherwood Probus

Sherwood Probus Club inducted two new members, Desley and June, at its meeting on 16 February 2018.

Induction of new members
President Paul and new members Desley and June
Big Robert

Desley and June are already keen members of our Mahjong group, where they test their skills against the more experienced players, as well as those who are still learning.  Little Robert, Big Robert and Three Philosophers regularly turn up on the tables as we try to make the best of the tiles we’ve drawn. We twitter away on the 1st and 4th Thursdays of the month from 11.45am to 2.45pm at the Croll Memorial Precinct in Corinda.  New members are always welcome. Contact Agnes on 0400804153 if you’re interested in joining our Mahjong group.

If you’re interested in joining our Club, contact Secretary Pat on 3372 7525 or at

Australia and the Boer War

Sherwood Probus Club’s February guest speaker was Lt. Col. Ron McIlwaine, OAM, RFD, ED (Retd), whose military career was as an electrical engineer. Since his retirement he has been President of the RSL sub-branch; President of the Queensland War Memorial Committee and President of the Queensland Military Memorial Museum. He has had a special interest, and involvement, in the creation and installation of the Boer War Memorial in Canberra.

In his talk Why the Boer War is important to Australia, he pointed out that the Australian troops who went to war prior to 1902 were colonial troops and were paid by the British Government. After Federation in 1901, the soldiers who went to South Africa in March 1902 were the first Australian Federation Force. It never fired shots in anger.

Except for John Monash, all the major Australian Officers in the First World War served in the Boer War and 15% of the Anzacs at Gallipoli were Boer War veterans. The term Fathers of the Anzacs therefore refers to Boer War soldiers.Boer War Memorial

Ron referred to the problems of raising $4.2 m to erect a Boer War Memorial in Canberra; this was officially opened by the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK, MC (Ret’d) on 31 May 2017. The resulting memorial, however, is a magnificent representation of 4 Boer War horsemen on their horses on patrol traversing a typical South African landscape. You can find out more about the War itself, the soldiers who served and the memorial at the Boer War Memorial website (, which is where the photo of the memorial is located. You can also find out more by visiting the Australian War Museum website (

The last major battle of the Boer War was on 4 January 1902 at Oververwach Hills. Berry_and_MacFarlane_Monument,_Boer_War_Memorial_at_Sherwood A Sherwood Memorial to Berry and McFarlane, commemorates 2 of the 17 Australians killed in that battle. A commemorative ceremony is held each February.

Ron explained that his interest in the Boer War was sparked by his grandfather who served in South Africa. On another personal note, one of our members is Ron’s distant relation.  Members also were reminded of the Boer War movie, Breaker Morant. Shirley_vote of thanks

Shirley Hamilton moved a vote of thanks to Ron for highlighting yet another part of Australia’s fascinating history.


Dining at Asian Lily in Graceville

It has become a tradition for Sherwood Probus Club’s dinner group to hold its January event at the Asian Lily Chinese Restaurant in Graceville Avenue in Graceville.

The restaurant is conveniently located in Riverside Shopping Village, with ample parking. The restaurant has dine-in and take-away options and our group had selected a banquet with numerous courses.

Asian Lily_20180125_4_edAsian Lily_20180125_1_ed




Our banquet started with Spring Rolls, Curry Puffs and Dim Sims – we had just finished these when the photo was taken, so the table still looked quite neat and tidy. We then worked our way through Crab meat  sweet corn soup; Combination Satay Sauce; Pan Fried chicken in Phoenix nest; Honey King Prawns, Sizzling Mongolian Beef; sweet & sour pork – all accompanied by special fried rice. We topped off our meal with ice-cream. The majority of us chose plain ice-cream with a chocolate or caramel sauce rather than deep fried ice-cream.

The servings were very generous and there wasn’t much space left in our stomachs by the time we got to the sweet & sour pork.  The service was attentive and each course followed seamlessly from the previous one.

The dinners are a great way for club members to chat over a meal and a glass, or two, of wine. It’s through our various events that there’s time for us to get to know one another better. As far as the Dinner Group is concerned, the monthly outing is organised by a different member each time. We therefore get to experience a wide range of local eateries.

Sherwood Probus learns about Madame Mallalieu/Willmore

At our January meeting, Dorothy Eyears introduced our Guest Speaker – Professor Peter Roennfeldt, previously Director of the Qld Conservatorium at Griffith University and now a staff member, with a special interest in Musical Heritage and significant buildings.

Professor Roennfeldt  shared with us the story of Madame Henrietta Mallalieu/Mrs Willmore (1842-1938), one of Queensland’s first colonial musicians.

He covered the life of this remarkable woman which was documented in his book. He recounted the story of her three marriages, the three houses where she lived in Brisbane, and most importantly her contribution to musical life of early Brisbane.

Born in London, she and her sisters were all self taught musicians. In 1862 she unknowingly married a bigamist by whom she had a son before she became aware of her situation. She moved to Cheshire, married Alfred Mallalieu, and migrated to Brisbane in 1864. Henrietta and Alfred had 3 daughters but their marriage broke down when Alfred went to Sydney in 1875. Throughout this time, Henrietta continued with her musical endeavours. In 1884 she married W.G. Willmore who appeared more interested in her daughter Beatrice than her. He left for Canada, she sued for a judicial separation, won and obtained all his property including their house at Toowong. This house subsequently became a CWA Hostel for Country Woman Students for over 35 years.

Mme Mallalieu_ed

Madame Mallalieu was a highly skilled pianiste and her first solo performance was in 1866. In 1872 with violinist R.J. Jefferies and other members of his family, she travelled extensively in Southern Queensland, giving numerous concerts, either as a soloist or with members of the Jefferies family.

It was through her husband, Walter Willmore, that Henrietta was introduced to the organ, not a typical instrument for a woman to play. She became the first woman theatre organist. A highlight of her career was performing at the opening of the Melbourne Exhibition Building in 1881. She was organist for the Brisbane Presbyterian Church on Sunday mornings, and gave concerts in Brisbane Exhibition Building on Sunday afternoons. Her husband had been instrumental in the purchase and installation of the organ in the Brisbane Exhibition Building, which Henrietta was the first to play on. This organ was later installed in the City Hall. As well as concerts, Henrietta had an active teaching schedule.

Henrietta was active in Women’s Electoral League and was rewarded with a medal from the King of Belgium for her assistance in World War I. She was associated with the Women’s College at The University of Queensland, where a Memorial Chair remains in her honour.

Although Henrietta may not have been particularly successful in her personal life, she was highly successful in her musical career. Several members purchased a copy of Peter’s book to find out more about this inspiring woman.

Brian Stevens, a classical music lover appreciated the talk and moved a vote of thanks and also presented a Certificate of Appreciation and gift.

Sherwood Probus Club has a varied and interesting suite of guest speakers at its monthly meetings, thanks to Dorothy Eyears, who organises our meeting program.

Sherwood Probus has a great start to 2018

It’s hard to believe that we are almost at the end of January. Sherwood Probus Club has had a great and varied start to 2018.

On 5 January, over 30 members got up early to enjoy a New Year champagne breakfast at the Oxley Creek Common on Sherwood Road at Rocklea. Oxley Creek Common covers 115 hectares, although most of this is not accessible to the general public. According to, the Common is “a serene patch of bird-inhabited wetland in the midst of an agricultural and industrial area.” There are two easy paved walking trails as well as picnic facilities and amenities. One trail leads from the picnic area and Red Shed and splits into two before ending at two different bird habitats. 180 plus species of birds have been recorded there.

Our group, however, didn’t venture on the walking or birdwatching trails – we were too busy catching up after the Christmas/New Year break. The weather was kind and we relaxed in the shade of the pavilion adjoining the Red Shed while breakfasting and chatting. Our traditional fare included bacon, sausages, eggs, baked beans, tomatoes, bread rolls, and a wide variety of fresh fruit: mangoes, strawberries, apricots, watermelon. We had whetted our appetite with champagne and juice and finished off with tea and coffee.  It was a really enjoyable and relaxed way to start the New Year.

Our next adventure was to a Greek Island, transplanted into the middle of QPAC’s Lyric Theatre, where we sang along to the music of ABBA.  I’m talking about the musical Mamma Mia, of course. This was vibrant, high energy and fast-paced entertainment.  The costumes, lighting effects and music were excellent. The production included the majority of ABBAs famous songs; the words were so well-known that the audience joined in, especially in the encore. Audience members stood up, clapped and sang along. We all left feeling uplifted with the music ringing in our ears.

Mamma Mia_edOur guest speaker at our January meeting was Professor Peter Roennfeldt, who shared with us the story of Madame Mallalieu/Mrs Willmore.  This was a really interesting talk and is the subject of a separate post.

Club activities move into full swing from February. Meetings for the book group, scrabble, mahjong, and the gardens group have already been scheduled.  Our first tour for the year is to the Mao’s Last Dancer exhibition at the Museum of Brisbane.

Sherwood Probus Club has been going strong since it was established in 2000: many lifelong friendships have been developed over that time.  If you’re retired or semi-retired and looking to join a welcoming and active group, come along to one of our meetings. We look forward to meeting you!