Dining local with Sherwood Probus Club

A highlight of Sherwood Probus Club’s calendar of events is the monthly dinner outing. Organisation of the monthly outing rotates among members of the group, so we have a different experience each time. The suburbs around Sherwood, especially Graceville, are now well provided for in terms of the variety of local eateries. As a club, we aim to support them to help ensure that places such as these continue to operate.

Our recent dining experiences have included KRs Restaurant at the Sherwood Services Club, Siam Sunset at Graceville (http://www.siamsunsetgraceville.com.au/) and Stasera Ristorante (http://staseraristorante.com.au/) also at Graceville. In the space of three months, therefore we have travelled the world from Australia to Thailand to Italy in our dining experiences.  For our October dinner we’re venturing to Greece, the newly-opened Kafe Meze in Graceville.

The dinners provide a great opportunity for members to connect in a less formal environment. Where possible we choose banquet options at a reasonable cost from the respective menus so that there are a variety of options to eat. We always welcome new members to our group, so if you enjoy chatting with fellow diners over an enjoyable meal, and a glass, or maybe two, of wine do come and join our club.



Sherwood Probus kicks up its boot-heels

On Wednesday 4 October we attended the performance of Kinky Boots. Together with family and friends, there were well over 30 Probians from Sherwood and Kenmore Village Probus Clubs, enjoying the bright and bubbly show at QPAC.

It’s a simple story of a son trying to keep his family shoe factory viable after the death of his father. After a chance meeting with a man who was in the entertainment business, the solution was a simple one “we will make Boots for Drag Queens”.

20170327_115017Along the way many life lessons were subtly taught such as love in its many forms and acceptance of those who may seem to be different from you.

Callum Francis, who played the main role of Lola the Drag Queen was without doubt the star of the show.

Overall, the story, music and comedy were delightful. We left the theatre feeling we had spent a few hours just having a wonderful time. I hope everyone still had a smile on their faces for quite a long time. A really feel-good show with some underlying life lessons.

Sherwood Probus Theatre Group members have attended some wonderful productions during the year. Our program for the next few months includes Wizard of Oz, Mamma Mia, Disney’s Aladdin, as well as community theatre at the Centenary Theatre Company. In 2018 we will have an eclectic mix of box-office musicals, opera, ballet and community theatre.  Group booking prices for seniors are often a significant saving on box-office prices.

Do contact us if you would like to join our club; membership of the theatre group is open to all Sherwood Probus Club members.

For the love of plants

A popular activity in the Sherwood Probus Club is the monthly meeting of our Garden Group. Many Sherwood Probus members are avid gardeners who enjoy passing on their expertise to others and, of course, learning something new themselves.

We tend to mix meetings at a member’s house with excursions to other garden related places. Strolling around a lovely private garden and listening to the owner explain why certain plants are doing well or, maybe, not so well, is an educational experience. A plant swap often takes place during morning tea.

Recently the group enjoyed a visit to the Brookfield Garden Centre (http://www.brookfieldgardencentre.com.au). The colourful range of plants was a sight to behold and it was an ideal opportunity to stock up on new plants to brighten up our gardens. The obligatory sit down over morning tea gave an opportunity to learn what plans members have for their gardens over the next few months and how they are coping, in particular, with the lack of rain. Thanks to Dorothy Eyears who organises our gardening activities.


Beneath the Blades

Sherwood Probus Club’s guest speaker for September was David Earley. David grew up in Brisbane but has spent many of his adult years working overseas as a helicopter pilot. He began flying training in 1965, gained his wings as an Army helicopter pilot in 1968 and then served 1969/1970 in Vietnam. He worked for a considerable amount of time in Papua New Guinea, firstly as pilot and manager of an international volunteer Christian linguistic research and translation organisation (SIL) and then as Chief Pilot of Pacific Helicopters during an intense period of oil exploration. Relocating to Australia he became CEO of Reef Helicopters based in Cairns and operating in the Torres Strait.

As a pilot for 46 years, David has flown airplanes and helicopters in some of the most inaccessible, demanding places on earth. He recounted his story in his book Beneath the Blades. Flying at the ends of the earth: a pilot’s journal. 

In his talk, David described his experiences flying in remote areas and the range of work he carried out or managed. This ranged from contracts for defence, aeromedical retrieval, police, border protection and marine pilot transfer. Particularly moving was his description of his time in Vietnam; he commented that the impact of his service there gets worse rather than better. He shared with members his recent diagnosis of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Throughout all these years his wife Nancy has been by his side.

On behalf of members, Harvey Dale thanked David for his very interesting talk and presented him with a Certificate of Appreciation and gift.

David Earley & Harvey_ed
David Earley and Harvey Dale


Follow Sherwood Probus on Facebook

Sherwood Probus club is spreading its message via Social Media. If you’re reading this article on our blog – https://sherwoodprobus.wordpress.com/ – you’ll see our regular reports on club activities.

You can now also like us and follow us on Facebook – the address is the same: Sherwood Probus.

So, whatever your preferred social media platform, come and find us.

Sherwood Probus at Hockney exhibition

Sherwood Probus members were joined by fellow Probians from other clubs on a tour to the Tweed Heads Regional Gallery to view an exhibition by British artist, David Hockney, entitled Words and Pictures.

The Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre is in Murwillumbah, New South Wales. Lonely Planet Australia describes it as “an exceptional gallery… home to some of Australia’s finest in a variety of media.” Club members had visited previously to view the Margaret Olley Art Centre. The gallery is situated above the town and you will appreciate the glorious views from the verandahs.

We weren’t permitted to take any photos inside the David Hockney exhibition due to copyright reasons, so do visit his website at http://www.davidhockney.co to read about him and see examples of his work. There is also more information about him on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hockney. Hockney is now 80 years old and still exhibits throughout the world.

Fellowship over coffee and/or a meal is an integral part of the Club’s ethos, so it’s not surprising that you can see us taking up the opportunity to chat with fellow Probians.

We returned to Brisbane via the Commonwealth Games Village at Parklands on the Gold Coast. The buildings are a riot of colour and after the Games they will be transformed into a mixed-use community. Parklands is adjacent to Griffith University and not far from the Gold Coast University Hospital, so perhaps its future is promising.

Since none of us had seen the netball complex near Dreamworld, our driver obligingly took yet another detour. This is a huge complex, with no internal columns. Could we manage yet one more detour off the M1? Of course we could as this was to stock up on pies for dinner at Yatala.

What a great day.




National Parks of the World

At our Sherwood Probus meeting on 19 August, Dorothy Eyears, our speaker coordinator, introduced Tony Groom. She outlined his many achievements and lifelong involvement in National Parks which included a Churchill Fellowship to study National Parks in USA and Canada and extensive involvement in establishing the chain of National Parks on the Scenic Rim. Tony was accompanied by his daughter, Lisa Groom. The Groom family is well-known for establishing Binna Burra and introducing many innovative environmental programs in Lamington National Park.Tony & Lisa Groom

Entitled National Parks of the World, Tony concentrated on their many benefits–a gene pool of nature for future generations; a pleasure ground for people; a sanctuary where nature can help those battling mental problems. Parks can generate significant economic value for a region. For example $1½ million was raised in entry fees for a Nepal National Park which supports a school for 3500 Sherpas.

National Parks vary widely throughout the world and range from Western USA, including Zion and the Grand Canyon, to the animal parks of Africa, and the mountains of South America. European parks offer food, wine and beautiful scenery, whereas New Zealand offers excellent walking tracks in parks which cover 20% of the country. Australia offers its unique animal and bird life.

Some National Parks are best seen in particular seasons, e.g. Autumn in Arcadia in Maine, North East America; the snow covered mountains of British Columbia in Winter. Most parks worldwide come to life in Spring as seen in the wild flowers in Western Australia.

Zion National Park
Zion National Park (image from World at my Feet, Boolarong Press)

A wonderful slide show of images of Parks from around the world played in the background as Tony spoke. At times these images were accompanied with music. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor accompanied slides of the soaring cliffs of Yosemite National Park (1st in the world). Tony ended his talk with Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from the 9th Choral Symphony, a glorious accompaniment to photos of Zion National Park. What an uplifting start and end to a presentation! Many members took the opportunity to purchase Tony’s book World at My Feet which features many photos that were included in the slide show.

World at my feet bookMoving a vote of thanks and presenting a gift and the Club’s Appreciation Certificate, Neil Bacon summed it up:  “That was great.”

As an aside, anyone wishing to hear these pieces of music again, on Youtube you will find the Bach played on the organ – this is supposedly the best ever recording. There’s also a fantastic Flashmob recording of the Ode to Joy.

Christmas in Winter

For those of us born in the Northern Hemisphere we we016re accustomed to celebrating Christmas in December when it’s cold, and if we were lucky, snowy. In Queensland we do things differently and celebrate Christmas in July or August, which is the coldest part of our year. This year we decided to travel to the Fox & Hounds Country Inn at Wongawallan in the Gold Coast Hinterland. The weather was perfect for a drive through the country, except for one poor member travelling independently. She got lost and missed out on lunch! Sadly she missed out on a great day.002

All our travellers entered into the spirit of the day – Christmassy dressed, bringing their secret Santa gifts with them. En route we stopped at Logan Village for morning tea. This was a pleasant spot where the amenities were good; there was also a lovely craft shop, museum and other activities.

Some of us succumbed to ‘Christmas’ shopping in Logan Village. Travelling on Mt Tamborine Road we drove along Gallery Walk, which we revisited after lunch for a stroll around.

The Fox & Hounds Country Inn was imported from England and had a really cosy English pub atmosphere. Our traditional lunch comprised turkey and ham, plum pudding and pavlovas. We also enjoyed birthday cake to celebrate Charlie McKeown’s 90th birthday and Paul Coghlan’s 84th birthday. Happy birthday to both of you!

Charlie and Paul celebrating their respective birthdays


A lovely day was had by all.

Birthday celebrations for Sherwood Probus

July marks the month in which Sherwood Probus club was established in 2000. We usually celebrate this event with a lunch instead of inviting a guest speaker. 2017 was also a fitting time for one of the Foundation members, Paul Coghlan, to be awarded Life Membership of the Club. Our special guest was  Nicole Johnston, Councillor for Tennyson Ward, who generously supports our Club; John Sophios entertained us with guitar music and song.

We sat at tables decorated with flowers in Probus colours and snacked on chips while waiting for lunch to be served. We enjoyed our tasty two-course meal prepared by Jenny and her staff at Magpies AFL Club. Instead of a single birthday cake, Joan  Coghlan had made an assortment of cakes which were available on each table. Joan had also made  a special cake for Clare Bedggood, who was celebrating her birthday on the day.

Col Mulholland presenting Paul Coghlan with Life Membership certificate and pin

Prior to lunch, Foundation President Col Mulholland presented Paul Coghlan with a Sherwood Probus Life Membership certificate and pin to acknowledge his work as a Foundation member, Newsletter editor, and Committee member for 17 years. This year is Paul’s second term as Club President.


Paul thanked the Club for the honour. He explained that on coming back to Brisbane after 34 years in Mackay where he had been an active Rotarian, helping to form the Sherwood Probus Club enabled him and Joan to make new friends after leaving older ones behind. He has enjoyed it all.

Birthday lunch_ed
Club members with Nicole Johnston, Councillor for Tennyson Ward (centre left)

Most members know that Paul is the Club’s regular quizmaster and he set us two quizzes which proved challenging as well as enjoyable. One covered general knowledge and sport. In the other quiz he provided cryptic clues to the surnames of members present at the lunch, with the exception of one member whose name was a first name. To help us to work the clues out the answers were in alpha order. Some were quite easy, e.g. “Comes out of a book” = Page; whereas others required a lot more thought. Pat Hurney and Pauline Williams scored highest on both quizzes and, it was suggested, that sitting opposite each other was a significant factor in this result. They may have had an advantage in members’ surnames as both have been involved in membership, but neither was particularly gifted in the sports arena!


Roma Oliver won the lucky door prize of a bottle of wine, and two copious hampers full of goods donated by Committee members were won by Gil Bambrick and Vada Murdoch.

Thanks to all who assisted in making the lunch a memorable one: to Nicole Johnston for finding time in her busy schedule to come along; to Joan for organising the lunch, making the cakes, the decorative name tags, bringing the flowers, etc.; to Committee members for providing goodies for the hampers.

Here’s to another year of Fun, Friendship and Fellowship at Sherwood Probus Club.


Two boys and one pair of thongs

What do two boys and one pair of thongs have to do with a guest speaker at Sherwood Probus Club? Our guest speaker in June was Rhonda Faragher, a mathematics educator, who shared a photo of her welcome in East Timor by two boys who shared one pair of thongs: one wore the right thong and the other wore the left one!


Rhonda Faragher_v2

Rhonda went to East Timor at the invitation of fellow educator, Dr Jo Brady, a Jesuit nun who was involved in training mathematics teachers in East Timor. Rhonda was tasked with writing a mathematics curriculum for the teachers’ training college.


She not only shared her experiences of working in East Timor but illustrated these with a wide range of photos: these included photos of the teachers’ training college, students playing sport, especially soccer, and the amazing scenery. This physical map of East Timor comes from Ezilon maps.

Times are tough , but the East Timorese have a thirst to learn and break the cycle of poverty. Some students were willing to walk for two hours to get to school.

Rhonda’s talk was extremely inspiring and we wish the students and East Timor well in the future.