Sherwood Probus celebrates a successful year

Sherwood Probus Club members celebrated the end of a successful 2017 with a  Christmas lunch at our regular meeting venue, the Magpies AFL Club in Chelmer. Committee members met a few days before the event for the final meeting for the year, as well as to finalise and wrap the gift hampers, and enjoy a shared lunch.

The Magpies AFL Club hall had been decked out with Christmas trees and other decorations and we felt quite special walking the red carpet to reach the beautifully laid tables. Our special guest was Councillor Nicole Johnston who is a great supporter of the Club. A complimentary drink and nibbles helped everyone to get in the mood for the lunch. Anyone who thought they would go hungry would have been disappointed. Entrees were either Thai Beef Salad or Prawn Cocktail; our main course was traditional turkey, pork and ham with vegetables. Our caterer supreme, Joan Coghlan, had made the Christmas cake as well as lots of other sweet treats. Tea and coffee were available to finish off the meal, together with ample quantities of chocolates.

Many lucky members left with hampers overflowing with the Christmas goodies that had been donated by members. Photos of all our activities during the year were screened, which demonstrated what a busy group of people we’ve been.

Each birthday and Christmas lunch President Paul Coghlan comes up with quizzes and challenges to test our knowledge and brainpower. This time he came up with some Christmas Trivia, Jumbled Carols and Christmas Cryptics. The Cryptics proved the most challenging. What do you think the answers to these are? 1. Not absent plural. 2. Saint with an extra L; 3. Enclosing the news; 4. Foggy French digit; 5. Bad weather love. For those of you who can’t work these out, the answers are at the bottom!

The highlight of the event had to be our resident Barbershop Quartet. Who knew that our four barbers had fine singing voices. We did feel sorry for one of our group who volunteered to have a haircut and shave, although it all worked out well in the end.

This event epitomised the Probus mantra of Fun, Friendship, and Fellowship. We look forward to another successful year in 2018. In the meantime Sherwood Probus extends its best wishes to all its members for a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.


Christmas Cryptic answers: 1. presents; 2. holly; 3. wrapping paper; 4. mistletoe; 5. reindeer.


Sherwood Probus Theatre Group finishes the year with a bang!

The final outing for the Sherwood Probus Theatre Group in 2017 was on Wednesday 29 November to see the West End production of Wizard of Oz. The forecast brief showers were much heavier than anticipated, so theatregoers were crowded into the cafes on the ground floor of QPAC trying to get something to eat as well as stay dry. I enjoyed the fish and chips, but decided to forgo coffee due to the long queue! Fortunately, the rain had dissipated by the time we left.

Wizard of OzThe weather did not mar the excellent production once we were inside. Anthony Warlow as the Wizard was a real presence on the stage as usual; the witches – Lucy Durack and Gemma Rix were outstanding, especially Gemma who was able to give full expression to her role as the Wicked Witch of the West.

The special effects were amazing, especially when the tornado swept its way through Kansas. Whoever trained the little dog, Toto, did a fantastic job and he had obviously bonded well with Samantha Dodemaide who played Dorothy. This was Samantha’s breakthrough role and no doubt she will gain greatly from the experience.

Sherwood Probus Theatre Group has had an incredibly varied set of experiences in 2017. Big productions have included: Matilda; My Fair Lady; The Bodyguard the Musical; Kinky Boots and finally Wizard of Oz. Smaller groups of members enjoyed the Royal Ballet: A Winter’s Tale and The Pearlfishers. We also enjoyed community theatre at the Centenary Theatre Group which performs in Chelmer.

2018 gets off to a good start with Mamma Mia in January and Disney’s Aladdin in March. We then go to see Beautiful: the Carol King Musical in August. We’re waiting for the release of 2018 programs before making other bookings. The Theatre Group at Sherwood Probus Club always welcomes new members. The Club offers many other activities during the year as well as Theatre outings.  Why not come and join us?


Sherwood Probus members on the ball

After travelling to Bribie Island in October, Sherwood Probus members stayed local in November, visiting the Queensland Tennis Centre at Tennyson. We were guided on a behind the scenes tour of the Centre and later enjoyed a sumptuous morning tea in the cafe.

It’s amazing to think that the site of the Tennis Centre was formerly the Tennyson Power Station. Opened in 2009, it now comprises the main court named in honour of Queensland tennis champion Pat Rafter and a large number of outside courts  with either a clay or grass surface.

Chris, our guide, took us through the precinct by firstly visiting the VIP viewing area, then down the champions’ corridors into the dressing rooms. The Centre hosts the Brisbane International tournament in January each year and it was a privilege to walk along the corridor which the players tread from their locker rooms to the main Pat Rafter Arena, focussing on the match ahead.  This is also where post-match interviews are conducted and is not normally open to the public. As well as the Brisbane International Tournament, the Centre has also hosted Davis Cup and Federation Cup matches.  As a point of interest, Rafael Nadal has an entourage of 2; Roger Federer, on the other hand, travels with an entourage of 26!

Chris was incredibly knowledgeable and overwhelmed us with inside information about the players, the tournaments and the technology involved.  The Pat Rafter Arena is full of amazing technology, with the Hawkeye system providing an independent view on whether a ball is ‘in’ or ‘out’. The clay courts are resurfaced every year with the same clay used at Roland Garros; grass courts have the same turf and standard as Wimbledon. Having these playing surfaces available in Brisbane gives our players a distinct advantage when they travel internationally.

Completely inundated the day after the 2011 Brisbane International final, the Centre had to be completely refurbished. To re-open in time for the 2012 Brisbane International tournament was an incredible achievement.

The Tennis Centre is just on our doorstep and was well worth a visit.  Further developments are planned at the Centre and there is also a significant level of activity in the surrounding Yeerongpilly precinct, which should turn this into an exciting place to be.




10 intrepid travellers from Sherwood Probus recently enjoyed a lunchtime cruise around the Bay aboard The Lady Brisbane, operated by Brisbane Cruises. Our departure point was Bongaree Jetty on Bribie Island at 12.30pm, but we had earlier enjoyed morning tea in the park at Bribie and visited some local spots before fronting up for the cruise.

Lady Brisbane 001
The Lady Brisbane – image from Brisbane Cruises website

There were so many people waiting to board the boat, that we were afraid we wouldn’t all fit on. But we needn’t have worried. While we enjoyed the cruise from the upper deck, the crew prepared a delicious BBQ lunch.

Lady Brisbane 006

The cruise took us around Bribie Island, Skirmish Point, Gilligan’s Island and Deception Bay. The weather was kind, with only an occasional shower, cool and comfortable, even though the view from the window looks a bit grey.

Our numbers on the trip were lower than expected due to a number of factors, so instead of travelling by bus, we car-pooled in 3 cars. This meant that we had ample opportunity to chat on the way to Bribie and on the way home.  Many thanks to those who volunteered to get us safely to Bribie and deliver us back to our cars. An enjoyable day was had by all.


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 ( and Stasera Ristorante ( 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 ( 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 – – 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 to read about him and see examples of his work. There is also more information about him on Wikipedia at 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.




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