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.
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.
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.