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

 

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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.

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.

East-Timor-physical-map

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.

 

Animal Welfare League of Queensland

Our Guest Speaker for May 2017 was Jacquie Kennedy, whose early career was in television in Australia and then 10 years in Los Angeles. Through her young son’s love of animals, she shared his passion, and on returning to Australia she joined Animal Welfare League, Queensland (AWLQ).

Jacquie spoke with warmth and passion about the work of the League. It was founded after 1959 when the local government practice of routinely putting down stray animals was stopped.

The League was formed to take in stray animals. While based mainly on the Gold Coast, it does have centres in Brisbane including acreage at Beenleigh (for all kinds of animals) and at Willawong. When given a stray animal they (i) try to reunite it with its owner; (ii) if not possible, bring it to optimum health, microchip, then (iii) find a new owner. There is no time or age limit in housing an animal.

Since foundation the League has found homes for over 130,000 animals. On any day they would have 1000 animals in their care. Jacquie was instrumental in developing a unique program called Golden Hearts Seniors Pet Support Program. A world first, it ensures pets of Senior Citizens are looked after in emergency situations. It is free to join. Whereas other Welfare Agencies charge large sums to care for an animal left in their care by a will, AWLQ does it for free.

Sherwood Probus learns Australian English

Professor Roly Sussex of the Institute of Teaching and Learning Innovation at The University of Queensland was our guest speaker at our April meeting. His topic was “Australian English and where it is going”. Roly is well known through his weekly broadcast on the ABC and his column in the Courier Mail Weekend Magazine.

He is an entertaining speaker and throughout his talk he gave examples of Australian English, which has increasingly become more acceptable. An early written example was the Sentimental Bloke by C.J. Dennis published in 1915. He was able to drop into a wide range of accents and colloquialisms to demonstrate his points and show the many regional differences.

What are the common features? A preference for using first names instead of titles and surnames; use of Americanisms in some spellings and words; and especially the use of diminutives, such as Rocky for Rockhampton, Bundy for Bundaberg. Other well-known diminutives, which don’t need explanation, are cab sav and barbie (not the doll). I find though that we tend to lengthen short words and shorten long ones! Apparently women are more responsible than men for changes in the way we speak, such as the high rise tone at the end of sentences.

Neil Page thanked Roly for his interesting talk and presented him with a “Certificate of Appreciation” and a Probus Pen.

Rolly & Neil