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!


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.


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.


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.




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.

Wellcamp Airport and Highfields Pioneer Village

At 8:30am on Wednesday 21 June twenty two Probians boarded a bus in Chelmer and set off on a much anticipated day trip to the new airport at Toowoomba and the Pioneer Heritage Village nearby.  Jeff, our driver, kept us entertained as we drove westward on the Darren Lockyer Highway and climbed the steep approach to Toowoomba.  After stopping for morning tea at Picnic Point we skirted the city and headed further west for 15 kilometers to Australia’s newest major airport capable of handling large jet passenger aircraft.  As we arrived at the modern terminal building a QantasLink aircraft was taking off on a scheduled service to Sydney.  Other airlines service destinations such as Cairns, Melbourne and Western Queensland cities.

Officially known as the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport it has an associated aviation and business park.  Its most unique features are that it is privately owned and developed by the Wagner family, and that it was completed in record time.  From acceptance of plans to the first scheduled passenger service was only 19 months. It’s no wonder that many have suggested that the Wagner brothers be contracted to build Sydney’s long awaited second airport!

At HighfieldsAfter leaving the airport we drove to Highfields Pioneer Village north of Toowoomba city where we were served lunch and enjoyed the sunshine.  The Village has a number of interesting attractions which include the Heritage Chapel (built in 1909) and a restored slab hut from 1900.  A number of us were keen to see the car museum as well as the amazing collection of bicycles and historic farm machinery.  All in all it was a good day out!

Joan, our Tours Organiser, arranges a number of interesting outings during the year, so why not join Sherwood Probus and see what we have to offer.

Inner city tour of Brisbane

May has proved to be a very busy month for our active club. On Friday 5 May 16 Sherwood Probus members and friends toured Brisbane’s inner city. Sherwood Probus at Anzac Square.JPG

Here we are at Anzac Square enjoying a cuppa and Anzac biscuits to start our tour. Graham Clark, a Brisbane Greeter and fellow Probian, was our guide for the day. He was a fount of knowledge about early Brisbane especially. He explained the significance of the trees, scupltures and memorials in the square.

Our first stop was the refurbished Anzac Square Memorial itself, which is well worth a visit.  There are memorials to many who had fallen in various battles. We then followed a well-worn path through Post Office Square, and St Stephen’s Cathedral, gradually making our way towards the river. However, we took a short detour to admire the garden and indigenous artwork at 380 Queen Street. To rest our weary legs we caught the free ‘red’ bus to QUT and Old Government House. At QUT we were able to play with the interactive feature called The Cube. Images are projected onto various touch screens.

By this time our Anzac biscuit and cup of tea were a pleasant but faint memory, so we headed to one of the cafes on the QUT campus for a delightful lunch full of friendship and fellowship. Thanks to Joan for organising the tour and especially to Graham. We realised that there are many other places to discover in Brisbane so will have to organise another tour at some stage.

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