Rotary Hawthorn Details
Visit Rotary Hawthorn
Tuesday 12.30pm for 1.00pm.
 $36 including lunch.
Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club
489 Glenferrie Road
Kooyong  Vic  3144
Melbourne Australia.
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Meeting Speakers
Paul Devereux
Mar 20, 2018

Paul Devereux is the Chief Financial Officer for StartMesh, which is 'a Global Technology Venture Catalyst supporting the commercialisation of startups post the idea validation stage through to sustainable profitability or a liquidity event'. He has more than 30 years’ experience working across large international corporates, private equity-backed companies and startups, a career that has armed him with an inherent ability to quickly assess where a business is positioned and where value can be added.

Paul is an expert at upgrading and realigning business systems and processes, including the integration of a number of businesses into a global network; having been an instrumental player in several large-scale corporate reorganizations such as the successful launch and rollout of Australia’s largest fuel and convenience retailer (Coles Express) that brought together six privately owned and disparate franchises which controlled approximately 600 sites and 6,000 employees.

Paul is also the son of Rotary Hawthorn member Joe Devereux.


Historical Walk, Followed By Lunch
Mar 27, 2018
Note: Not Meeting At Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club
Dai Mason
Apr 10, 2018
Malaria Vaccine Project
Dr Robert Webster OAM Note: Night Meeting
Apr 17, 2018
State Victorian President Of The RSL
Rosemary Johns
Apr 24, 2018
As Told By The Boys Who Fed Me Apples
Ian Fenton
May 01, 2018
The Men's Shed
Dr Harry Blutstein
Jun 05, 2018
The Cold War Games
No Meeting
Jun 12, 2018
Changeover On Thursday 14th June (Night Meeting)
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It was a pleasure to have the Mrs Amanda Elliott as our guest speaker today.

Amanda rewrote the history books when she assumed office as the first female chairman of the VRC in February 2017.

And what a busy time to assume office with the new grandstand under construction.  Amanda reported that the stand is due to be completed early August.  Its running on time and on budget.

What a heritage belongs to Flemington Racecourse, from the time of the first Melbourne Cup in 1861, won of course by Archer.  And its not just famous names of the equine champions, but Flemington reflects our history as described in the photos and the stories of the Melbourne Cup and the spring carnival, whether if be in the depressions of 1930 ( the spirits of the people being lifted by the great feats of Phar Lap) or the 1880s and of course two world wars.

But now the Melbourne Cup is truly a great international event of racing, fashion, hospitality and tourism.

After hearing Amanda’s address today we can be confident that not only will the traditions be preserved but that the VRC and Flemington will stay ahead of the world as a racing club and in providing services and facilities at the cutting edge.

Professor Mary Galea guest speaker is a distinguished medical academic currently with the Department of Medicine at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.  Her CV is extensive with awards and patronage and support for organizations addressing in particular rehabilitation matters associated with brain and nervous system damage. 
Her topic broadly covered that concept of "Neuro Plasticity".   Skillfully using language and explanations aimed at the audience's level  she gave a most interesting and informative account of her and other research on aspects of the brain development and recovery from trauma.  Notwithstanding what came across as simple following Mary's clever descriptions the audience was taken back with the ability of medicine today to comprehend amazingly complex matters of the brain's functioning and employ rapidly advancing technology to improve it.
We learnt some things. First neuro plasticity is that concept that the brain can continually throughout life create new pathways within the nervous system and brain.    "Use it or loss it" is fact.    Continual stimulation can improve performance.   New learnings are good.   Mary explained that using "habitual pathways" is fine but do not develop the brain whereas creating new or alternate ones does.   This is important in stroke victims where lost functionality can be restored in part by such stimulation.  
Mary told of how much research is invoking external physical stimuli (rehab), and or electrical and magnetic ones to activate the brain to improve performance.  Her current given work concerns the use of the links to the brain via the tongue!  Electrical stimulation via this route has have some success in improving the "balance" of stroke patients.

It was a delight to have Neil Cole as guest speaker.    Over his allotted 20 minutes we had a smorgasbord of fascinating insights, facts and topics covered.  These touched on his personal experiences, revelations of the drivers of historical WW1 figures, aspects of creativity, characteristics of and differences between various mental illness conditions all interwoven into Neil’s own story of his highly successful career whilst living with a bipolar condition.  As a former State politician in 1980-0’s his observations on the increased focus in the community on mental illness and the interplay of various interested parties was refreshing (“Its become an industry”)

His ongoing studies of the schizophrenic condition conducted with interviews and case work with sufferers are significant.  He is an Associate Professor at Monash (Medical School), and member of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health.  

He is an Albert Park Rotarian also.

Today Neil is an active author/ playwright too.  Since leaving politics, he has written over twelve plays, most of them performed by La Mama Theatre. His first play, Alive at Williamstown Pier, won the Griffin Award for New Australian Playwriting in 1999. In 2001, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society and literature.

Cole's debut novel, Colonel Surry's Insanity, was published in 2010. The novel, about a fictional soldier (John Surry) who pleads not guilty to a charge of theft on the grounds of insanity, was based on interviews with twenty sufferers of manic depression, as well as his own perspective.

A wonderful and interesting address. 

His memoirs “Stability in Mind” doubtless would be a very interesting read.

Many of our older members of Hawthorn Rotary remember the days when Neighborhood Watch kicked off in the 1980’s.  As guest speaker Suzanne Dunlop recounted we had many overt displays of its presence with little placards attached to fence posts in each house, regular drops of one or two-page bulletins of happenings and security concerns in our street and widespread volunteer involvement at meetings.

It worked well and created an awareness which holds today especially for the older generation for monitoring threatening activities in our street and neighbor’s home.

Suzanne described how Neighborhood Watch has changed.  She noted that the number of volunteers had dropped, external funding sources reduced, the means by which knowledge of local crime statistics could be spread changed, and the street by street unit concept expanded to a regional one.  For instance, current social concerns re privacy and harassment perhaps contradicted “Safe house” displays.    Some revitalization was needed. 

Suzanne is now chair of the Boroondara wide unit and with her small team described how Neighborhood Watch is now working.    She echoed many of the points raised by a recent police guest speaker on simple home security measures (i.e. lock doors/windows and keep keys hidden) and the importance of simply being aware and reporting concerns to the police.  Suzanne told of the unit’s ongoing good relationship with local police.   Publicity campaigns at local festivals and pamphlet drops by volunteers are being pursued to remind Boroondara residents of the still active program and attract or alert younger generations to it.

Don Farrands, commercial lawyer, accountant, trombone player and past and current holder of board style roles on various community driven groups was introduced by Chair of the day Geoff Dumayne.

His topic was driven by his own personal connection to World War 1 veteran and grandfather Nelson Ferguson.    This interest had invoked his research into old documents of Nelson and in particular his stretcher bearer role on the Western Front and aspects of battles such as the Somme, Bullecourt, Ypres and Villers-Bretonneux.

It has culminated in Don’s authorship of “The Glass Soldier” a fascinating and incisive book on WW1.  Don gave the audience an overview of the book complete with some outstanding pictorial aspects of the time and conflict.    Nelson, the essential focus of the book had been a well-educated young man employed as an Art Teacher in the Ballarat area before enlisting and several of his drawings of events were shown. 

The book extends beyond the conventional WW1 events to track Nelson’s life thereafter and consider themes on the British-Australian interaction, religion, mate-ship and the role of the broader community at the time.   On a philosophical note Don explained that concepts of “virtue” and “morality” at the time and subsequently during the times of Nelson’s long life are explored.

There was outstanding point of the book and a wonderful end.    In April 1918 at the third battle at Ypres, Nelson was exposed to enemy bombardments of mustard gas laced shells and like many soldiers suffered physically.   In particular he was sight impaired with eye/cornea damage and albeit later employable at RMIT (Workers College) as a disabled art teacher was severally handicapped throughout his life, eventually reaching the status of legally blind.   After a happy marriage and three children, in his twilight years, about 1960 Nelson “out of the blue” receives a simple letter from the Government informing him that because of his past war service he has access to one free cornea transplant!

Checking this out with an eye specialist at the time leads nowhere in view of his perceived frailty.  Several years later in 1969, a link to another eye specialist, a  Dr Hardy-Smith was explored.   Success!   A cornea transplant restored his vision.   Amazing after so many years.

Don explained that any royalties from his book go to the Fred Hollows Foundation that now well-known group which worldwide conducts operations to relieve cataracts and restore sight to individuals in underdeveloped countries. 


Second Bite is a well established community service in Melbourne. Its mission is food recycling; that is, using food that would otherwise be wasted. It's about giving good, fresh ingredients new life in a commercial kitchen and, with a bit of creativity, turning them into healthy, hearty meals for people in need.

Rotary Hawthorn Pintrest
Upcoming Rotary Hawthorn Events
March 2018
Rotary Hawthorn Board
Vice President
President Elect
Club Services Director
Community Service Director
Youth & Vocational Director
International Service Director
Member Positions
Weeks, Jill
Front Desk
Morrison, Charles