Helping people to achieve extraordinary things
Rotary Hawthorn Details
Visit Rotary Hawthorn
Tuesday 12.30pm for 1.00pm.
Enjoy a light lunch for $30.
Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club
489 Glenferrie Road
Kooyong  Vic  3144
Melbourne Australia.
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Meeting Speakers
Nov 08, 2016
Nov 15, 2016
Nov 22, 2016
Nov 29, 2016
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Latest Rotary International
Rotary’s World Polio Day event looks ahead to ending the disease for good
While the fight to eradicate polio suffered a blow this year when the virus re-emerged in Nigeria, Rotary leaders and top health experts focused Monday on the big picture: the global presence  of the paralyzing disease has never been smaller. The headquarters of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, served as the site of Rotary’s fourth annual World Polio Day event. Some of the biggest names in the polio eradication campaign were there to reflect on the year’s progress and discuss what’s needed to end the disease for good. More than 200 people...
Virtual reality films bring new dimension to polio fight
At this year’s World Polio Day celebration in Atlanta, Rotary is harnessing the power of virtual reality technology to build empathy and inspire action in our fight to eradicate polio. Rotary, with support from the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, produced a virtual reality film that tells the story of Alokita, a young adult who suffered paralysis from polio as a child growing up in India, which has been polio-free since 2011. “When you open your eyes and see a different environment around you, you relate to the subject on a visceral, personal level,” says Vincent Vernet, direct of digital and...
Rotary Day at UN highlights role of business in building a better world
From the United Nations’ earliest days in the aftermath of World War II, the organization’s humanitarian mission has always dovetailed with Rotary’s efforts to administer aid and build peace. This year’s Rotary Day at the United Nations, 12 November, will highlight the role businesses can play in that collaboration as we work toward a more just and equitable world. The theme of this year’s gathering at UN headquarters in New York City, “Responsible Business, Resilient Societies,” recognizes Rotary’s role at the intersection of commerce and cause. As leaders in their professions and...
ShelterBox prepares for Mosul refugees
Today marked the start of the battle to take control of Mosul back from the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS. The city is the group's last major stronghold in Iraq. But humanitarian aid agencies have known about the military offensive, giving them an unusual opportunity to prepare for the crisis. "It is rare for the world to get early warning of a vast human catastrophe," says Chris Warham, chief executive of ShelterBox. "The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees issued a paper in July saying this would likely be the biggest humanitarian crisis of the year — and we better get...
Welcome to Rotary Hawthorn

Last guest speaker was Gabe Hau.  That's him at left in a happy snap from his AG visit to us a little while back.  He was always heavily involved in Rotary, working in, leading and promoting its projects and obviously still is.

Currently District Foundation Co-Coordinator among other things, he showed  a much more sober and serious side in his address.  No smiles here as he talked to us on the statistics, and efforts in Australia and Rotary to combat, Family Violence.  sad


Gabe recently joined the Board of Violence Free Families (VFF) which was formed in 2009 to focus in more dedicated ways on the prevention of family violence.  It stems from a Brighton Rotary project started in 1995 and has become an independent national charity since 2009.  It is funded by Rotary clubs, and other donations and being staffed by volunteers has minimal overheads.

Its current prime positive impact is through an online men's behavior change program.  A world first approach Gabe described how it worked.  Essentially it is a group education session but on line (14 weeks at 2 hours each time) lead by two facilitators.  It seemed to the author to derive its success from the mutual self realization of the unacceptable past behavior of attendees and techniques for modification.

Gabe stressed that it did not necessarily seek to retrieve a broken relationship, one outcome could be just a satisfactory and rational separation.  He was pleased to report of some successful outcomes with individuals who had attended the program.  Of course he remarked it is not a one course cure, but rather a precursor to ongoing efforts.

We touched on statistics and research.  Some of the statistics on violence many sourced from police reports (and there are many aspects of bullying or violence, verbal, physical, psychological, economic, social, cyber and sexual) were astounding as to the prevalence of the problem in our society (references to 1 in 4 males, and 800,000 women / 1,500,000 children victims).

Essential to VFF's ongoing work is a longitudinal research project with Monash University, looking into the long term outcomes of men’s behavior change program and whether or not they do make a real difference to families and children’s lives.

Outcomes of this Monash research help direct scarce resources and helps VFF lobby governments, of all persuasions, and philanthropic funds to invest in family violence prevention.


Guest speaker at our last lunch meeting was 21 years old Khurram Khan.  He is currently a Bachelor of Bio-medicine student at the University of Melbourne.

Born in Pakistan, he enjoys volunteering and community service.  Prior to his arrival in Australia in 2013 he had been active in progressing scholarships for girls with limited education options in that country.

Coming to Australia he has sustained that commitment to the community.  He commented that by so being it has greatly assisted his integration into our society.  That remark undersells a ready observation of an intrinsic drive and capacity to help people far beyond that stated purpose of integration.

We learnt that he was inducted as a member of the Rotary Club of Hoppers Crossing at the Annual Changeover Dinner in June 2014 and already has initiated new programs in the Club’s Youth portfolio.  The Neil Vick Youth Leadership Awards recognise youth people in the community in three categories – Inspirational Youth Leader of the Year; New Resident Leader of the Year; Young Indigenous Leader of the Year.  Khurram’s most recent project is a Cluster program that seeks to provide mentors from within the Rotary community for young people in the local community to inspire and help them to achieve their career objectives.

Beyond all that Rotary involvement he also volunteers within the University of Melbourne community as well as sectors within his local community.  He recently retired from the role of Co-ordinator of the Sail Program, teaching general and science subjects to newly arrived migrants or settled Sudanese students.

Khurram’s volunteering has earned him a number of awards including the New Resident Volunteer of the Year within the Victorian Premier’s Volunteer Awards in 2014 and Young Volunteer of the Year Award – Wyndham City Council in 2015.

After modestly and quickly relating his volunteering experiences Khurram told of his thoughts on Rotary and its capacity to attract young people.  This was a challenging moment for the audience.  Perceived myths, of being conspiracy driven, a rich man's business group and focused on personal "joy" were wrong, rather young people saw in Rotary a trusted resource, a non-threatening environment,  and a source of a multitude of skilled experienced individuals with a capacity to mentor and provide project planning and goal setting objectives.

Bridging the generational barrier was critical, as was blending in the attributes which youth offers to various Rotary programs --diversity, simple physical muscle, new ways of thinking and resetting of "norms'" in line with present trends in the world.

In response to the obvious question re his thinking on how to attract youth into Rotary, Khurram would concentrate on connecting with groups of younger people instead on individual approaches.  He talked of an idea for a youth driven meeting perhaps in the evening.  This might flow from expanding connections with RYPEN and RYLA awardees and local youth organisations/universities.  The aim would be to create an occasion to attract a young audience to discuss Rotary and its(and other) projects.

All in the meeting felt it was a great presentation from an impressive young man and we wished him well in his future endeavours and doubtless continuing community driven projects.  Thanks Khurram.


It was great that we were able to coincide our active acknowledgement of the current topical initiative of the Rotary Health Board,  namely its  "Lift the Lid" campaign and its next few years focus on fund raising to combat mental illness in Australia with a topical and great address by Sandy Jeffs.
Sandy a La Trobe Arts graduate was born in Ballarat.  She has personally accommodated schizophrenia, its symptoms and impacts on her since her early 20's.  She has clearly more than lived with the condition but as evidenced from her wonderful literary achievements has made it generally take second place to her life and writing career.
Stemming from her first publication in 1993 of the highly successful Poems from the Madhouse in 1993, Sandy has had many other publications.  Now she is active as a community educator who speaks to schools, universities and community groups about what it’s like to live with a mental illness.  She has gathered prizes for poetry.  The theme of her poems and writing has been mainly concerned with madness and domestic violence and the humorous antics of women.
Her address vividly described the various characteristics of schizophrenia which she experiences most days, namely auditory perceptions(voices) in the head, delusions or fixed beliefs no matter how irrational,  and other sensory disruptions.  Commenting how these can all dis-empower her from connection with the external world Sandy told in a self mocking way of her own techniques to combat them.  She sought to construct her life, with minimum stress, lots of sleep and no pressured work.  Alas in this context she remarked that she can't shake that gross delusion that Melbourne will soon win an AFL premiership and gave evidence to this by her attire namely a track suit with appropriate Demon markings!
She reflected on society's improved and changing attitudes and handling of individuals with mental illness, but noted that the cause(s) are unknown, aspects of chemical imbalance in the brain, upbringing and genetic background have all been considered elements but with no real certain evidence.  Sandy was testament to the fact that society is better integrating those with mental illness and a great inspiration to other sufferers to seek to construct a meaningful and happy life.
Sandy answered questions, many very personally probing, from the audience with directness.  She prompted comment from various members with relevant exposure to people with mental illness on the nature of drug therapy (it tends to put individuals into a tolerable but clouded dull existence) and the benefits of community involvement and sustained relationships.

Guest speaker was DG Neville John.  He joined Central Melbourne Sunrise in 1995 and since then has been a heavily involved Rotarian with many club and District roles.
He was first known to most in our club as AG some years ago and warmly welcomed back by some old friends.
When one thinks of how during the year the DG visits each club in the district, there are more than 70, sincerely enjoys each meeting and then delivers an inspirational 20 minute speech on the current messages and themes of Rotary, and the District, tempered with his own personal thoughts, and without any suggestion of staleness, it is remarkable.  Neville's fresh enthusiastic address was great, his messages and passion clear and cleverly tailored to our own club context.
Reminding all of RI's theme this year "Rotary Serving Humanity" Neville summarized his goal for each club this year as to be simply "stronger" at the end than the start.  The characteristic being contrasted could one of many, membership, community involvement, fellowship gatherings, project achievements but above all notwithstanding plans in place, "do", for only by acting will there be growth.
He told of several District drives this year:-
Three public showcase events
The club member/month campaign
Improved story publications with experienced journalist input
To engage all ages, Rotaract, Interact, Earlyact
Build partnerships with other stakeholders
To have fun and enjoy the Fellowship which Rotary offers
We were reminded of the several natural promotion opportunities this year, the centenary of Foundation, Australia Rotary Health, Polio Day (24/10) and Rotary Birthday ( 23/2).
Most poignant however was MC Trevor Jones observation on one point of Neville's story.
Faced with the invitation to join Rotary, Neville recalled his mentor's remark in response to his own reluctance to join for lack of time "Rotary will take whatever time you have".  How true, we all have different capacities and yet can still contribute and enjoy the fellowship of being a club member.

Jane Pennington from North Balwyn RC originally joined Rotary in 1997 in Puna India.  Jane a long time associate of the Girl Guide movement and a recent President at North Balwyn Rotary has been a serious contributor to the community.
As guest speaker she explained that that clubs membership is predominantly men (sounds familiar) and there was a drive by the partners to identify a special project in which they could be directly involved.
The Solomon Island is a country composed of 900+ islands just to our North but very undeveloped by any standards.  Honiara is the capital.  Its per-capita GDP is low, and more than 75% of its labour force is engaged in subsistence and fishing.  Civil conflicts since about 2000 has seen units of our Australian police force stationed there--Jane commented that the last units are due to leave soon.
Village life dominates and the young women/girls have limited educational and skill development opportunities.  Jane and her team noted that simple things like feminine hygiene goods/garments are rare and sought out to do something about it.
So they fabricated a range of such items, and set up a scheme by which the local girls could be taught to duplicate that with ongoing sewing workshops to make panties, pads and like.
Jane and the team made templates and samples in Australia, travelled to Honiara and stayed with the Salesian Sisters at Henderson, not far from the capital, Honiara, Guadalcanal.   There are four Sisters in the community who established a girls' hostel in 2010.  It accommodates up to 36 young women from all over the country and girls can complete their education, study and learn valuable employment and life skills.
There the team enjoyed the hospitality of the Sisters and company of the girls (singing concerts/sessions were especially enjoyed) and taught the girls how to use sewing machines and make the hygiene kits.  Word spread and girls from other communities now visit the hostel and partake in regular lessons to learn the fabrication technique.  Materials and sewing machines are limited of course and key to sustaining future production.
Photos of the Sisters, the North Balwyn RC team, the sewing machines and the smiling girls were a delight and a reminder of how a simple concept can prosper to an ongoing project of self help in a lesser developed region.

Politics unworkable?  Government dysfunctional?  People alienated from the political process?

John Pesutto is our new (2016) Rotary Hawthorn member, and newish (2014) Member for the State Electorate of Hawthorn, and newish (2014) Shadow Attorney General.  And when he spoke to us at Tuesday lunch he revealed an unusual politician:
*  Someone who is unafraid to address this type of deep-seated question.
*  Someone who is keen to see our system of government move away from “whatever they propose, we’ll oppose”; and move towards a system where discussions across the party divide are seen as normal, sensible  and constructive.
It had taken John 20 years, and four unsuccessful bids for preselection, to achieve his goal of changing from being a solicitor to being an MP.  This journey, no doubt, has provided him with life experiences in the ‘real world’ that are making him a better politician.  He suggested to us three key attributes that he tries to nurture:
Resilience – 20 years of trying to enter parliament!
2  Forbearance – no rushing to the quick insult; resisting the temptation of seizing a trivial advantage.
3  Goodwill – Look first, jointly, at the problem to be solved, rather than just applying a knee-jerk solution.
Of course there may be conflict between the views and philosophies of individuals and of parties.  But rarely does the most prudent course lie at an end of a spectrum of options. 
Example: Crime and Punishment
Some people might say that jails are not working. So punishment should be by different means.
Other people might say that we should respond to all crime with draconian “lock ’em up for years, and for ever if the crime is bad enough”.
Neither end of the spectrum deserves to win the debate.  The legislative response should surely be somewhere in the middle, to be determined by rational debate drawing on statistics, anecdotes, research and the experiences of other jurisdictions.
Another example, suggested by John, is the debate about freedom of speech.
Thoughtful questions from the floor showed that our members are alive to the approach that John espouses.  Irrespective of our personal political loyalties, surely we can all hope that John’s rational, measured approach can make headway and thereby
*  return politics to being workable; and
*  provide us with governments that are not excessively doctrinaire, and therefore are more likely to be functional; and
*  encourage more people to engage in the political process.
John: we welcome you to our club!

It could have been boring.
But it wasn’t, thanks to the presentation by our very own Dennis Shore – with
  • pictures as well as words;
  • anecdotes as well as facts; and
  • insights into our club and District, rather than just generalities.
Dennis was telling us about the Rotary International Council on Legislation
  • Every 3 years
  • Held in Chicago
  • 10 – 15 April 2016
  • 700 attendees from 535 Rotary Districts around the world
  • RI top brass present, but not allowed to vote!
  • 15 months in preparation
  • 117 enactments (constitutional changes) and Resolutions (recommendations) submitted for consideration
With terabytes of electronics, huge screens, coloured cards to show, and tons of paper (the paperwork – on top of the electronic stuff - was a fat lever arch file!), there was still a role for lots of old fashioned speaking. 
Indeed, Dennis (on behalf of our District 9800) proposed a seemingly minor proposal to adjust the punctuation to render a current rule intelligible.  That passed (even though 40 voted against it – but why?) and – along the way – sparked useful discussion on a wider topic.
Dennis highlighted two major changes that could affect any Club directly:
  • Can now meet fortnightly
  • Can now have rules to allow exotic types of membership.
Here was the huge backroom of Rotary at work. Thanks, Dennis, for showing us something of the process.

“Can an autobiography, or even a biography, be more than just vanity?”  This could have been a question lurking behind the fascinating talk by Gillian Ednie from the Your Biography enterprise.  And, through her examples, she says “Absolutely YES”.  She told stories of clients whom she had interviewed at length, as she wrote their biography. 
Sometimes a biography project can give an older person a renewed zest for living.  Sometimes, indeed, it was the biography project that gave them the reason to fight to stay alive. 
Gillian pointed out the many modern alternatives to simple print, like audio recordings, video recordings, picture books, websites, ebooks, legacy letters to offspring (in which one sets out the guidance that you wish to pass on).
Gillian assured us that the process of preparing whatever form of biography, for example,
  • is enjoyable;
  • provides an opportunity to set down your views on your terms; and
  • provides opportunities for (mainly pleasurable) reliving of joys and challenges from yesteryear.
Gillian drew us in with well-pitched relevant questions such as
  • What were the defining moments in our lives?
  • Who had already started research that could lead to some form of biography?
It seems that many of us are involved in some way already.
We all greatly enjoyed her talk.  Some of us may even join her biography-writing course!

Tony Atkinson is an older man with an extraordinary early life. Lyn Smailes has worked with Tony to jointly tell that story, and the result is the recently published book A Prescribed Life.
We were lucky to have them at lunch to tell us a selection of the stories from the book.  No brief article can do justice to this book or to the presentation that we enjoyed.


Why join the Hawthorn Rotary? Do you know about Rotary, what it does, how it works? Read on - there is nothing more fulfilling, more fun, and more relevant in today's world than contributing to your communities - local, national and international - by joining Rotary. Here are 10 of the most basic reasons.



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.

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