President's Message
member photo
19th June, 2019
Dear Fellow Rotarians and Friends of the Club,
There was a good attendance for our Club Assembly on Monday 17 June and it was great to welcome back Mark Williams on his return from the Rotary International Conference in Hamburg. We look forward to Mark’s report on the Conference next Monday, 24 June.
Daniel Vankov presented a major overview of our progress with the Club Strategic Plan, his gift to the Club during his term as President. We were invited to consider the current situation as compared to that which existed a year ago and Daniel provided all present with a comprehensive survey to complete with respect to our opinions on this. I will present a summary of the findings in due course but probably not until August as I will be away for all of July and am very pressed for time prior to leaving.
The good news at the Assembly was as follows:-  
  • We have two new members Celia Grenning and Matt Christopher, to induct at the next meeting.
  • John Smerdon has completed the necessary donations from the PAF with $6200 to the North Queensland Flood appeal and $3000 to Australian Rotary Health. The N.Q, appeal was boosted by a very generous donation from Wal Bishop and Don O’Donoghue has also made a very generous donation which will be passed on to James Peterson’s “Breaking Free” mental health charity. Despite donations totaling over $50,000 this year the PAF remains extremely healthy with its current value being over $50,000more that at 1 July 2018. Congratulations John Smerdon.
  • Treasure Warren Walker presented a detailed plan for a Race Day Meeting at Carbould Park Caloundra in March or April @020 which will combine a day of fun and fellowship with substantial fund raising,  providing we can attract about 100 attendees.
  • Graeme  Whitmore reported on another most successful Golf Day Fundraiser which has provided by far the greatest input to the Club’s charity accounts, excluding direct donations from a number of our members.
Could able bodied members please consider helping to load our container   for Kavieng at Donations-in-Kind from about 8.00am on Saturday 6 July. The address is 23 Mary St. Kingston. The transport cost of $7500 was paid by our Club and the container cost of $2300 was paid by my friend and colleague in Port Moresby, Dr. Richard Pickworth.
Could all members, able bodied or otherwise, please help generously with the various jobs which need to be carried out at our Monday meetings over the six weeks or so from 1 July. During this period Denise Schellbach, John Smerdon, Dymphna and I will be away and John and Denise in particular will leave major gaps to fill.
Please note that there will not be a social meeting at the United Service Club on the first Friday in July. The normal Monday lunch meeting on 1st July will be held and this will also be the changeover meeting with Michael Stephens taking over as President. All members are warmly encouraged to attend and support Michael.
Yours in Rotary
Chris Muir



Packing our DIK Container for Kavieng

Dates - Saturday July 6th at 8am

Address: 23 Mary Street Kingston.

Please contact Paul Choy, our DIK convener.


Vol. 96 No. 25
22 June, 2019

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Meeting Notes - 17th June, 2019
Chair for the day was Daniel Vankov, who opened the meeting with grace and toasts before inviting President Chris to the podium to welcome guests and present his weekly message, which is reproduced above.
After the President's message t was time for spots:
  • PP Graeme Whitmore informed members that he had been in contact with Trish Reuter of Seton College about a large number of books to be picked up. He would be asking for help if the amount of books proved large.
  • Graeme also reported that there were 52 players at the previous Friday's Golf. A full report would be forthcoming soon.
It being the third Monday of the month, this meeting was a club assembly. 
  • PAF chair John Smerdon reported that the PAF had done quite well in 2018/19 and that the corpus was up to $1.1M after distribution of over $40,000 in donations this financial year.
  • Treasurer Warren used his time to talk about a potential major fundraiser for 2019/20 to be held in March 2020 that would be discussed at the boiard meeting immediately following.
  • PP Daniel Vankov lead members in a review session for the first year's progress on the strategic plan completed in May 2018. Members were asked to complete a questionnaire focused on the first year's goals. The completed questionnaires will be analysed by Dan Adler.
Following the serious business of the strategic plan, it was time for a little lighter but more expensive business with Sgt Pilkington cracking the whip.
When enough had been extracted from the audience, it was time to present punters with a faint chance of getting something back. James Delahunty won the raffle, but could not find the joker. Club finances 2, punters 0.
President Chris closed the meeting with the singing of the national anthem at 1:45pm.
Meeting Notes - 24th June 2019
Mark Williams chaired the meeting
He asked members and guests to stand to recite the new Rotary Vision Statement:-
Together we see the world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves
This was followed by toasts to the Queen and people of  Australia and Rotary International.
President Chris then  welcomed members & guests, in particular our speaker, Val  Marlow of  the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Queensland and the new member inductees, Matthew Christopher & Celia  Grenning.
President Chris with new Rotarians Celia Grenning and Matt Christopher
The Presidential change over would be held at the next meeting, with Michael Stephens the new President from  1 July. He said Dynphna and he were taking a holiday to the Artic on Monday night.
He said that Mark Williams had agreed to present on the Rotary International conference he attended in Hamburg at the next meeting.
President then invited Michael Christopher & Celia  Grenning to come forward to hear him recite the Message to New Members and receive their badges. Both Matt & Celia responded thanking members for their support and warm welcome to the club.


  • Michael Stephens referred to an old newspaper article (from Wal Bishop) regarding George Marchant, a  former member who set helped set up the Montrose Home with his philanthropic support and that of the Rotary Club of Brisbane in the 1940’s.
  • Graeme Whitmore said he had picked up a large quantity of book & apparel from Seeton College for the DIK container to PNG. Any help in loading would be appreciated. Final results of Golf Day will be advised shortly.
  • Denise said the she had visited both Don & Stan who are unwell.
Mark introduced Val Marlow to present on the work of the RFDS.
The talk was very informative and enjoyed by members. Val covered the history of 91 years since the Rev John Flynn’s vision to provide medical assistance to people in remote areas .The RFDS has  22 aircraft with 3 operating in Queensland doing  7.7 million kilometres. per annum.
Both Mark & Chris thanked Val and agreed to recommend a contribution to assist this wonderful service.
Paul Choy won the raffle but unsuccessful in the card draw.
In closing the meeting, member and guests stood to sing the National Anthem. Close 1.50PM.
"Medicine is a difficult field to tap into"

“I wanted to be someone that could alleviate for other families what my family had felt”

Alexandria Ritchie, 2 June 2019, Hamburg, Germany.

Alexandria Ritchie, a member of the Rotaract Club of Virginia Commonwealth University and the Rotary Club of James River (Richmond), Virginia, USA, as told to Diana Schoberg. Photos by Monika Lozinska

“I decided when I was 14 that I wanted to be a physician. It was when my parents told me about Oliver.

“Oliver is my older brother. He was born with Trisomy 13 (also called Patau syndrome), a chromosome dysfunction. He was alive for a day. I never had the opportunity to meet him. I remember when my parents were talking with me about it. I felt this pull – I wanted to be someone that could alleviate for other families what my family had felt.

“My mom, with Oliver, had a really bad epidural experience. Women in labor often get an epidural to try to numb the lower half of their body to make the pain more bearable. But it has a failure rate of 14 to 17 percent. That contributed to my mom’s stress. My bachelor’s degree is in biomedical engineering. Clinicians on my college campus came to the college of engineering and said epidural failures are a problem, can you fix it? I was drawn to the project because it felt like a chance to solve something that my mom had actually gone through, and that women will continue to go through until it’s fixed.

“Myself and six other engineering students began working on this problem, and created a device that is going through the regulatory process right now. I don’t know that I would have been able to do it without Rotary. Rotary gave me the soft skills that I needed to develop a product like this. Medicine is a difficult field to tap into. I don’t think I would have had the spirit of boldness to do it without Rotary. And a lot of product development, especially in medicine, is based on relationship building. That was definitely not a skill I possessed before Rotary. I learned it through my interactions with Rotary and Rotaract at places like the Rotaract Preconvention.

“This is my fourth preconvention. It feels like every time I come back my family gets bigger. The first year, I was new to Rotaract. There weren’t many people from my district going, and I didn’t really know any of the veterans – the people who go every year. But everyone was so welcoming. It felt like family despite the fact we were on the other side of the world. Now the Rotary convention is just permanently ingrained in my calendar every year in June.”

“Every whiskey contains a story”

Rüdiger Niemz, Rotary Club of Mondseeland, Austria, as told to Diana Schoberg. Photos by Monika Lozinska

“When I was invited to join Rotary, instead of giving a presentation about my job, as everyone is expected to do, I did a whiskey tasting."

Rüdiger Niemz. 4 June 2019, Hamburg, Germany.

“I became interested in whiskey when I was traveling a lot as a journalist. I was working on travel shows about foreign countries. You would come back very late from the filming and editing, and then you’d meet somebody at the bar. You’d start talking, and start sharing whiskey. You don’t drink whiskey to get drunk. It’s part of an exciting lifestyle.

“I got to know a lot of different places and whiskeys, and after a while I got asked to host curated tastings. I got a master’s degree in food science so I researched a lot about the history and sociology of drinks and food. Every whiskey contains a story. Every cheese contains a story.

“Life is so interesting. You cannot limit yourself. Journalists are always trying to look behind the curtain. We are trying to discover something. We are trying to get new ideas, new perspectives. I also have my master’s in philosophy. Philosophers are quite similar to journalists: We are both curious about life.

“This is the interesting thing about Rotary. You always meet exceptional people. They have different backgrounds, different experiences. It is so exciting.

“I like the worldwide view. In these days where people are developing backwards in a way that we stick to ourselves, our region, to our nationality only — where we are getting more ruthless in terms of how we treat each other in national and especially international politics — Rotary is an alternative.”

Source: Rotary Voices

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Club Officers

President                   Chris Muir
Vice President           Keith Watts
Secretary                   Mark Williams
Treasurer                   Warren Walker
Imm. Past President  Daniel Vankov
President Elect           Michael Stephens
Sergeant-at-arms       Tony Pilkington
The Rotary Club of Brisbane Inc.
ABN 75 152 438 499
GPO BOX 2909 Brisbane Qld 4001
District               9600
Club Number   17787

Brisbane City Cluster Assistant Governor

Lisa Bateson

District Governor

Wendy Protheroe

Rotary International President

Barry Rassin