At Hawkesbury Probus Club care is taken to provide guest speakers for our monthly club meetings. Their subjects are varied and of considerable interest to members. In addition to the Guest Speaker there is usually a 5 or 10 minute speaker who is often a club member with an interesting story to tell.
Should any member or visitor have any suggestions of a possible speaker, that information should be passed to the Programs Officer Margaret Novak 8847 0668 or email@example.com.
Coming Guest Speakers
Monday 15 January 2024
Robert Nash is descended from Huguenot silk weavers from Sedan in the Ardennes, who settled in Spitalfields in London's East End at the beginning of the 18th century. He was born in London but has lived in Australia for 30 years. He was educated at Cambridge and Oxford universities.
He is a Life Fellow of the Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and a Foundation Member of the Huguenot Society of Australia, of which he is also Secretary and Editor. He has edited (and partly written) the society's two books on Huguenot families in Australia: The Hidden Thread, and A New Tapestry. He has also produced the CD, Huguenot Surname Index, which is a complete name index of Huguenots in England and Ireland.
Monday 19 February 2024
Michael Clark worked in the NSW Public Works Department with member Guy Boncardo. Michael will talk about the building of the Sydney Opera House, which has now turned 50 years old.
Monday 18 March 2024 AGM so no guest speaker
Monday 15 April 2024
Peter Plowman. will talk about the Titanic and her sister ships. The Titanic sank on 15 April 1912 and no-one recalls the sister ships which were built at the same time.
Monday 20 May
Paul Kearney is a Rock Historian who will present a history and selection of Rock 'n' Roll hits and videos from the '50s.
The artists will include: Buddy Holly, Bill Haley & the Comets, Johnny Ray, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Connie Francis, Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard.
Past Guest Speakers
Narelle Norrie who is the Relationship Manager for the Home Doctor Service spoke on the subject of "13SICK", being this entity's phone number. This is a service providing after hours home visits by doctors for n
on-emergency medical problems. They operate under contract with the Government and the aim is to reduce the need for people to have to go to Emergency Clinics for treatment.
Nancy and Vince Cosgrove talked on their subject of "Off the Bucket List". A 2016 World War I western-front battlefields tour including commemorations services at Fromelles and Poziers - five great uncles' supreme sacrifice remembered. Their impressive presentation included many photos of the battlefields in France and Belgium where their family members had been buried as a result of First World War casualties.
Michelle Gosewinckel is a solicitor in her law firm Hawkesbury Legal (one of our club website supporters). She gave a talk on the very important subject of "Wills, Estates and Elder Abuse". Michelle has a particular concern with this because she has had many elderly clients who have have been badly treated by their own families. The welfare of elderly people includes such matters as the need for a Will and the dangers that can arise when a Power-of-Attorney is given. The response to her talk was so well received that Michelle has been invited to speak to the club again in 2018 on the subject of "Powers of Attorney".
Denis Smith enthralled our members with his subject, "Governor Arthur Phillip and the reason the First Fleet in 1788 was a success". His message was that the success of the colony was due to the careful planning of Arthur Phillip, our first governor. He also spoke about Matthew Flinders and the naming of Australia. Denis is a direct descendant of First Fleeters John Barrisford (a marine) and his wife Hannah.
Debbie Ward Harris's title for her talk was "Meditation". Each week involves teaches up to six meditation classes in Richmond and Dural plus volunteer work for the University of the Third Age (U3A). Debbie explained that meditation is a readily available tool to use for relieving stress, helping with anxiety and changing our thought patterns from negative to more positive thoughts.
Peter Webb gave an absorbing address about "Building the North West Rail Link". Peter represents Impregilo-Salini who were awarded a joint venture $340 million contract in December 2013. This contract involves building the four kilometre elevated sky-train between Bella Vista and Rouse Hill, including the 270-metre cable-stayed bridge over Windsor Road at Rouse Hill.
Our member Olga Dickinson shared with us the story of her career in British film and television. After leaving Drama School Olga started her career in a Repertory Theatre Company moving on to Stage Management at Granada Television for 20 years. During this time she worked on major drama series and the longest running soap in history. She finished her paid working career as Head of Performing Arts at Bolton Technical College in the north of England.
Our member John Butler told us about the coming 200th anniversary of St Matthew's Anglican Church, Windsor on Saturday 14th October 2017.
The book by Ian Jack and Jan Barkley-Jack entitled, St Matthews Windsor an Anglican Landmark celebrating 200 years was on sale at the meeting by courtesy of the Hawkesbury Historical Society.
Cassandra O'Connor represents the Lendlease and Bouygues Joint Venture on behalf of Roads and Maritime Services and Transurban. She spoke to us about NorthConnex, the $3 billion project being built to provide a nine kilometre underground motorway link between the M2 Hills Motorway at West Pennant Hills and the M1 Pacific Motorway at Wahroonga. We were advised that this tunnel, the longest in Australia will be opened to motorists in late 2019.
Greg Vincent from One Agency (one of the supporters of the Hawkesbury Probus Club website) addressed us on "The Pitfalls in Selling Your Property". Greg shared information that he has gathered in his twenty years in Hawkesbury real estate. This included general advice for vendors and purchasers and how to view the market appraisals given by various agents.
Noel Phelan from the Australian National Maritime Museum told us the full story of a very important event in Australia's wartime history. On the night of 31st May 1942 three Japanese midget submarines attacked Sydney Harbour.
The response last year to the talk by Michelle Gosewinckel from Hawkesbury Legal was so strong that Michelle was invited to speak to the club again; this time on the subject of "Powers of Attorney".
In 1966, Australia and the US signed a treaty that allowed the establishment of a jointly run satellite tracking station, just south of Alice Springs. For more than forty years it operated in a shroud of secrecy and had been the target of much public and political controversy.
For the first time, a US high-tech spy who worked at Pine Gap for 18 years spoke out to give an insider’s account of what happens behind those locked gates in the middle of the Australian desert. David Rosenberg detailed his career with an American intelligence agency during a tumultuous period in history that covered the terms of three American Presidents, four Australian Prime Ministers, the end of the Cold War, a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, two wars in Iraq, genocide in Rwanda, as well as the ‘War against Terror’ and the emergence of North Korea as a nuclear-armed nation. This was a fascinating glimpse inside the top-secret world of military surveillance.
Our guest speaker this month was Colette Kinsellay who is a Senior Education Officer with Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA). MDFA is the leading independent expert supporting those impacted by macular disease to live well on each step of their journey. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australian’s over the age of 50. During the talk we learned about macular degeneration, its symptoms, treatment options, how we can reduce our risk and the importance of diet and lifestyle. An early diagnosis can help prevent unnecessary blindness.
Graham Wilcox told us the story in his book, The Struggle For Unity - A Story of the Federation of Australia. Graham explained that ten years ago he was writing the biography of his great-grandfather, Attorney-General of Queensland Sir Arthur Rutledge, when he discovered a story of vital historical importance which had been buried for 120 years.
During the late 1890s the Australian continent was destined to be occupied by three countries. By 1899 the Queensland government was urging Queenslanders to vote NO to federation. Two weeks before the vital Queensland referendum Rutledge managed, by a skilful manoeuvre, to turn North Queenslanders to such an extent that the whole colony swung to voting YES. This made Queensland part of Australia instead of being a separate country and as a result Australians today are able to live in a country on a continent with no international borders.
This month we had a very informative talk by CareFlight. Its mission is to save lives, speed recovery and serve the community by providing the highest standard of rapid response and critical care. CareFlight started as single helicopter operation in 1986.
CareFlight doctors and nurses now fly to and from destinations throughout Australia and beyond, on helicopters, aeroplanes and medi-jets.
Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Sweeney (Retired) addressed us on the subject of the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942.
For a detailed introduction to Tom please go to Tom Sweeney
“The Search for the Morse Photo Albums”
The first railway bridge across the Hawkesbury River was the last link in the rail connection between the eastern mainland capitals, and a necessary pre-requisite to the federation of Australia. The bridge was built by American contractors who kept photographic and other records of their work, but at the end of the job they took them all home to the USA. In 2015 Bill Phippen tracked down these documents and photo albums in Kansas City, Missouri and the Library of Congress in Washington DC. A coalition of Sydney groups pooled a substantial amount of money to buy scans of the photos. Bill's presentation followed the search and illustrates the images and pages from the scrapbook from Missouri.
Club member Deirdre Dehn entertained us with the story of her singing careers.
In 1962 Deirdre sailed to London to establish her career. In 1967 after a very successful first career she returned to Australia for her second career, touring in Australia and New Zealand. Deirdre then joined the Sydney Opera Company and sang at the newly opened Sydney Opera House.
This photo is Deirdre in her heyday.
Senior Constable Carmen Bagust of Windsor Police discussed scams, how to avoid them and what to do if you are scammed. The talk also covered the Next of Kin Register.
The information presented now has people concerned and careful about their online security.
Michael Clarke is an eminent senior engineer and was the last Chief Engineer of the NSW Public Works Department when he retired in the 1990s. He has researched the history of the development of Sydney.
His talk covered the history of Sydney's water supply, through to the Height of Buildings Act 1912 and then the building of the Opera House. He also covered Macquarie's Sydney, Circular Quay (1874), railway to Parramatta (1855), Darling Harbour and the Goods line, Central Station (1906 - 1921) the bridges of Sydney, Hydraulic Power; among other interesting subjects.
David Short presented a very interesting talk on the Royal Flying Doctor Service. He started with the history of it starting in 1911 with John Flynn. The first plane used was the Victory. Many people were involved in the setting up of the service including putting together a meicine chest for isolated families and inventing a pedal radion that could work anywhere in the outback. He covered the many centres throughout south east Australia and the RFDS roll which covers emergency care; primary health care; dental work; mental health (drug and alcohol); and community engagement. He discussed their role in the roll out of the Covid vaccine as well as the funding sources available, withg the majority coming form community donations.
Peter Plowman presented an interestingtalk about the earlysteam powered and paddlewheeler ferries of Sydney. Beginning in 1791 right through to the present day. This included the constant changes and developments of Circular Quay. Finishing with the hawkesbury Paddle Wheeler, which began life on the Lane Cove River and was eventually sold and moved to the Hawkesbury River at Windsor. After the recent floods it was based at Lower Portland, but is now at Brooklyn waiting to be sold and put to use again
Guy Boncardo is a Professional Civil Engineer with 47 years of experience in the investigation and design of Civil Engineering works. Guy's presentation focussed on the management of wastewater, commoinky known as sewerage. It included issues relating to investigation, design and operation of sewerage collection, transfer, and more specifically, treatment systems. the presentation was titled "Wastewater Masnagement. - this is what happens when you push the button".