The Rotary Club of
Mount Eliza
Chartered 1971
Club Information
Mount Eliza
Service Above Self
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM
Toorak College
Mt Eliza
Mount Eliza, VIC 3930
0418 319 101
Dinner Meeting at Toorak College & Zoom Meeting Conference Number 82650442487
District Site Icon
District Site
Venue Map
Venue Map
Interested in being a sponsor?
Download the website sponsorship guide
Upcoming Events
Moondah Auction Continued
May 19, 2023 – Jun 09, 2023
Farmers Market
May 28, 2023
6:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Changeover Night
Jun 27, 2023
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
View entire list
Advertisement for ClubRunner Mobile

President's Message - John Welsh

President’s report 18th May, 2023
The first auction at Moondah was held on Tuesday evening. A small team helped on Monday showing the items at Kunyung. This Thursday we oversee the pickups. Next week we move to the art works and antiques with the viewing on Monday and pickup on Thursday. The kitchen is the following week. All so far has progressed well. I don’t have any figures from the first sale.
Iain Spear one of our own presented his man behind the badge on Tuesday evening. It is always very interesting to find out the paths our members have followed in their lives. Iain ‘s story was fascinating and we are privileged to have him in our club. Neil will summaries his story below this.
We have had a number of great new members this year including Iain,  Phil did a great job as Chair this week and his wine raffle is a winner.
John with Chairman Phil and Guest Speaker Iain.
Next week we welcome the American guests, Linda Linda and Mark have the business organized. We look forward to this special night.
I look forward to seeing you shortly.
This Weeks Speaker
This Week's Speaker was Iain Spear
Iain Spier - our new member and his story
Born and raised in Ilfracombe north Devon (UK), not Queensland which is a rural area approx. 320Km West of London, not too dissimilar to West Gippsland, but with a bit more tourism and a bit less agriculture.
My Dad was a born and bred in the town, but My Mum is Canadian which back then was a bit of an oddity, but I am forever grateful that through her I managed to avoid the rural Devon accent (think a slow-witted pirate and you are close to it)
Growing up I was the middle child in a family of 5. I think my childhood was pretty normal – certainly for the era and the area. I was happy enough, money was short, but we were well provided for – my dad was a serial failing entrepreneur and all of his various enterprises (Frozen food wholesaler, rabbit dealer, shop keeper, potato chip manufacturer, Mackerel processor) all ultimately failed, but he was successful at Scallop processing and set up the firm that I spent 30+ years working at. My Mum was stay at home until money got too tight and she went out to work as a QA inspector for a local air filter manufacturer. When I was younger Dad was a mad keen jazz musician and 2-3 nights a week he would duly leave in the evening in a suit, dress shirt with front ruff and matching bow tie. He would then climb into a work van which was loaded up with musical kit and then I would see him the next day. It all seemed very odd, but he clearly loved it. (Although retrospectively I wonder how much my Mum loved it!) Loving music as he did, he was keen that I should love it too and I was duly enrolled in the Parish Church choir and piano lessons. Unfortunately, unlike my Dad I had zero talent and perhaps as a consequence absolutely did NOT love it. I got out of the choir by intentionally singing out of tune so that the Choir Master told my dad I had to leave (the deception was a necessary evil; if I would have asked, my dad would have said no).  Dad found this out retrospectively when he heard me absent-mindedly singing along to the radio perfectly in tune and was then more convinced then ever that I would stick at the piano, however, I was getting busy with schoolwork, Rugby and girls so there wasn’t much time left for music, especially when I seemed to get very little reward for my efforts. Eventually I was able to stop due to claimed Academic pressure, although I’m not sure he really believed me
I found school relatively straight forward – academically I was reasonably strong and I was competent at a number of sports, representing the school at everything from Rugby Union to Chess – the only sport I didn’t represent them at was swimming, which, to be fair, I was terrible at.
Like most people, as I got older, I became more challenging for my parents. My Dad had a significant fear of heights. One day I came home from school (I would have been 17 or so) very excited because there was a chance to go on a parachute course for a weekend, culminating in a static line jump from 2000Ft. My Mum said nothing much and my dad got really angry and absolutely forbade me from doing it. I absolutely was not to do it, and that was that. I tried explaining to him that just because he was scared of heights didn’t mean it was dangerous and I had every right to go. This was unsurprisingly not actually that helpful and he just forbade me again. Well, I was going to do it, so I fed my parents some story about why I had to be away for a weekend, forged their signature on the consent form, went and did the course and loved it. When I got home, I told them where I had been. I expected fireworks, but strangely he just seemed deflated by it. Up to a point he left me to my own devices after that.
As I mentioned earlier, my interests were broadening out, but these new activities were not conducive to academic success and I duly under-achieved and got mediocre grades at A Level (18-year-old qualification). Consequently, I got into a fairly average university where I studied Business, but didn’t find it particularly enthralling, although I did enjoy my year out in Industry, working for IBM in Central London.
After Uni I joined my dad’s firm, primarily because I thought I could do a better job on the fresh fish side then he could (I was not typically short of confidence). However, despite my best efforts, the other wholesaler in the area was consistently able to return the fishermen better prices for their fish. (You got the fish, sold it and then returned the price to them) With the confidence of youth I just couldn’t understand it. I even paid the fishermen over the odds one week, and the next week sure enough the other guy (Tony) was paying more again. My ego and I found this difficult to understand until one day the news came through that he had been caught by the police receiving illegal drugs off a fishing boat as he unloaded their fish. The results of this were twofold – Tony was detained at her majesty’s pleasure and we were able to achieve better prices for the fishermen.
As you will be able to tell from that, the fishing industry is different to many others with its fair share of what could euphemistically be called characters; I have experienced the following:
  • My Dad’s last failed business went bankrupt and he owed some fishermen some money. He restarted and a few years later asked me to go and visit a fishing port with him. I didn’t accompany him to the meeting and he was vague about what he was doing. Years later I learned that what he had been doing was paying back every single fisherman that he had owed money to, and this trip had been him paying a couple of them back despite having no legal need to do so, even though it took him a few years. He did however understand that it was “right” and so he did it.
  • Our primary business at this time was Scallops. Buying Scallops from fishermen is unusual because you pay them based off of the yield of usable product you obtain. This means that the fishermen don’t know how much they are going to get until you tell them (after processing). My brother dealt with the fishermen, and I always thought he was too soft with them. He got accused of “ripping them off” and just accepted it. I thought this was a poor choice for him personally and us commercially but he wouldn’t listen. One year he went on holiday and said to me that one fisherman was especially difficult, but I was to be firm with him. I thought that a bit rich, but didn’t mind because I felt that was what was required. Sure enough  my brother went on holiday, I had to call the fisherman in question and tell him what his last batch had made and sure enough he accused me of ripping him off. Now, I had triple checked before calling him and knew that the figures were correct. I told the fisherman this but he ignored me and called me a few names and said that we were all the flipping same. I offered him the chance to come and see his product processed (again) to prove that everything was above board, he would not do this but continued to claim he was being ripped off.  I was sick of it. He was a physically imposing man but a bully and I was young (22 or so), but I was angry and offended (and probably over confident) so I completely unprofessionally offered him the opportunity to resolve matters physically, I said he could come to me or I was happy to travel but either way he wouldn’t carry on making these accusations. I think it is fair to say that he was surprised, he blustered a bit and hung up. I then had a nerve week or so wondering if he would turn up, but fortunately for all concerned he choose not to take me up on it, which was a relief! Suffice to say I told my brother when he came back and he was furious with me for risking the supply, however, as I told him, he had said to be firm!
  • When buying a fishing boat company and after particularly torturous negotiations we at last seemed ready to close the deal and I agreed with my lawyer that we should aim for the last Friday of the month. I really wanted the boat before the new season started so that there couldn’t be any complications with the quota being used up by the previous owner and price adjustments consequences. A couple of days later he called me and said it couldn’t be Friday. I was absolutely non-plussed by this, there was no good reason why it couldn’t be the Friday, and in frustration I asked him why on earth we couldn’t do it on the given Friday, everybody knew we were under significant time pressure. The answer was – that it was bad luck to sell it on a Friday! The fisherman absolutely would not sell on that day, so I had to wait for the following Monday. I have wondered how many other contracts have been delayed for that reason – I imagine not many.
Anyway, we grew the business from a few hundred thousand turnover business into a vertically integrated group of businesses with a combined turnover of approx. $50M selling into Europe, China and South Korea. I ended up as CEO and was nationally known in the industry. I did a lot of work on sustainability and advocating for industry. Some interesting atypical events were:
  • Was part of an industry delegation that supported the UK minister and senior civil servants in the annual EU fishery negotiations which set quota levels for the whole of the EU and therefore the UK for the coming year (Basically the size of the cake was known, it was a question of which country was getting what. This included having to be available 24/7 in case they wanted to talk something through
  • Had a number of meetings (as part of a group) with the UK Minister about various issues
  • Was interviewed on national tv for my views on Brexit and how it would impact the seafood industry in particular
In my 20s and early 30s I would regularly work 80 hours a week so there wasn’t a lot of time for Leisure, but the one thing that I really loved was Rugby (Union, not the other one). I played for my local town – not a high standard, but you played with your mates - and my friends from then are my main friends now Even now I can’t quite let go and have just started playing competitive Touch Rugby at Fawkner Park for the Gremlins every Monday night (and no, I hadn’t heard of them either)
I have 2 older sons in the UK - Ollie 26 and Hugo 23 and I am immensely proud of both of them. Ollie is a mid-level software developer (whatever that means) and Hugo sells subscriptions to economic data in the City of London. Nothing has come easily to Ollie, but his resilience and work ethic are incredible. Conversely everything comes easily to Hugo, but because of this he doesn’t work at the same intensity as Ollie – I sometimes wonder who will be the more successful.
In 2005 I visited my cousin who was living in Melbourne for a year whilst he studied for a Masters in International law from Melbourne Uni. Initially I wasn’t going to come and visit (it is a long way) but then I felt guilty and that our friendship was worth more than that, so I came. He was in the International Convention of the Red Cross so typically lived somewhere dangerous (West Bank, Chad, Iraq, Pakistan) so we normally met up when he had some time off. We went out one Saturday to a wine bar at about 19:00 (The George in St Kilda) and it was really quiet, so we agreed to move on and maybe go home for something to eat. As we were leaving, I could hear some thumping music from below, I followed my ears and we went in to what I later found out was known as the Snake Pit. It was not glamorous, but it was loud, with live music, people literally dancing on tables – all at 7:00pm– it was great! Anyway, Janelle was in there with friends of hers – she was actually only visiting the area – we got talking and that was that. I went back to the UK 5 days later. I had been disenchanted with dating/relationships, but we spoke every day for 3 months and then she resigned from her role at the MCG and moved to the UK. She told me she would visit for the weekend before moving to London to live with her best friend. She never did leave. 12 months after that we were married in St Kilda but still living in the UK. I couldn’t believe it, but I had been smitten. To say my friends were surprised is an understatement, but I was in love and that was that. Lennox was born 4 years later, he is resilient, hard-working, determined and extremely kind. I love all of the people mentioned above. I used to sometimes gently tease Janelle that she only ever really wanted a UK passport out of it – imagine her Karmic joy now that roles are reversed and I will be trying to get an Australian passport in due course
I had always travelled as an adult and in my low 20s was lucky enough to be able to visit Moscow over Christmas to visit my Canadian Aunt and Uncle (he was the Canadian Defence attaché) and their son, my cousin Tony (the one who was in Melbourne). This was the time of Perestroika and Gorbachev, but there was still a lot of cold war behaviour. My aunt and Uncle had a maid (KGB apparently) and we worked on the basis that the flat and cars were bugged so we had to manage what we said. We were followed everywhere (even without my uncle)– it was all very exciting and surreal. Some of the things main things that I remember are:
  • Dinner with guests was challenging as at the drop of a hat a toast would be made which then necessitated a corresponding slug of Russian Vodka, in one or it was viewed as disrespectful/rude. The more they drank, the more toasts were made – as I say, challenging!
  • Whilst there was a hint of political danger generally, Tony and I were able to go to Red Square NYE and have a great time mingling and chatting with various people and make our way back to the apartment with no issues
  • You would sometimes see queues of people outside shops (for the average Muscovite) these were – I think – called Hope queues. Basically, if people saw a queue forming, they would assume there was something good in there and queue, without knowing what it may be – hence the “hope”
  • As Westerners, we shopped in the Hard Currency stores (at an appallingly adverse exchange rate of course) and I remember thinking a lot of that was poor quality with very little variety, so I could only imagine what the normal shops were like. The vast bulk of my aunt and Uncle’s food was flown in from Finland
Anyway, back to the present day and I’m often asked why we moved to Australia and the truth is that a number of things aligned:
  • My brothers and I were at loggerheads regarding the direction that the business should go in and somebody had to go or put it at risk, my father had just passed and I couldn’t countenance his creation foundering on our intransigence. I decided to leave which made Australia a real possibility
  • Janelle’s Mum sadly has Alzheimer’s
  • We felt that Lennox would get better schooling in Australia.
So, we sold our dream house (Georgian Rectory set in 10 acres where we had bees for honey, reared a couple of pigs, chickens for eggs, a productive veggie garden, a small orchard and a wood – it was incredible – occasionally a whole meal was home grown (apart from condiments), packed or sold all of our stuff and jumped on a plane last August. We landed in Perth and having stayed with Janelle’s best friend for a week or so, we climbed into a camper (our home for the next month) and drove to Melbourne. I can confirm that Australia is large, parts of the road are relentlessly straight and the nullabor is a bit of a slog and a bit samey after a while. We sofa surfed with various relatives, spent 2 weeks in an Air BnB @ Mount Martha and then moved into our new home in Mount Eliza in mid-December.

I’ve joined Rotary, I am on the Board of a local charity (Connecting2Australia which Rotary have been kind enough to support). Chris Angera introduced me to the Chairman of the board and I was invited to join from there. So, what is C2A? To get something pithy I went on their website and: “C2A’s services are designed to provide individualised care and inclusive opportunities for people with disability”. I love that and am looking forward to being able to contribute positively.

  Janelle is setting up her Interior Design Business and I am deciding what to do – the main choice appears to be between being a Mgt Consultant or a Non-Exec Director. I am missing the sense of purpose! Lennox is well established in school, plays soccer for MESC and has made friends, we are slowly integrating into the local community. Everything is good except for the people that you miss and that of course is the only thing that you can’t change. The world though is forever shrinking and it is much easier for me to get back to the UK then it was for my Mum to visit her parents in Canada when she moved to England in 1962. They sent her off on holiday to their English relatives aged 21 and the next time they saw her (2 years) she was a married Mum living in England. I think I will have it easier.
Anyway, that is a little bit about me, has anybody got any questions
3 Minute Speaker
Three Minute Speaker  Jim Voss         
Once again, Jim presented an engaging and thoughtful discussion on the progress of the "use of micro nuclear reactors for energy" debate in Australia.
In mid 2022, the Senate proposed a bill which would remove the nuclear energy prohibition.  Submissions were called from the public.  On behalf of Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, I submitted a lengthy set of comments suggesting the rationale for removing the nuclear energy ban.  The submission focused on the vulnerability of Australia to the massive amount of diesel which is imported to support electricity generation in rural communities, remote strategic facilities and major mining operations.  In addition, the submission cataloged the CO2 emissions, along with other hazardous substances, that come from this practice. An economic argument was presented as well, focusing on the cost of diesel-generated electricity as well as the macro economic impacts of diesel consumption and the benefits that could derive from micro modular reactors. The submission also addressed the ability of small reactors to support significant improvements in social outcomes in remote and rural communities.
On Monday 15 May, I had the great privilege of testifying before the Senate committee to present the case.  A spirited discussion ensued, with Senators from the entire political spectrum engaging in informed, polite and succinct discussion.
The dominant theme of many of the speakers was that removing the nuclear prohibition does not equate to an endorsement by the Government of nuclear power.  Rather it enables substantive discussions to occur with those who are interested.
On additional key point made by many was that once Australia began operating a nuclear reactor in suburban Sydney in 1958, all of the radioactive waste management challenges with nuclear power as well as nuclear-powered submarines had to be addressed within Australia.
The Senate committee will consider this and other submissions to determine the next actions, if any, to be taken.
Environment Group Working on Bay Trail
May Activities
The Environment Group has had a busy May. We finished the tree guard removal along the Bay Trail from the Coolstores to Road. We removed 4 large bags of plastic guards off trees that were up to 6 years old and improved the look of thge area beside the path condiderably. Thanks to all the members from the satellite club that helped. We also planted 100 indigenous plants in the two areas we have been working on at Moorooduc station and also did some weeding of watsonia bulbs and gorse bushes. We had a team of 20 Peninsula Grammar students and three Rotarians as well as Charlie Clarke from the Railway Group. We hope to be moving to our new area near the quarry side of the station in the next session.
Neil with a bag of guards
Top: Neil with tree Guards                Di and John weeding               
Bottom:  Students and Charlie                       Peninsula students planting out
Club Meetings
Club Meetings
May-23ProgramSpecial US Visitors Fellowship Dinner
 ChairmanLinda Humphries
 3 Minute Speaker 
 CashiersSue Voss & Jenny Baker
 FurnitureMike Weber
May-30Program Alan Cane - The Enslavement of Middle Eastern Women
 Chairman                                                                                 Mike Weber
 Cashiers   John Horscroft & Phil Key
 Fellowship Caryl Coulthard
 FurnitureTim Worrall
 SergeantRoss Schweitzer


Brynton's Joke of the Week
Bryntyon's Joke
A drunk stumbling through the woods comes upon a preacher baptizing people in the river. He walks out into the water and bumps into the preacher. Almost overcome by the smell of alcohol, the preacher asks the drunk, “Are you ready to find Jesus?”
The drunk answers, “Yes, I am.” So, the preacher grabs him and dunks him in the water, pulls him up and asks, “Brother, have you found Jesus?”
The drunk replies, “No, I haven’t found Jesus.” The preacher, shocked at his answer, dunks him again, a little longer this time. Pulling him out of the water again, he asks, “Now, have you found Jesus, my brother?”
The drunk again answers, “No, I haven’t found Jesus.” By this time the preacher, at his wits end, dunks him again – this time holding him down until he begins kicking his arms and legs. Then he pulls him up. The preacher again asks, “For the love of God, have you found Jesus?”
After first wiping his eyes and catching his breath, the drunk asks the preacher, “Are you sure this is where he fell in?”🤣🤣🤣
Please add to your safe sender list or address book.
To unsubscribe from future e-mails, click here.
P O Box 95 Mount Eliza 3930
We meet at 6:00 PM Every Tuesday at Toorak College