Family Fun Day
Sunday 26 November saw the annual free Family Fun Day for children with a disability and their families / carers held at the Box Hill Miniature Railway. Sponsored by Interchange Outer East and Rotary Balwyn, the day brought cheer to the many local children who suffer more than most.
Train rides, Father Christmas, an animal farm, jumping castle, sausage sizzle, magician, face painting, a raffle, drinks, icy poles, show bags, neck massages, a huge fire engine and a rock climb (courtesy of 1st Balwyn Scouts) were available to all, for free.
Attendance was good, although the threat of rain may well have prevented some families from attending.
The call for help from Rotarians saw many attend for the whole day, or part of the day. Thanks goes to: Bob Batrouney, John Brock, Stephen Dowling, Chris Finley, Fred Gibbs, David Hattam, David Hobson, Lesley Hoy, David Jones, Lindsay Jones, Garry Le Get, Ken McQualter, Tony O’Brien, Kevin Walsh, Anne Ballard, Denise Gibbs, Manju Mohandoss, Julie Goodwin, Bill Goodwin, David McFadyen and Clarke Ballard.
The next public run day at the Box Hill Miniature Railway will be on Sunday, 10th December, 11am – 4pm.
- Richard Holdsworth
Tue 14th Nov
Our speaker on Tuesday 14th November, Richard Holdsworth was evacuated from south London at the start of the Second World War along with his mother and older sister. His father sent them off to auntie in the Berkshire countryside – our London house was bombed and father managed to wrangle a transfer from his bank in the City of London and became assistant manager in the local village branch. They stayed on in the country – Richard first went to village school and then Wallingford Grammar. Never much of an academic, his father went to see the Principal as he reached 16 and asked of his future and on being told he was something of a dreamer, his Dad came home and announced, “You’ve always wanted to work on a farm, Son, well you start on Monday…” After a year of practical experience, he went to Agricultural College and then worked on the best stud Beef Shorthorn herd in the country – two years later and at the stud sales in Perth, Scotland, a representative from Dalgety and Co asked him if he would consider taking a dozen stud cattle and horses to Australia on the deck of a cargo ship. “The downside – a one-way ticket. Find your own way home…” He sailed within three weeks and broke his mum’s heart! He had the cattle in perfect condition after the 12,000-mile voyage and was offered several positions with stud herds in Australia and accepted the position as Stud Herdsmen with an up-and-coming herd in South Australia and brought out the Supreme and Reserve Champion at the 1960 Royal Adelaide show the following year – sweeping the board like that had never been done before. The owner dispensed with his services after the show – but a wonderful man by the name of Ron Stewart, Editor, took him on as staff writer with the Adelaide Stock & Station Journal. He covered all manner of farming subjects including cattle and sheep sales in the Outback. After four years he was recruited by The Weekly Times in Melbourne where he met Heather, they married and sailed to the UK on a year long honeymoon – but instead of returning to Australia they started a Volkswagen camper manufacturing business which became one of the largest in Europe. That business now sold, they returned to Australia three years ago and are enjoying life Down Under once again! His book, Six Spoons of Sugar, sees war through the eyes of a young lad – blackouts, rationing, being bombed on a shopping trip to the local market town with his mum and later, the American 101st Airborne arriving in their village and transforming life. Now he lives a peaceful – if busy – life as a member of several writing groups and he pens articles for travel magazines here and in the UK and is an Australian correspondent for a couple of UK Porsche magazines: He raced a Porsche when he lived in South Australia in the 1960’s. He has also written the tale of his first eight years in Australia – In The Hot Seat and a book of short stories.
- Umoja Orphanage Kenya
Wed 25th Oct
The founder of the Umoja Orphanage in Kenya, Cathy Booth, and Kenyan Project Manager, Patrick Kea, spoke of the immense challenges involved in creating the orphanage. When Cathy Booth, school teacher and mother, saw the difference that intervention and a safe environment can make to orphaned children she was compelled to begin her own non-profit organisation. Her empathy for children, outstanding work ethic, and unwavering passion to help those who are less fortunate drives her team to achieve the extraordinary. Patrick Kea is a proud Kenyan who witnesses and lives every day the struggles of his culture. His advice and local knowledge have been immeasurable, and his honesty and hard work are an asset to the Umoja Project. Patrick speaks 4 languages: English, Swahili-his tribal language-and German. Finding a better safari driver in Kenya would indeed be a very difficult. Patrick’s knowledge of his country and his firm belief in the outcomes of the Umoja Orphanage Kenya project are to be admired. Read more
- Victoria Policy Legacy – Mini Rail Picnic
Mon 16th Oct
On the 15th October the Box Hill Mini Rail team and the Rotary Club of Balwyn held a picnic for the younger police legatees at the Box Hill Miniature Railway. We also had an MFB Firetruck, face painter and senior officers from Vic Police attend. More importantly we saw 30 timid kids arrive and feel the support of community around them - as the day progressed we all saw their confidence blossom. Surviving parents and carers themselves relaxed and shared in the joy with the kids. Victoria Police Legacy supports members of the police family who have lost a partner who is a serving or retired sworn member of Victoria Police, Protective Services Officer or recruit in training.