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Forthcoming Guest Speakers

5 September 2023

Member Bob Dent - 'Science in the Cattle Industry'.

Past Guest Speakers

A list of the club’s recent guest speakers follows (most recent at top).

September 2023

Bob Dent - Science in the Cattle Industry

Attendees at the September meeting of the HP Probus Club learned of the contribution science makes to the management of cattle. The speaker was one of its members, Bob Dent, who happens to be an Agricultural Scientist with a lifetime of knowledge and experience in the cattle industry. Commencing his 50-year engagement with the industry, Bob started as a Jackaroo in Queensland at an early age, where one of the first things he learned was to ride a horse.

Bob trained as an Agricultural Scientist and spent most if his professional life helping cattle producers understand and apply scientific research. He worked as a lecturer at Tocal Agricultural College and with NSW Agriculture in Moree and Glen Innes. Later, with the Angus Society of Australia, he worked with stud and commercial cattle breeders around Australia.

The audience heard about the lifecycles of cows and bulls, the complicated processes of reproduction, the science of milk and meat production, artificial insemination, choosing the right type of animal for the outcomes required, and computer models to assist with feeding, including pasture management. Meat processing is now overseen by the regulatory body, Meat Standards Australia (MSA) through the Australian Meat Grading System, in which qualified graders ensure established standards are maintained. An MSA success story is the transitioning of the meat of Queensland’s Brahman cattle, once considered inedible, into a product that is now good to eat.

Bob was thanked for his informative presentation and members showed their appreciation by acclamation.

August 2023

Stephanie Coomber - Journey with Children in Need in India and Sri Lanka

Club member Stephanie Coomber had an intriguing story to tell the 45 members in attendance at the August Probus general meeting about the time she dedicated to caring for disadvantaged children in India and Sri Lanka in the 1980s and 90s.

Stephanie related her story following morning tea, using slides and pictures of people and places, explaining that as far back as 1981, she recognised the huge need for the care of children in Sri Lanka, especially babies, resulting from extreme poverty. She and a group of helpers responded to this need by establishing an international children’s nutrition centre there in that year, and during this period, adopted twin daughters herself.

In 1988 Stephanie played a part in establishing a sponsorship program, raising funds that assisted 350 disadvantaged children in residential care in Sri Lanka. Unmarried mothers were not able to keep their babies and often abandoned them wherever they could, such as in rubbish bins, girls being more susceptible to being abandoned than boys.

The efforts of Stephanie and her volunteers were rewarded around the year 2000 when Sri Lankan authorities started looking after their own children.

Life in India is much different today than it was 25 years ago. With a huge population of 1.5bn, its people are now more well-off than they ever were and poverty has been somewhat reduced. There are now homes for children where there is a strong emphasis on their education. The homes that Stephanie was involved in supporting separate the children’s accommodation into boys’ and girls’ homes before they reach their teens, and in these homes, they are cared for by dedicated women (mostly) who become their de facto mothers.

Stephanie was thanked for her story by speaker chairman Ian Campbell and members showed their appreciation by acclamation.

July 2023

A musical program by the Probus Plus Singers 'Singalong with the Seekers' replaced the guest speaker.

June 2023

Barry Sale, Tallwoods Country Club Owner - Future Directions at Tallwoods Village and Innovations in Business Machines


Tallwoods Country Club owner, Barry Sale, explained his vision for Tallwoods Village as guest speaker at the HP Probus general meeting in early June. Barry and his daughter, Susan Pace, have been the driving forces behind improvements at Tallwoods during the past 5 years.

Barry outlined the circumstances surrounding his purchase of the country club back in 2018, which followed a visit to friends who lived in Tallwoods, Marilyn Wilson, and her husband Peter (who passed in April 2019). Barry was very impressed with the village and its surrounding beaches and towns. As he was departing, he noticed a For Sale sign near the entrance, and in no time at all he submitted an offer and the rest is history.

Tallwoods Village is one of only 20 registered unique villages in Australia, mostly in the alpine regions, and has as its centrepiece an 18-hole championship golf course.  Barry’s vision for Tallwoods is that of a high-quality European village similar to those he has visited in England and other parts of Europe. The concept is captured in a professionally prepared master plan.

The construction of the Chapel of Light (the venue for the meeting) is part of the master plan. The chapel was recently awarded the most innovative community project in Australia. A parcel of land at the corner of The Boulevard and Blackhead Road is being acquired by Midcoast Council for the eventual construction of a seniors’ cricket ground that will add to the village feel.

Barry also spoke about his family company’s involvement in importing and selling business machines. He named the historical big players in the field – IBM, NCR and Burroughs – and had on display a Burroughs adding machine from the 1950s and 60s (photo above). The family company, Goodson Imports, retails business technology solutions in Sydney, with son David and daughter Susan at the helm.

May 2023

Brad Grant, Manager Hallidays Sports Club - Future Directions for the Club.


Brad Grant, head honcho of Hallidays Sports Club, spoke about his club at the HP Probus Club’s 2nd May meeting. Brad was involved with the former club as a director for 5 years, and was appointed Venue Manager of the new club in October last year.

Brad has an impressive history of involvement with local sport here over a period of 17 years – soccer, cricket and junior rugby league – and represented the area on former Taree Council’s Sport and Recreation Committee.

The local iconic facility struggled to keep afloat during the early part of last year, when in April, administrators recommended closing the doors. The services of local volunteers prevented this from happening and the directors set about to restore the club to its former glory and to make it even better.

The search for a ‘big brother’ commenced and the Wyong Leagues Club (WLC) emerged as the most suitable partner for amalgamation, an important element of the brief being support for the local community. The amalgamation takes effect on 1st July.

Food quality is considered a key requirement for the success of the club, and in this regard, WLC catering standards will be applied. Some improvements have already been made to the premises and several more are planned, such as to the kitchen, bar area and cellar, and the addition of a covered deck is being considered.

The bowlers are considered highly important to the club and their needs are being looked after, such as with the recent replanting of the top green, ready to play on mid-May.

Members had many questions following Brad’s presentation, one of which was what is happening to memberships? Brad advised that new memberships will be offered once the amalgamation is completed and long-term memberships will be restored.

A more comprehensive write up of the meeting can be found on the club’s website by searching for Hallidays Point Probus Club and following the link.

April 2023

Ingrid Horsburgh, Editor, Hallidays Point News of Our World.


News Co-ordinator for HP News of Our World, Ingrid Horsburgh, used her allotted time at the 4th April general meeting of the Hallidays Point Probus Club to promote her message that community involvement is an essential requirement for the continuation of HP News.

Recalling her involvement in the original newsletter in 2011, Ingrid related that the main reason the publication came about back then was because no one knew what was happening locally and there was a growing need for communication among the separate and spread-out villages in our region, a situation that still exists today. She acknowledged member Marilyn Ewin as a reporter for the newsletter back in the early days. She also acknowledged the contribution made by Peter Stewart, a graphic designer, at that time.

Ingrid opened her presentation with some historical photos of Black Head Beach in 1959. A pharmacist, she mentioned founding the 3 Beaches Chemist in Diamond Beach in 1997, the application for which was lodged in 1989 when the population was 1,500 people. The pharmacy later moved to what is now the Post Office and then onto the present location in 2004. She sold the pharmacy in 2011, following which she started the newsletter and worked as a consultant pharmacist.

The original publication was 8-pages in black and white. Ingrid assumed responsibility for editing and Claire Dunn took over distribution in 2012, and continues in this role today. As operations moved forward, it was recognised that there was a need for insurance, and this is when the Lions Club became involved. John Finnie filled in when Ingrid went travelling and eventually took over the reins of editor in 2015.

Ingrid again became involved in early 2023 when John Finnie indicated at the end of 2022 his desire to no longer continue in the role of editor. She described the content of the present issues, with local news, advertising, media releases, etc.

She indicated her desire to get more people involved and to rotate responsibilities. She outlined the many ways people can help (published on p.2 of the April issue), with the best way to help being to find news and email it to [email protected].

March 2023

AGM and 20th Anniversary celebration - see write-up under Meetings and 20th Anniversary.

February 2023 Heidi Fede


The guest speaker was Heidi Fede, Corporate Communications Manager, Valley Industries, who spoke to her subject ‘My Life is Fantastic’. 

Heidi played the video of the TV commercial currently running on 9NBN about one of their employees, Alyssa Broome, who features in the footage. Heide explained that the title she chose for the presentation is one of Alyssa’s favourite sayings.

Alyssa lives in a shared home and works in the canteen at Valley Industries. She has worked there for 14 years, reports having made some good friends and loves living in the shared house. The company has such 28 shared homes in Taree and Forster, each with 2-3 people. Another favourite saying is, ‘I’m moving on with my life and feeling very happy’.

Valley Industries now has 520 employees across 28 different business enterprises, having commenced business in 1971 with 3 employees. The first factory was a timberyard in Taree that fabricated pallets. 125 of those 520 employees are people with disabilities. One of the businesses is Valley Grounds Care which commenced in 1988, undertaking property care and maintenance from Tea Gardens to Kew.

December 2022 Christmas Musical Program

A musical program directed by President Lynette Hester replaced the guest speaker.

November 2022 Heather Mclaughlin

Guest speaker, Heather McLaughlin then took the microphone and introduced her subject, ‘Effective Altruism - Doing Good Better’. Heather explained her own approach to giving, a two-pronged process of donating to good causes and micro-lending. The underlying principle in both of these cases is ‘don’t just give with the heart, give with the head’. Many years ago, she decided that she would give a minimum of 10% of her modest income to others by way of donations and small-loan lending, likening it to tithing in some Christian and Jewish churches. While some people would consider 10% of income to be a significant financial burden, she pondered that most of us could afford to donate 1% of income.

Heather explained that she follows principles outlined by the authors of several books on the subject that she had available at the meeting, such as ‘The How and Why of Effective Altruism’ by Peter Singer, a Melbourne-based author acknowledged as being the founder of the effective altruism movement in Australia, also on YouTube.

She directed members’ attention to a couple of websites to assist in making appropriate donations, such as and for micro-lending,, make a loan, change a life.     

October 2022 Mathew Bell

Mathew Bell, Senior Ecologist at MidCoast Council, spoke on Koala ecology and conservation in the Midcoast Region with the assistance of a slide presentation. After first acknowledging the traditional owners, he outlined the work Council is undertaking to build koala numbers that were devastated by hunting in the late 1800s for the procurement of their pelts. Koalas were declared an endangered species nationally in 2022. The primary threats to koalas are loss of habitat, disease (esp. chlamydia), vehicles, dogs, cattle, shooting, bushfires and heatwaves/drought. There were big losses in the 2019 bushfires.

Mat indicated that conservation efforts need to protect/enhance existing habitat, create new habitat, prevent/manage threats and manage stress in the animals. Koala numbers are highest around Tinonee in the MidCoast region, for reasons unknown. There are five sites in the Hallidays Point area where koalas have been known to frequent, with a crossing point on Black Head Road between Diamond Beach Road and the Tallwoods roundabout, but the animals here were under stress and numbers were declining. Mat encouraged local residents to report any koala sightings by email to MidCoast Council ([email protected]) and report any sick, injured or dead koalas to Koalas in Care on 0439 406 770.

September 2022 Michael Tartt

Guest speaker, Michael Tartt, Prop. Tartt Café in Wharf Street, Forster, took us through the history of the human race’s indulgence with coffee. This commenced with Ethiopian goat herders over 1,000 years ago, who discovered the wonders of the coffee bean while eating the berries that contain the beans. The beans were traded to Persia, Egypt and Turkey, and coffee houses appeared at the end of 1500s. The first wave in the modern era commenced in 1960s when coffee consumption took off around the world, at which time, coffee was simply coffee. The second wave came in 1990s with the emergence of specialist coffee chains such as Starbucks and Gloria Jeans, who were instrumental in the further promotion of the product. We are now in the third wave in which it has been recognised that not all coffees are the same and different flavours are being developed, with ethical sourcing and sustainability playing an increasingly important role. Michael invited members to sample different coffee flavours as they departed.

August 2022 Russell Smith

Our own new member Russell Smith gave an inspiring presentation on the Hope, Strength and Joy that the Make a Wish Australia organisation provides to seriously ill children and their families. 37 years in Australia after commencement in the USA 42 years ago. 900 volunteers in 60 communities without government assistance, so fundraising vital for its survival. 10,000 wishes granted since 1985 with 800 children currently on the list. Hallidays Point is now a sub-branch of the Port Macquarie branch.

Secretary John thanked Russell and spoke of his grand niece having been a recipient in meeting members of the Australian Ballet at the Sydney Opera House as her wish, with all the family treated too.

July 2022

Elvis Antics with Lynette Hester and Elvis Quintet (singers from choir).

June 2022

Antics Road Shoo? A skit featuring Jack McDonald, Robin Billings, Norm & Allison Maberly-Smith.

May 2022 John Edstein OAM, assisted by Dr Bruce White


Guest speaker, local surfing legend John Edstein OAM, ably assisted by current Surf Club President, Dr Bruce White, took the audience through nearly 100 years of history of the Black Head Surf Life Saving Club (established 1925), most of it from memory but using old photos (managed by Bruce) on occasions for further illustration purposes. John has over 70 years involvement with the club, received his first certificate, the Qualifiers Certificate, in 1953, and was awarded the OAM by Her Excellency, the Governor of NSW, Marie Bashir AC, in 2005 for services to lifesaving and the community of Greater Taree. He is also a Life Member of the club and Surf Life Saving Australia.  

The very proud history is summarised as follows:

  • Original club premises were separate male and female timber-framed buildings located on the sand dunes north of the existing footbridge over Black Head Lagoon
  • A tripod platform made from scaffolding materials was used as a shark spotting tower (drones, and to a lesser extent, helicopters, are now performing this role)
  • The surf reel was the main item of equipment used for rescue in the early days, with early models a hazard in themselves
  • There was no such thing as grants way back then and club members physically dug the foundations for the original footprint of the building on the existing site
  • The trusses in the main reception room were supplied by Machin’s Mill at Wingham, which is still operating today
  • The original surf rescue boat of timber construction, was taken illicitly on occasions by some unscrupulous individuals to go fishing
  • Women were once banned from club membership but the club now relies more on female members than ever before
  • March past teams and surf carnivals were once held at Black Head, but these have been consigned to the history books, and are now only held by the bigger clubs
  • The club is indebted to current President, Dr Bruce White, who, among other things, has become an ‘expert’ at chasing government money
  • In the early days, ‘nippers’ (now ‘juniors’) were treated as a child-minding opportunity by parents. This has now changed with families heavily involved in all club activities
  • Modern surf rescue is now performed using rescue boards, surf boards, jet skis and diesel-powered boats
  • The current clubhouse is fully solar powered with batteries and is largely self-sufficient
  • The surf clubhouse is the best place in the district to shelter from fires due to its safe location on the beach
  • The current club has 150 members and 70 juniors, but it hasn’t always been this strong
  • Club officers often get asked why don’t they patrol Diamond Beach with lifesavers. John indicated that Diamond Beach is a long, dangerous beach and that he wouldn’t surf there on his own. Bruce added that Black Head is a much safer beach due to its location between the headlands, and the club did not want to put lifesavers at unnecessary risk – it is much simpler for swimmers/surfers to go to Black Head Beach than for the club to try and provide for safe swimming at Diamond Beach

April 2022 Tomothy Ohl

The invited guest presentation was a performance and discussion by local performing artist Timothy Ohl titled: Effecting Sound Waves to Affect the Body.  Timothy used three perspex pyramids and a varied range of sound and other associated equipment to demonstrate the impact of sound waves on the human body. The performance commenced with Timothy seated inside the larger of the three pyramids, using his equipment to set in motion a series of sound waves and vibrations.

These sounds continued when he exited the pyramid, the sound having been absorbed into his own body resulting in a transformed state that led to an unusual dance routine. In the discussion that followed, some members of the audience acknowledged that they could feel the vibrations. Timothy indicated that he was on a path of discovery, looking into the effect of different sound frequencies on the body, with the longer-term objective of investigating the healing properties of sound and vibration.

February 2022 John Finnie

Guest speaker, John Finnie, spoke briefly of his life before Hallidays Point. He was born in Scotland, was married to his wife Lyn in the UK in 1972 (50 years ago last Saturday!), came to Australia in 1975, worked in real estate in Sydney before moving to Taree for a 'sea' change in 1989. He opened a Ray White real estate franchise at Hallidays Point, to compliment one already operating at Diamond Beach, and was involved in land sales associated with many subdivisions and developments throughout the area. He retired in 2012 to receive treatment for a melanoma which was diagnosed a year earlier, which treatment had a successful outcome. He first joined the Lions Club in Taree in 1993, so now has 29 years with this service club. He became involved with NoOW in 2013 when he took over as editor from fellow Lion, Ingrid Horsman. He finished with a look at the NoOW website that he created displayed on the screen.