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January 2016 - Ambre Hammond

Ambre talked of her life and how her career as a concert pianist evolved.

February 2016 - Peter Fowler - Computer Pals for Seniors

Peter gave some insight on email providers and Windows 10

April 2016 - Rhonda Alexander with Robyn Elliott and Helen Lowe

Rhonda Alexander, who spoke to us in April 2016 is employed by St John Ambulance and is also a volunteer with the Order of St John--which provides first aid, health care and support services to the community.

Rhonda's talk covered the areas of Resuscitation, Heart Attacks, Stroke, Burns and Snake Bite. Some practical demonstration of relevant techniques was also incorporated into the presentation which was generally delivered in everyday terms.

Rhonda's presentation was appreciated by Probians in attendance and she was thanked by Robyn Elliott on our behalf.


May 2016 - Andrew Tink with Helen Lowe and Peter Lozan

Andrew Tink was our guest speaker on 24 May. He talked about his latest book--Australia 1901--2001, a narrative history. He is a former NSW State Parliamentarian who is now an acknowledged historian.

Andrew's book tells the story of Australia in the 20th Century from Federation to the Sydney 2000 Olympics. He links a number of key events to portray a century marked by the trauma of war and the despair of the Depression balance by extraordinary achievements in sport, science and the arts. It is driven by people from Prime Ministers through soldiers, shop keepers, singers, footballers, athletes and farmers--both men and women. Whether they be Australian born, immigrant or aboriginal, they are and should all be Australian.

Andrew's book is an interesting read and his presentation entertainingly covered some of the highlights.


June 2016 - Hans Rupp with Brian Godwin

Retired Detective Inspector Hans Rupp was our guest speaker on 28 June. Hans career with the NSW Police Force covered some 41 years until retirement in 2015. He spent a significant part of his later career with the Homicide Squad.

Hans presented some interesting graphs on the declining murder rate in NSW over the past 50 years. This decline is in both aggregate and percentage of population terms. Knife attacks heavily outweighed shootings in these statistics. Hans spoke about his leadership of the investigation of a number of murders including double and triple murders. These investigations also sadly covered the murder of three serving police officers.

He also had first hand experience with the Granville train disaster where 83 people died and many more injured in the 1977 railway bridge collapse and related some of the harrowing aspects of the day.

Whilst Hans's subject covered the more tragic side of life, his presentation was warmly received by all present and a return visit would be most welcome.


July 2016 - Matthew Fischer OAM with Ray Gallagher and Olga Gluhin

Professor Fisher was our guest speaker on 26 July. He is presently the CEO of the Chiropractors Association Of Australia. Prior to this Matthew was the CEO of Dentistry NSW for 13 years. He spoke generally on the Australian Health System and leadership challenges in this environment; sprinkling his comments with anecdotes from his own experiences through his initial university studies of nutrition and related sciences and his subsequent working life, including post graduate studies.

Matthew also spoke on the changing nature of communication in the modern world and how it affects individual interaction not only in the interpersonal space but also with professional relationships. This in turn affects how professional bodies such as the ones that he has represented deal effectively with their members and the public at large. He stressed that anyone seeking professional support in any discipline should always consider enuring that a selected professional is held in good standing by their relevant association.

It was a thought provoking talk which provided a number of audience questions on the day.


August 2016 - Debra and Tony Vermeer with Helen Lowe

Tony and Debra are both journalists with a wealth of news experience. Tony is presently the Director of News for News Local (our local News Ltd papers) and Debra currently runs a freelance news business dealing with church and not for profit communications.

Both have worked in the Press Gallery at Parliament House Canberra and told some interesting and at time, amusing anecdotes from this period of work. Debra also had coverage of Royal Visits and related how she got ahead of the pack in reporting some occurrences.

In general, they spoke of how journalism has worked in the past and the challenges facing the profession in this 24/7 internet age. Both lamented the decline in journalistic standards caused by this need to meet the instantaneous news cycle. Cut and paste has become a byword which negates the essential need to check ones work and sources before publication. The print media as we have known it is in steady decline.

A most enjoyable session with both speakers being frank and humorous at the same time.



September 2016 - Chris Jobson

Chris is an ambassador for the Prostate Cancer Foundation who spoke about the prevention and early detection of Prostate cancer. He came to his present position following his own diagnosis of Prostate cancer at 50 years of age. Fortunately the early detection of the tumour and removal of his Prostate Gland has led to no recurrence of cancer. His operation took place 6 years ago.

Chris discussed the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test which identifies prostate problems. Unfortunately this test is not cancer specific and its results can indicate a number of things from infection through benign growth to possible cancer. Chris noted that prostate problems are common in older men and he implored men in the audience as well as their partners to not ignore any symptoms at all and be guided by their GP on appropriate action. Additionally, the Prostate Cancer Foundation has a web-site and a number of publications which provide good information. Support groups also are available to assist men affected by prostate cancer.  This information is at

The overall message is that vigilance and early action can lead to early detection and good outcomes.



October 2016 - Sally Williams, Travel Consultant

Sally is a Travel Consultant with three decades experience in the industry. Her talk was along general lines on a number of important travel related issues.

Sally spoke about the need to properly plan any holiday including the advantages of using an experienced agent who can advise on how to meet specific needs and devise an appropriate itinerary within a client's budget. Such planning would include consideration of travel products/packages which meet needs and budget. An agent may then be able to tailor some products to further fine tune a holiday.

Sally discussed common interest tours e.g. sporting, gardening, cultural and the like. Some discussion also took place on airline scheduling and pricing so that members had a better idea of why things happen in the airline industry.

The essential need for appropriate to needs travel insurance was stressed including coverage of individual medication needs. Also matters such as pre booking accommodation, particularly in peak season as well as general issues such as passports/visas, security. phones and tablets.

Overall, this was a lively session which was appreciated by all.



November 2016 - Matthew Dunn OAM

During November we had the pleasure of hearing Matthew Dunn give us some visibility of the life of an Olympic swimmer and the dedication, sacrifice and commitment required to reach the pinnacle of sport. Matt is a three time Olympian, a former World record holder and is currently a board member of FINA, the world body controlling aquatic disciplines including swimming.

Matt spoke of his grass roots start in Leeton NSW and his move to Sydney for high school education and swimming training. Matt ultimately trained at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra under Gennady Touretski. His training partners included Michael Klim Clementine Stoney and famed Russian sprinter, Alex Popov. All of these swimmers were able to achieve Olympic and/or world championship medals. He gave us some insight into Touretski's  methods which constantly sought to find the edge through improving technique. It became clear that Matt's longevity in the sport was in large part helped by this more personalised training regime.

Matt met his wife who represented Iceland in swimming at an earlier championship and they conducted a long range romance for some time. His wife and family of three boys are in Australia and she practices as a doctor.

Matt also spoke of his commitment to sport and the Olympic movement post his swimming career and proved that he is a shining example of the Olympic spirit.


December 2016 - Joanne Boike

Joanne spoke to us at our December meeting which was just before Christmas and we were grateful for her time, in the circumstances. Joanne has had 16 years experience in the retirement industry and is currently the Business Development Manager for Cranbrook Care---Cranbrook Residences at Kellyville.

Joanne spoke generally about the retirement industry and in particular, dealt with the different types of contractual arrangements which might be employed by different providers. She went into a little detail regarding initial costs and noted that ongoing maintenance or service costs are required. However, Joanne stressed  the positive aspects of community life for many people including friendship, common activities and the often diverse nature of village support services available to residents., She noted that retirement living for the over 55's was a steadily growing sector of the population.

Joanne gave some indication of pricing for 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units in her facility and made herself available for further enquiry after the meeting.

A very interesting presentation which certainly provided information which may have not been generally known by many of the attendees.