15 December 2020 - Crows Nest Centre Update 

Speaker - Denise Ward 

The Crows Nest Centre is recognised as a premier provider of quality community services and as a place at the heart of a vibrant connected community. The Crows Nest Centre exists to provide & facilitate quality community programs & services that connect the community, to sustain community wellbeing and reduce social isolation.

The centre provides inclusive, responsive and accessible programs and services which contribute to and sustain community wellbeing, reduce social isolation and enhance the quality of life for people in the local community, focused primarily on the North Sydney Area.

Denise Ward (Executive officer of the Crows Nest Centre) will give us an update on the work of the Centre, which we have supported and helped fund over recent years.

12 January 2021  - 2020 Sydney to Hobart   

Speaker - Lyndsay May  

Lindsay May competed in his 48th consecutive Sydney Hobart Yacht Race last December. A record for consecutive races.  He navigated the classic 73 foot yawl Kialoa II (the line honours winner in 1971) 

The 2018 edition was a straight forward Hobart with nor easterly breezes down the NSW and Tassie coast but at the bottom of Tasmania some of the yachts including Kialoa were battered with 60 knot gusts.

Lindsay will give an overview of the race illustrated by spectacular photographs from some of yachting’s best photographers.

26 January 2021 - Special Children’s Services Centre (SCSC)   

John Zhang   

John Zhang is President of the management committee of the SCSC and will speak about the centre, its history and its work.

For more than ten years, the SCSC has been supporting people with intellectual disabilities, their families and carers to take part in different activities for leading them to fulfilling lives.

In working with the participants and their families, the centre aims to

  • support their wellbeing by delivering a wide range of activities
  • maximise the ability of the participants and to realise their potential
  • support the participants in community participation
  • develop their daily living and social skills
  • support the parents and carers to cope with their demanding caring roles 
06 April 2021 - Medical Traumatic Stress in Children  

Prof Justin Kenardy   

What is Medical Traumatic Stress and what we can do about it.   It is a consequence of contact with health care by children and their families.  The traumatic stress emerges from the events surrounding the reasons for admission as well as the experiences of the child and their family during the admission. This can include procedures that are painful for the child and distressing for the parent.

In this talk Justin will describe the nature of medical traumatic stress including the prevalence, course and risk factors. He will also describe the work that his team is undertaking to prevent and reduce the impact of medical traumatic stress including in infants and toddlers.

Justin Kenardy is a Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland. He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia. He has been working in the area of the psychological impact of child and adult traumatic injury for many years. 

Previous Speakers

24 November 2020 - North Shore Trams 

Speaker - Ron Besdansky 

There was a time when trams were a common sight on the north shore.

Remember when you could travel anywhere on the tram network for just one shilling?

How did the network operate? How did the trams intertwine with the trains? And what led to the demise of this much loved form of public transport?

17 November 2020 - Fake News  

Speaker - Uma Patel 

People often blame disinformation and fake news on the companies that allow it to be shared and the governments that refuse to outlaw it.  However, as Uma has seen in her work, if everyday people give their eyeballs, clicks and money to trustworthy sources then the power of fake news would evaporate. 

Uma Patel is a management consultant who works for FT Strategies (which is part of the financial times). She specialises in news companies.  She previously worked as an ABC federal political reporter and Sky News New Zealand correspondent. 

Uma will speak about the role everyday people can play in stopping fake news. 

10 November 2020 - Women Sailors  

Noel Phelan  

Many women have now completed successful circumnavigations of the world, competed and won in the classic yacht races and won gold at the Olympics and Para Olympics.  Kay Cottee was the first woman to sail around the world, nonstop and single handed in 1987/88. Jessica Watson repeated the voyage in 2009/10.

These women faced many challenges including being rolled over, pitch poled, dismasted, knocked down, washed overboard and the loss of the keel or rudder. Both Kay and Jessica were knocked down several times with the mast and sails on the water surface; Kay was also washed overboard.

Age has not been a barrier. Jeanne Socrates completed two world circumnavigations at age 70 and 77. Laura Dekker at age 14 attempted the same only to be stopped by the Dutch authorities, but went on to do the voyage at 16.

Come along and hear the stories of many women sailors both Australian and other countries. Several have been inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame.

Noel Phelan's first career was as a science and mathematics teacher. He then moved into IT with IBM where he spent 25 years in various technical and management positions.  He has been a volunteer guide at the Maritime Museum for several years and enjoys showing visitors over HMAS Vampire, HMAS Advance, HMAS Onslow and First Lady. Noel is also the team leader for the museum speakers. 

3 November 2020 - A Vision for North Sydney 

Jeremy Dawkins 

Back in 2000, Jeremy Bingham offered a frank assessment of the North Sydney city centre: ‘It has no heart. It has no central point. It has no civic spaces. It has no style. It’s a mish-mash.’

Eighteen years later, the newly formed Committee for North Sydney described the city centre as little more than ‘an office park with through traffic’.

Never give up! The Committee for North Sydney is upbeat about the future of the North Sydney city centre. It recently released its strategic vision for North Sydney, called Five Big Ideas for the Future City Centre.

The Convenor of the Committee for North Sydney, Jeremy Dawkins, will speak about the role of the Committee, the imaginative ideas in the strategy, and how the Committee’s vision could be implemented.

The 24 members of the Committee for North Sydney — eminent academics and professional practitioners in the fields of architecture, urban design and urban planning, and local experts and community leaders, all North Sydney residents — set out to facilitate public and expert contributions to the progressive improvement of North Sydney, through policy debate, public conversations and urban planning and design. The Committee is supported by an independent, member-governed incorporated Association that anyone can join.

Jeremy Dawkins is a leading Australian urban planner who has combined hands-on planning practice with policy making, university teaching and research. He managed the revival of Fremantle at the time of the America’s Cup, and set up the NSW Government’s strategic management of Sydney Harbour at the time of the Sydney Olympic Games. He established and directed the Master of Planning program at UTS, and was executive Chairman of the Western Australian Planning Commission. He is Vice President of the International Society of City and Regional Planners.

 see https://committeefornorthsydney.org.au/ for more info

27 October 2020 - North Sydney Council Insights

Ian Mutton  

Ian was elected to North Sydney Council in 2017 and he will provide insight into his experiences starting from the election campaign. 

Once elected, he realised that popularism is a powerful decision driver – he will comment on how this played out when dealing with

  • Revenue falling short of the cost of the services being demanded.
  • The divisiveness that comes from 4 years of community consultations in the context of deciding the future for the Olympic Pool.
  • Ever increasing pressure from the State Government to increase population density and the pushback from the community.
  • Pressure to repurpose public open space.
  • The limited utility of a property portfolio accumulated over the years.

Ian Mutton is a North Sydney councillor.  He has been heavily engaged with the protection of community assets. He is a driver behind:

  • The Sydney Harbour Highline project
  • Making Wendy’s Secret Garden permanent
  • Protecting Luna Park and securing its future

Ian is also the practice director of a Sydney based law firm specialising in contract related matters and competition and product liability laws.

20 October 2020 - Club Forum 

At our Club Forum we will discuss our current program and causes we wish to support in the future. In doing so, we shall bear in mind our Club goals. Please bring along your ideas, suggestions and proposals – the more the better! 

The agenda will include  

  • Finances
  • Rotary Foundation
  • Club service including the Speaker program
  • Fundraising
  • Public relations including Web site and Facebook
  • Community
  • Youth
  • Any other general business

 Guests are always welcome.

13 October 2020 - Healing Your Life 

Marshall Dunn 

Marshall Dunn is a Spiritual Healer & Guide, Meditation Teacher and Author of the book Letters to Mitch: The Healing Power of Grief, Love & Truth and host of Marshall Dunn’s Soul Hour Podcast. After the suicide of his elder brother in 2002, Marshall underwent a spiritual awakening, which opened a door for his Greater Destiny to reveal itself. Now with over 15 years of meditation & healing experience and a Master's Degree in Psychology, Spirituality & Mind-Body Practice from Columbia University, Marshall has delivered his grounded, healing wisdom to the likes of Universal Music Group (UMG), Barclays, Acast, Slyp, WeWork, L&A Social, along with reputable private schools in Sydney such as Loreto Kirribilli and Chevalier College. 

Accessing The Intelligence, Wisdom & Peace Of The Heart

In this talk, Marshall Dunn invites people to drop into the essence of what it means to be a Human Being, through a connection with one's heart. Drawing upon science, spirituality and direct experience, Marshall will explore why now more than ever, the most powerful way to peace in our world, starts deep within us. 


  • Why the Heart "knows" and how to access it's intelligence to handle challenge with more grace and ease.
  • The power of coherence when the head and heart are working in alignment.
  • Why your Heart has the ability to heal and release core wounds, limitations, entanglements and attachments - and how you can start healing your life now.
06 October 2020 - Children's books 

Speaker - Karen Hendriks 

Karen Hendriks is a children’s author who lives on the South Coast of New South Wales.  Her debut picture books “Go Away, Foxy Foxy” and “Feathers” were released this year.  Karen is a Books in Homes ambassador and a trained literacy specialist with a teaching background. She is also a moderator for Creative Kids Tales, an online site for children’s writers and illustrators.

Karen will talk about her life journey:

  • Starting with university where she was unable to get into the Children’s Writing elective but in Language Learning was required to write a short story. She will also talk about The Book Gangmangang that she was involved with. 
  • Teaching and picture books and becoming a Reading Recovery Teacher and what she learnt about children and reading - also about socio economically disadvantaged students.
  • Her illness which was the call to action to finally pursue her dream and start writing. Overcoming fear and self doubt and pushing through to pursue writing.
  • Her writing journey and the stories behind “Go Away, Foxy Foxy” and “Feathers”. These are very different and have different inspirations.

29 September 2020 - Finders Distillery 

Speaker - Kyle Ford 

Kyle will go through the story of how he & Georgia came to start a distillery in St Leonards and run through how they make their spirits. He will show the distillation equipment and run through its operation.

Kyle and Georgia have both enjoyed successful careers in their fields. Kyle learnt his trade in engineering with the Australian Airforce and went on to spend 10 years working on military aircraft. Georgia started her career as a buyer in women’s fashion and later moved into the alcohol industry.  In 2016 Kyle and Georgia resigned from their jobs, sold almost everything they owned and set off on a two year, around the world trip. Whilst travelling there seemed to be a common occurrence; visiting distilleries and trying local produce. The idea for Finders Distillery was born.

This little distillery is housed in an industrial unit in St Leonards, on Sydney's North Shore. It is at this location that every bottle of Finders Distillery product is produced.

They use a 300L copper pot still and create each batch individually. They run all of their ingredients in a single distillation, using an exact quantity of each ingredient to produce the perfect taste. They dilute the spirit to drinking strength using water that has been through a multi-stage filtration system. They then bottle, seal, label and package all products by hand, under the same roof.

22 Sept 2020 - Water Management in NSW 

Speaker - Clay Preshaw 

In 1998, Sydney faced an unprecedented water crisis due to a suspected contamination by cryptosporidium and giardia. This led to the formation of the Sydney Catchment Authority, which took over Sydney’s catchment and dams from Sydney Water. 

The Sydney Catchment Authority is now part of WaterNSW, which manages and operates 42 water dams across NSW. WaterNSW is responsible for supplying water to two-thirds of the NSW population and continues to face a variety of significant challenges, including drought, climate change and population growth.

Clay Preshaw works as the Head of Catchment Protection at WaterNSW, and leads a group that is responsible for protecting the source of Sydney’s water supply. He will explore a broad range of water management issues in NSW, including the 1998 Sydney Water Crisis, the ‘multi-barrier approach’ to water supply, the recent drought response, and future water infrastructure projects.

Clay is a town planner and lawyer and has previously worked in various environmental planning roles within NSW and overseas. 

15 September 2020 - The Digital Evolution & Seniors 

Speaker Julian Wee

In a world where a human generation is now averaging over 30 years, and at the same time, the digital world generation is shortening to 4 years, what are some of the implications, especially in relation to the senior population? Julian Wee from Seniors.Rocks will share his findings, and propose a model to address some of the potential and incumbent challenges.”

Julian is the founder and managing partner of Seniors.Rocks, a social enterprise focused on the digital (online) well-being of the seniors population. Previously, Julian held a number of leadership roles in Australia and global regions. His last industry role was as Group CIO for IBM’s Growth Market Unit.  After more than 3 decades in the IT industry and facing a choice of where to call home, the time was ripe to redirect his energy onto his passion for better social outcomes.  In particular his experiences with the seniors population.  Julian has also served on a number of industry boards in Australia and abroad. Including Deakin University (VIC), and The Smith Family. 

08 September 2020 - Human & Hope

Sally Hetherington 

Sally Hetherington lived in Cambodia from 2011 - 2017. Seeing the unintended consequences of voluntourism, she teamed up with Human and Hope Association (HHA), a nightly English school at the time, to develop it into a reputable community centre.  Working as Operations Manager, Sally was responsible for implementing new programs addressing social issues, fundraising, logistics, mentoring and training the staff and ensuring the organisation's long-term future. Sally overcame countless obstacles, but the biggest lesson she learnt was that for sustainable change to happen, locals needed to be leading organisations.

As a result of Sally's empowering approach to development, she successfully made herself redundant, leaving HHA to be entirely run by local staff. Sally is the CEO of Human and Hope Association Inc, a registered charity in Australia that raises funds for Human and Hope Association to continue their poverty-alleviating programs.  Her manifesto, 'It's Not About Me' was published by Elephant House Press in 2019. Sally received an Order of Australia Medal at age 33.

Sally will talk about sustainable development, her journey as a young female building up a not-for-profit organisation, innovation and taking risk, and the unintended consequences of voluntourism.

To support her charity.

01 September 2020 - Real Estate in COVID world

David Gallin & Ben Markos

David & Ben will talk about  

  • The current market including sales and how these compare to previous years. Is it a buyers’ market or sellers’ market and why?
  • COVID19 and the effects it has had on residential and commercial property
  • What lies ahead in the lead up to 2021

Living locally, Ben has insight into the Lower North Shore lifestyle and has made lifelong connections during his time at SCECGS Redlands. Ben is highly motivated and thrives in an ever-changing environment. He is focused on providing clients with a comprehensive and successful real estate experience.

David is a director of the company and focuses on Kirribilli, Lavender Bay and McMahons Point with over 15 years of experience in the industry.  With a thorough knowledge of the many burrows that constitute the lower north shore.

11  August   2020 -  History of Pilot Boats

Noel Phelan

In the early 1800's pilots were rowed out from Watsons Bay to ships in a whaleboat with a crew of 4. Not only was this difficult and dangerous it was fiercely competitive. The signal station on South Head let the pilots know when a ship was approaching. In 1833 pilotage became compulsory for ships over 25 tons. The wreck of the SS Dunbar where there was only one survivor out of the 122 people on board and the following enquiry led to changes.

Three Captain Cook pilot boats served for over 60 years. These were large vessels of 500 tons and a length of 160 feet. They carried whaleboats that were rowed to the ships. The pilots boarded the ships by rope ladders.

Later versions of pilot boats were much smaller and came alongside ships to transfer pilots. The pilot boats today are purpose built and made in the UK - the St Brendan's class. They are capable of 26 knots and 55 feet in length with two 600 BHP engines. They are equipped with the latest in safety gear and navigational aids to operate in difficult conditions.

28 July 2020 - Allergies & anaphylaxix in Australia  

Trent Zimmerman  

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport has completed an inquiry into allergies and anaphylaxis in Australia.  The Chair of the Committee, Trent Zimmerman MP, said that allergies were seeing a rapid rise in Australia affecting more than four million Australians.

Some people experience a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Over the last 20 years, hospital admissions for anaphylaxis has increased five-fold and has a major impact for so many families, schools, and childcare centres.

While the cause of the increase in allergies remains uncertain, what is clear is that this is a phenomenon found primarily in wealthier western nations like Australia.

Severe allergies can be life threatening and this will be an important opportunity for the Parliament to shine a light on how we can better support those at risk.

Trent will talk about

  • Why allergies are rising.
  • Whats the current advice to help minimise allergies
  • What state and federal governments can do better to help allergy sufferers.
1 July  2020 - JP's in NSW 

Garry Wood 

Since retiring from a long sales and management career with IBM Australia, Garry Wood has been working with several not for profit organisations and keeping busy with property renovations. Garry was appointed a NSW Justice of the Peace in 2015 and is the President, Sydney Branch of the NSW Justices Association responsible for the 10 JP service desks across the City of Sydney state electorate.  The NSW Justices Association represents over 3500 volunteer JP’s across NSW and maintains over 130 service locations.  In addition, Garry is an active member of Marine Rescue NSW based at Middle Harbour. 

Garry will talk about  

  • the history of JP’s in Australia 
  • the role of JP’s in NSW
  • what is required to be a JP
  • how they are appointed and
  • where to find a JP in your area
30 June  2020 - Sydney Metro  

Neil Dix

Sydney Metro is Australia’s biggest public transport project.  Much has happened in the last year, with services started in May 2019 in the city’s North West, and the completion of tunnelling for the new metro railway between Chatswood and Marrickville.

This talk will provide an update on the Sydney Metro progress showing the latest highlights in the North Sydney area, including

  • work at the Victoria Cross Station sites and
  • Blues Point, and
  • giving a wider overview of the whole project.

Neil Dix –Communications Manager, Tunnel and Station Excavation, Sydney Metro Neil has managed communications and community activities on a range of infrastructure projects including the Northern Beaches B-Line, Kempsey Bypass and National Broadband Network rollout.

28 April 2020 - Dysphagia  

Speaker - Dijana Dragicevich

What is Dysphagia?  Dysphagia is derived from the Greek words phagia (to eat) and dys (with difficulty).  It is difficulty getting food from mouth to stomach.  Like breathing, swallowing is essential to everyday life. Humans swallow at between 500-700 times a day, around three times an hour during sleep, once per minute while awake and even more during meals.  Around one million Australians have a swallowing difficulty. Swallowing problems can occur at any stage of life. However, the knowledge of dysphagia and its implications remain largely unknown for most Australians.

Dijana’s talk will answer the following questions:

  • What is Dsyphagia
  • What causes of Dysphagia
  • What is the anatomy of swallowing
  • What is a Normal Swallow
  • What is an Abnormal Swallow
  • What can go wrong?
  • What are the Consequences of Dysphagia
  • What is her research
14 April 2020 - Nusa Tenggaar (Timor) update  

Speaker - Stephanie Heighes 

North Sydney Sunrise Rotary Club sponsored the Nusa Tenggara Music and Dance Festival in West Timor.  The presentation will cover

  • a Brief history of the NTA (Nusa Tenggara Association)
  • an update on the music festival
  • an update on what NTA is doing in response to covid19 in Flores and West Timor - educational awareness raising campaigns have been run with the local government and the ministry of health to educate people on covid19 in communities and schools. In schools the plan is to start a specific hygiene component with handwash-stations and general awareness raising 
  • Questions and Answers

Stephanie is a social Anthropologist from Switzerland.  She has been working for the Humanitarian Aid and Development Cooperation since 2004 and lived from 2007 to 2017 in Flores (NTT- Indonesia). She moved to Sydney in December 2017 with her Australian husband and their 2 children. She started working for NTA in June 2017.

04 February 2020  - NBN Rollout  

Speaker - Geeth Geeganage 

NBN Co was established in 2009 to design, build and operate Australia’s wholesale broadband access network. Underpinned by a purpose to connect Australia and bridge the digital divide, nbn’s key objective is to ensure all Australians have access to fast broadband as soon as possible, at affordable prices, and at least cost.

To achieve this objective, nbn has been structured as a wholesale-only, open-access broadband network. nbn provides services on its local access network on equivalent terms to retail phone and internet providers, to provision for end-user needs. This is intended to level the playing field in Australian telecommunications, creating real and vibrant competition within the industry and providing choice for consumers.

This presentation will include:

  • What is the nbn™?
  • How does it impact your fixed line phone and internet connections?
  • What do you need to do to get connected?
  • How to avoid scam calls related to nbn

Geeth Geeganage currently represents nbn as a community ambassador. In his role, he is responsible for having conversations with a wide variety of community groups so as to help them better understand the nuances of nbn roll out.

15 January 2019  - 2018 Sydney to Hobart   

Speaker - Lyndsay May  

Lindsay May competed in his 46th consecutive Sydney Hobart Yacht Race last December. A record for consecutive races.  He navigated the classic 73 foot yawl Kialoa II (the line honours winner in 1971) 

The 2018 edition was a straight forward Hobart with nor easterly breezes down the NSW and Tassie coast but at the bottom of Tasmania some of the yachts including Kialoa were battered with 60 knot gusts.

Lindsay will give an overview of the race illustrated by spectacular photographs from some of yachting’s best photographers.


The Club

We look forward to welcoming you.


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