19th October 2021


  • FROM THE LAST MEETING - 12th October





“Farming in a flash”
Gerard and Sabrina are Merino farmers, operating as the Woodbine Partnership at Balmoral, Victoria.
Their talk will take us through the multi-generation history of the Watt family on this property to the current challenges of running a progressive and profitable business in the industry. We will also learn about the recent changes in technology, hear of the best things about farming and living at Woodbine in the 21st century and some career highlights they have earned.
Sabrina grew up on a cattle ranch in Nevada and has worked in the U.S. Senate. Her life has centred on words. They were married and formed a business partnership in 1990.  Gerard has been involved in producing fine wool, lamb and mutton since 1974. He is a number-cruncher and a benchmarking evangelist.
They farm 2000 acres and run approximately 7,000 sheep in Western Victoria. Both are heavily involved in their community.



Opening the Meeting:
President Elias opened the meeting with Acknowledgement to Country
Chair Tom Callander proposed the toast to Rotary International
Guest Speaker: Ann Copeland
Researching family history at the State Library of  Victoria
Ann began with an acknowledgment of country.
An overview was provided with information about ‘how to’ when considering starting research, with an acknowledgement that many members present in today’s meeting have already started this
Family history is much more than names, dates of births and details on a family tree: it brings to life information about the stories of your family history.
Basic steps
  1. Start with yourself and work backwards
  2. Write down what you already know
  3. Talk to relatives
  4. Establish what you want to know – what is the aim (consider a focus - person, location, etc)
  5. Focus on what you want to find
  6. Identify and locate records
Be sure to check and verify facts of all the stories you identify – consider what records you need to mark a particular event. For each ancestor that you research, you are aiming to find information on a person performing a particular activity, in a specific place and time.
Ann encouraged members to consider becoming a State Library member. This provides access to all State Library Victoria resources – in person and online. The Library contains a dedicated Newspapers and Family History Reading Room. Librarians and technicians are on hand to help with your research and how to use the equipment available.
Resources include an extensive Newspaper collection (over 4,000 titles available on microfilm), Australian Electoral Rolls, Sands & McDougall Directories, Ship Passenger Lists 1839-1923 (assisted and unassisted), Ancestry Library Edition (home access is available until the end of 2021), FindMyPast, FamilySearch (free resource and can access from home), TROVE (free database), Newspaper databases,  and other e-resources including access to UK information. The La Trobe Reading room is full of fabulous resources with books that include information on locations, people, businesses etc. It's important to search the catalogue to see what’s available.
Manuscripts are available including diaries, letters, journals and fascinating information about the experiences of your ancestors and other people. There is an extensive pictures collection which contains a pictorial history of family, place, ship, and other related information that help to build a story (eg. church where people were married).  This can be viewed online and downloaded.  If copyright clearance required, advice is provided from support staff.
Over 100,000 maps are available in the collection including auction plans, MMBW plans, and an extensive collection of township, parish, and county plans – useful for finding out where ancestors lived.
Many family history records can be found in government records including the Victorian Registry of births, deaths, and marriages (1853 onwards); also hold parish records (1836-1853). These can provide the basic structure and backbone of a family tree. You can also access the National Archives of Australia which include passenger lists from 1924 onwards, military personnel records and dossiers, naturalisation and citizenship records (more details available next year relating to world wars).
The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) contains many excellent online resources via their website including passenger lists, will and probate records, prison registers, inquest records, divorce files, asylum records, state government occupational records. There are also a series of online research guides created by the Family History Librarians which can be accessed from home.
Assistance and support can also be accessed via an online chat service.
Questions for Ann as follows
  1. Mary Voice asked if it was possible to email questions through to Ann – David Jones to provide Mary with Ann’s email details. Question asked about citizens' projects associated with digitising – Ann advised that organisations which access grants do this work in collaboration and with support from the State Library, influenced by the needs of the Victorian public.
  2. Peter Duras raised a question about access to information resources on Commonwealth Winter Games.  Ann identified that TROVE focuses after 1954 due to copyright; Canberra Times and The Age may be more recent. This is controlled by National Libraries, and there is a card index that covers the 50s and 60s.
  3. Kevin Love asked a citizenship records question for British arrivals: is there a way to search for the 1920s?  Ann shared that the Victorian Ancestors Guide has a tab for naturalisation records, dates and their location (national archives).  The public can email enquiries and staff will do a look-up for you.
Ann advised the planned date for the library to reopen is 5th of November.
Members’ Milestones
Member Birthdays
Hon Member Marjorie Gerlinger 15th October
Partner Birthdays
Wedding Anniversaries
Hon Member Marjorie Gerlinger and Bernie [deceased] 15th October 1983 38 years
Rajesh Chawla and Anju 16th October 1991 30 years
Date Joined Rotary
Members’ Announcements
1. Rhys Williams reminded people that the 7 Women on-line movie event is being held on 19th October. Bookings are required – cost is $25 – see email for more information and plan to come along and bring your friends!
2. Frank O’Brien – highlighted that sausage sizzles have been going for 4 years raising over $65K. The story gets better! The Wesfarmers Annual Report 2021 includes an overview of Bunnings as one of their successful major subsidiaries: over 350 outlets are now in operation, building on from their first in Sunshine in 1994. Bunnings provide access for 51,000 community groups, raising $27.4M through activities, pre-COVID this was over $50M annually, approaching $1B over the life of the organisation.  An outstanding contribution as a corporate citizen and Frank highlighted the impact Bunnings has on Rotary Central Melbourne – and beyond.
President's Announcements
1. Thank you, Ann, for joining us and for your wonderful presentation
2. Thanks to Michelle for the reminder of the importance and significance of mental health and the importance of lifting the lid on mental illness. It is wonderful that this club offers support and people feel comfortable with each other – please reach out to each other if you need to talk to someone and need support. Don’t be afraid to reach out. (Note From Editor: Please see "October is Mental Health Month" in this bulletin.)
3. We will Remain on Zoom meetings until we are clearer about face-to-face meetings at the RACV Club, most likely until at least the end of November.
4. The Paul Harris Foundation Breakfast on 23rd November will be an online event.
5. A Club Forum is planned for 7th  December which will allow an avenue for Service Chairs to provide progress updates on service activities to members.
6. Sonia Dhillon has indicated a desire to become a member.
7. An invitation is extended to all club members to join the Board Meeting next week – please let Paul Fowler know if you’re interested and need more detail.
8. The Polio Movie Event on 2nd December 2021 is a very popular way for clubs to raise funds for End Polio Now. It’s also a great opportunity for people in our communities to have some fun together.  With lockdowns in so many parts of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, the pent-up demand for a fun event is stronger than ever.
A reminder that the Guest Speakers for the 19th October 2021 meeting are Sabrina and Gerad Watt: Farming in a flash
Gerard and Sabrina are Merino farmers, operating as the Woodbine Partnership at Balmoral, Victoria. (Note From Editor: Please refer to "NEXT MEETING", above)
During this month Rotarians are encouraged to LIFT THE LID and raise funds for Rotary Health.  RCM is directing funds raised through our October Raffle to Lift the Lid – many thanks to Rob Hines and the fundraising committee for their support.
The Lift the Lid campaign, founded by ARH Vice Chairman Greg Ross, started in 2016 in partnership with Rotary Clubs of Victoria. The event was such a success that it has now been extended to all Rotary Clubs across Australia as an annual event.  To find out more, visit -
You can join the conversation on social media via @LiftTheLidEvent #Liftthelidonmentalillness #HatDay21
We know that the pandemic has exacerbated poor mental health and Australia’s statistics prior to the current situation show that:


Rotary Walk with Us to End Polio

Following a very successful event in 2020 Rotarians, friends and the community are encouraged once again to take action from October 1st to 31st to raise awareness, funds, and support to end poliomyelitis, a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens the children of the world today. As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary worldwide has helped to reduce polio cases from an average of 1000 cases per day in 1987 to a total of only 140 cases in 2020, a 99.9% reduction.


RCM Virtual Dinner Date
Sharing good food (from Fairfeed), great company and camaraderie - no pandemic will stop us! An intimate band of revellers brought some welcome bonhomie and fun times to a remote gathering.


Voluntary contributions

To everyone that has made or intends to make a donation towards club projects, thank you!

If you are in a position to make a donation or even a series of weekly donations please

arrange to transfer those funds directly to the club bank account with the reference “Donation”.

Bank Account Details:

BSB 033-000:  Account number: 791085

Thank you for your support!


Chair - Tom Callander
Guest Speaker - Ann Copeland
President - Elias Lebbos
Allan Driver
Michelle Crawford
Mary Voice
Adele le Roux

Meeting Responsibilities

Greeter/Zoom Host
KING, Anne
Bulletin Editor
Social Media
LIM, Daniel
Oct 26, 2021 7:40 AM
Living with Polio
Nov 09, 2021 7:40 AM
Taking action on climate: systems-change perspectives
Nov 16, 2021 7:40 AM
Rotary and Institute of Economics and Peace strategic relationship
View entire list
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