2023 Social Activity Stories

Christmas Lunch

Our member’s Christmas lunch was held on Thursday 7th December, for the first time at
Club Lambton (Lambton Bowling Club) with a roll-up of 47 participants.

A wish from a number of members to move from a buffet style of lunch to a ‘sit-down’ meal
with table service saw a change of venue this year. Apart from Club Lambton being able to
offer such a service, it gave our Club an opportunity to repay the generous offer of space and
other facilities afforded it to continue with many of our classes, committee meetings etc. A
bright and sunny day saw a continuous stream of members rolling in for this last social event
for 2023. With plenty of space between tables to enable easy mingling, it wasn’t long before
animated conversations were springing up from all points of our allocated ‘room’, tempered
only by the speedy delivery of the set menu meals. From all reports, the meals received ‘a
tick of approval’ and I’m sure no one would have left this function hungry.

A special mention must be made to our Secretary, Wendy Smith, who was a tremendous help
in liaising with and helping Club staff with the room set-up. She also arranged the table
decorations and lolly bags, so thanks heaps Wendy.

President Barry Keen concluded proceedings by firstly thanking those Tutors and other
members who, through the past year had made the classes ‘work’ despite operating from 3
different premises. He also thanked those attending and wished all and sundry Seasons
Greetings for the rest of the holiday period and looked forward to starting again next year.

From the ‘Social Department’, both Beryl and I would like to especially thank those members
who supported our various activities throughout the year and wish all members a Safe and
Merry Christmas/New Year period and look forward to catching up in 2024.

Brenton Elsey
Social Secretary

November – Hunter Wetlands

On Friday 10th November and under the threat of showers (according to the so-called experts), 15 members visited the Hunter Wetlands at Shortland.

A morning tea/meet-up at the Centre’s Spoonbill Café saw old and newer members enjoying replenishing ‘tanks and tummies,’ along with checking photographic equipment of all descriptions. President Barry then handed out instructions for suggested topics to photograph while walking the many tracks and trails of this wonderful establishment where conservation, discovery, and education meet.

With the sun now shining and little threat of rain, the group made their way heading off in different directions along the many hard surfaced tracks and trails, all the time on the lookout for ‘that shot’ to comply with Barry’s suggestions. First up was feeding time at the ‘home base’ BHP Pond (one of the many ponds and swamps scattered throughout this establishment). This activity saw mainly Magpie Geese hungrily tucking in before cruising off in the pond. It was unfortunate that whilst there, and indeed at many of the other ponds and marsh areas, there was scant flying activity happening which was a little disappointing. However, many other localities, including the Moorhen Swamp, Bush Tucker Garden, Egret Tower, Water Ribbon Pond Hide and the Reed Marsh to mention just a few, provided many interesting items to investigate, ably supported by factual information boards. An interesting addition was the Open Air Chappel which has seen the odd wedding or two.

Back at the Visitor Centre, it was time to catch our breath, inspect the various inside displays and compare notes. While some members had to then leave for various reasons, most stayed on to enjoy lunch, overlooking the extensive grounds and no doubt enjoying each other’s company.Brenton Elsey

May – Marine Rescue Headquarters

A fine day beckoned on Friday 26th May as 15 members met up on Swansea Heads for an
inspection of the Marine Rescue Headquarters, Lake Macquarie Division.
Our Tour Guide, Mr. Jim Wright (Unit Commander) met us in the grounds and gave the
group an overview of the Unit’s operations, covering approx. 30klms out to sea and of
course, Lake Macquarie. The ratio of rescue callouts has generally been 80% lake and 20%
out to sea. He also advised that flood rescue was scheduled to be included in their operations
in the future.
We then split into 2 groups, Jim taking one group into the ground floor training room for a
short promotional video. He then discussed some of the different types of rescues carried out,
the current fleet details and showed us around the other areas, including some historic photos
of the earlier facilities. The current building and facilities were constructed approx.. 2 years
ago and are a huge improvement, with state-of-the-art communications systems, essential for
the activities carried out there. Meanwhile, the second group, led by Jim’s wife, Zoe (also a
senior active volunteer) was taken upstairs to the operations centre where magnificent
sweeping views were evident of the coastline in both directions, the Lake’s entrance and in
towards the Swansea bridge. Here, a bevy of computers, monitors, 2-way radio systems and
maps/charts etc. were in place to enable those volunteers on duty to carry out these most
important tasks of monitoring all marine traffic and coordinate any necessary rescue
operations as and when required. The 2 groups then swapped places so all could experience
just what these great people do, especially as they are all volunteers and the station is manned
24/7. At the end of the tours, the 2 groups met back in the Training room for a coffee while
Jim and Zoe answered numerous questions, reflecting the interest shown by many of those
members present. President Barry Keen, on behalf of ComputerPals then presented to Jim a
donation cheque for $100 to Marine Rescue which was gratefully accepted.
We were then ready to depart. However, a rather savage storm had just begun with strong
winds, heavy rain and hail meaning the group had a rather scattered departure, some going on
to the Swansea RSL Club for lunch while others headed for the safety of home. To those
attending, whether ‘boaties” or not, I’m sure all would agree that it was a most enlightening
visit to an organisation most worthy of the support of the public at large.
Brenton Elsey

March – Museum of Art & Culture

Our first social outing for 2023 was to the Museum of Art & Culture (Lake Mac Art Gallery
in a previous life) at Booragul, where 16 members attended.
With M/Tea first on the agenda, those present were able to catch up, discuss ‘anything and
everything’ over a cuppa and some tasty eats before moving to the gallery. The exhibition
currently showing comprised of works by school children, with paintings, drawings and
photographs on a wide range of topics. The standard was excellent, many of these budding
artists displaying talent well beyond their years. With the outside temperature steadily rising,
it was definitely the place to be, and only a few braved the hot sun to briefly inspect a few of
the sculptures present on the grounds surrounding MAC.
As noted previously, the original destination for this outing was to be to the Marine Rescue
HQ at Swansea, but had to be cancelled due to a LMCC roadwork programme. It is envisaged
we will arrange this destination at another time soon.