2023 Social Activity Stories

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.