Burrumbuttock Hay Runners Convoy
Burrumbuttock Hay Runners Convoy

Gregory Fyfe  was our fantastic guest speaker last week.  He spoke about his time with the Burrumbuttock Hay runners and their mercy run to Ilfracombe just near Longreach in Queensland.  The group organised hundreds of trucks and thousands of bales of hay to be delivered to the drought stricken area in northern Queensland. Based in Walbundrie, event organiser, Brenden Farrell has gained the support of the Australian public and completed 11 hay runs since 2014.  Initially funded by the Rotary club of Sydney the project has seen many other clubs and organisations jump on board with huge fundraising efforts around the country.  Events from concerts to head shaves have raised thousands of dollars and created huge public support for the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners.

Greg Fyfe telling us about his experience with the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners
Greg Fyfe telling us about his experience with the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners

Greg explained that the run was not only a great financial help for the local drought stricken farmers, but it was a fantastic moral booster.  The local towns were doing it tough and the run was as much about boosting and highlighting the mental health of the farmers as it was feeding their stock.  To find out more about the Burrumbuttock hay runners check them out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/burrumbuttockhayrunners/


George returns from Europe with a new perspective

Our guest speaker for last weeks meeting, George Holt is Head of Department, Information Technology, TAFE NSW Riverina Institute.

George Holt
George Holt

In 2015 George won a 2015 Premier’s TAFE Scholarship, and in April/May 2016 he travelled to Europe for a five week study tour of Finland and Austria gaining many new insights into education. In his words “he had the best time”.

The study tour included introductions, campus tours and conversations that helped George to better understand the Finnish and Austrian vocational educational systems.

He found that both Finland and Austria have incredibly professional systems where students receive excellent support from their teachers to prepare them for their careers. He was also very impressed by the partnerships between the business sector and campuses to ensure that students have the skills and knowledge to be successful.

As George said ”Study tours and exchange programs are a brilliant opportunity to open your eyes and see your own organisations strengths and weaknesses. This provides an opportunity to focus on positive steps to move forward. As I reflect back on my own experiences I can see steps that could make a huge improvement in the Australian VET sector.”


Murrumbidgee Rotary Club Changeover

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of the year again.  A huge congratulation to Jenny Lovekin for her outstanding year as President and good luck to Geraldine Rurenga for next year in the hot seat.

Saturday the 2nd July we will be holding our 9th Annual changeover dinner at the Mercure Grand ballroom. Tickets are only $45 per head and include a 2 course meal, Entertainmnet by Samantha Riordan and Matthew Garvie as well as a keynote speech by Mark Saddler. To book your ticket simply email lovekinjenny13@gmail.com before the 24th June.

Uranquinty man takes top prize!

Over the last couple of months the Murrumbidgee Rotary club has been feverishly selling raffle tickets raising much needed funds for the construction of a brand new Abbeyfield House right here in Wagga Wagga.

Almost $2000 was raised and will go directly the the construction of a new facility on the corner of Paul and Stanley St, Wagga.  Abbeyfield House is a not for profit, non denominational group home for people with physical and mental disabilities.  The group homes provide companionship and a home in which to live with dignity, self respect and independence.  Fore more information on Abbeyfield House, why not click here

Congratulations to our winners 

1st prize – TCL 50 inch television won by:

 GREG BRYCE of Uranquinty (ticket no: 0821)

2nd prize– $300 Myer Gift Voucher won by:

TREVOR SLATER of Wagga Wagga (Ticket no: 0120)

3rd Prize – Original paintings – “Acorns” by Bev Harris (Value $400) and “The homestead” by Brenda Wiggett (Value $160) won by:

E. RURENGA of Oberon (Ticket no: 0098)


A huge thank you to all of our sponsors and ticket sellers.


Have you registered for the Rotary District Conference yet?

The Rotary District 9700 Annual conference is held in a different location each year with this years event being held right here in Wagga Wagga.   Lock in April 22nd to the 24th for a great weekend of Rotary extravagance.

You will hear from fantastic speakers including two past Rotary International presidents, Bill Boyd and Kalyan Banerjee. 2015 Young citizen of the year and Chilout Ambassador, Sarah Yahya, Garry Browne CEO of Stuart Alexander & Co, Fran Raymond and Steve Killelea to name just a few.

There will also be a great performance by the Beatnix, the worlds best Beatles tribute band.   A weekend certainly not to be missed.


To get your tickets, simply click here

Tom Black From AustYouth speaks to Murrumbidgee Rotary about the scourge of youth homelessness

14427958431442797985 Tom Black gave an astonishing speech about his time as a young homeless man and the troubles he faced.  His life was turned around by Father Chris Riley and the Youth off the Streets program.


Tom decided to give back some of the good will given to him when he was in trouble by creating the Austyouth program.  His current mission is to provide a number of caravans around the Riverina to be used for housing suitable homeless youth.  The vans will be purchased, refurbished, made safe then strategically positioned as suitable locations around the area.  Whilst homeless youth are staying in these vans they will be provided with education, budgeting advice and given the necessary information to get back on their feet.


Here’s a snippet from one of Tom’s websites

“Austyouth has grown, both in my head and in my heart, over many years.

Being the founding Director of Austyouth is a deeply rewarding experience. It allows me to do what I love, and to help people who are just like me. Many years ago, in the early 1990’s, I was a homeless youth on Sydney’s streets.
Yes – I have seen the dark side of what our young people are faced with. I bashed people, I robbed, I drank, and I took drugs. I saw people that I knew, and had shared many journeys with, forced through their own desperation to become prostitutes. Friends committed suicide, overdosed and were found lifeless with wracked expressions of suffering. I saw people turn to selling drugs and wind up with long term prison sentences. I saw the doors of homes that I could once enter turn closed, and could only look from a distance through their windows. In the end though, I was lucky enough to be helped. Someone put their hand out to me and told me that I was worth it, that my life did matter. They told me that I could have a future, a home, and, hope.

Friends around me also fled to the streets – either sleeping rough or trying to catch naps on the never ending circles of Sydney’s train system. They left for all the reasons you know but do not want to admit. They were sadistically beaten, they were raped at home, or they were forced out because of heavy drug and alcohol abuse by their caregivers. Their stories range from a girl being made live under the floor of a partially stilted family ‘home’ after the sexual abuse abated, to a lad regularly having bones broken by his frustrated adoptive father.

Like them, I ran from home and stumbled blindly into the night. I did not know what to do or where to go. The open night air just somehow seemed like the only refuge open to me. It took four months of HELL before that hand was put out – offering me hope and lifting me back up to the everyday world. My return to normal life did not happen instantly, and was a rocky road, but it was a road well worth the effort.

Like me some of my friends were saved – but others are no longer with us. In time I became a butcher and started a family. I then went on to do a second apprenticeship as a cabinet maker. Years down the track I even started a small business and ended up employing people.

I have always remembered where I have come from, and the streets that I have walked. I have wondered what would have become of me if I had of known earlier about the services and people out there all along – and that could have helped me. Would I have been to jail after robbing a place for food? Would I have had to fight to survive? Yes… street fighting for your life is a real thing that many young homeless people actually have to do. Did I really have to go through the beatings and abuse? Probably not. As a child I did not know what was out there. but now as an adult I do,

After asking friends of my children, and the wider community, I realised that still – all these years later – kids still don’t know about the help that is out there. I have started Austyouth to teach kids about services available to them and ways to prevent becoming homeless. I dream of taking my program to every school in Australia, and teaching youth that there are better ways and better days to come. We cannot reduce the growing number of homeless youth in Australia until we start to teach young people where to get the help they need, and how to survive. We need to do that before it is too late and they run blindly like I, and others that I knew, did.

I love working for Austyouth, and I will continue to do so. Every day that I try to save a young person from the darkness of walking the streets alone is a good day.”


To find out more about Austyouth or how the club is looking to help Tom, why not come along to a meeting.


Saving the world one beer at a time