From the District Governor

Merger of District 9820 and District 9810 to form new District 9815
I am opening with a gentle reminder that applications for the position of District Governor of D9815 are closing very soon.  Please give it your earnest consideration to be a leader of this new district.  Interviews will be held on Saturday 28th May.  The interview panel will have representatives from both Districts including a Past Club President from each district.
We are delighted to continue to induct new members at many of the clubs we have been visiting.  Judy has been so excited by the projects that she has watched being delivered by so many clubs that she has decided to join Rotary and be involved in all these wonderful projects.
Unfortunately, Seaford-Carrum Downs Club have decided to return their charter at the end of June.  The club has a long and proud history and many significant projects to their credit.  The club was to celebrate their 50th Anniversary last year but it was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.  Please support the club as they disperse, some to other clubs in the district and others into a well-deserved retirement.  If any club would like to become the proud owner of a barbeque trailer with all the equipment and tables, get in touch with Louise.
Probus Club of Foster – 30th Anniversary
Just for something different, Judy & I were invited to help the Foster Probus Club celebrate their 30th Anniversary.  The club was sponsored by Rotary.  The Inaugural Chairman was Reg Williams (father of PDG Merv Williams from Mount Martha Rotary Club).  We had a delightful luncheon and afternoon with the group.
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA)
I was privileged to attend the RYLA Award Night in Berwick during April and present the certificates to the successful participants.  Congratulations to the group on their application to the task and for completing their projects.  Well done to Nigel Cousins for supervising and assessing the group at each stage of their work.
District 9800 Conference - Albury
During the ANZAC Day weekend, Judy and I travelled to Albury to attend the D9800 Conference as guests of DG Dale & Maureen Hoy and the Brighton Club.  There were others from our District attending including PDG Don & Jude Ripper from the Sale Club, Pres-elect Theresa Mitchell from the Warragul Club, and Peter Faulkner & the Disaster Aid team from Greater Dandenong and Endeavour Hills Club.  We had an enjoyable weekend and made some new friends.
What do I have planned this month?
I will complete my official DG visits over the next three weeks.  I continue to revisit clubs in person where we were not previously able to physically meet because of Covid-19 restrictions.  I have nine visits planned for May in my calendar so far, plus a boat trip on Western Port Bay to inspect mangroves and sea grasses.  The visits include two special meetings celebrating anniversaries of their Club’s Charters.  Please let me know if your Club is planning a special fundraising event or anniversary that you would like Judy and me to attend.
News from Central Gippsland
The Rotary Club of Maffra
The 10th October 2021 was International Mental Health Day.  Australian Rotary Health instituted a Hat Day to raise funds for research into mental health.  The Rotary Club of Maffra took up the cause to celebrate this, and to raise awareness of the issues of youth mental health in our community.    
Our Rotary Club sponsored the First Aid for Mental Health Course in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Traralgon.  There were 10 participants, all with an interest in the identification and support of young people with mental health issues.  At our Club meeting that week, our guest speaker was Peter Wallis from the Rotary Club of Traralgon.  He gave us information about the First Aid for Mental Health Course, which allowed members to understand the ethos behind the course, and the need for it. 
The Rotary Club of Sale
Rotarians gather under an indigenous ‘marker’ tree discovered on the survey for the Rotary Club of Sale’s Wetland Trail project.
The Rotary Club of Sale enjoyed celebrations including International Women’s Day and the 100th Anniversary of Rotary in Australia.  We marked the achievements of members including PP PHF Graeme Dyer OAM’s 50 years of membership and PP Lyndon Webb’s posthumous OAM award.
The club projects include the development of the Sale Wetlands Trail, which will be a great community asset as it will extend current trails - which were themselves a Rotary project - and will allow a complete circumnavigation of the Sale Common. 
The club also runs the ‘Rotary Race the Rubeena’ 5 km and 10 km fun runs each year to raise funds for community projects.  The 5 km runners race against ‘The Rubeena’ from the Swing Bridge on the La Trobe River to the Port of Sale.  This year will be special as the event on 3rd April will be held on The Rubeena’s 110th Anniversary.
The Rotary Club of Sale club helped with traffic management during The Archibald Prize Exhibition at the Port of Sale in October and November.  The club had a sausage sizzle and raised funds for End Polio Now.
The Club continues to support projects that it has inaugurated, but which are now incorporated and self-managed.  These include the Sale Music Festival, a free day of music and fun for families, and Monday Tucker which provides a free hot meal each Monday night.
Traralgon Central Rotary Club
Traralgon Creek flows from the Strzelecki Ranges meandering through the town and into the Latrobe River.  The creek has significant cultural heritage and natural environment values for the many communities, indigenous and pre/post town establishment, that have lived in its vicinity.  In the 1980’s the City Council constructed connected pathways along the creek.  As the town has expanded so has the Traralgon Creek walk.  Today, it is a much-loved recreational area for people who traverse it daily with their four-legged friends.  
The rapid flooding that swept through the town in June 2021, highlighted the need for a community effort to remove rubbish and debris within the creek and banks.  It highlighted for the Club a need to develop a maintenance and improvement plan for the creek that could eventually lead to a southern expansion of the creek walk connecting it to the Traralgon Railway Reserve.  Rotarians Charlie Medhurst and Jenny Hammett set about pulling together the key stakeholders and established a Friends of Traralgon Creek Walk volunteer group, auspiced by Traralgon Central Rotary Club Inc.  They found partners in the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Latrobe City Council, Gunaikurnai Land and Water Aboriginal Corporation, AGL and Traralgon Centre Plaza.  On Monday 28 February, Traralgon Central Rotary Club will officially launch the Friends of Traralgon Creek Walk and their first project will be participation in the Clean Up Australia Day on March 6.
In the coming months the Club will work with the Friends group volunteers and stakeholder partners to develop and implement a three year strategic plan for the Creek Walk. 
Interested volunteers can contact Jenny on 0418334747 for further information.
The Rotary Club of Traralgon
John and Wayne installing Fairy Lights, a Traralgon Rotarian lost taking them down, and approval from the Elf! Christmas Eve.
What has the Rotary Club of Traralgon been up to lately?  Apart from celebrating its 80th Anniversary this year, just a few of our projects are below!
Fairy Lights in the CBD  -  For the second year in a row the Christmas Parade held in Traralgon was cancelled due to the Covid restrictions. Not to be outdone, the Rotary Club of Traralgon along with a helpful Elf decided it was high time that townsfolks and visitors had a little cheer and so they installed fairy lights in the trees in the Franklin Street CBD.  Members were up bright and early on consecutive mornings to climb ladders, arming themselves with installation devices - namely rakes to help reach the branches.  The lights were solar, and retailers were encouraged to get into the swing of things and decorate their windows too.  Of course, correct permission was sought from Council and the Arborist and no trees suffered as a consequence!  Coffee and breakfast followed and even the Elf was amazed how well they brightened up the CBD.  The hard part came in taking them down in January!  We made the Latrobe Valley Express newspaper and Rotary made a splash in the centre of the paper complete with write up and photos.  The Elf hopes to build on these lights next Christmas and that we can have the Parade as well.
Following the success of the fairy lights in the CBD, we were asked by the Traralgon Centre Plaza to cook an early morning BBQ on Christmas Eve.  This was free event for shoppers and staff.  A donation tin was there and shoppers were very generous with their support for Rotary along with a sizable donation made by the Traralgon Centre Plaza for Rotary’s time and energy.  Another early morning effort but well worth it. 
Youth Mental Health First Aid  -  In February 2022, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Foster, our Club completed its eleventh YMHFA Course.  The aim of the course is to teach participants to recognise and provide help to those people who may show signs of suffering a mental health problem.  Our club pays all costs.  The course is free and participants receive a course book and a completion certificate.  It is open to any interested persons.  If any Rotary Clubs are interested in holding a course for their community, contact Traralgon Rotarian Ian Keith.
Business Breakfasts  -  For the seventh year in a row, we had our monthly Rotary Business Breakfasts which give us an opportunity to liaise with the community and tell them about Rotary.  So successful are the Breakfasts that we have even had new members join the club as a result.  Come and give our Breakfast a try, it’s well worth the early start!  At the February breakfast we welcomed Tina Hunt, the owner manager of Hello World who has just clocked up 30 years in business.
Gardening at Traralgon Centre Plaze  -  Members of the Rotary Club of Traralgon are helping the Traralgon Centre Plaza with some gardening and light maintenance in return for donations to club Project account.  Of course, the two hours once a fortnight are followed by a well earned coffee and cake!
Eat Up Australia Program  -  Feeding hungry Kids so they can Learn, grow and succeed.  Eat up Australia is a program to provide sandwiches to various school children who regularly attend school without lunch.  The Rotary Club of Traralgon will be making sandwiches on a regular basis.  The food is packed in plain brown paper and recipients are anonymous.
This year we are launching the Rotary Junior Community Awards at two rural primary schools - Tyers and Gormandale.  These awards are targeted to Grade 6 and cover Community service, Social experience and Physical experience.
Club Development Summit
On 30 April to 1 May, District leaders met with incoming Club Presidents and other club members to prepare for the next Rotary year. Thank you to everyone that participated. If there's anything you missed and would like to catch up on, please contact District Trainer Tim Moore
Youth Programs
With Covid restrictions lifting, our Youth Programs are restarting! 
MUNA (Model United Nations Assembly) is a great program for high school students in years 10, 11, or 12.  The students in teams of 2 will research a country and then debate resolutions from the perspective of that country.  MUNA gives students confidence, debating skills, life long friendships and a perspective of other people's options and cultures - and it gives your club a connection to your local schools and younger generations.  Apologies for the delay in information regarding MUNA 2022 - MUNA 2022 will now be a one-day, in-person event at Nossal High School on 20 August 2022. Registrations open on 16 May 2022. Go to for more information or download the Rotary Club Information Sheet here
RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) is a 6-day camp for 18-30 year olds where they will learn about leadership, teamwork, and personal development.  RYLA will be held on 27 June - 2 July after being postponed from earlier this year.  The RYLA team have been contacting those that registered earlier in the year to confirm their availability for June.  If your club has a new participant that hasn't yet been registered there is still space available.  For more information go to:
If you would like to know more about the Youth Programs and how you can be involved, I am available for club visits as a guest speaker or to just discuss.
For more information contact Robert Cook 
Boat Trip in Western Port Bay to view Mangrove Plantation 
If you were at the recent District Conference in Traralgon, you would have heard about the importance of planting mangroves from the inspirational Vic Grosjean - mangroves prevent coastal erosion and protect marine ecosystems. 
A Rotary boat trip has been organised to view projects by a Rotary working group and the Western Port Seagrass Partnership along the Western Port Lang Lang coastline. 
When: Saturday, 14th May 2022, 8:45am to 2pm
Where: Tooradin Jetty (Foreshore Road) 
Cost: $30 per person
To register contact Dick Cox 
Catering and tea & coffee will be provided
There used to be a thick mattress of seagrass on the eastern banks of Western Port Bay which calmed the waves reducing coastal erosion.  But the seagrass in this area had all but disappeared by 1970, caused by an increase in sedimentation and urban/farming run off.  Koo Wee Rup and Lang Lang wetlands were drained to produce highly fertile farmland, farmers used excessive fertilizer, and livestock accessed stream banks - all causing sedimentation smothering and cutting off required sunlight for the seagrass.  There are now better farming practices and Melbourne Water do great work operating sedimentation traps, however, work is still needed to re-establish a protective line of mangroves along the coast. 
A Rotary working group has been established (with members from Berwick, Mornington, Casey, Rosebud-Rye, Warragul, and Somerville-Tyabb Clubs) to plant mangroves in support of Rotary's seventh Area of Focus! To be involved contact Dick Cox 

Lakes Entrance Tool Sheds
The five tool sheds, constructed for remote communities in East Gippsland, have now arrived in the staging area in Bairnsdale.  These sheds have been built by carpentry students at Swinburne University, under arrangements set up by the Rotary Club of Croydon/Montrose.  The plan is that these sheds will finally be delivered to sites where we will fill them with tools provided under a concurrent project by the Rotary Club of Drouin.  The intention is that, when established, these sheds will become a ‘library’ of tools available to be borrowed by residents (and later returned) in the same way that others borrow books from a library.  The tools from Drouin have also been delivered to Bairnsdale and seven volunteers from Lakes Entrance will start the process of sorting and allocating the tools next week.  It’s great to see this long-term project taking another step forward!  
Building a Cyclone-proof School in Fiji
The current state of the school in Dreketi Village. 
The Rotary Club of Frankston Peninsula 2.0 contributed $5000 towards improving the school in Dreketi Village on Qamea Island near Fiji which was damaged during Tropical Cyclone Winston in December 2016.  
Peter and Helene Brown, both former Presidents of RC Chelsea, are managing this project.  They recently provided some great news - the school will now have solar power, provided and installed by IITime, a project of Rob Shephard in Sydney which install solar systems in schools across the Pacific.  This is a significant bonus for a village which runs on diesel generators. 
Frankston Peninsula 2.0 were approached by RC Taveuni Island in Fiji last year to assist in making an application to RC Balwyn’s Centenary Grant and donated $5,000 AUD (Fiji $7,500 FJD).  Nepean Cluster Presidents have also been asked to take the project back to their clubs.  The organisers hope applications for District grants will help them get over the line as they have raised 70% of the final cost.  They need $45,000 FJD to start ordering and shipping materials from Suva which is a two/three day barge trip - Bunnings isn’t just down the road!
Yarram Easter Art Show
Safe Water for Every Child Fundraising Lunch
Rotary International Convention Melbourne 2023
For an update on the planning for the 2023 Melbourne Convention and hear about opportunities for Clubs and Rotarians to be involved in Host Hospitality Events and volunteering for the Convention see the video on the District website using this link.  

Editors Note

Requests for inclusion in the newsletter can be made using  

Rob Cook, the District Youth Chair and District Facebook page moderator, will be editing the May newsletters while Stephen and I are on leave.  You can make requests to him using the email address above.