New Member – Dilani

In the past four months, Burnie Rotary Club has inducted three members from one family: Chandra (husband), Dilani (mother) and Nethmini (daughter). Originally from Sri Lanka, they came to Tasmania when Chandra obtained a position at Latrobe Hospital. Last week, Dilani told us about her life in Sri Lanka.

Both her parents were teachers and the Education Dep’t moved them to several places while she was growing up. Her schooling was disrupted by political instability in the country and she was forced to wait three years before progressing to higher education. Eventually, Dilani entered Ragama Medical Faculty; initially this was a private medical school, though when Dilani started it had been taken over by the Government.
       The government provides 100% free education, but it is highly competitive to get into good schools in Sri Lanka. “My daughter, Nethmini, was interviewed when she was 2.5 years old! … overall, the standard of education in my country is higher than it is in surrounding countries”, she said.
        Dilani worked as an intern in two Colombo hospitals; Lady Ridgeway children’s hospital and Castle Street hospital for Women. Then she had to move to the north and east areas of the island, where the civil war was going on.
       Dilani also worked in a mental hospital before moving to the National Hospital in Colombo, where she worked in the Accident and Orthopaedics services. That hospital has over 3,000 beds and over 7,000 staff.

“Don’t Meth With Me!”

At this week’s club meeting, Past President John Glen told us about the club’s plan to expose all 600 Grade 10 students  on the West and NW Coasts to the very real dangers of getting involved with the drug methamphetamine – ‘ice’. The same event last year, “Don’t Meth With Me” (DMWM) generated feedback from schools and community organisations that was overwhelmingly positive.

The presenters who were here last year will be here again this October, plus we are seeking to add a presentation by a former Meth addict from Victoria. The intention is to be ‘hard hitting’ again, though we have deleted a couple of scenes from what was shown to last year’s students.

Some Education Dep’t staff in Hobart have not shown enthusiasm; it seems they view us as encroaching on ‘their territory’ – yet it is very clear that the Dept’s efforts to steer kids away from Meth have proven ineffectual.

Another induction in to Burnie Rotary

At our meeting on July 5, President Themba inducted a new member (Dr) Pui-Lin Lau. Pui-Lin is now our sixth Rotarian with a medical degree. Conclusion: There is no safer place to be than in Burnie Rotary Club!

Induction of Dr Pue-Lin Lau

Guest Speaker: Marcus Johnston

On Mon. 28 June, Marcus Johnston told us of his experiences at  this year’s RYLA week at Camp Clayton. [RYLA = Rotary Youth Leadership Awards]
Six fellow “RYLArians” attended as well (below) – living proof that “you will make friends for life”. Marcus described the events of the week. It seemed hard to fathom that so many things could be packed into the week. Marcus has used one technique taught at RYLA to secure his first job.

Pres. Themba handed a memento to departing member Jim Forsyth: Jim has been a Burnie member for 14 years, but is moving to WA to be nearer to his children.

Two new members were inducted: “Net” Wijewardhane (at L) and Dr Wing Sze Lau (at R)

Burnie Rotary Changeover Luncheon

On June 20, club members and their partners assembled at the Beach Hotel in Burnie to mark the end of the 2020-21 Rotary year and to begin planning the 2021-22 year. President Themba Bulle welcomed several visiting Rotarians, including Rotary District Governor Michael Plunkett and his wife Gayle.

In his President’s Address, Themba announced that the club had inducted five (5) new members during 2020-21 – including one induction during the luncheon (Amy Bartlett, at right) – and a further two people might join in the near future.

Earlier in the year, it had been intended that Themba would hand over the ‘chain of office’ to an incoming President, but circumstances later dictated a change of plan; Themba will continue as President for the 2021-22 Rotary year.

Amy Bartlett - Inductee
General view
Jim Forsyth leaving for WA
John Pease Fines Master

General view of room

Jim & Kaye Forsyth – soon to depart Burnie and live in  Western Australia

Venerable Fines Master, John Pease, and Corporal Ian Guest 

Burnie Rotary assists hospital in Zimbabwe


The Rotary Clubs of Burnie and Bulawayo South aim to refurbish the Plumtree District Hospital near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.  The hospital is in desperate need of medical and IT equipment (anaesthetic machines, ultrasound scans and the like).

 This Rotary project aims to raise US$100,000, of which $80,000 will be used to buy equipment and the remainder will fund project management, advertising, training, maintenance and sustainability.

Burnie’s President, Dr Themba Bulle noted that; “Our club will donate AU$10,000 and we will receive a modest contribution from the Rotary Foundation through their World Grant Scheme.”

The Rotary Districts where the two clubs are located have also earmarked a total of US$20,000 for the project – provided the clubs raise the remainder (approx.  US$70,000).

Field trip: South Burnie Bulk Stores

On May 17, member Wayne Licht guided us through two buildings owned by his firm. First was a large area destined soon to be filled with 60,000 tonnes of iron ore trucked in from Venture Minerals’ Riley mine.

This ore will then be loaded onto a ship for export. Venture aim to move two million tonnes through this store over the next two years. We then moved outside to view a loader used to move potatoes into the other bulk store.

south burnie bulk store
Store for 60 kt of iron ore
south burnie bulk store
Loader for potatoes

Wayne then opened the door to the potato store; actually two storage areas side-by-side.

Up to 10,000 tonnes can be stored here for around 7 months.

The whole area is temperature and humidity controlled and sensors control the amount of CO2 emitted by the potatoes.

south burnie bulk store
Potato store
south burnie bulk store
Potato store

Guest speaker Zac Brakey and Targa

May 8 Guest Speaker: Zak Brakey told us something of his early life and much more about his recent victory – with Eddie Maguire – in this year’s Targa Tasmania.

Zac and Eddie grew up on farms near Burnie and were school chums too. They are now a formidable duo in motorsport racing. Driving a Dodge Viper, Eddie with Zac as navigator, they won this year’s Targa event.

zac brakey and eddie mcguire
Zak and Eddie - WINNERS
Early days on the farm

Congratulations Marcus Johnston

Burnie Rotary Club is pleased to announce our awardee for District 9830 (Tasmania) Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) 2021 is Marcus Johnston.

Marcus lives in Ulverstone and has a Master’s degree in teaching from UTAS.

Congratulations Marcus, have a great week at RYLA Camp Clayton.

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is an intensive leadership experience organized by Rotary clubs and districts where you develop your skills as a leader while having fun and making connections.

RYLA events are organized locally by Rotary clubs and districts for participants ages 14-30. Depending on community needs, RYLA may take the form of a one-day seminar, a three-day retreat, or a weeklong camp. Typically, events last 3-10 days and include presentations, activities, and workshops covering a variety of topics.

Your community might host a RYLA event for secondary school students to hone their leadership potential, for university students to develop creative problem-solving strategies, or for young professionals to learn ethical business practices.

Marcus Johnston - RYLA Awardee