Author Archives: CliveM

Storytellers – Alex Korjavine and Eugene Volskiy summit Mt McKinley

The meeting was well attended by over 50 members and guests all keen to hear Alex Korjavine and friend Eugene Volskiy present a talk of their adventures earlier this year when climbing Mount McKinley, the highest mountain peak in North America, some 20,237 feet (6,168 m) above sea level.
Alex-Korjavine-and -Eugene-Volskiy-summit-McKinley

Jackie B took the opportunity at the start to give everyone an update on our good friend Jack Stening who had a serious mishap in the Sunday race. Fortunately for Jack the BBC is blessed with some quick thinking and qualified members who sprang into action to rescue him and pack him off to hospital in record time. The news was good and Jack was up and about after being discharged from hospital and being drained of gallons of Middle Harbour water!

Alex (Mr KGB) is now one of our regular presenters, this occasion being probably his fifth time. Alex showed some video clip and breathtaking photographs of their climb to reach the summit. He spoke of the obstacles they needed to overcome, the extreme cold temperatures that average -20 C at the base and -45 C at the summit, high altitude sickness, and numerous crevasses. As they climbed higher each step became more dangerous, rather like walking in a minefield. Alex and Eugene were attached to a safety rope with the lead climber readying himself in case he suddenly fell down a crevasse, likewise the tail climber would be poised to put the brakes on and take the weight if such a disaster happened. Alex-Korjavine-and-Eugene-Volskiy-bbc-storytellers-650-366 Continue reading

Storytellers – Haydon Skudder RAF Fighter Pilot

The meeting was attended by 70 plus members. It was particularly nice to see the return of Françoise Gilroy after breaking her leg a few months ago during her morning swim. There were a number of apologies too, the best being from Peter MacCormick … he was going to the opera. Hard to beat that one!

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The presenter for the evening was Haydon Skudder, a friend of Dick Morath. Haydon joined the RAF at the age of 17 in late 1942, and flew spitfires over France from 1944 after training in Canada. In the week prior to the meeting some BBC members were questioning which war Haydon was in and so for the younger members present Clive clarified that we were referring to WW2 no WW1 and Haydon was not 117.

Dick M introduced Haydon providing the following background; Haydon is Chairman of AFM Advisers which is an MLC Apogee Financial dealership. Dick & Haydon have been friends for a long time. Back in 2005 at a conference in Darwin which was held on Anzac day and had a military flavour, Haydon gave the talk that we were to hear presented and it was absolutely riveting. A couple of months ago Haydon celebrated his 90th birthday and Dick asked him to share his story with BBC members.

Heydon-Skudder RAF Fighter Pilot

Haydon joined the RAF at age 17 in late 1942, and flew spitfires over France from 1944 after training in Canada and was shot down over enemy territory and crashlanded in late 1944.

Haydon commenced his tale by showing a short video. It really set the scene as we saw and indeed heard the propellers of a spitfire fire up and take to the skies. Haydon said that every time he hears that distinctive sound it takes him back. On 12/12/44 he was flying one of these spitfires. He was stationed in Brussels and flew into Northern Holland to find some trouble. Things were a bit boring. We were flying at 10,000 ft. and he was flying Red 2 to his Squadron Leader, his tail man, He looked to his right and below and could see a train coming out of a tunnel. Trains were very important to them as targets in those days. The Squadron Leader peeled off to attack this train. Down to 4000 ft. Continue reading

Storytellers – The Balmoral Dolphin

A chance meeting about 3 months ago at Middle Head between Jackie B, Denise E and Shona Lorigan, the Vice President of ORRCA, was a win for the Storytellers. Shona lives and breathes ‘our dolphin’ and didn’t need much persuasion to join us to and tell its story, despite the evening being miserable and wet.

StoryTellers-Shona-Dolphins-WebShona began by setting her timer alarm on as she confessed she can easily get carried away talking about her dolphin, one of her real pleasures in life. She gave us some background on ORRCA which only has volunteers, rather like Wires, and is licensed by the National Parks to care and rehabilitate all marine mammals up and down NSW coast. They have no paid employees, no office, and all their equipment is in people’s houses. Their president is a postman, and they have many vets, scientists and teachers in their ranks. Shona came from a finance world originally, a marketing executive for many years, before she travelled the world with her husband who is a corporate lawyer. storytellers ifaw dolphinsShe has been with ORRCA for 16 years and done pretty much every job there is and learnt plenty along the way. She compares her volunteer work to being like a lifeguard and regularly collaborates with colleagues around the world. She has trained in NZ, UK & is soon to do some work in Cape Cod, America to work with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) – see photo of Alex K raising the IFAW flag at the summit of Mt McKinley.

The National Parks have a policy is not to name marine mammals and hence they refer to our dolphin as ‘the solitary social dolphin’ which is quite a mouthful! Their reasoning is that each community nearly always give a lone dolphin a name and it gets confusing when it moves from one area to another. Shona understands the name at Balmoral for the dolphin is Yera though aware of other names such as Sally, Dolly and Beyoncé (her daughters’ choice). Continue reading

Storytellers – The Milligans

Despite being a dark and wintery night and that many regulars were absent due to commitments in Malta, a large audience did attend and were treated to a wonderful presentation on “The Milligans” by none other than Desmond Patrick Bryan Milligan, younger brother of Spike. Alan Gill, knowing that the Storytellers is always on the lookout for interesting presenters, made contact with Patrick his friend and ex-colleague at the Sydney Morning Herald, and persuaded him to share the story of his family upbringing in Burma and a few tales about his famous “Goon” brother, and what a story!

To set the scene we started with a Spike film clip “The Irish Astronauts” found amongst the extensive material of Spike in the YouTube vaults, worth a look if you’re browsing the web.

Now for our guest Desmond Patrick Bryan Milligan, AKA – DPBM, Patrick or even The Milligan.

Patrick MilliganPatrick was born in Rangoon, Burma, to RSM Leo and Mrs Florence Milligan, Port Defence Artillery and later brought up in London. After his schooling he attended the Redhill School of Art as a full time student 1942 to 1944 when he was conscripted and served in the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry during the final phases of the campaign in Europe. He also served in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (KSLI) in Palestine and Cyprus during the Jewish-Arab troubles. He was demobilised at the rank of Sergeant. Patrick returned to his studies and obtained an arts diploma at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and then became a freelance in famous Fleet Street as an illustrator plus portraiture and other commissions. He migrated to Australia at the invitation of his parents in 1952 (round of applause). Continue reading

Storytellers – BBC the First 100 Years Movie & About Drone Photography


Chris Webb, Bob Hill, Andrew Gregory & Kieran Kelly

A most interesting evening was held with presentations from guest Andrew Gregory and club member Bob Hill.

Kieran K began proceedings by introducing his friend and fellow adventurer Andrew. Andrew has been a passionate photographer since his school days and his career has been one continuous adventure. He has climbed high altitude summits in Pakistan’s Karakoram and hiked the entire length of the Biafo and Hispar glaciers – the world’s longest continuous ice corridor. Andrew has also been involved in numerous expeditions and in 2007 received the Australian Geographic Spirit of Adventure Award for his Kayak expedition down the Negri and Ord Rivers in search of the lost crocodiles. He is planning more expeditions and adventures and producing films. The Lost Crocodiles of the Ord River and Pageant of the Waters (His journey with Kieran Kelly into Lake Eyre) are now in production.

Those of you who attended the Centenary Book Launch and Club photo will remember well the drone camera hovering overhead. Andrew was the photographer responsible and he actually brought along a drone to show us all. He then provided some background on drone photography and how this emerging technique is being used today.

storytellers-Andrew-Gregory-1Andrew told how that in the last couple of years he had become a licensed Remote Piloted Aircraft (RPA) controller which required obtaining a licence through CASA (in fact getting a private pilot’s licence). Drones are strictly regulated on how you fly them, where you fly them, not above 400 foot, or within 30 metres of people, and not in restricted areas. Andrew uses drones for photography purposes, with lots of work in the CBD in the last 6 months. Companies like Lend Lease want elevated views to show prospective purchasers what they can look forward to from example the 33rd floor of a new development. He then showed some panoramic views which consisted of 8 photos hovering at 130 metres and showed some 360 degree view taken by hovering the copter for about 6 minutes taking some 15 to 20 photo shots. Stability is important and is obtained with a combination of GPS, gyros and stabilisers, and within the actual gimbal, which holds the camera, there is a sensor. Photos still need a couple of hours of processing to correct the levels. Andrew explained how he generally looks at a monitor though being a photographer he can sense fairly much what he’s shooting. He never flies a drone with battery power at less than 80% (a battery can last up to 15 mins) and he hardly flies longer than 6 or 7 mins at a time. He spoke about how he built his drone as few are available “off the shelf’, and how this exploding technology is being put to use today e.g. inspecting under bridges and how Australian Geographic are considering commissioning him to travel around Australia to take photos in the remotest regions. A most fascinating presentation indeed.

BBC-The-MovieFollowing a short break Chris Webb introduced Bob Hill. Webby had thought for some years that it would be good to have a documentary style film on our club, something that says who we are and where we came from. A vehicle that would serve future generations as well as conveniently communicating to interested parties what we are. As Webby explained we had the material thanks to excellently maintained archives by Jackie and others, albeit in varied formats and what we needed was someone with the expertise and contacts to put it together. We were fortunate to have Bob Hill within the club and when Chris discovered his background asked him if he could assist. The Centenary Book of course gave the project some impetus. Bob agreed and the Board was able to provide some dollars so we now have our film for posterity which our grandchildren can view with amusement and awe. Bob then took to the floor and provided some background on himself and pointed out the challenges he and the others faced in the journey to producing a product ‘The Movie’ that will inform in the first instance and hopefully entertain.

Bob has been involved in film for some 40 years, predominately as a Production Designer and Art Director. He’s been a member of the Club for some 20 years, but really hasn’t been swimming regularly until the last 4 or 5 years. He was always doing commercials or film shoots in the summer and used it as ready-made excuse not to compete in racesstorytellers-movie-bob-hill. Anyway, now he’s sort of “quasi retired” he discovered that he should have been doing it all along! He started his career working on documentaries at Film Australia, and now found himself coming full circle with the Beach Club film. Most of his career was working on big TV commercials – a lot for overseas clients but after all that, he’ll probably be remembered for the Pro Hart carpet commercial – where he slides around in the spaghetti. He also designed about 16 or 17 feature films… including the stupendous beach-themed flop “The Coolangatta Gold”.
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