We welcomed Storytellers Lauren Elder and Jon Attwater to the last meeting for 2015.
Lauren, daughter of our own Denise, gave a most interesting talk about her trip in October to Vietnam. Lauren and her friend Gemma Margiotta, both qualified surf lifesaving trainers and assessors, represented the Manly Surf Club as volunteers to do their part in improving water safety in Vietnam.
Lauren and Gemma
Lauren explained about the huge problem that exists there with more than 3,000 drownings nationwide, which equates to 9 deaths per day on average. That rate is 10 times higher than in developed countries. To address these alarming statistics there are a number of activities, many Australian based, to implement water safety training. The particular one that Lauren and Gemma volunteered for is run by a group called Ho Tram Water Safety Consortium (HTWSC) and it combines the efforts of NGO’s, businesses and individuals to support swimming training and surf lifesaving.
Lauren spoke of not really knowing what to expect in Vietnam to the sheer joy in the enthusiasm of the locals in learning some new skills. They focused their efforts on a resort which supposedly had trained lifeguards but as Lauren described these guards knew only basic rudimentary skills, and would have little chance of preventing a drowning. Everyone at the resort was roped into attending the lessons, from kitchen, administrators, cleaners and gardening staff, all relishing the opportunity. Continue reading
We were delighted to have Heather Rossiter as our speaker for the evening. There was no ‘arm twisting’ involved with Heather as she approached the Storytelling Convenor to tell her story, an example for all!
Heather Rossiter, author, scientist, traveller, and for 45-years a member of BBC, spoke about how she ‘met’ Jane Dieulafoy in Iran in 2001, the difficulties in researching the life and achievements of such an amazing woman, and how that material became Sweet Boy Dear Wife, Jane Dieulafoy in Persia 1881-1886, her newest book available at all bookshops and on-line.
Heather had always been fascinated by the Middle East, in particular the architecture and decoration arts from that part of the World. Her first involvement was in Yemen, not a place to go today but architecturally was fantastic. Heather was then working in England at the UK Atomic Energy Authority and lived in Oxford so went to lectures at the University to discover about the wonderful ceramics. Tired of the fog in England, Heather then moved to the USA, after being offered a job at the US Atomic Energy Commission, and managed to attend lectures at the UCLA on Islamic monuments. So what with her studies and her extensive travels through North Africa & Islamic countries there (Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Oman …) she had a good background when she started her book. Continue reading
Speakers for the evening were Ron Wilson and Jenny Hole.
Both Ron and Jenny are accomplished Storytellers (their families agreeing no doubt) having presented many times at the Storytellers.
Ron’s previous talks have included:
- His experience in the Summer of 1972-73 of fighting forest fires in the Snowy Mountains
- Cycling in general and some of the regular rides that he does around Sydney and further afield on organised cycling holidays
- The relationship of forestry with carbon, renewable energy, issues and the debate in Australia
Jenny’s previous talks have included:
- Why I enjoy being a member of the BBC … this included some references to winning the Jack Cox (wouldn’t we all enjoy being a member if that was the case!!)
- The marvellous English Channel Relay swim (along with team-mates)
- Travel stories about trips to Norway, Sweden, Russia and seeing the Northern Lights
Ron kindly started the evening off with a talk about his trip to Japan’s north Island Hokkaido in Sept last year – “Aussie cycle group meets Japanese country culture across Hokkaido in Sept 2014”
Ron with his lycra clad mates
A group of 17, mostly from the Waratahs Master Cycle Club, toured Hokkaido for 2 weeks in Sept 2014 guided by Grasshopper Tours. Hokkaido is mostly rural with rich farmlands, Continue reading
Storytellers resumed in the refurbished Top Room on Tuesday 18th August. The presenter for the evening was guest Lenuta Hellen Nadolu, a friend of Storyteller regular Judith Pearson. Considering that there had been a break for a couple of months and that it was still Winter, a very good attendance of about 60 was recorded which was excellent. With many of our regulars already departed for another ‘Swampy organised swim’ in Europe, it was heartening to see so many people, quite a number being family and friends of Hellen.
Hellen talked about her first book “Give me Courage”, an inspiring true story of survival and escape. Hellen broke her story into: Part 1 – Introduction, Part 2 – My Childhood, My Grandma, Cluj (Cluj-Napoca, commonly known as Cluj, is the second most populous city in Romania, after the national capital Bucharest, and the seat of Cluj County in the north-western part of the country), My Mother and Father, Part 3 – Meeting Victor, Part 4 – Marriage and Ghana, Part 5 – Infidelity and Divorce, Part 6 – Romania and Racism, and finally Part 7 – Australia.
Hellen’s story was most powerful. A strong-willed free spirit, she was born and raised in communist Romania, where women were supposed to know their place. At the age of nineteen, her life changed when she started seeing a handsome African doctor named Victor and fell pregnant.
To avoid the wrath of Hellen’s domineering father and an unforgiving community, the couple married and then, against everyone’s advice, moved to Ghana. But Africa was nothing like Hellen had imagined: Victor considered her merely a possession with few rights and expected her to turn a blind eye to his affairs. Continue reading
Horrendous near cyclonic conditions postponed the scheduled Storytellers on 21st April but fortunately all the presenters were available for the following Tuesday 28th April.
With 2015 marking one hundred years since the Gallipoli landing it was considered appropriate to have World War 1 and Gallipoli as the theme for the evening. There was literally standing room only as the meeting began to the stirring swirl of the bagpipes followed by Rosslyn Skinner presenting a well-researched story of her father’s War exploits in the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) in the Great War (with some magnificent photographs). Rosslyn was aware that she had taken on a massive task in preparing for her presentation and the end result was something which she and her family will certainly treasure forever.
Rosslyn’s presentation was followed by our BBC resident historian George Franki, author of many War related books and articles,
summarising the extensive investigations he had done over the years on relatives of Club members and their War services and awards. Members have regularly been reporting that George’s research efforts have unearthed plenty of valuable new information about the War records of their relatives. Trust our George. Like a dog with a bone! Continue reading