Guest speaker was Kiteni Kurika, the recipient of the Royce Abbey scholarship and staying in Oberon with Brenda and Graham for two weeks. She is from Manus, and works in New Ireland. There are two major current projects she is working on – Taro commercialisation (from subsidence farming to cash earner from selling the crop out of the area) and promoting Women in Agriculture (men tend the cash crops – coffee and copra) but women tend root crops etc which are generally consumed within the family or village). She aimed to learn, on this trip, about: how crops are commercialised and marketed (including maybe value adding); how women farmers manage the farm, family and home (they delegate to men?) ; see the general culture of the people and also a little sightseeing. An interesting talk, and clearly Kiteni will learn a lot from her time in D9700. The challenge will be changing the PNG culture when she returns home.
Guest Speaker was Jill Ross, who gave a great talk on the history of her association with alpacas – from beginnings as a means of getting a family member over his desire to be clean, to a fully fledged farm with about 80 alpacas (some on agistment) in the Porters Retreat area. She was extremely generous sharing her knowledge and experience with behaviour of each alpaca, husbandry techniques, and general alpaca farming. It was interesting that she sources her alpacas directly from Peru villagers, and signs documents undertaking to treat the stock in a away acceptable to Peruvian standards (I don’t think they have to have them in the house, but..? ). It seemed many members had experiences with alpacas – from the Hoopers to Bill etc. Even John had a true anecdote about alpacas (or Llamas). I’m sure all current and prospective owners of alpcas found the talk of great interest. Thanks Jill, and a good speaker organised by Sue.
The guest speaker, manager of the tourist centre in Oberon, took the stage. Jennifer estimated 6000 people a year go fossicking in the Oberon area, with the visitors ‟ Centre seeing about 1500 – 2000. After directions from the Centre quite a few can‟t find the good sites for fossickers, (even though they have hired good quality fossicking gear from the Centre). The tourism experts have suggested having two pits of gem bearing soil sited near the Centre so fossickers can make their fortune close to creature comforts, and also to expert advice on technique. Similar facilities are in place in places like Lightning Ridge, where experts show new chums the ropes before they venture out, or simply try their luck in the noodle patch. The Centre is looking for seed capital (in the order of $1000), to construct a fenced pit area, with picnic tables, soil, water etc. Thanks for a good talk Jennifer, and now it‟s on to the Board.
Bob Conners gave an interesting talk about a trip he and Margaret had been on – a train trip on the Durango – Silverton Line ( a narrow gauge line) in Colorado. I full engineer regalia (although some only saw his back and didn’t realise the flash shirtfront), he went through the history of the railroad – it’s initial construction, various setbacks, including floods and fires, but also government appropriation of rolling stock. It now contributes substantially to the economies of Durango and Silverton. Bob showed a DVD which detailed the history of the line, and had some great footage of the amazing scenery. We missed the mooning photo though. Thanks Bob. Good talk on a subject clearly close to your heart.
Kevin Hansen showed a series of random photos of his bicycle ride across the Nullarbor with his father as co rider, and mother as support crew. For this effort, apart from missing a few Rotary nights, Kevin and Arn received a beautiful trophy that Kevin at least has sent “straight to the pool room”. (Yes – it’s that tasteful).
We also had a few catering events! Starting the month with the Oberon Markets, then Mayfield Gardens, then A car rally and the Markets again!
We also attended – as a club – the Polio Plus film evening in Bathurst. A very busy month!
See all the photos here – http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2042286&id=1286210997&l=258c9873e6