The Probus Club of Stawell has over the last two months, had some very interesting and entertaining guest speakers.
At the February meeting, members were entertained and inspired by Josephina McDonald, who with her husband Rohan, run the Lakeside Tourist Park situated close to Lake Bellfield.
Her story of how they transformed a rather run down caravan park into a first class tourist park in about 12 months was an amazing feat, with them working, in Josephina's words, up to eight days a week to achieve the result now visible.
From a lease initially, they now own the freehold.
Josephina's lively and down to earth talk certainly inspired the Probus members. Josephina suggested that members could stay at the park to get a first hand look at the changes to the park, enjoy the scenery of the Grampians or to just pop in for a coffee.
Josephina was thanked by club secretary, Keith Haymes and presented with a small memento from the club.
Prior to the Probus Club of Stawell's annual general meeting, president Bill Byron undertook a piece of history for the club when he inducted the first ever female member, Lesley McLeod. After presenting Lesley with her badge, she gave a short talk on her background.
Probarians are certain Lesley will be the first of many female members as the club has changed to a mixed club. Residents can also be a member of two clubs and this opens up many possibilities for Stawell.
At the annual general meeting, most executive positions were filled. New to the executive are Joe Cincotta who is vice president and Norm Duxson, the new president.
Norm Duxson thanked outgoing president Bill Byron for his invaluable work over the past twelve months including assisting in a major way in the planning of the Regional Conference in 2013 and also personally recruiting seven new members with two more waiting in the wings.
Following the annual general meeting, members were treated to an excellent presentation by the 'Birdman of Halls Gap', Neil Macumber. Neil spoke on some of the birds seen in and around the Grampians with many species most members had never seen.
Neil's talk was illustrated with some great photographs of birds which he further elaborated on. Neil not only knows his birds, but is a very good mimic of their calls.
He conducts regular escorted trips around Australia viewing Flora and Fauna. Neil also conducts boating trips from Port Fairy for the very serious birdwatchers (twitchers) often going out to sea 50 or 60 kilometres to see some of the species such as the albatross, which very rarely if ever is seen on land.
All in all a very interesting presentation from an expert birdwatcher which was appreciated by all members.
Neil was thanked by Probarian John Anselmi and presented with a small gift from the club.