President’s Note

Our Bulletin editor, and long-time active Rotarian, Gordon Cheyne, has been in the spotlight this past week.  Firstly, featuring fleetingly in a Channel 9 news item, and then as the guest speaker at our weekly meeting. See Henry Drury's article in this edition.
The Channel 9 news report depicted Rotarians at work, and play, at DIK, and highlighted news of the 2023 Rotary International Conference that will bring 20,000 plus Rotarians from around the world to Melbourne, adding $88 million to the local economy.  For those who missed the news item, you can see the clip at
The RI Conference is sure to provide Rotary in Victoria with much-needed publicity. I trust, when the time arrives, the media will move beyond the conference itself and the economic advantages for Melbourne and focus, in more detail, on the life-change and world-changing work that Rotary does.  As we were reminded at the recent Multidistrict Conference and Peace Summit, Rotary not only contributes to the economic development of communities measured by GDP but to Gross National Happiness (GNH).
GNH, made famous by the fourth King of Bhutan, includes nine domains, all of which are directly or indirectly addressed by the work of Rotary.
1.   Psychological wellbeing
2.   Health
3.   Education
4.   Time use
5.   Cultural diversity and resilience
6.   Good governance
7.   Community vitality
8.   Ecological diversity and resilience
9.   Living standards
Aiding Rotary's work to improve GNH through the provision of health services to disadvantaged communities, the irrepressible Gordon, Peter Lugg and your President joined a small band of Rotarians from across the District to brave Saturday's extreme heat at the DIK's bimonthly working bee.  DIK receives a constant flow of medical materials from hospitals resulting in the accumulation of large stockpiles to sort and pack. Many more hands at future working bees would be a great help.
Ian Bentley

The Shocking History of Anaesthesia

The guest speaker today was our own member Dr Gordon Cheyne who delivered in his inimitable relaxed style a talk on “The Shocking History of Anaesthesia”.

To start at the end, the three fundamental requirements for a successful anaesthetic procedure are that the patient is totally asleep, totally without pain and have all muscles totally relaxed to make the surgeons task so much easier.

Your correspondent assumes the fourth unsaid but implied requirement would be that the patient wakes up in good working order and with little or no after effects.

Gordon began with on overview of anaesthesia in its various forms through the ages giving opium, alcohol and cocaine as some examples of early mind-altering substances used by people to kill the pain so to speak, and all of which were potentially addictive.  Several early experimenters in the administration of inhalational or injectable anaesthetic agents became themselves addicted to their use. 

The 1800’s saw the emergence of volatiles including ether, chloroform and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as more effective forms of anaesthetic as their pain-killing effectiveness was observed in their use as “party drugs”.
Various practitioners such as Dr Crawford Long in 1842 used ether to assist the removal a cyst on a friend’s neck.  However he did not publicize this information until 1849.
A travelling dentist, Horace Wells demonstrated the use of nitrous oxide for dental work in 1845.  However Wells made a mistake in choosing a particularly sturdy male volunteer, and the patient suffered considerable pain. This lost the colourful Wells any support. He later became addicted to chloroform, and died in jail by cutting his femoral artery, after allegedly assaulting a prostitute with sulfuric acid.

Another dentist, William Morton, in 1846 performed the first public demonstration of diethyl ether as an anaesthetic agent for the excision of a vascular tumour from a patient neck.  Dentist’s rule, it would seem!                                                    

Discovered in 1831, the use of chloroform in anaesthesia is usually linked to James Simpson who found its efficacy as such in 1847. Its use spread quickly finding royal approval when a Dr John Snow gave it to Queen Victoria during the birth of her eighth child, Prince Leopold. “Dr Snow gave that blessed chloroform, and the effect was soothing, quieting and delightful beyond measure”.

Snow is also considered one of the fathers of modern epidemiology, in part because of his work in tracing the source of a cholera outbreak in Soho, London in 1854. His memorial is a water pump without a handle so that infected waters could not be raised to the surface.
The first surgical anaesthetic administered in the southern hemisphere is credited to William Russ Pugh who set up a practice in Launceston, Tasmania. On June 7 1847 he performed two operations as St John’s hospital Launceston, removing a tumour from a woman’s jaw and cataracts from a man under ether anaesthesia. Cutting edge use of anaesthetic for surgery in a then really remote part of the world.
Gordon concluded with some anaesthetic anecdotes from his own early medical career which described in graphic detail the removal of a placenta in one instance and the administering of an epidural anaesthetic to another woman in labour. We were left in little doubt about the trauma and excitement in a young Dr Cheyne’s early practice.

A fascinating address about a subject that sooner or later we will experience first-hand in some form or other.


Rotary International President Elect Mark Maloney, a member of RC Decatur, Alabama, USA, unveiled the 2019–20 presidential theme, “Rotary Connects the World” ,to incoming district governors at the International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA.
“The first emphasis is to grow Rotary — grow our service, grow the impact of our projects, but most importantly, grow our membership so that we can achieve more,” Maloney said.
He urged leaders to offer alternative meeting experiences and service opportunities to make it easier for busy professionals and people with many family obligations to serve in leadership roles. “We need to foster a culture where Rotary does not compete with the family, but rather complements it,” Maloney said. “That means taking real, practical steps to change the existing culture: being realistic in our expectations, considerate in our scheduling and welcoming of children at Rotary events on every level.”
He said many of the barriers that prevent people from serving as leaders in Rotary are based on expectations that are no longer relevant. “It is time to adapt, to change our culture, and to convey the message that you can be a great district governor without visiting every club individually, and a great president without doing everything yourself.”


Plenty of Rotary clubs recycle spectacles for needy people. But the 20-member of the Rotary Club of Toorak runs a more ambitious “Recycled Sound” program – recycling and fitting used hearing aids. The model can be replicated anywhere in Australia, says club President Gail Wallman. (right)
People aged 25-65 get little or no Government funding towards hearing aids. Many immigrants, refugee claimants, indigenes, victims of domestic violence and the financially disadvantaged have no hope of paying thousands for hearing aids. Poor hearing keeps them out of the workforce and into lives of welfare isolation and unhappiness.
But countless people have just thrown their costly hearing aids into a drawer, because they no longer suit or they’ve ‘traded up’. Recycled, these aids give independence and community participation to others in need.
Toorak club for several years ran Recycled Sound as a collection-only project for hearing aids, re-directing them to a third-party audiology organization. But it now provides the entire service.
The program involves:
· Collecting unwanted aids from clubs, audiology clinics and the public
· Cleaning, testing and re-programming the aids, using equipment bought by Recycled Sound with a grant from the Deafness Foundation
· Alerting organisations to refer-in financially disadvantaged clients with diminished hearing
· Using volunteer audiologists to test, match and fit aids to clients
· Providing follow up support to clients after they have been fitted.
  Gail says, “Our clients accept that they are not getting state of the art aids but a big improvement anyway.”
An audiology clinic with Rotary connections provides two audiology volunteers one day a month. Success stories include:
 Michael 35, was initially on disability-support but now has a job as a rural security guard. He could have lost the job except for his recycled aids
Mother of three Amanda has hearing loss. Using her improved aids, she can now help her hearing-impaired daughter learn to speak.
The first client day this year at the Prahran RSL saw two clients tested and matched with aids. They will return in a month to be fitted with their new reprogrammed aids, and new clients will be tested.
See Contact:

The Year 536 

In modern times, we celebrate the dawn of a new year by saying a dramatic “good riddance” to the old one. Please see: “2018 Was the Worst Year ever!” (Twitter said the same thing about 2017… and 2016… and 2015… and so on.)
But what really was the worst year to live through? 
The year 536 is a good contender. That’s when a mysterious haze settled over most of the northern hemisphere and threw much of the world into an 18-month period of constant darkness. Around the world, temperatures plummeted and crops died. In China, snow fell in the summer. In Ireland, farmers were unable to make bread for the three consecutive years. Disease and pestilence boomed; bubonic plague wiped out half the population of Constantinople. 
536 kicked off the coldest decade in more than 2000 years and was the doorway to the dark ages. Harvard medieval historian Michael McCormick told Science magazine that it “was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive.” Time to take the toll.
The origin of the Late Antique Little Ice Age
For centuries, the cause of 536’s chilly, dark fog was something of a mystery. By the late 20th century, scientists studying tree rings concluded that the culprit was likely a massive volcanic eruption. Just a few years ago, researchers studying ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica found a 1500-year-old layer of sulfur and bismuth that confirmed this volcanic hypothesis.
Since then, researchers have been trying to determine where, exactly, the eruption occurred. Most assumed it happened somewhere in North or South America. But according to Ann Gibbons at Science magazine, researchers at the Climate Change Institute of the University of Maine recently pinpointed the volcano’s location in Iceland. 
Details about the awfulness of 536 tend to concentrate on Europe, but a similar event shook the southern hemisphere in 540, when the Ilopango supervolcano in El Salvador erupted. The explosion was so intense that it possibly caused the Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan—then the world’s sixth largest city with 200,000 people—to suffer a major decline, precipitating its collapse. The eruption also contributed mightily to a South American dark age called the “Maya Hiatus,” a period which eventually led to the downfall of Mayan civilization.
A third volcanic eruption in 547 sealed the fate of the 540s, which had a global average temperature over five degrees Fahrenheit cooler than modern temperatures.
“And it came about during this year that a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during this whole year, and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear.”  —History of the Warsby the Byzantine historian Procopius


It's always nice to receive a birthday card, but a "thank-you" from the Rotary Foundation adds further meaning to my Rotary membership. 
Dear Gordon Cheyne,

There’s so much to celebrate during the month of your birthday. Because of you, expectant mothers in Kampala, Uganda have access to prenatal care. More than 7,000 miles away, in Ada, Ohio, local leaders come together to alleviate illiteracy through adult reading and writing classes. In Rawalpindi, Pakistan, volunteers immunizing children bring us one step closer to ending polio once and for all.

Thank you for being part of the Rotary family. 


Ron D. Burton
Chair, The Rotary Foundation 2018-19
Ths Shadow Knows!
 The Shadow certainly knows it was hot on Saturday, the day scheduled for a working bee at the Donations-in-Kind store in West Footscray. And yes, it got hot in the woolshed. Despite that, we managed to sort tonnes of donated goods: yes tonnes, as in ten big pallets.
We finally nailed Peter Lugg to the floor, to get him to make a decision on a dozen or so operating packs: our photo shows him discussing their suitability with a colleague in Cambodia.  Yes, they can be added to the next consignment. President Ian Bentley and Jane bravely worked their way through some pretty confusing dressings and appliances, but the highlight of the day was morning tea-break, when we happily found the fridge had been stocked with cool drinks. 
Jenny Foster of Essendon RC thanked the attendees: Rotarians and enthusiastic  volunteers, several with medical or nursing backgrounds.  The result of the working bee will be that we now have space to move around, and can get down to making an inventory, so clubs can access the goods they wish to send to those who need them. 
Next working bee? First Saturday in May. It should be a little cooler. At least we hope so.
Did I say ten pallets? Do you ever wonder why we use pallets at DIK?  
Quartz Obsession has some ideas:  "What’s the most important object in the global economy? The classic answer for logistics nerds is the shipping container, which carries just about every type of object you can think of through the arteries and veins of global trade. 
"But let’s drill down a little further. How do those grapedruit and puffer jackets get into the containers in the first place, and then get offloaded at their destinations? The answer, most commonly, is an even more humble and ubiquitous technology: The pallet.
“The magic of these pallets is the magic of abstraction,” writes Jacob Hodes. “Take any object you like, pile it onto a pallet, and it becomes, simply, a ‘unit load’—standardized, cubical, and ideally suited to being scooped up by the tines of a forklift. This allows your Cheerios and your oysters to be whisked through the supply chain with great efficiency.”
"But this simple tool, precisely because of its essential role in the global supply chain, comes with unexpectedly complex logistics. Just last week, the UK’s plan to leave the European Union hit an unexpected snag when panicked British ministers realized the country does not have enough pallets to send exports to the EU, since it uses pallets with very slightly different dimensions. 
"The pallet and forklift are the chicken and egg of modern commerce: Goods are packaged onto pallets specifically so they can be conveyed via forklifts, which have followed their own parallel technological development. Pallets basically exist to give forklifts somewhere to insert their tines."
You can read about the pallet wars when the US abandoned millions of pallets in Australia, after World War I1 here:

Computer Check-up

Upcoming Speakers

Helen Botham
Mar 12, 2019
La Trobe's Jolimont - a walk around my garden.  Partners are particularly welcome to come and hear this talk. 

Helen's book, published in 2006, ‘La Trobe’s Jolimont – A Walk Around My Garden’ uses the illustrations of Edward La Trobe Bateman to give an insight into La Trobe’s Jolimont estate and the people who lived there.  Chair:  Gordon Cheyne   Photo Credit:

Tony Stokes
Mar 19, 2019
Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery
Jeffrey Tan  -  Mar 26, 2019

Cooking a Dream

Mugshots 3
In the third book in the best-selling series, Mugshots 3 takes the reader inside the sinister world of Australian crime and reveals the truth behind the stories that shocked a nation.
Chairman: David Rush
May 07, 2019    Heather Ellis
Journey From Africa To The Silk Road
Heather rode her Yamaha TT600 from south to north Africa, and from London where she worked as a motorcycle courier, to Vietnam via Central Asia on the 'Silk Road'.

Stewart Kreltszheim, Expedition Coordinator.  May 20th 20119
No Roads Health
Chair: Helen Kavnoudias
Kim D'arcy      May 28, 2019
Behind The Badge
Rotary Hawthorn Changeover
Jun 20, 2019
Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club

Coming Events

Make-ups and Apologies

Kim D'Arcy always seeks to finalize numbers by Monday 8.30am by collating  responses about attendance at the next meeting.   So please try to email back to her by that time; and, at the same time, forewarn of any guests.   (Predicting our numbers as closely as possible helps to minimize our catering costs.)

Geoff Wright collates the attendance information.  He needs to know of  "make up " events.

Club Roster 

If you cannot perform your duty, please find a replacement or contact Charles Morrison


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