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                  MARCH 2023

At the completion of the March Probus Meeting the members gathered at Doncaster Hotel where they shared  'Fun, Friendship and Fellowship'  while enjoying lunch and beverages.


We had 17 players at Crazy Whist on 23rd March and we were pleased to welcome Ros and our new President Jeff to their first game.  Both picked up the game very quickly, and Jeff looked like winning for a while, but Liz put a stop to that and came in with a great score of 103 just pipping John by 1 point.  Liz was thrilled with her first win after many years of playing.  Our treasurer Helen can add up the money, but she had no luck adding up the points at Crazy Whist, but was still rewarded with the prize for the Tail Ender.  We finished the night with tea, coffee, biscuits and more chatting.

Our next Crazy Whist is on Thursday, 27th April, the same date as the Tramboat Cruise which is a week following the Probus meeting.  Hope to see you there.

Jan - Convenor


We had 10 walkers join in for the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail on 28th March.  The day before the rain more or less didn't stop, so I had visions that, as we were meeting at my place, it would be a cuppa at No 4 or a short drive to the Stadium for a cuppa.

It turned out to be a good day, although after the rain, it was quite humid so jackets came off quickly.

We came to a junction on the way, the ladies going this way and the menfolk that way, but we did catch up with each other before heading to the Mullum Mullum Stadium for our cuppa and a chat.

Along the way, we came past one of the "famous" Annie & George Bills horse troughs (story below) and had our photo taken alongside the bridge to nowhere!!  Not sure who built it, Melbourne Parks & Gardens maybe, but you can't get on or off it and it doesn't go anywhere.  It does have a non slip surface which is very good.

The story of the horse troughs. George Bills was born in Brighton, England in 1859, migrating with his family to New Zealand and then to Echuca in 1873.  In 1882 he opened a bird dealers shop in Brisbane where he met and married Annis Swann who had migrated from Sheffield in England.  In 1884 the couple moved to Sydney and George went into business with his brothers manufacturing inner spring mattresses in Kent St, Sydney.

Annis and George had no children, but George took a keen interest in seeking out cases of human need and gave many thousands of pounds anonymously to assist the needy.  He was also concerned about the welfare and suffering of animals in any country, especially the working horses.  Following his death, George set up a trust fund of about 70-80 thousand pounds to construct and pay for horse troughs wherever they may be needed.  There are about 700 throughout Australia and 50 in other countries.  Part of this trust fund also went to setting up the RSCPA in Burwood, George being made a Life Governor of the RSPCA in 1924.

In 1908 Annis & George had retired to Hawthorn, Vic., and in 1920, while on a trip to England, Annis died.  George passed away in 1927.

NB:  Our next walk is Thursday , 13th April, meeting at North Blackburn Square.  A change of plans regarding our cuppa.  Fred and Helen have kindly invited us to "pop in" into their place for our cuppa along the way.  Hope to see you there.


     Another great evening of

"Fun, Friendship and Fellowship."

20 members gathered at our usual spot in Ruffey Lake. Biscuits, cheese and nibbles were washed down with wine etc and conversation flowed freely. Travel experiences were shared and of course we solved many of the world problems with some great solutions.

This was our last barbecue until daylight saving begins again.

Looking forward now to the Club's Happy Hours.



The last day in March saw the first meeting of the Old Joker's group at Doncaster Hotel.  A humour filled lunch was hugely enjoyed by nine members of the club, with many laughs and guffaws as those present enjoyed good food and fine company, celebrated with some very tall stories.  Undoubtedly this was the first of many such meetings for the Old Jokers.


Tem members gathered at the Manningham Library in Doncaster at the first meeting of those interested in forming a Book Club for the Donvale Central Probus Club.  Helen presented a number of ways in which other Book Clubs function, and there was much discussion as to which of the several options would best suit our Club.  There were eight apologies so interest levels is significant, maybe sufficient to warrant two individual Book Clubs.


                      History of Old England Hotel

Had a great lunch at the Old England with 16 people attending.  6 people who had put their names down did not attend, I had just confirmed the day before how many people would be lunching. Never mind we all enjoyed our day with lovely company and plenty to talk about.    Judy


On the 13th April we had 8 members join in for the Cootamundra Walk Blackburn and surrounds, on what turned out to be a great morning for walking.  This is a lovely area as we leave the track we meander along some of the pretty streets of Blackburn.  We stopped along the way for our cuppa at 'The Peddler Cafe' in Springfield Road where the coffee and service was great.

The story of Cootamundra Walk:

On the corner of Springfield and Surrey Roads many Cootamundra wattles were planted by the landowner at the time, the Munt family.  This provided a spectacular sight in Spring each year.  When the land was subdivided, Cootamundra Crescent was named after this early plantation and in turn, Cootamundra Walk was named after the Crescent.

1906: Mr E.H. (Harry) Pearce planted pine trees and established an orchard in the area, currently occupied by Blackburn High School and North Blackburn Shopping Centre, growing apples, cherries, pears, plums, peaches, quinces, lemons and apricots.  The family also owned some of the surrounding land, locally known as Pearce's Bush paddock.  In 1954 the site currently occupied by Blackburn High School was acquired by Education Dept from the Pearce family.

Late 1950's:  The western section of Cootamundra Walk (near Bell Street) was extensively cleared of local vegetation to make way for open parkland and children's playground.

1964:  Ths site currently occupied by North Blackburn shopping centre was sold to business interests.

May 1975:  The Mayor of Nunawading called a public meeting to discuss the need for some community facilities in the North Blackburn area and a committee was formed, promoting the need for a Community Centre on the land east of the Shopping Centre.  It was to include an indoor swimming pool and basketball court, theatrette and elderly citizens club.  Some members of the Committee were not in favour of the development, so keeping the lovely bushland area, and making any further shopping centre developments did not destroy the existing bushland.


See attached photos of the destroyed vegetation during the shopping centre extensions in 1978, and photo of how the area looks now.

Our next walk is Tuesday, 2nd May, is Koomba Park having our cuppa halfway at Java Script Cafe at Vermont Private Hospital.  Hope to see yoyu there


On the 14th April, three lovely ladies turned up for our amble at Ruffey Lake Park, and a nice morning we had.  Weather was perfect and as no "Official" amblers came, we extended the amble into more of a walk.

While crossing over one of the many little bridges, we spied what could have been a dinosaur relic or maybe even a creature from the black lagoon.  The attached photo is a bit fuzzy but I don't think he liked having his photo taken.  


This outing is really for our Amblers so think about it and please join in. It's about having a bit of a wander around some parkland, followed by an extended cuppa and chat.

Our next Amble is friday, 5th May at Halliday Park in Mitcham. Ros and I hope to see you there.


It is a 68 hectare green oasis that was a fruit orchard up until 1974, when the Council purchased it with Ruffey Creek being damned creating the beautiful lake.  The land had been owned by three families, the Thieles, the Williamsons and Ambrose Pullin, who grew wheat, harvesting his last crop in 1856.  The Monterey Pines in the park were planted by pioneer orchardists to protect the fruit from wind damage.  Now we are lucky enough ro have this very beautiful park to enjoy.


Sue and Ros


The first meeting of the renewed Donvale Central Craft Group took place at Mary's on Thursday. The numbers were a little down due to The Tramboat Excursion being on the same day.

The group will meet each month to craft, chat and enjoy a coffee and biscuit.  Some of the Craft work will be donated to several charities -eg- Doncare.


Thanks you Mary for hosting the Craft Group once more.

Ladies and gentlemen, get out those needles and come join us for some Craft therapy.


The sky was dark and threatening as we all left East Doncaster, using various modes of public transport, on our way to Shed 9, Victoria Harbour Docklands.  By the time the first travellers arrived the rain had started to sprinkle down, so we were able to board the Tramboat early before the rain really started to come down steadily.  Some of the tram travellers were delayed because a tree had blown down over the tram lines so that service ceased.  Eventually the travellers managed to find  other modes of transport so our start was only delayed for a short time.  Our club was joined by 16 members from Donvale Tunstall who were a very socible group, just like us.  Fortunately the boat was warm and dry and our Captain Anthony and Conductresses Lisa and Teri were set to give us a good time.  We began the cruise with a demonstration of how to wear the life jacket with the assistance of our model Chas.


Lunch at Yering Meadows in              the Yarra Valley

As we travelled up the Yarra, past the multimillion dollar apartments, yachts and cruises, Anthony gave us some interesting commentary as well as secret gossip.  We travelled through our beautiful city which was interesting to see from a different perspective.  By then the rain had stopped and the morning tea and banter had lifted our spirits.  We travelled on for 3 kilometres to Herring Island which was man-made in 1920's to reduce flood damage.  It was origonally called Como Island but renamed Herring Island after Sir Edmund Herring, President of the Australian Scout Association during the late 1950's to 1970's.  The scouts had a hall on the island and they initiated weed eradication and revegetation programs to improve the landscape.  The island is now being managed by Parks Victoria.  Environmental sculptures have been installed on the Island which can be viewed while enjoying a 30 minute stroll around the island.




Back on the Tramboat we travelled further on through Hawthorn, where the mansions' gardens covered the steep hills down to their small jetties with watercraft of all types and sizes.  We caught glimpses of Scotch College, St Kevins and Melbourne High School,as well as rowing sheds situated on the banks.  On our return trip we ate delicious gourmet sandwiches, while passing a variety of other water craft.  Once we passed under the last of the very low bridges we were invited to climb upstairs for a very windy but sunny view of the Melbourne Eye, now up for sale for $1. What a sad end to an innovative landmark.

Again we used various modes of transport to travel home,everyone having enjoyed the good company, interesting commentary and sights of our wonderful city.



We had 9 players last night after a few last minute unavoidable withdrawals.  We decided to play 3 tables of 3 players all playing individually,(no partners), with the winner from each round moving onto the next table.  We hadn't played like this before but with a few changes in some of the crazy rules, we all coped very well and we had a good evening.  Our new President Jeff showed that not only can he do a fancy card shuffle, but he knows how to win a game.  He had a very good score of 89.  At the other end of scoring, 3 players hardly moved from their origonal place, but Don really did struggle to get any good cards and came in with less than half of Jeff's score at 43.  He didn't mind though as he took home his box of chocolates, the same prize as the winner.



We had 8 walkers in for the Koomba Park walk on 2nd May.  I shifted this walk to a non-regular walking day because of Anzac Day and our wonderful Tramcar Ferry ride (great day).  Alas, the 2nd May is also our Committee meeting day, so few regulars were missing, but still eight is great!

So: Our walk started off with a car park full of deep and muddy pot holes. This was the case a few years ago, when I did contact Parks Victoria who thanked us for letting them know and promptly repaired the area.  Well, hello! we are back to where we started.  I may have to let them know again.  Not sure  what the weather was mean't to be (Jane said storms in the Ringwood area) but we were lucky to be walking in lovely sunshine.  So far, so good!  The plan was to walk through Koomba Park, (sightseeing a few kangaroos in that area) follow along the broadwalk coming out near the Vermont Private Hospital Cafe "Java Script".  After a kilometre or two, we reach the broadwalk area, only to be met by a sign saying "area closed due to bad weather". Looks like an old sign so we'll give it a try -no!  Gate closed so can't go that way.  Unfortunately, that is the way to the Cafe.  Plan B kicks in.  Cancel Jave Script Cafe, walk back to the cars, and head to "Dimicks cafe" in Boronia Road.  As we were getting ready to manoeuvre the pot holes and leave carpark, poor Bernie's car bumped into one of the very, very low posts and came off second best.

The Cafe was welcoming and cheery, Brian's Jaffa flavoured muffin was yummy, coffee good, wall art pretty, so, in the end, I think we all had a nice morning (apart from Bernie's car - hope not too expensive to fix).

Our next walk is Banksia Park, Bulleen, Thursday 11th May (regular day), having our cuppa near the end at Cafe Vue in the park.  This lends itself to shortening if anyone needs a shorter walk.  Hope to see you there.


On a perfect sunny morning, we had 10 join in for the Banksia Park walk on 11th May.  This is one of my favourites; it's a very pretty area with beautiful trees, river views, flat path, and a cafe in the park.  (Cafe View is now called Heide Kitchen).

On our last walk we were met with a car park full of quite deep mud and muddy pot holes. This time the track which is sealed was very muddy and a bit slippery in parts.  We had beautiful green park land  one side, the river on the other, couldn't work out why it was like that.  Ros suggested that it is from the river when we had those floods around the area about October last year.  I am going to contact Parks Victoria to suggest it be cleaned up.  It will only get worse in the winter and we hope to be there in October to see the cherry blossoms.

Near the start of our walk we saw a very fast running animal going through the park.  A dog?  Too big!  Not a kangaroo!  It was a deer!!!  Never to be seen again.  We headed to the Heide Kitchen for our cuppa.  Service was friendly but a little bit slow.  Being near Mothers day,  I took some chocolates to share with coffee.  Completely forgot about them until it was time to go, so shared them around on our way to the cars.  Could be classed as a senior moment!

Our next walk is 23rd May starting at Edendale Farm Eltham walking towards Diamond Creek, having our cuppa near the end at Cafe at the Farm.  Hope to see you there.

Heide Museum is the site of a former dairy farm owned by prominent art benefactors John & Sunday Reed.  After purchasing their farm in 1934, they named it Heide in reference to the Heidleberg School, an impressionist art movement that devveloped in nearby heidleberg in the 1880s. The Heide Museum of Modern Art was established in 1981 and is set within sixteen acres of heritage listed gardens and a sculpture park.  Some of the young modernist painters, who often stayed in the Reed's century farmhouse were Sydney Nolan, John Perceval, Albert Tucker and Joy Hester.  Sidney Nolan, who lived at Heide intermittently for almost a decade, painted his celebrated Ned Kelly series in the dining room in 1946-7.




On the 5th May, 3 lovely ladies, Ros, Lyn & Carol (apology from Sue) enjoyed a pleasant morning strolling around Halliday Park, finishing with a nice cuppa and chat afterwards.  New members and visitors please consider this outing as a way to get to know a few folk in a relkaxed and friendly outing.

Next Amble is Halliday Park, Mitcham, Friday 2nd June, 10am.  Hope to see you there.

Ros and Sue


The second meeting of the Old Jokers Club was held in early May over lunch at the Doncaster Hotel with ten members (all blokes)! taking part. The group is growing, and signs are there already that we will be expanding to two tables before long a as nobody likes missing the punch lines of the hilarious jokes. 


Political correction is alive and well at the Old Joker's Club!


71 people including several guests who we expect to become members soon, gathered at the East Doncaster Baptist Church Hall for our Birthday Lunch. This event marked 17 years since our Club was founded by 38 members who had such immense foresight and enthusiasm back in 2006.  Ten tables were spread throughout the hall and everyone feasted  on a BBQ luncheon supplied by caterers from Spitting Image.


However the undoubted highlight of the lunch was the amazing and memorable highlight was the performance of "Cinderella" by the all-male Donvale Central Probus Repertory Group.  The Narrator, Prince Charming, Fairy Godmother, the two Ugly Sisters, not to speak of the gorgeous Cinderella, were all convincing in their roles. There is more than a small possibility that this will be their first and last such presentation, given the issues they had presenting their lines!  But the cascades of laughter that ran through the hall during the 15- minute performance will be long remembered. The pictures here really do insufficient justice to the mirth and hilarity that was enjoyed by all throughout.  But that's what Probus is all about isn't it.


 Club Song - by Jan Altman

     10th Birthday Party

Once a group of 'Oldies' thought they'd like to socialise.

They gathered together at the Baptist Church Hall:

With the help of the Rotary they formed our first Committee

We started the Probus group that welcomes us all.

Chorus: Donvale Central, Donvale Central,

Donvale Central, the Probus Club for me.

And we chat and laugh and enjoy each other's company

Donvale Central is the Probus Club for me.

Then that group of 'Oldies' started having lots of fun

Going on holidays and outings here and there

Walking and bowling and hitting golf balls in the sun

Making new friends while exploring everywhere.


As we know its food that goes with Fellowship

Thanks to the ladies in Hospitality

Add the Coffee Club and Dineouts, BBQ'S and Chat and Chews

We're all very well fed I'm sure you can see.


Once our minds were muddles and needed inspiration

So excellent Speakers have come and had their say:

With trips to the theatre and stimulating Crazy Whist

We know that our club helps our minds not to stray.


Don't forget the people who've served on our Commitee

Counting our money and writing all our news:

Looking after Welfare or checking our apologies

Is the Sec. or the V.P. the next pace for you?



Tune: 'Waltzing Matilda'

              Forward to Gallery 3

Fun, Friendship and Fellowship
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