Hello Everyone - I trust that you are all well and keeping safe from Covid and flu.
How wonderful to be able to say “Spring has Sprung”. New life is sprouting up everywhere, the trees and birds etc. Days are getting longer and dare I say a little warmer.
Thanks to Michael Hatton for taking my place at the last meeting. Isn’t it wonderful that we have a plan in place to ensure that the show goes on. We still need help with Secretary, Projector and a Theatre co-ordinator. There comes a time when some of us are not available for various reasons and it really helps to keep the club moving along to have someone step in to help. Please think about it and if you can help please offer.
Unfortunately the Tulip Tops Trip has been cancelled due to lack of interest. I can only say if you haven’t been to Tulip Tops you are missing out on a very beautiful garden that does wonders for the soul. Of course the trip to Bundanon is on and everyone booked is looking forward to it.
I hope you enjoy the next meeting, some of us know the speaker and she is a delightful pocket rocket whom I sure you will enjoy meeting.
Until then keep smiling and remember Fellowship, Friendship and Fun. Maria

OUTINGS - Check for vacancies and book now!

Full outing details and booking information:
Bundanon Art Museum.
September 9-11
Payments complete.
Fully booked
Coach from Emily St 8.30am
Jazz in the Pines- Dural.
Sunday 16th October
Pay at the venue.
$25 (conc; $20)
VACANCIES -BOOK on website or contact Bob
Taste of Italy, Gardens
Tuesday 18th October
Final payment due at or by the September meeting.
Coach from Emily St 8.30am
Mystery Coach Tour
Thursday 20th October
Final payment at or by the September meeting
Japan Spring Trip
March 29- April 15 2023.
Deposits all paid. Final payment January 2023.
Wait list only.


… a Distilled History of Colonial History… and such is the title of this month’s speaker’s best- selling book.
Author Matt Murphy is a man of many parts. He is not only a historian, a teacher of history, a firefighter of many years standing, but he has cycled across Australia twice, from north to south and from east to west.
He is also a man fascinated with one particular element of the penal colony of Sydney, some twenty odd years after the first settlement. They were difficult years for the convicts and most of them took solace from drinking, finding it hard to start their days without drinking, and over the day they would drink about a gallon of rum- per person- per day! In the 1830’s, seven gallons of rum were drunk for every man, woman and child. When asked, one man said he’d sell his wife for four gallons of the stuff…
So where did this rum come from? The marines who were sent out to control the convicts, apparently brought with them two years supply of food and four years supply of rum. And what was rum? Anything, said Matt, that was not brandy or beer, and after a while, the sought after liquid was often distilled in people’s homes.
Here Matt interrupted his tale of the early days of Sydney to tell us some sobering statistics about drinking throughout our present world. The World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) found that people in Moldova drink 175 litres of alcohol a year; U.K. are 25th on the list of drinkers, New Zealand is 31st, while in Hungary, 20 percent of the population drink 90 percent of the available alcohol. As for beer, the Czechs drink a little of it all throughout the day, Austrians consume 104 litres a day, while the good old Northern Territorians are right up there, drinking 122 litres every day… Another sobering thought, alcohol causes 15 deaths per day in Australia.
So, back to the early days. Governor Philip was able mostly to control the amount of drinking in the new colony, but things deteriorated when he left. Governor Hunter fought the marines - the so-called Rum Corps-who were selling more and more of their rum to very willing buyers. Then Governor Bligh arrived to take over. Bligh, by all accounts, was a very difficult man- dictatorial and abusive, and he was extremely disliked by everyone. In trying to control the marines and the sale of rum, the people and the marines rebelled against Bligh, who fled from the wrath of the populace, hiding in Government House. It took them two hours to find him.
After Bligh, came Governor Macquarie who served in the colony for 12 years, and by that time the distribution of rum was more or less under control, so, said Matt, ‘he had a very easy ride’.After transportation ended, a great depression began in the 1840’s and ‘the rum trade fell off a cliff.’
Matt had some serious questions for us to mull over.
‘Would Eureka Stockade have happened if the rebels weren’t pissed? How would people get drunk if Governor Macquarie closed the only pub in the gaol? Why should sailors under 14 years old be deprived of their 16 tots of rum every day?’ Sailors did not drink water on the ships coming out to Australia on the long voyage, because it became foul and rank. Until the 1860’s, beer was substituted for water - and of course, those tots of rum.
Binge drinking was rife and eventually led to Lockout Laws and to ideas of prohibition., although Prohibition did not take hold in Australia as it did in America. Apparently, heavy drinking Prime Minister Barton was called ‘Tony Tosspot’ and there were tales of politicians urinating on the parliamentary carpets!
Matt told us the famous tale of a group of convicts trying to escape to China and he thought they would have made it ‘if they hadn’t been so smashed’. Other stories included the ‘Rum Hospital’ being built without a lavatory, ‘cutting corners to save money.’ He then took us through some pictures of the five stages of inebriation and while some honest Probus members put up their hands for the first two stages ( your writer included), there were happily none who had got to the last stage of being slumped in a doorway, totally comatose.
Such was the state of drunkenness that the Temperance movement, which had begin in the 1830’s was not very effective until the Australian Christian Temperance Movement ( from America) gained strength in the 1880’s, and while it did not lead to complete prohibition, it did have some successes.
To conclude, Matt told us that his book had been the No 1 cookbook in Australia for a whole two weeks! Probably until someone wised up. Tricia Rollins.
Above: Vote of thanks for Matt.
Below: Two new members were inducted by Michael during the meeting.
Above: Matt making a point!
Below: Morning tea was a buzzy chatty time as friends caught up.
After the meeting quite a few members continued catching up over lunch at the Club


When the group arrived for morning tea in North Sydney Col had a surprise in store! He took them to see the Greenwood building, once St. Leonards Public School and later North Sydney Technical High School. This Gothic revival school building was constructed in 1877 by architect, George Allan Mansfield, a leading architect of his day. It served as a school until Tech High closed in 1967 and the historic building, classified by the National Trust, was integrated into the commercial and retail development in a very innovative manner! It was also where Col, in his first year of teaching, taught Rick Riddle who was then in first year high school!
After morning tea they followed a well-worn path to Rouse Hill where they once again had lunch at The Griddle, a favourite restaurant with good food but more importantly the owners treat Probus groups to a bottle of wine or two on each table!
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