I hope you are all well and keeping safe.

Our March meeting is the AGM where all positions become vacant. We have a few vacancies that need filling to keep this wonderful Club alive. Please consider becoming a member of the committee to enable the wonderful activities and strengths of this club to continue, after all it is your Club. To those who have volunteered for positions thank you I’m sure you will really enjoy it.

At the last meeting it was decided that fees would be $35.00 for the year and this will be ratified at the AGM. Fees must be paid by 1st April to remain a member. If you pay by EFT please don’t forget to mark it on your envelope.

At the end of March two trips are happening. About 10 people are taking off for Tasmania, which was cancelled a while ago because of Covid and the long awaited Japan trip for about 30 people will be leaving our shores on March 29th. Safe travels and keep well.

This is my last report and I want to thank you sincerely for your support and encouragement during my time as your President. You have instilled in me the importance of Friendship, Fellowship and Fun.

Many thanks to the set up team, the morning tea team, the behind the scenes team looking after the website and last but certainly not least many thanks to the Management Committee who have worked tirelessly to keep this wonderful Club ticking.

I wish the new President Elect Michael, Vice President Elect Marian and the committee all the very best for this year.

Thank you and stay safe,




The Annual General Meeting and the March General Meeting will be held on Thursday 9th March 2023 at 10.00am in the Community Hall, Breakfast Point.

Annual membership fees are $35.00 per person.

You can pay membership fees at the March General Meeting or you can pay by EFT. Payment details for EFT are Commonwealth Bank Concord. Account: Probus Club of Breakfast Point. BSB 062-145 Account No. 10225641. You must include your surname, initial and members fees in the description field.

To remain financial, you must pay fees by 1 April 2023.

SPEAKER REPORT- The Sinking of the Costa Concordia by Noel Phelan

Cruising has been a way of seeing the world enjoyed by millions of people for many years. It is very safe and very comfortable - just about all of the time. However, the disaster of the Titanic on April 15th, 1912, which sank in a mere two and a half hours, has become the stuff of legend. Books have been written about it and films made which graphically presented the horror of that event.
But, one hundred years later, on January 13, 2012, there was another major maritime disaster when the Italian luxury liner Costa Concordia, carrying some 4000 plus passengers and crew, sank off the coast of Giglio Island in the Tyrrhenian Sea - a mere three hours after it had set sail at 7pm from a port in Italy and with the loss of 32 lives.

To tell us this horrific story, was Noel Phelan, an expert in matters maritime and a guide at Sydney’s Maritime Museum, which, Noel told us, is considered to be number two in the world for the number and variety of the vessels on display.

“During the years of Covid, most cruise ships were scrapped’, he said.’Ships can’t be mothballed as planes can be, because of their complex air conditioning and engineering systems, so as the Covid infections fell, new ships had be built.’ Modern ships have a great deal of super technology, and that technology, perhaps not fully understood, can be relied upon rather too much. A ‘what could possibly go wrong’ mindset occurs, resulting in a rather cavalier approach to navigation.

So how did the Costa Concordia, pride of the Carnival Corporation shipping company, manage to run aground with such disastrous results? One has to look to the ship’s Bridge, and of course, the Captain to find the answers.
Captain Francesco Schettino.
Reports made on Captain Francesco Schettini paint a very worrying picture of a man put in charge of such a large vessel with its something over 6000 passengers. He was 52 years old, married with a family, and had been a ship’s Master since 2006. The President of the shipping company thought him ‘arrogant, and too exuberant’.

Although the ship had a proscribed route on this particular cruise, Schettini decided to change it to give passengers (and one particular passenger, the captains girlfriend, a ‘good- time girl’) , a closer view of Giglio island; a rather too close a view as it turned out, because at the ship was steered, with what seemed contradictory orders, onto the huge rocks which were a feature of that island. Schettino tried to correct the direction but it was all too late, and even though an order was given to close the watertight doors, a 53 metre tear opened on the port side of the ship. The engine room began to flood, the electrical systems failed, and the ship was plunged into darkness.

‘Stay calm’, the passengers were told. ‘The situation is under control’; which was far from the truth. It was a situation of shock and denial and it seems that the officers on the Bridge did not intervene at any point.

“We hit something’, Schettino said, ‘so we’ll drop anchor and assess the situation’. But water starts coming into the ship. He finally sends a message to marine rescue.

“He should have sent Mayday calls immediately,’ noted Noel, ‘but he was in a state of shock; his whole approach was chaotic and he seemed to be blind to the risk.’

Apparently there had been no lifeboat practice or attention to muster stations, which would have been usual practice. By this time the passengers were becoming increasingly alarmed as water began to pour into the ship, but they were left to figure things out for themselves since the Captain had left and jumped into a lifeboat!’ His officers behaved not much better, leaving the ship not long after Schettino, even though there were still hundreds of people on board.

Marine rescue was clearly appalled at the Captain’s actions and issued repeated orders for him to immediately return to ship and take charge of the evacuation. In the meantime, some of the passengers started to get organised and began climbing into the lifeboats - a difficult exercise, since the ship was listing so dangerously. In the end, some 4000 people were evacuated.

Salvage was an important part of the Costa Concordia story. "It wasn’t a normal salvage operation, because the Costa was full of fuel and poisonous debris,’ Noel told us; ‘a lot of furniture too, and of course, the bodies of those who had died’. It was a complicated salvage operation - reported later as the largest in history and cost in the order of some 2 billion dollars. In the end, salvage completed, the Costa was towed into international waters and sunk.

Amongst the many findings of this tragedy were;
· Scathing of Bridge management: no monitoring of the ship’s position; chaotic approach to the crisis; procedures not followed; incompetent; failed in most aspects of duty.

· The wash-up of this disaster was that Captain Schettino and four others were convicted of abandoning ship and manslaughter, most for just a few years, but Schettino is still in gaol today.

· A moving postscript to this story is that the seven ton rock the Costa hit, is now located on the island of Giglio and inscribed with the names of those who died.
Tricia Rollins
How the disaster unfolded.
Many members listened to Noel's fascinating history of this disaster.


20 keen users joined Lois on 16 February to help one another unpack the mysteries of the Ipad. With many different models and sizes, it was challenging, and Lois was kept very busy for the 2 hours.
If you want to join the group check the Groups page on the website.



Over 25% of members attended the Pub Crawl at The Palace Hotel. Two speakers, our own Andrew West and the publican from 1980 to 2001, John Daly, shared lots of local knowledge and anecdotes prior to lunch. Andrew's presentation was on the history of the original Palace Hotel, located near the existing Palace Lane. He has provided a summary which will be of interest to all, particularly those that missed the presentation.

The Palace Hotel 1886-1926
Most residents of Mortlake-Cabarita and Breakfast Point know the Palace Hotel in Tennyson
Road. Opened in 1926, the Palace has been synonymous with the changing character and
fortunes of the district. Some residents might also be aware of an earlier Palace Hotel - the
only reminder of which is Palace Lane, a pedestrian thoroughfare between Tennyson Road
and Hilly Street.

The original Palace was a grand three storey late Victorian structure, complete with central
tower and enveloped by sweeping verandas where one might expect ladies in crinolines and
gentlemen with top hats to promenade.

The building was completed in 1886, the same year as the gasworks opened. It was not,
however, intended for gas workers, but rather for the huge crowds that attended rowing
regattas or picnicked in the local pleasure gardens. So popular were these regattas that a
branch line on the Enfield to Mortlake tramway was constructed to transport the tens of
thousands of spectators on race day. Regular steam ferries from the city carried thousands
more people to picnic grounds at the Palace Hotel and Cabarita Park.

Many businesses and sporting organisations held their annual picnics at the amusement
grounds in front of the original Palace Hotel and at Correy’s Pleasure Gardens in Cabarita.
Often the licensee of the Palace Hotel would arrange activities for day trippers including
tennis, swimming, boating and musical recitals by a brass band. Visitors might also seek
refreshment in the hotel or enjoy a pleasant walk in the hotel gardens. A generous purse
was offered by the publican to encourage further interest in the sculling challenge from

A high point of the sculling competition was an international challenge from the local rower,
William Beach and the Canadian Ned Hanlan, the world champion. The Canadian lodged at
the Palace Hotel where he set up a training camp prior to the race. Beach chose to train on
the opposite side of the river. On the day of the final the spectators lined every vantage
point, including the verandas of the Palace Hotel. Beach, a smaller man, was slower at the
start. Part way through, Hanlan tired and Beach started to reduce the margin between them. Rounding Green Point, a tremendous cheer went up as Beach caught and then drew ahead of his rival. Beach won the series of four races and retired as undefeated champion of the world. An obelisk at Cabarita Park now commemorates Beach’s victory. Andrew West
The current manager, Sean, kindly donated a couple of door prizes so two of our members received a belated birthday present and a most enjoyable and social time had by all and I understand that nobody got lost on the way home.
John Daly's time at The Palace:- 1980 -2001.
The Palace was a brewery owned hotel prior to John purchasing it in 1980. The gasworks were winding down but the fallout from the gasworks, both the smell and pollution meant there was little local housing and most was industrial - paint factories and light engineering works. Earlier attempts to sell residential land failed and the gas works acquired the land to expand their operations. The clientele of the pub during his time was mostly local workers and later accommodation for the workers building the Cape Cabarita development we know today. Many came from Newcastle and stayed in the Pub and apparently many had 3 meals a day, all of which were on tap.

In the 1980's and early 1990's pre poker machines in pubs, The Palace had a TAB machine. Once John was summoned by the manager who explained that the TAB had forcibly removed their machine, however not without cause as the manager had organised for a relative to wager on credit, (with losses of around $25,000 before the TAB stepped in). Restitution was arranged, and the TAB machine returned. John made many improvements including a new kitchen and opening up the back wall to a smaller deck than the one that now exists.
Stephen Mathews
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