What's been happening at RCWE? November 9

‘Saying No to Domestic Violence’
President Mark had attended a zoom meeting of Region C Clubs and reported that there will be a march down Liebig Street on November 24, it is being organised by Orange Door to promote awareness of ‘Saying No to Domestic Violence’. Rotarians are invited to join the march.
RCWE’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday 23 November. 
Major items of business will be
            - the Financial Report for 2022-2023
            - election of the Club Board for 2024-2025.
Peter Mentha will be President. Otherwise, there will be vacancies for
            Vice President
            President Elect (President 2024-2025)
            Secretary & Treasurer
            Six (6) Directors
Hole in One
Hole in One Update – Mike Toone
Mike thanked everyone who was working on the forthcoming event especially:
  • Nicole for her work liaising with the City Council regarding required permits,
  • Roger and Bruce co-ordinating the contact with sponsors,
  • Those who had attended today’s working bee.
Mike also noted that taking into account only those members who are ready and able to undertake HIO supervision, if each Rotarian did two sessions of supervision per week, club members could cover the majority of the 56 (or was 54) supervision sessions.
Hole in One Sponsors Update
Roger thanked all Rotarians who had contacted sponsors. The response has been very positive with 51 of the 67 sponsors signing on again and only three declining to continue their sponsorship.
Hole in One Working Bee - James Cowell
Hi Ho Hi, Ho, it’s off to work we go. With a little mowing here and a chop-chop there, whipper snipping elsewhere, and cleaning-up everywhere as well as a little jumping!
What's been happening at RCWE? November 9 2023-11-13 13:00:00Z 0

Specialist Outpatient Clinics at South West Healthcare

Maggie Dwyer introduced Christa McLeod, Manager of Specialist Outpatient Clinics at South West Healthcare. Christa explained that she was a trained nurse who had managed the COVID testing and vaccination facility in Merri Street for two years. Following this, it was back to the Wards for some clinical experience, after which she was appointed to her current position.
Specialist Outpatient Clinics at South West Healthcare 2023-10-22 13:00:00Z 0

What is happening at RCWE? - October 19

The Miracle Club
Maggie Dwyer - advertised a film night in aid of OXFAM.
Hole in One - Working Bee
James Cowell - a note for your diary – first Hole-in-1 working bee Thursday 9 November
            Service your mowers, whipper snippers, etc., and get the rust off your rakes!
Hole in One Sponsors
Roger Cussen – went over the process for members to visit Hole-in-1 sponsors to determine their response for this year. For those involved, material has been emailed. Of last year’s 67 sponsors, 19 have already signed up again for this year.
Bruce Skilbeck – backed up Roger’s comments about approaches to Hole-in-1 sponsors. He also drew attention to the fact that Andrew Coffey was in respite at Gillin Park and was happy to receive visitors.
Brophy Community Support Award
 Wendy Mitchem, Vocational & Youth Director reported that she and PE Peter Mentha had attended by ZOOM the Brophy AGM where RCWE received a Community Support Award.
Water Tanks for East Timor
International Director Bill Hewett has been advised that the big tank at Port Fairy Hospital has been decommissioned and is ready for dismantling. Working Bee sometime in November to do the job.
What is happening at RCWE? - October 19 2023-10-22 13:00:00Z 0

DG Visit

DG Ian said that he had been in Warrnambool for six years, where he was Principal of King’s College and a member of the Rotary Club of Warrnambool Daybreak. A change of job brought about a move to Mt Gambier, where he joined the Rotary Club of Mount Gambier Lakes.
DG Visit 2023-10-07 13:00:00Z 0

Changeover Dinner

Annual Report 2022-2023
President Jim delivered the Annual Report on activities for 2022-2023, as printed in the copy circulated to all members via Clubrunner. He announced that following him for July-September, PP Mark Taylor would be President for October – December 2023, then PP Roger Cussen for January-March 2024. There was still a vacancy for April-June 2024. 
Paul Harris Fellow Recognitions
The Rotary Foundation Chairman Tim McLeod was joined at the microphone by President Jim. Tim read the citations (as contained in the circulated Annual Report), after which Jim presented the lapel pin and/or certificate. Recipients this year were all RCWE Members, recognised for their contribution to the club’s programmes and activities.
1. James Cowell (Sapphire) – previously recognised in 2018-2019
In his response, James displayed the humbleness which characterises his work for the club.
2. Nicole Larter
Nicole said that she was greatly honoured to receive this recognition for doing things which she greatly enjoys. She loves the fellowship, and gets as much back from Rotary as she puts in. 
3. Mike Toone (Sapphire) – previously recognised by the Rotary Club of Buderim, Q
Mike also said that he was greatly honoured to be recognised and that he really enjoys the work he does for Rotary and other community activities. He also spoke of the way in which the whole club contributes to activities.
Stewart Dumesny Award
As per the circulated report, President Jim read the background to this club award, and advised that PP Peter Reeve was this year’s awardee. Peter was unfortunately not present due to his current health challenge, but Jim had visited him to tell him of the award – he was overwhelmed by the recognition.
Installation of President
PDG Ray Welsford made some introductory comments and asked those present to stand and recognise the 
leadership of Greg Wood, Cliff Heath and Jim Sawyer through 2022-2023.
He then read the words of installation for the President, to which President Jim responded.
Ray handed to Jim for safekeeping the framed Charter for the Club, he pinned the Presidential Pin to Jim’s lapel, and placed the Presidential Collar on Jim’s shoulders.
Jim responded by thanking the Club for the honour of being President, and stated that he was looking forward to working with members for the good of the club and the community. He unveiled the Theme Banner for 2023-2024, which showed RI President Gordon McInally’s theme
President Jim made a presentation to PP Cliff Heath, recognising his exemplary service as President for two consecutive years during the COVID pandemic, plus an additional three months, to which Cliff responded suitably.
President Jim then introduced the members of the Club Board for 2023-2024.
Changeover Dinner 2023-07-02 14:00:00Z 0
Congratulations Ian - Order of Australia Medal 2023-06-11 14:00:00Z 0

 Rotary Club of Warrnambool East - Making A Difference (2)

Literacy Program

The Club donates a book to each new born at the Warrnambool Base Hospital. The books donated so far amounted  $2 885.

Fred Hollows Foundation

This organisation aimsto provide high quality and affordable eye care to everyone.
Donation: $1 000

Backpacks for Kids

Often children are placed quickly into foster care, kinship care or emergency accommodation without much more than what they are wearing at the time. We provide them with a few essential items to ease feelings of loss and to help with their relocation.
Donation: $500

For other projects supported by the RCWE view "Making a Difference" in the navigation toolbar above.
 Rotary Club of Warrnambool East - Making A Difference (2) 2023-05-31 14:00:00Z 0

Hole in One 2022-23

The Winners

Junior Shootout: James Bosworth





Hole in One 2022-23 2023-01-28 13:00:00Z 0

SWTAFE First Year Apprenticeship Awards

PP Bill Hewett introduced the presentations by noting that RCWE is again joining with SWTAFE to recognise the hard work and dedication of first year apprentices.
He commented that on 15 November with Wendy Mitcham and Paul Atack he spent the afternoon interviewing the seven top first year apprentices nominated by the South West TAFE teaching staff. 
Bill added that tonight, we are joined by Shannyn Martin, South West TAFE’s Executive Manager of Corporate Services who is new to us, so we had better be on our best behaviour, and Emily Cowell from the Marketing Team at South West TAFE who along with Wendy did all the organising for tonight.
SWTAFE First Year Apprenticeship Awards 2022-12-03 13:00:00Z 0

Paul Harris Fellow

Mr Philip Gan, who was presented with a Paul Harris Fellow Recognition in 2021 by the Rotary Club of Warrnambool East in acknowledgement of his work in laparoscopic surgery, has invented the LiVac retractro to improve recovery outcomes for patients after surgery.
The LiVac retractor is a single-use soft silicone device that uses suction (rather than hand-held retractors and harsh metal devices) to create a vacuum to join solid organs like the liver and spleen, to the diaphragm during surgery.
Paul Harris Fellow 2022-11-19 13:00:00Z 0
Rotary Foundation Presentation - Tim McLeod 2022-11-12 13:00:00Z 0

Changeover Dinner


Paul Harris Fellow Recognitions:
Foundation Chair Tim McLeod took the microphone and explained the link between a US$1000 contribution to The Rotary Foundation and a Paul Harris Fellow Recognition. He also explained the long tradition at RCWE where the club donates the dollars in the name of a Rotarian or a community members as a way of recognising that person’s contribution to Rotary or community.
He explained that there were four such presentations to be made tonight.
Paul Harris Fellow Recognition + Sapphire
PP Peter Reeve – a second such recognition qualifying him for a Sapphire Pin.
    In Peter’s absence, Tim stated that he had called him prior to the meeting. Peter had stated that he was humbled, but excited – felt unworthy of such recognition.
Paul Harris Fellow Recognition
Kylie Thulborn – co-founder and leader of the Find Your Voice Choir & Collective
    Kylie said that she was “speechless” and very thankful. She commended Rotary for the important work it does and urged us not to underestimate the value of our contribution.
She suggested that when people share, amazing things happen
Paul Harris Fellow Recognition + Sapphire
PP Collin Brinkman – having received a Paul Harris Fellow Recognition from Hamilton North, his former club, the second recognition qualified him for a Sapphire Pin. Collin expressed his gratitude for being recognised.
Paul Harris Fellow Recognition
President Cliff Heath – Cliff’s initial response brought much amusement to the room – said he, A PHF. Wow!  Thank you Tim. First and foremost, thank you to the Foundation Committee, you  have made an excellent choice. Also, to the person who nominated me, you are clearly a very good judge of character. He then put on his serious face, stating that he was truly touched by this prestigious recognition which he accepted with great pride, adding that the fact that my club is prepared to recognise me in this way is indeed humbling.
President Cliff spoke about the background to this award, and announced that PP Maggie Dwyer was the recipient for 2021-2022.
Maggie, in response, said she never imagined that she would qualify for such an award. She thanked Cliff for bestowing on her such an honour. Maggie offered congratulations to the four PHFR recipients. She indicated that the $500 which is part of the award would go to “Hospice in the Home”.

President Cliff spoke about the background to this award, and announced that PP Maggie Dwyer was the recipient for 2021-2022.
Maggie, in response, said she never imagined that she would qualify for such an award. She thanked Cliff for bestowing on her such an honour. Maggie offered congratulations to the four PHFR recipients. She indicated that the $500 which is part of the award would go to “Hospice in the Home”.

President Cliff called President-Elect Greg to the lectern, thanked him for “kindly and willingly” accepting the role of President 2022-2023, and congratulated him.
President Cliff read the words of the induction, to which Greg responded, after which Cliff presented Greg with:
    The Club Charter Certificate, for safekeeping
    The President’s Lapel Pin
    The Presidential Collar,
and introduced him to the gathering as President 2022-2023.
The Board 2022-23
Changeover Dinner 2022-07-09 14:00:00Z 0

John Birrell Award 2022

Dr John Birrell – WD2 Road Safety Practitioner of the Year Award

Bill Hewett introduced the fifth annual presentation of this award with the following:
  • Risk is the likelihood that something goes wrong.
  • When you drive a car, you risk injury or death.
  • Modern technology has reduced that risk, but it’s a risk, nonetheless.
He noted that Dr John Birrell as Police Surgeon from 1957-1977 worked tirelessly to ensure Victorians understood and accepted the evolution of modern technology to help reduce risks in motoring, and went on to say that Victoria Police Western Region Division 2, which encompasses Warrnambool, Moyne, Corangamite, Glenelg and Southern Grampians Local Government areas took up the challenge identified by Birrell and have continued to work tirelessly to educate drivers and enforce safety.

Bill then announced that Sgt Darren Smart from Hamilton Highway Patrol was to be recognised as this year’s awardee.
John Birrell Award 2022 2022-06-14 14:00:00Z 0

Donation of Blankets

Raising more than $6000 through barbecues and other fund-raising events including a hole-in-one golf competition, Rotary Club of Warrnambool East, purchased 60 new blankets.
Cliff Heath RCWE President, Marilyn Woodward, Joseph Baptiste, Glen Riddle (RCWE)and Chris Philpot with a handful of the 60 blankets.
They were distributed equally between Anglicare, Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society's Warrnambool branches to pass onto people including those experiencing homelessness, sleeping and living in their car or single parents.
This is the second year the fund-raiser has run. In 2021,  30 blankets worth more than $3000 were donated by the Rotary Club of Warrnambool East
Donation of Blankets 2022-05-26 14:00:00Z 0

Farewell to Ian Heard after 40 years of Service

After a little bit of 'roasting, in a more serious vein, Peter referred to Ian’s big “trust me” grin and the fact that his mind was always racing, like Kevin Sheedy, with the next idea, even if sometimes it had to be reined in or tweaked a little to fit within the bounds of reality. Peter referred further to Ian’s passion for Rotary and his pride in the organisation, his integrity and sincerity.
Ray Welsford then presented Heardies’ This is Your Rotary Life, making special mention of the club’s activities during his Induction Year (1981-1982), his year as President (2002-2003), and his final year of membership (2021-2022). There was also a record of the facts that he was presented with a Paul Harris Fellow Recognition (26 June 2003), Sapphire (24 June 2010), Avenues of Service Citation (23 June 2011), and the Stewart Dumesny Award (30 June 2016).
There was special mention of his outstanding contribution to the Hole-in-One, the development of the BBQ program, and to the club fellowship by making his home available for pie nights, BBQs, footy watching, and other activities.
Ian Heard with President Cliff Heath and HIO Chair Peter Reeve at the final of 2021-22 Hole in One Final
Special mention was made of the support Ian received from Margaret through the many years.
Noel Kenna spoke of Ian’s enthusiasm for golf and the many adventures they had all round Australia at activities of the International Fellowship of Golfing Rotarians.
Farewell to Ian Heard after 40 years of Service 2022-01-31 13:00:00Z 0

Food for Foodshare Challenge

$950.00 from members for Foodshare – sensational!!!!! Add $1000 budgeted by Community Service Committee makes $1950 :: 221kg of food with assistance of Safeway & Aldi. More member money still coming in.
Food for Foodshare Challenge 2021-11-08 13:00:00Z 0

Personal Water Craft for the Coast Guard

President Cliff with Commander Allan Wood, celebrating the delivery of two Personal Water Craft (PWC). The purchase of the PWC’s was the Rotary Club of Warrnambool Easts R100 project. In partnership with the Rotary Club of Warrnambool, who took the lead role in funding raising, funds were raided to purchase the PWC’s.
On the PWCs there is a need to install lights and signage.  Warrnambool Coast Guard [WCG] is very appreciative of our work and our donation. The shed is where we will have a plaque on it and all donors will be acknowledged. There will be an official handover in front of the media and the WCG will organise that day.


As part of the celebration of 100 years of Rotary Service in Australia, Rotary Clubs were asked to identify projects of lasting benefit to the community and these projects would be completed as part of the celebration.
The Rotary Club of Warrnambool East is supporting an initiative at Lake Pertobe in Warrnambool to be used in the development of an Indigenous meeting place of cultural significance, containing paved areas with sculptures and totems, ground works containing indigenous plants and a curved stone seating area surrounding a metal bowl to be used for ceremonial purposes. This area will be open to all and will be constructed on a small island within the northern end of the Lake Pertobe area. This project is being funded in conjunction with Warrnambool Daybreak Rotary, the Rotary Club of Warrnambool Central, the Warrnambool City Council and the Victorian Government our contribution being $5,000.
Personal Water Craft for the Coast Guard 2021-10-12 13:00:00Z 0
Hole in One 2021-04-02 13:00:00Z 0

Art Show 

Cessation of City of Warrnambool Art Show

The Rotary Club of Warrnambool East would like to inform the community that we are no longer able to facilitate the City of Warrnambool Art Show. Unfortunately we have not been able to find another group or individual to take over this event.
As well as supporting many worthy causes over our 26 years, we believe we have also provided valuable opportunities for artists to show their work to a wider audience, and the opportunity to be rewarded financially.
We acknowledge and thank sponsors, artists and the community most sincerely for your contribution and support over the years – it has been truly invaluable.
Art Show 2019-07-02 14:00:00Z 0


50th Anniversary and Changeover Dinner

At the 50th Anniversary Dinner and Changeover Dinner held 1 July, Rotarians, Ex-Rotarians and guests celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Club.
Paul Harris Fellows in attendance at the 50th Anniversary Dinner
50th-anniversary-and-changeover-dinner-july-2017 2019-07-02 14:00:00Z 0



The Rotary Club of Warrnambool East Inc. presented the inaugural Dr John Birrell award to recipient Senior Constable Jo Wastell of Warrnambool Highway Patrol.

Nominations for the award were given for South West (WD2) members of the Police Force who display excellence in all aspects of Road Policing.

The recipient received a prize of $2000 to be donated to a registered charity of her choice that is aligned with Road Safety. Senior Constable Jo Wastell elected to... donate the $2000 award to Warrnambool SES as a thank you to all the work they do in assisting us with our work at collisions.

The award was named in honour of Dr John Birrell OAM, a former police surgeon for 20 years was a tireless campaigner for road safety and was instrumental in introducing Breath testing of drivers and compulsory wearing of seat belts.

Please join us in congratulating Senior Constable Jo Wastell on this outstanding achievement.


50th Anniversary and Changeover Dinner - 1 July 2017

50th Anniversary and Changeover Celebrations
Saturday July 1st
2pm to 5pm - Memorabilia Display - at the Warrnambool Football Netball Club, Albert Park Warrnambool
From 6pm - 50th Anniversary and Changeover Dinner  Carmichael Room, City Memorial Bowls Club, Cramer St Warrnambool.
Dinner Price  $50 per head includes canapes and 3 course meal.

The Rotary Club of Warrnambool East was chartered on the 28th June 1967.  To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Club we are holding a joint 50th Anniversary and Changeover Dinner on 1st July 2017 from 6:00pm at the City Memorial Bowls Club  - Carmichael Room (Tickets: $50 per head includes canapes and 3 course meal).

This event will be preceded by an afternoon reliving the memories of the past 50 years with a display of memorabilia at the Home of the  Club - Warrnambool Football Netball Club from 2pm to 5pm

Join current and past members of the club other Rotarians and members of the community to celebrate the wonderful achievements of the Rotary Club of Warrnambool East over the past 50 years. 

The event will also feature the induction of our President and Board for 2017-18.

To confirm attendance or for further information contact Secretary (PDG) Ray Welsford, ph: 0409 023 854 or welsford@hotkey.net.au

50th Anniversary Dinner

(Article from Warrnambool Standard)
Warrnambool East Rotary Club is hosting a special birthday celebration – and it’s hoping some old mates will attend.
Club member and keen historian Ray Welsford and club chairman Peter Reeve want former club members and partners to make contact before the end of June in anticipation of 50th anniversary commemorations.
“It is the 50th anniversary of the club on June 28, 1967 and we plan to commemorate this very important anniversary with a number of events to mark the occasion,” Mr Welsford said.
“We want all past members and partners to contact us and be part of the activities planned for July 1.”
Mr Welsford said festivities would include a memorabilia display in the afternoon followed by a formal dinner and speeches.
“The evening will incorporate our annual changeover dinner, speeches on the history of the club, recognition of members and certificates for award winners,” he said.
Mr Welsford said Rotary was originally founded in 1905 with the sole purpose of fellowship.
“Paul Harris and three business friends founded the organisation in Chicago as a means of country-minded men maintaining friendships in a city,” he said.
“There were just four of them back then, now there are over a million worldwide, but we still maintain those country-style friendships.”
Warrnambool East Rotary Club, Warrnambool’s second Rotary club, currently has 52 members.
“The club was chartered in 1967 when Warrnambool was deemed big enough for another Rotary club,” Mr Welsford said.
“During the next 40 years there have been 253 Rotarians inducted into the club, and along the way two new Rotary clubs have also been chartered in the city.
“Warrnambool East has indeed come a long way.”
Chairman Peter Reeve, himself a past club president, said he hoped the event would attract large numbers.
“I’d love at least 200 to come and celebrate with us,” he said.
“It’d be great to have a round up of past presidents, Paul Harris Fellows, and past members and, of course, we want to encourage partners to attend as well.”
Mr Reeve hopes club celebrations generate fond memories.
“It’ll be a great chance for some to see themselves in old photos and celebrate 50 years with the club,” he said.
“Its just a great chance to remember old times and have a laugh.”
Celebrations will be held at the Warrnambool Football Club followed by dinner at the Carmichael room at Warrnambool’s City Memorial Bowls Club.
We want all past members and partners to contact us and be part of the activities planned for July 1.”
50th Anniversary and Changeover Dinner - 1 July 2017 Mark Taylor 2017-04-18 14:00:00Z 0


Crags Memorial

PP Roger outlined how memorial was the realisation of a dream of PP Andrew Coffey.  Andrew was aware of the plane wreck from his diving days, and in 2002 Andrew started the chain of events which finally led to the acknowledgement of the passing of the four airmen. Roger acknowledged the contribution of PDG Ray Welsford and Andrew to the event, as well as ex Rotarian Bernie Farley.

Many Rotarians rated this event as one of the best the club had ever done. It was the first time the families had met. One of the families had previously not known where the plane had crashed.

Below is an article published in Warrnambool Standard and  a letter received from Craig Baulderstone

The Crags memorial brings closure for families of air crew lost in 1944 crash

A STRIKING memorial has brought closure for the families of four airmen who died in a crash off Lady Julia Percy Island during World War II.
The stone monument, unveiled at The Crags west of Port Fairy on Saturday, features a scale replica of an Avro Anson aircraft which the men were flying in on February 15, 1944.
The bodies of the RAAF aviators — flight sergeants James MacLellan and Dennis Baulderstone and leading aircraftmen Norman Kruck and Brian Ladyman — were never recovered and the remains of the plane still lie in the ocean at the base of a cliff.
The men had been based at Mount Gambier, supporting air observers and carrying out training missions along the coastline.
The crash was a tightly kept secret, hidden in the war files, and the airmen were never given a burial service or recognised in any way. Family members were not formally notified of the men’s death until nearly eight months later.
That all changed when East Warrnambool Rotary Club member Andrew Coffey, an abalone diver, became aware of the wreckage and led a movement to have the lost men honoured.
About 50 of their relatives gathered for the dedication service, where Air Force Group Captain Terence Deeth asked them to look across to Lady Julia Percy and “be mindful of the great loss of these men and the loved ones that suffered”.
Captain Deeth said it was only due to the dedication and work of Rotary members that all four families were able to gather together for a final farewell.
Aircraftman MacLellan’s daughter Ann Sorensen was just two days short of her first birthday when her father died.
“I heard so many stories when I was little. I spent my childhood hoping he would ride up on a white charger and rescue me,” Mrs Sorensen said.
Aircraftman Ladyman’s sister Elizabeth Hastings, who travelled from Western Australia with her family, described the day as “fantastic”.
Mrs Hastings said her family was emotionally unable to speak about the loss of her brother until one of her nephews, Bill Ladyman, began asking questions.
Mr Ladyman, who also attended Saturday’s dedication, was just six years old when he noticed the initials “BCL” carved into the door of the family farm’s chaff shed. His father revealed the letters were placed there by his brother, Brian Carter Ladyman, who had died in the war. Craig Baulderstone, nephew of flight sergeant Dennis Baulderstone, said his uncle signed up for the airforce at the age of 20 and worked his way through the ranks. He spent his tour of active service in Hudson bombers out of Darwin.
He survived and spent 40 days on leave with his family in the summer of 1943-44. After a tour it was compulsory to spend at least six months in a training role and he took up his position at the air observers school in Mount Gambier.
He was killed in the mysterious crash in his first week in the new role and only a few days off his 23rd birthday.
“Dennis’ mum Beatrice was convinced he would come home,” Mr Baulderstone said.
“She always thought he had been captured by a Japanese sub and one day he would walk in through the back door.”
The monument, made from locally quarried bluestone, was donated by Michael and Cheryl Steel and sculpted and erected by Bamstone of Port Fairy. Stonemason Ian Knowles spent 100 hours cutting and hand finishing the sculpture.
“We wanted it to be significant and the design (of a banking plane) does that in two ways. Number one, it means it’s coming home, so there’s some closure for the families. Number two, if you are being rescued, a plane will tilt its wing to acknowledge it has spotted you.”

Letter from Craig Baulderstone

I wasn't sure how to say thankyou and express the level of gratitude i have for the ceremony on Saturday, to you and the other Warrnambool Rotary people. I was truly amazed at the extent of your efforts to honour these men. As much as anything to me it was the funeral Dennis never got, so just as we handed out pictures of my Dad at his funeral, I have attached the photos i have and the words i had on the table in the hall. Below i have also reflected on the weekend.
I guess I have lived my whole life with the stories about Dennis and the mystery associated with it. The announcement of the monument has been a great trigger to delve deeper into the history and that in itself has been a great journey and I have learnt so much. Sharing this with family and then seeing so many family members that i have generally lost touch with was great, and to be honest I was surprised to find just how interested they also were. So it was also a great family reunion.
I had been so busy with research that I suppose I haven't stopped to have expectations of what this event might be like. We pulled into Yambuk, having driven from Adelaide, and thought, "now to find the hall". As we turned the bend, cars everywhere, rotarians guiding cars into parks, huge great buses - it wasn't hard to find!
We met some of the people who have dedicated so much of their time to this memorial. We met family we haven't seen for many years, all having heard stories from Dennis' brothers and sisters as they grew up, all just memories though with that generation of family all passed now. Gone the chance to question details, like I had of my dad for many years. And yet from records and first hand accounts of people I met that day, I think we understand more than any of those or his parents ever did.
In silence of the bus trip, watching my 8 and 10 yo boys playing with their cousins, 6 boys in all under the age of 10, thinking how WW1 or 2 would have impacted a family like ours. Baulderstone cousins fought in both wars, with loss of life in both. What a tragedy and yet I still want my boys to fight for what is right, don't stand by and watch injustice, don't subscribe to what seems to be the common 'me generation' - why would I get involved if I don't have to. Of course ‘king and country’ doesn’t mean much to me but perhaps that in reality means the same as ‘our collective lifestyle we live in Australia’.
Then on the bus the first waves of emotion about the ceremony that hit me, that this huge number of people here to honour these men and my Uncle, I was just wishing my Dad could see this – he was always so proud of Dennis. Then as I got off the bus, the monument, the military representatives, the tents, all these chairs - and it hit me, this is Dennis' funeral, the only funeral he ever had. We are the only family left now to attend and honour him. What a shame that only one person who agonised at the time with the loss of these men was alive to be there - LAC Ladyman's sister - and I was so inspired by her reaction that sent a chill up my spine - "yes" she shouted as she threw her hands in the air - it was like she was saying "at last he is recognised, at last he is put to rest." I feel the same way, but I hadn't met Dennis to directly grieve his loss and the mystery of never finding a body, always hoping as my Grandmother would say "one day he is going to walk in that door" believing the Japanese had captured him in a submarine.  I guess it was easier for her to believe that than that after all the dangers of his active service up north, that he was now gone in a relatively safe training role.
But as was mentioned in the ceremony, the war effort is like one big machine and every effort combines to make it effective. You don’t get good pilots and navigators unless they are trained and there is always a risk with flying as so many training accidents demonstrated.
And the ‘wake’ as I saw it afterwards had a familiar feel to it – people sharing their stories, meeting other friends and relatives all with the one common aim, paying their respects and honouring the memory as this one big group.
On the Sunday, our family organized to be taken out to the island by a long term local fisherman that had helped divers recover a propeller of the plane in the late 60’s, that they had found while abalone diving.  There was this strange sort of comfort in seeing exactly where the wreckage had landed, being in the same location, being able to picture them struggling to land and being so close but obviously something going wrong. But visualising all this, at the location, somehow made it all that much easier, made more sense, I could put to rest so many ‘what ifs’ that were running through my head while researching it. If only I could take my dad or better my Nana there. But at least we have done this and somehow I just feel all the better for doing it - it all seems so right somehow. Like Ladyman’s sister, there is some relief like we have finished something that should have been done years ago. I’m not religious, but if there spirits are there I am sure all four men will rest easier and that would have to appreciate the respect shown to them.
But this would never have happened if it wasn’t for Warrnambool Rotary and I don’t know how to do justice to the level of gratitude I have. Sometimes you just have to say thank you and leave it at that.
You are the only ones i have email for, so please pass on our gratitude to others.
Crags 2015-02-23 00:00:00Z 0

Memorial for WWII Lady Julia Percy air crash victims

Memorial for WWII Lady Julia Percy air crash victims

FOUR airmen who died when their plane crashed into Lady Julia Percy Island during a World War II surveillance flight will be honoured this month in a nationally-significant ceremony.

They will be given their first official RSL funeral ritual 71 years after the tragedy and bring closure to one of Australia’s forgotten wartime tragedies. Family members and relatives, air force delegates and civic and parliamentary leaders will be among more than 100 invited guests on February 14 at The Crags car park, where a special memorial will be unveiled within clear view of the crash scene.

A bronze plaque on a monumental stone supplied, sculptured and mounted by Bamstone of Port Fairy will be unveiled by a senior RAAF officer representing the Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, and dedicated by RAAF chaplain Peter Phillips.

A catafalque party will be mounted by personnel from the Laverton-Point Cook air force unit and an honour guard provided by Warrnambool cadets. Air force bereavement pins will be presented to family members of the crash victims.

The four airmen, Flight Sergeant James Henry MacLellan of Victoria, Flight Sergeant Dennis Baulderstone of South Australia, Leading Aircraftman Norman Kruck of Queensland and Leading Aircraftman Brian Ladyman of Western Australia were flying from Mount Gambier air base when they crashed on the island on February 15, 1944.

Their remains and part of their Avro Anson plane have lain in the ocean at the base of the island since that fateful day. The crew was officially listed as “missing on non-operational navigation exercise”. Some of the wings were recovered and taken away under guard for examination.

Various theories have been speculated on the cause of the crash, ranging from mechanical trouble to being shot at by an enemy vessel. The incident lay largely forgotten until Warrnambool resident Andrew Coffey investigated after noticing the wreckage while working as an abalone diver. As a long-time member of Warrnambool East Rotary Club, he triggered efforts to have the men recognised and contact their families through newspaper articles.

His efforts were supported by details about the crash recorded in the book A’OSIS Airfield by Ron Telford of Mount Gambier, who is unable to attend the ceremony due to ill health.

Mr Ladyman’s sister and Mr MacLellan’s daughter will attend the ceremony.

It is understood the families were unaware of where their loved ones had died until contacted by Mr Coffey and fellow Rotarian Roger Cussen. Public access to The Crags Road will be closed for the ceremony and those attending will be bussed from Yambuk to the venue.

Anyone wishing to attend is asked to register with Rotarian Ray Welsford on 0409 023 854 or welsford@hotkey.net.au

The memorial will be open for public viewing from Sunday, February 15

Memorial for WWII Lady Julia Percy air crash victims 2015-02-03 00:00:00Z 0