Probus Club of Balwyn NorthPresident’s Welcome



Rod Alsop
Welcome to The Probus Club of North Balwyn Inc.  A0016781Z website, you are encouraged to visit the various pages within. Should you find an interesting topic please use our Contact Us page for further information on any topic that might be of interest.

You are also warmly invited to come to any one of our MONTHLY GENERAL MEETINGS at the Greythorn Community Centre, 2 Centre Way, Balwyn North, with ample parking onsite, commencing post-Covid restrictions from 8th March 2022, held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, 10.00am – 12.00pm, and afterwards for a casual lunch get-together at the Kew Golf Club. 


We also extend a warm welcome to attend any of our SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS, (SIG’s), noted on the Website which can be facilitated by calling the respective coordinators. The SIG’s give a special dimension to membership.

We also regard the SIGs as a wonderful opportunity for non-members to become acquainted with the activities, substance, and benefits of becoming a member.

We are always keen to attract new members to maintain the Club’s ongoing strength and vitality going forward into the future.

Our commitment, – “You will be a stranger but once”.


RETURN TO FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS, (assuming no reintroduction of Covid restrictions): The Committee is pleased to confirm the following arrangements

Monthly General Meetings    – Commencing Tuesday 8th March 2022 at 10.00am

All SIG meetings                         – Commencing from respective dates in February/March 2022.   (Please refer to Newsletter for further updates) 

It is expected it will be possible for these meetings to revert to pre-Covid formats with the opportunity for members to have social interaction, enjoy Guest speakers, presentations, and interactive discussions, as well as coffee breaks.

In addition, we are exploring the possibility of holding hybrid meetings, face-to-face & Zoom, to allow members who are not able to physically attend to still participate.


The Club during the whole of the pandemic period, with the aid of Zoom, has remained extraordinarily vital and connected, but with the emergence from Covid our challenge is to re-engage personally and bring back the benefits of in-person interaction and captivate Member’s interests and involvement back to pre-Covid levels and more.

Our Guest Speakers have traditionally been of extremely high quality and interest and the activities of the SIG’s, such an important part of Club membership, we intend to support and foster to another level.


I commenced my Presidency from the April 12th, 2022, at the Change-Over lunch Meeting, having served as Senior Vice President in the year before. My time on the Committee has been special. The Committee’s commitment to the Club surviving Covid has been extraordinary.

The outcome of our Zoom year has been a remarkable success and it has been a pleasure to be part of that team effort, 2022 represents a different challenge. The recruitment of new members in the 2020 – 2022 years has been impossible and natural attrition, apart from anything else, demands we maintain our membership level. to ensure the Club’s ongoing vitality.

My commitment in the 2022 year is to redouble our efforts to attract new members to our special Club, support and strengthen our Special Interest Groups, visit succession planning about Committee and SIG Conveners positions and see a longed-for return to those captivating social events we’ve enjoyed so much in the past – in which we have importantly included our partners.

After the last 2 years it will require a bit of effort and commitment to get to where we want to be this year. In this, our website will be an essential element of our communication strategy.

                    PLEASE WATCH THIS SPACE – OFTEN!

Special Interest Group of the Month

Computer SIG

Convenor Rodney Manser
M: 0418164432

The Computer SIG (Special Interest Group)
Meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month except for the months of December & January.

The Computer SIG convenors over the last 25 years were as follows: -Don Sanderson 1996-2001
Brian Morris 2002-2003
Michael Seale 2003-2009
John Peyton 2010- 2017
Rodney Manser 2018 – to date

The Computer SIG is open to anyone who is interested in Information Technology on various platforms.

The meetings are undertaken either by Zoom video conferencing or when face-to-face meetings are permitted at the Balwyn North Uniting Church, Duggan Street Balwyn North.

Topics for the meetings are wide and varied to assist the members to explore new innovations within IT domain.

As an example, some of the topics have been the following:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Microsoft Bing & Edge
  • Microsoft Operating Systems Windows XP, to current version Windows 11
  • Microsoft Office versions 2006 to Microsoft Office 365
  • Workshops covering Basic to intermediate Word, Excel, PowerPoint & Microsoft Edge developments
  • Discussions to various IT plans i.e., NBN adoption rollout
  • Workshops on Apple Mac, iPads, iPad Pro, iPhones & Watches
  • Workshops on Apple software i.e., Keynote, Pages, iTunes, Photo booth, Pages, Safari
  • Zoom Video Conferencing

Guest Speakers have been invited to contribute, covering various IT innovations.

Everyone is encouraged to contribute and assist each other with their various challenges developing the Probus ethic “Fellowship, Fun & Friendship”.

Morning Tea & coffee is available during the meeting to allow participants to actively discuss their various interests. A small admittance charge is levied to cover hall hire and refreshments.

If you would like to participate in a future meeting, please contact the convenor for assistance in joining the group.

 Guest Speakers

Our guest speaker for our General Meeting 14th June 2022 will be Matthew Etty-Leal. 

Matthew was recognised for his volunteer service across four decades. He has presented more than 200 Australian history sessions to community groups including five Boroondara aged-care centres, U3A, Probus clubs and history groups. He reads to residents at Baptcare, accompanies BASSCare clients on day trips, is a reader with Vision Radio, volunteers at the Balwyn Historical Society and St Barnabas Balwyn, and has been a member of Council’s Community Grants Panel.

Matthew Etty-Leal presentation Topic is “Cobb & Co” 

Cobb & Co. coaches

Cobb & Co. used American style coaches.  They had the body mounted on leather straps called ‘thoroughbraces’. The body rocked and swayed as drivers guided the coaches and horse teams over rough bush tracks.

Coaches carried mail and parcels in baskets on the roof.  They sometimes carried gold and money for banks in a special ‘boot’ under the driver’s seat. Some coaches were robbed by bushrangers in the early gold rush days. 

Floods, bogs and steep mountain tracks were always dangerous.

The National Carriage Collection features Cobb & Co. coach 100 and Cobb & Co. coach 48.

Cobb & Co. coaches – Cobb+Co Museum (

Previous Guest Speakers 2018 – 2022

May 2022Ted Baillieu AOSir John Monash
February 2022Andrew CampbellCould Ageing be a treatable disease
November 2021 Dr Janet PatfordLiving – Apart – Together (Lat) Relationships
October 2021Ross McMullinFarewell Dear People
August 2021Rohan BrownMy Story – Personal Stories
July 2021Megan GouldingSwanston Street Excavations
June 2021Tim RobertsDiabetic and general foot care
May 2021Bev MossCome Fly with Me
April 2021Elida Brereton Travel to Antarctica & South Georgia
March 2021Ken ParkerElectric Vehicles, Renewable Energy
Andrew CampbellHearing and Brain Health
November 2020Ross McMullinPompey Elliott – in his own words

October 2020
Vikki PetraitisCrime stories  “ Hodsons and Nicola Gobbo ” 
September – 2020
August – 2020
Julian Battistella

Andrew Mitchell
Estate Planning

Electric Cars and Clean Energy – Why?
July – 2020Anthony CaruanaHome Automation
March – 2020Brian WilliamsScams and Fake Tradies
February – 2020Radha Raghunath`Add Years to Your Life
November – 2019Gary FergusonElder Abuse and Seniors Rights
October – 2019Fiona CampbellThe Spencer Street Bridge
September 2019Thorold MerrettStory of Collingswood Premiership 1958
August 2019Rodney RichardsAngel Flights
July 2019Beverley MossBuckingham Palace in my underwear
June 2019Lloyd PhillipsPoetry can be fun
May 2019Joffa CorfeMy life and Gold Coat
April 2019No SpeakerChange over lunch
March 2019Kevin TraskMyself and the media and the Australian singer Diana Trask
February 2019Madryn Sanderson & Alex CarterPersonalised In-home care and health
December 2018No SpeakerChristmas Luncheon
November 2018U3A ChoirSongs of Screen and Stage
October 2018Jacqueline DinanRacing the Boys
September 2018Anthony KnightBeleura House Mornington
August 2018Cliff HardyThe London Blitz
July 2018Natalie DurkovicShen Yen Performing Arts and Traditional Chinese Culture
June 2018Jessica WattsBladder & Bowel Health
May 2018Ross McMullinVillers Bretonneux
April 2018No SpeakerChange Over Luncheon
March 2018Don McQueenThe Bush Balladeer
February 2018Elida BreretonTravel Stories