Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Armidale Central Rotary member visits Londrina Sul in Brazil

Rotary Club of Londrina Sul, D 4710, southern Brazil, received a visit from the rotarian Ian Garske and his wife Helen Garske last week. Ian made ​​a short presentation about Australia, about his path in Rotary over the past 26 years and about his club in Armidale. Another topic on the agenda was the new international project that the Australian club is starting in partnership with the Brazilian club.


Facts about Australia
1) It is the 6th largest country in the world, occupying an entire continent of some 7.6 million square kilometres. Brazil 8.5m.
2) It has the world's 3rd largest ocean territory, spanning three oceans and covering around 12 million square kilometres.
3) Capt. Cook discovered the east coast of Australia in 1770 and the first British colony was established in 1788. The Dutch had discovered the West coast in 1606.
Our 6 colonies became a federation in 1901.
4) We are a constitutional monarchy but there is  a large minority  that support  becoming  a republic. We have preferential voting at the Federal level but a mixture of systems in the States. Many believe that we are over governed as we have six states and two territory governments and a Federal government. All for 23 million people.  Australia was the second country in the world to give women the right to vote in 1902.
5) Of our 23m people only 10% live in rural areas. More than 80 percent of Australians live within 100 kilometres of the coast.  Sydney 4.6m and Melbourne 4.2m.  Vast majority live on Eastern Seaboard. 2.5% Indigenous. Life expectancy  Male 79.5, Female 84years.      
6) Most of Australia's exotic flora and fauna cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The wattle was adopted as the national floral emblem in 1912. Australia contains an amazing ecosystem with unique flora and fauna including pristine rainforest, ancient rock formations and beautiful beaches.
7) Over 200 different languages and dialects are spoken in Australia. The most common non-English spoken languages are Italian, Greek, Cantonese, Arabic, Vietnamese and Mandarin. Today's Australia is very multicultural with Indigenous peoples and migrants from some 200 countries.
8) The world's highest proportion of migrant settlers in a developed nation with over 25% of Australians born in another country.
9)  The largest cattle station in the world is Anna Creek Station in South Australia at over 24000 km2.
10) Canberra was selected as the capital because Sydney and Melbourne could not stop arguing which city should be the capital of Australia.
11) Despite having a convict colony history, Australia's homicide rate is 1.2 per 100,000 population compared to the 6.3 per 100,000 in the United States.
12) Our average weekly wage is $1500/week Minimum wage $622/week or $16.36/hour for a 38 hour week.
13) Our town, Armidale, is located in a region called New England, 550km from Sydney. It has a population of 23,000 inhabitants and, like Londrina, it is a regional center with university and hospitals. We have 10 flights to Sydney per day.
14) The region of Armidale is one of the leading producers of Angus cattle in Australia and it is also a leading producer of wool in the country.

Facts about our Rotary Club

Rotary Club of Armidale Central, D.9650. We meet for lunch. Established 1984. We have 35 members. As with many Rotary Clubs in Australia  we have trouble attracting younger members. Our club puts most of our effort  into Youth programs. When we had a younger membership we sent work teams  to PNG, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Tanzania We have funded through matching grants, projects in Tanzania, South Africa, India and Brazil. We are big supporters of the Rotary Foundation and Shelter Box. We maintain a garden round-about in our city. Our main fundraiser is an Annual Book Fair.
Helen and I, in our younger life, spent 15 years in PNG. Our three children were born there.
My role was to supervise farmers’  co-operatives in the villages. These co-operatives provided retail facilities and marketed the farmers’ produce. Ian has been a Rotarian for the last 26 years.
At the moment the club is building a shelter for the books in a government’s land (the club pays a small rent for the land).