WELCOME BACK! We hope that all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year season and that we all enjoyed Charles’ 85th Birthday. Thank you Charles for including us in your celebration. Our last meeting of the year at Cilantro on December 19th was fun and happy. Geoff Gartly was Chairperson and welcomed all our guests, Jade and Luiza Boscolo (exchange students from Brazil), and members’ partners: Marilyn, Julie, Gary, Ken and Vicky. There was an apology from Barry who was unwell and therefore could not sing “White Christmas” and “Silver Bells” (Sad). We also welcomed former Member Lisa Kinross. Faye led us in saying our Invocation and Ron Gave us the Loyal, Royal Toast. Grant took us to Finland in honour of Aden (Geoff Gartly’s son) who enjoying his year as a Rotary exchange student there. Finland is a Nordic country with coasts on the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland with borders of Norway, Sweden, and Russia in the geographical region of Fennoscandia. Fennoscandia comprises of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Finland, Karelia and the Kola Peninsula. The capital and largest city is Helsinki with a population of 5.5 million. The country was inhabited when the last ice age ended about 9000 BC. From the late 13th century it became part of the Kingdom of Sweden. In 1809, following the Finnish War, it was incorporated into the Russian Empire as an autonomous Grand Duchy. Independence was declared on 6th December 1917, following the Russian Revolution. Finland became a Republic in 1919. During WWll Finland was at war with the Soviet Union. After Germany attacked the USSR Finland aligned itself with Germany. Then Finland signed an armistice with the Soviet Union. Leading to the Lapland War of 1944-1945. Finnish forces tried to expel German forces from northern Finland. Rovaniemi is the administrative capital and commercial centre of Finland’s northern most province, Lapland. It is situated about 6 kilometres (4 miles) south of the Arctic Circle. During the Lapland War the city was almost totally destroyed. The population is 63,000. Is Father Christmas’s home at the North Pole? Big Question. Norway claims he lives in Drobak. Denmark claims he lives in Greenland near Uummanaq. Sweden he lives at Gesunda Mountain near the town of Mora. In Finland, his home and workshop is in Korvatunturi, a Fell on the Russian border in the Urho National Park. While people understand Rovaniemi to be the home town of Santa Claus, it is actually only the “official” home and was declared in 1985 for tourist purpose. In the same year Santa Clause Village was opened and is located about 8 kilometres from Rovaniemi. Grant asked us to be upstanding to toast President Tapio Jalonen and the Members of the Rotary Club of Rovaniemi, Republic of Finland, District 1400, and chartered 20th December 1946 with 33 members. The club meets at Hotelli Santa Claus on Tuesdays at 4.30 pm. We also hosted a Finnish student Iina in 2008-9. Once again Thank you Grant for your great input in taking us to unusual countries to toast International Clubs. Pres. Ian welcomed us and wished Luisa a safe journey back to Brazil after her year in Australia. We wish Leonie a speedy recovery in her rehabilitation of her broker wrist following her fall at Highett station and hope that she can join Tony at home for Christmas. He told the club that unfortunately Barry was not well and sadly we cannot hear him sing for Christmas. He congratulated Margaret in her well done Job of arranging the Christmas cakes and puddings. He advised us that $12,000 was approved for Foundation. Foundation is the Charity Arm of Rotary, purely raising and distributing funds to assist clubs in supporting projects. One of the main projects being the eradication of Polio. The motion was carried unanimously. On behalf of the club he wished Tony and Sossi a very Happy Christmas and New Year. He thanked them for all the work that they had done for us through the year, always smiling and offering our morning coffee. He wished Larry and Sarah safe travel to Hong Kong, Kevin and Diane, happy time in Queensland and Safe Travel to all other members. He said that he was looking forward for Aden arriving back home from Finland. And that all being well we would meet at Champagne Charlize on the 16th January. Chairperson Geoff told us that he had had a fantastic Year thanks to Rotary and how much he was looking forward to having his son back from Finland, and that he would be sad in leaving as he made many friends around the world. He talked about the out-going student Luiza and how shy she was when she first arrived and how extraverted she had become. He mentioned Jade and come for 3 months and thanked her “extended Aunties” Jo and Helen who had in making sure all was going well. Helen talked of Midnight Mass and invited members who would like to join her. She presented Jade with a present saying how glad that Jade was with us. Geoff read to reminding the market teams of their duty over the Christmas break. Then Pres Ian told us a funny joke that he found in the Herald Sun and not to be outdone Sergeant Tim also told us some “drr” Christmas Jokes and managed to collect the fines at the same time. Pres. Ian in closing the meeting wished us a safe Christmas and to BE THE INSPIRATION.
Zilla (Bulletin Reporter)