People with a purpose

Broadly Speaking 16 January 2019

We had a most interesting and informative meeting on Tuesday, 16th January.

We always enjoy the buffet lunch and Wayne Smith added to the meeting with his inimitable approach to the Sergeant's Session.


Our guest speaker was a local – John Hazeldene – who was introduced by Chairman Noel Hobley.  Thank you Noel for the following notes.


'Tuesday's guest speaker, John Hazeldene, has a lifetime commitment to local industry as the Executive Director of Hazeldene's Chicken.  John shared some of the history of the chicken industry around Bendigo, including the early days when chicken sheds were built of timbers cleared from the land they were built on.  The family business has its origins firmly entrenched in Bendigo when a 10-year Dick Hazeldene, John's father, was given the responsibility of looking after his older brother Ken's fowls when he went off to war, never to return.  Dick was committed to looking after those birds and developing a business around them.    Nearly 80 years later Hazeldene's Chicken is the largest private employer in Bendigo with a workforce amongst the breeding farms, processing plant and distribution business of over 800 people.    With a commitment to keeping the business in the family there are now three generations involved in the plant which is processing over 700,000 birds every week.

An eye for innovation has some of the most advanced equipment in the world in use at the delivery and processing end of the plant and plans to evolve the packing side of the business should see the weekly production climb to a million birds per week in the coming years.   Keep in mind the business processed 5000 birds per week in 1985.

John spoke with passion about the business, the family connection, the evolution of the leadership team and the growth of their workforce.   He also spoke of the successes they have achieved by focussing on the quality of their product at every step of the business from breeding at the farm gate to the finished product on the dinner plate.

The latest focus has been on their 'Bare Birds' product that is 100% antibiotic free, vegetarian fed, free range bird launched last year into Coles supermarkets.   With over 30,000 'Bare Birds' currently being produced the company expects this product to climb to 100,000 birds per week in the future.

An enlightening presentation with some mind blowing statistics to the uninitiated.'


After hearing John speak of the 'Bare Birds', I am sure, that like me, many will now want to taste this exciting new product.


The younger daughter of our Club member, Rotarian Umesh Shreshna and Jesmin – 5 years old Brishti – has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and the whole family, including Subrina the older sister, has been living at the Royal Children's Hospital for the past 3 months whilst she has been undergoing treatment.   Unfortunately, the treatment has not had the required effect and there is now only one option left to the family.  Little Brishti is undergoing another extensive radiotherapy treatment this week.  The Medical Team have said that no hospital in the world is able to treat this extremely rare condition.  They are getting the best available at RCH.    Brishti is a very beautiful, brave child and she has expressed a wish to go to Disneyland.  Because she is so frail, America is too far away and the family would like to take her to Hong Kong.    We, as their Rotary family, are endeavouring to help Umesh and Jesmin grant this little girl her wish.   On Tuesday members were asked to contribute to a fund designed to help the family get there.   We are also investigating other avenues of funding.  

If you would like to make a contribution to help, please contact Glenn Reilly, Larrie Winzar or me.    We have also organised a Candlelight Vigil/Prayer Meeting to be held on Monday evening, 22nd January, at 5.30  for ½ an hour– venue yet to be finally decided.  Sanjeev and Sarita have offered their home, but should numbers be too many, it may be at 8 Sisters Restaurant.  This will not be a religious ceremony, but will be an opportunity for everyone to come together to support the family.   It is for all faiths, denominations – those who do not profess a faith – and all partners.  

Please keep checking your eMails and facebook for further details.


Our project, Exercise Books for Timor, has been very successful.   We were fortunate to receive publicity through the Bendigo Advertiser and Channel 9 and people have responded.   Frank Lean is aiming for over 5,000 books which was the total we sent last year and it is getting very close to that figure.   There is still time and  if you would like to contribute exercise books, pencils, pens, erasers, etc. please leave them with Tabitha Abbott at Escape Travel in the Market Place or at Reilly's Electrical in Mitchell Street. 


I was offered two trailer loads of wood from the Department of Sustainability.  A huge tree came down in the last storm and has been cut up to take away.   Thanks to Wayne Smith it will be taken to Camp Getaway.  


It was a very full meeting, but we still had a word of the week – and it was 'snollygoster'.   It means 'a person, especially a politician, who is guided by personal advantage, rather than by consistent, respectable principals.'    Do you know any snollygosters?


Calendar for the month:


January 23rd - Juliet Baker introduced by Chairman, Michael Pearson.   Sergeant will be Tabitha Abbott.


January 30th – a Life Talk from our own member, Graeme Clark with Lin Kalms as Chairman and Tabitha Abbott as Sergeant.


6th February – Peter Kennedy from the Bendigo Weekly – Chairman Glenn Reilly.





I look forward to welcoming you to our next meeting and until then – 'May the sun shine warm upon your face and the wind be always at your back'.





President Valerie.

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