Chris Ochaya started his presentation by thanking the club and specific individuals for hosting him when he visited us for 3 months in 2017 after being awarded a Royce and Jean Abbey Vocational Scholarship. He also expressed his gratitude for our generosity in funding a number of projects at his Uganda community farm, Tamarind. Chris proudly stated that, as a result of our donations, there have been a number of great outcomes at the farm and he hoped that this will continue to ensure that the local community will not need to rely on others to support their lives.

While there is still much work to be done, the Tamarind community farm now boasts:

  • A bore water system with two 14,000 litre water storage tanks to support 600 people and to nurture the community garden.
  • A substantial vegetable and fruit garden that supplies many varieties of healthy food.
  • A new goat shed to provide shelter and security for the animal herd. The goats will provide milk and meat.
  • A secure chicken shed which is nearing completion. They will start with 200 birds. There will be two workers who will feed the chickens and collect, clean and sell the eggs. Chris estimated that each Tamarind farmer will earn $50 per week from this venture. Older chickens will also be sold for meat.

Chris says that, while Tamarind is a model farm in one area of Uganda, he hopes that it will be the forerunner of many similar farms in the country. Uganda is the youngest country in the world with over 70% of its 40 million people aged under 15 years old and 15% over 60 years. Other facts about the country which makes it ideal to establish a stronger farming industry include:

  • It is home to the source of the Nile River. Therefore the soil is very rich with nutrients.
  • It lies on the equator with average rainfall of 1400 ml per year and temperatures which range from 19 degrees in winter to 30+ degrees in summer.
  • Agriculture is booming and contributes 80% to the GDP. The biggest markets are many of the neighbouring countries.

Oil was also recently discovered and is estimated to be worth $400 billion. Drilling will commence in 2021. This will require a large workforce which will be sourced locally and from an increasing migrant population. This means that future demand for food will grow exponentially. 

Chris is a man on a very clear mission - to improve the lives of his country men and women by teaching them to not only be self-sustainable but also to become smart business people. He says that, at times, it is difficult for others to see this vision because, since the end of the 20-year war in 2007, they have lived on government hand outs. He says that they still have the mindset that farming chickens means they will be able to kill and eat them straight away, rather than using their eggs for food as well as income. His goal is to change this mindset. They need to move on from the past and, with sufficient training and acquisition of farming equipment and infrastructure,  the farmers will be empowered to achieve a sustainable and practical life.

A number of Australians have visited the farm in recent times including our very own Michael Redding and Chris expects other visitors to come as the farm expands. They will be able to see what a positive difference the project is making for the locals and what a bright future there is ahead for Uganda.



In conjunction with Wyndham City Council, we will be conducting a Community Tree Planting day on Sunday 19th May. A total of 1454 trees will be planted. So it is a bigger exercise than our previous project where we planted 700 trees. That's why we are advertising it as a community event where we are asking for support from the people of Wyndham.

Click here to see the poster which will be displayed on various street notice boards.



Pictured above is our club member Phil Purdy (right) and fellow-rider Dennis O'Brien (Rotary Club of West Footscray) who are two very tired and relieved bike riders after recently completing the 1000 kilometre bike ride from Sydney to Melbourne to raise funds for ROCAN (Rotary Ovarian Cancer Research).

Phil and Dennis admit they are not the fastest riders. They usually bring up the rear on each day's ride. But they are respected by the other riders for their determination and spirit. Despite the tough times on their 8-day journey including hot weather, high winds and big hills, they managed to reach their destination safely.

Special mention should also be made of the fantastic efforts of the support crew which included club member Geoff Smith and also our friends Lexie Smith and Barbara Purdy.

This year's ride raised about $100,000. Over the last 20 years, it has been successful in raising a total of $1.5 million for ROCAN. Congratulations to everyone.



On 14th March, charter member Ian Knight and his wife Genny celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. This is a monumental milestone which deserves the heartiest of congratulations. They plan to celebrate the occasion with a dinner with family and then they will board the Queen Elizabeth ship for a cruise around New Zealand.

Not only is their anniversary a major achievement, they also share a rather unique coincidence. Genny Knight (nee McIntosh) was born in Melbourne on 11th October 1936 and Ian Knight was born 4 days later, also in Melbourne. Their birth notices appeared beneath each other in The Argus newspaper on the same day in October 1936. They were obviously made for each other.

Twenty-three years later they walked down the aisle at St Cuthbert's Church, Brighton, having met through family friends at 16 years of age.

This unusual coincidence attracted the attention of Ross and John on Radio 3AW who rang Ian and Genny to talk about it. Click here to listen to the interview. 

Ian has been a member of the club since its inception in 1968 which means that he and Genny have been involved in Rotary for a significant part of their marriage. Ian explained that, when the club was started, he became the Charter Secretary and Genny wrote up all the minutes of the Board meetings for the next 3 years. What a team!

The couple has also hosted 9 Rotary exchange students in that time which, Genny says, has enriched their lives as well as those of their children. In fact, the program had such a profound impact on their daughter Sue that she eventually became an exchange student to Japan in 1981.

Here is a copy of Ian and Genny's birth notices. 




It was so hot you could fry an egg on the putting green. But that didn't stop a big group of die-hard golfers including our President Graham Roper (pictured above) from playing in the hot afternoon sun to support the annual Werribee Rotary Golf Day.

Despite the gruelling day, most golfers got through unscathed, thanks to the efforts of the drink crews who continually ventured around the course to quench the thirst of parched players.

At the end of the day, we sat down in air-conditioned comfort for dinner and the presentation of prizes. Congratulations to Marty Vaina and his team for winning first prize.

We have realised a profit of $29,000 which is a fantastic result thanks to the generosity of the players and numerous sponsors. Most of the proceeds will go towards the refurbishment of the Dementia Unit at Manor Court Aged Care.

Everyone was extremely grateful for the hard work of chief organiser Ross Conley and his team for making this event our biggest fund-raiser.

Click here to see photos of the day.



One of the club's most respected and longest serving members, Peter Ross, was the recipient of the Order of Australia award (OAM) in the 2019 Australia Day Honours list. The award was a recognition for his service to the Wyndham community over many years.

Some of the major achievements during his life include:

  • Wyndham City Council:
    • Mayor 2004-05
    • Councillor 1997-2008
  • Inaugural chair, Committee for Werribee, 1998-2002
  • President, Werribee Chamber of Commerce, 1980
  • Werribee Theatre Company:
    • Founding Member 1968
    • President 1972-74
    • Treasurer 20 years
  • Life member, Wyndham Theatre Company
  • Founder, Community Arts Alliance and the Community Cultural Foundation
  • President, Rotary Club of Werribee 1986-87; Active member since 1977
  • Board member, Manor Court Aged Care, 1982-2000

President Graham congratulated Peter on behalf of all members and partners of the club. Peter said he was honoured by the recognition and thanked everyone for their well wishes. He also paid tribute to his lovely wife Elizabeth for her support over the years.

Congratulations Peter. Well deserved.



Werribee Rotary member Michael Redding recently completed a visit to Uganda to catch up with Chris Ochaya and his family. Chris was the 2018 Royce and Jean Abbey Scholarship recipient. He was in Australia in 2018 to learn good farming techniques that he could use on his return to his country.

Michael said it was fantastic experience to see how Chris has utilised his new-found skills and knowledge and has started to transform the Tamarind community farm into a first-class sustainable agricultural showpiece that will support the local population.

Click here to read Michael's story.


Day:      Every Tuesday
Time:    6:30pm for 6:45pm
Finish:  8:00pm
Venue:  Italian Sports Club
             601 Heaths Rd
             Werribee Victoria
Rowan McClean
Apr 30, 2019
Overseas Kids Foundation
Lisa Field
May 07, 2019
Werribee Mercy Hospital Foundation
Mia Shaw
May 21, 2019
Plans for Wyndham City
Edwin Gill
May 28, 2019
The Smith Family
Linden Smith
Jun 18, 2019
Youth Referral and Independent Persons Program
Cathy Booth
Jul 30, 2019
Umoja Orphanage Kenya
President Elect
Vice President
Immediate Past President
Club Service
Community Service
International Service
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OnTo Conference
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The Rotary Foundation
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Past District Governor
Past District Governor
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