Probus foundation members recognised

August 02, 2017

Ladies Probus Club members (Front) Meavis Brett, Vi Mills, Carole Hiscock, Nelly Verbunt (Back) Sheila Llewelyn, Marianne Voegl, Lois McDonald and Ruth Bilney accept their foundation member brooch.

About this time 26 years ago a group of like-minded retirees came together to form Corowa’s first Ladies Probus Club.

Unbeknownst to its women members at the time, the club would play a fundamental part in creating many life-long friendships.

Wahgunyah’s Sheila Llewelyn had only recently moved to the area from Melbourne when she heard a Probus group was going to be formed.

“Rotary thought there was the opportunity for a ladies organisation in the town,” she said.

“The idea was to have a club for retired people looking to socialise and make new friends.”

The 91-year-old remembers when the club had its strongest numbers.

“At one stage we got to around 125 members and we had to sort of cap it at that,” she said.

“I believe people liked the idea of meeting other people in the town and people they didn’t know.

“I live in Wahgunyah and I didn’t know anyone in Corowa at the time and, of course, I have got to know many of them now.

“Friendship was a big thing back then and still is today.

“We have had some very interesting speakers over the years and two that probably stood out to me was when we had a matron of the hospital and an undertaker come and talk to the group.”

The group also enjoys trips away and have been to places like the Blue Mountains and Newcastle.

Mrs Llewelyn was one of eight foundation members presented with a foundation brooch at the club’s July 17 meeting at the Corowa RSL Club.

The other foundation members officially recognised and thanked for their dedication to the club included Meavis Brett, Vi Mills, Carole Hiscock, Nelly Verbunt, Marianne Voegl, Lois McDonald and Ruth Bilney.

Club President Kathy Arkinstall said the brooch was a nice way to recognise the club’s longest serving members.

“We saw the idea of the brooch in an article printed in a Probus magazine,” she said.

“I wrote to the Sydney headquarters and we were able to receive them for our foundation members.

“The brooches are very nice looking and they can wear it not only to Probus but around town.”

Mrs Arkinstall said Ron Tidd from the Corowa Rotary Club was involved in the proposed club, with the initial meeting held on May 16, 1991.

The initial meeting was attended by more than 100 women.

The first official meeting was held on July 15, 1991 at the Corowa RSL in the Federation Room.

There were 60 financial members present, with 73 women signing the attendance book and 26 apologies recorded.

The first president was Molly Burton and vice president was Joan Beever.

The role of secretary was taken on by Rae Taylor, while Sheila Llewelyn was made treasurer and Marianne Vogel organised the guest speakers.

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