March 2021
Maurice Cooper OAM with President Paul Campbell                                                    
People of Action
Liz M
David Crust NP&WS
President's Message
February burst in with a flurry of activity as the country came to better grips with the COVID pandemic and people understood what to do to keep safe.  Still an unpleasant disease to be living with. 
A reminder of the top-notch speakers we had in February starting off with a technology session for all members by Phill, Bill and Paul – other members pitched in who had better knowledge than we did; for example, Pat Drummond and the portable audio system.  On the following Tuesday we went on a field trip with Lis Bastian to the sustainable horticultural and community garden she has created in Blackheath – what an amazing achievement.  Then on one evening we enjoyed a social meeting at the Katoomba RSL where all could relax and laugh in a conducive atmosphere.  Maurice Cooper OAM who owns and operates Bygone Beauty’s spoke to us about businesses surviving in a pandemic by using the governments financial aid plus treating his staff with respect and making them feel part of the solution to recovery. 
Improving news on the project to help homeless people in the upper mountains.  Some of the other Rotary Clubs in the Upper Mountains are willing to assist in fund raising, searching for suitable sites and general coordination.  The second Trivia night to raise funds for our homeless project had 57 participants and the three teams from Lower Blue scoop the podium (again) – well done.  This brought us over the $15,000 mark in our RAWCS fund which meant that the Dick Smith Community matching grant is now available.  Watch this space.
Blackheath Community Farm
On a wet, misty cold Blackheath morning the hardy members of Upper Blue Sunrise Rotary visited Blackheath Community Farm. It is situated on land donated by the Blue Mountains Christian School in Thirroul Avenue Blackheath. A huge “Thank You” to Lis Bastian for meeting us and explaining the background to the Farm and a providing a guided visit.
Members of the local community meet there each Sunday morning from 10am – 2pm to meet, garden and make friends with the common purpose of growing food sustainably using the principles of Permaculture.
Permaculture is a practical approach to the problems facing modern society based on a philosophy of think globally, act locally, and is equally as relevant to an inner city courtyard as it is to a broad acre farm. It's all about finding creative solutions to living a more sustainable life by growing local organic food, reducing energy consumption, recycling our wastes and creating habitat for other life around us.
The Blackheath Community Farm commenced 4 years ago on sloping land covered in Tree Tree and from there they have levelled land, built garden beds, a green house, composting systems and worm farms.
Permaculture philosophy focuses on building soils to gradually make them more nutrient rich and well balanced over time. Healthy soil is the key to growing healthy food. A system well illustrated in our visit today.
Lis talked about the problems they have had to overcome in particular the visiting kangaroos, bower birds, mice and rats. Solutions to these problems including the size of netting and strength of structures have been made with trial and error.
The variety of produce being grown is testament to the commitment of all the volunteers.
A quote from Lis:
“There is more life below your feet in the soil than in all the oceans of the world” – food for thought!
Maurice Cooper OAM
Our Speaker, 23 February 2021, was local businessman Maurice Cooper OAM, a founder and proprietor of Bygone Beauty’s (The Treasured Tea Pot Museum) at Leura NSW, about trials and tribulations of operating a business in times of COVID.
In the halcyon days of 2019, pre COVID, Maurice had planned and booked an early 2020, long overdue, overseas holiday, with return date late March 2020. About 35% of his business was dependant on overseas tourists which went belly-up around the end of January due to the virus COVID 19 and associated travel bans. Maurice personally got caught up in this issue, with his return to Australia flights, and it took him an unplanned extra 8 days to finally get out of Heathrow Airport on a circuitous flying route, that resulted in 47 hours of flying time to get home.
His business by then was already suffering in relation to international and domestic tourists vis:
  • Museum business down
  • Tea Pot sales down
  • Tea Room business decimated
  • Other product sales decimated
  • Accommodation offerings down (and quickly went to 0%)
(First options to support the business like serving “ takeaways” were not available due to Zoning rules and by April/May 2020 the business revenues were unsustainably down by some 85%).
Ultimately, the business had to go into semi shutdown mode. Maurice, unsurprisingly said that his first concern was for the staff ( that was no surprise to UBMS Club Members who have long been aware that one of Maurices great strengths is his personal concern and commitment to both community and to his people).
From a cash perspective the business had qualified for a prior Bush Fire recovery grant, a COVID recovery cash grant, Job Keeper payments and some short term cash relief with Council Rate deferments etc. With that in place Maurice and his team were able to put in place workplace strategies that engaged and retained the entire permanent workforce, albeit if that meant a waiter/waitress with the skills could double for a much needed repaint of a wall/ceiling, or washing up the 5,500 Tea Pot collection, to ensure relevant employment, then that’s what they did.
An interesting observation Maurice made about Job Keeper, was that even where his employees received a Job Keeper payment that exceeded their normal wage, he never lost staff taking sickies (which, was a problem, widely reported, for many businesses). That is no doubt both a complement to the staff but equally Maurice for his leadership and the type of employer that he is.
Maurice praised his staff for their effort and commitment during such tough times and it was obvious that as an employer he has a very healthy approach to relationships with his employees.
Maurice also spoke of Sala Bai-one of his long-term philanthropic commitments to education, training, skills development and life improvement programs in Cambodia.  Annually, Maurice runs a couple of Dinners to raise money for this institution, which sets out to train young people in hospitality and give them opportunities to learn and obtain careers that would not otherwise be available to them. With COVID, his ability for fundraising dinners was not available and 150 students ran the risk of being sent home from the training school.  So, typical of Maurice Cooper, he simply reached out to all previous dinner guests and sought a cash donation (sans dinner) and he raised the $25,000 needed to keep this important program going.
In closing, Maurice said there is still much uncertainty ahead for business but he remains confident that they will bounce back.  We agree and thank you for talking with us, your friends at UBMS Rotary.
Saving the Wollemi Pine
David Crust Upper Blue Mountains Sunrise Rotary Club is fortunate to have David Crust as our guest speaker at our regular Tuesday morning meeting March 9th
Whilst this is a face-to-face breakfast meeting for Club members, guests are invited to attend this meeting on ZOOM at 7:45am. Register your interest with Paul Campbell Log in details will be forwarded to you two days before the meeting. 
The speaker will be Mr David Crust, Director Park Operations, Blue Mountains Branch. In this position, he is responsible for the management of the reserves that make up the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
David’s Qualifications include a  B.App Sci, Assoc Dip (Environmental Management).
David has worked in a variety of natural resource management roles across the Blue Mountains for over 30 years including as Field Officer, Ranger and Area Manager with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
David has a particular interest and significant experience in fire and incident management and has led fire fighting contingents on a number of deployments to the USA and Canada.
His talk to Rotary will cover, amongst other things, the protection of the Wollemi Pines from the devastating bushfires during 2019/2020.
Hope you can join us.
Les Margulis PHF
At our social night out at Katoomba RSL, we also took the opportunity to award Les Margulis a PHF. Les has been recognised for his long standing efforts with our Club in marketing, public image and advertising.
Who Am I ?
Someone you know? First in to, will be highly commended.
Born in Sydney almost on the footpath outside the hospital – always in a hurry!
School in Sydney and went to University NSW part time while working.
Met the love of my life and after 2 children returned to University to study.
Have worked in a Consulting capacity all my working life in various fields.
Visited the Blue Mountains as a child to stay with Grandparents and fell in love with Blackheath and surrounds.
The move to the Mountains was a natural progression after living in the Big Smoke for so many years. Love my life here.
I read, chat, sew and play sport on a regular basis and find the lifestyle which includes Rotary, good for my health, both physical and mental.
Always ready for a chat, good food and a glass of something sensational.

Club Information
Welcome to our Club!
Tuesdays at 7:00 AM
Robyn Yates Centre for Cancer Wellness Support
105 Railway Parade
Leura, NSW 2780
425 302 473
Our face to face breakfast meetings are at The Robyn Yates Centre for Cancer Wellness Support. We will still have some ZOOM meetings. Check Calendar for details.
Whist ZOOM has been great, we have in the main returned to face to face meetings.  As always it is dependent on current COVID rules.
Our new home is the Robyn Yates Cancer Wellness Support Centre, 105 Railway Parade, Leura, NSW, 2780.
Breakfast meeting, are at 7:00, for 7:15am.
Upcoming Events
Club meeting - Guest Speaker Chris Webber
Robyn Yates Centre
Apr. 30, 2024
7:15 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Club meeting- Ian Chappell
Robyn Yates Centre
May 07, 2024
7:15 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Katoomba RSL
May 07, 2024
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Woolies BBQ
Woolworths Carpark
May 11, 2024
7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
UBMS Board Meeting
Katoomba RSL
May 13, 2024
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Club meeting - Guest Speaker Ed Kirk
Robyn Yates Centre
May 14, 2024
7:15 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Katoomba RSL
May 21, 2024
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Katoomba RSL
Jun. 04, 2024
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Woolies BBQ
Woolworths Carpark
Jun. 08, 2024
7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
UBMS Board Meeting
Katoomba RSL
Jun. 10, 2024
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
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102-2060 Winston Park Drive, Oakville, ON, L6H 5R7