Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : January 10th 2018 Contents PAGE 16 - THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2018
BEING a volunteer can mean a range of
things from lending an occasional hand to
nearly fulltime involvement.
The latter has been the case for Bruce
Shelton who has decided that after 20 years
of service to the RSL, it is now time to take
Bruce has been at the forefront of many of
the organisation’s activities, both on a local
and state level.
It is a commitment that in military terms
would be classed as “above the call of duty”.
Bruce well understands this term as he
was a soldier in the Australian Army, and
spent seven years as platoon sergeant with
the Sixth Battalion.
In that time he honed his skills in fire-
arms and rose through the ranks to become
an experienced weapons instructor.
His skills and knowledge were recognised
and valued by the military; and have also
enabled Bruce to travel the breadth of Vic-
toria as the RSL’s memorabilia officer, as
well as holding the position of Police Fire-
arms Officer for the past 20 years.
While this may sound enough to keep any
man busy it is just one of the many hats
that Bruce has worn over the past two de-
He explains that one thing led to another
when he and his wife Helen came down to
the island to enjoy their retirement years.
“When we retired here I needed an inter-
est, ” he said, recalling how he first joined
the Phillip Island RSL committee in 1998.
At that time the club was still largely for
returned servicemen and was located in a
small building in Thompson Avenue.
One of his proudest achievements has
been the introduction of an education pro -
gram for primary school children.
In being ex-military and an instructor,
Bruce was keen to pass on his knowledge
and passion for Australian history, and in
particular the meaning behind ANZAC and
Following a request from teachers, Bruce
set up a program for Grade 6 students at
Cowes Primary School.
Since his first visit in 2005, the program
has been established in eight other schools
in the local area, and other schools from
around the state.
Such is its popularity that a well-re-
sourced teaching kit has been developed.
The kit is the product of many hours of
work and planning by Bruce and fellow
Phillip Island member David Harrison.
“It was quite a task initially as we were
told by the teachers that the children would
only have a 15 minute attention span, ” s aid
But the response from the students was
“The interest from the kids was incred-
ible. It is now a 60 to 90 minute presenta-
tion, and even then we are struggling to get
through it all,” he said.
The key to the program’s success is get-
ting the children involved, says Bruce.
As well as the telling of the story (of AN-
ZAC and Remembrance days), it is very
much a hands-on experience.
They are able to listen to the significance
of this history while dressed in military
gear and handling equipment.
“The kids are really intrigued by the story
of everyday life in the battlefield – what did
the soldiers eat, how much food do they
have to carry and where do they sleep.
“ They love it!” said Bruce.
After putting their heart and soul into the
program Bruce is now concerned and fear-
ful for its future.
With his impending retirement next
March there is no one stepping up to take
“We’re hoping,” he said, “that someone
will take the baton and run with it. It is
such an important program that it will be
sad to see it finish. ”
At the same time, and for the past 10
years, Bruce has been part of a team of six
which provides breakfast for children at
Cowes Primary. Every Wednesday morning
from May through to December, the team
sets up shop in the school canteen and
serves a tempting version of a continental
It is available to all children and is free
“ The RSL provides all the food and
drinks, and the bread for toast is donated
by local suppliers, ” said Bruce.
“ It’s quite a commitment and can be hard
work, especially in winter when you have to
be at the bakers at 7am. But we love doing
it, ” he said.
“ Some days we cook up to 480 slices of
toast! But it’s the look on the children’s
faces that make it worthwhile. They come
up to the canteen and look over all that’s
on offer. They don’t know what to eat first, ”
Unfortunately, this popular program may
also be a thing of the past.
Unless there is another team of willing
helpers, breakfast at Cowes Primary will no
longer be available as all the current volun-
teers are calling it a day.
Alongside these two programs Bruce
Shelton has somehow managed to squeeze
as much time as possible into helping out
in other ways.
He has held a range of positions during
his time at Phillip Island, from executive
level to general committee; and has a range
of awards to prove it.
Among his most treasured are a National
Life Membership awarded to him in 2010,
induction into the RSL Hall of Fame in
2012 and an Australia Day RSL Award (Vic-
toria) in 2014.
While these accolades are a true testa-
ment to the amount of work Bruce has done
for the cause, he is a humble recipient.
“ You don’t do it for those!” he said.
At a rough guess he says, he has given
between 52 to 90 hours a month in a volun-
That equates to being there every second
day of the week.
“ The RSL has been my life, ” he explained.
In officially stepping down in March this
year at the AGM, Bruce and his right hand-
man and chief supporter, his wife Helen,
plan to enjoy their time together.
Helen has been by Bruce’s side in all of
his capacities and has travelled the miles
with him through all of these years.
“ We’d like to do more travelling and relax
on a cruise. But I’ll still enjoy my involve-
ment with Probus, ” he added.
And he will still feel very much at home
whenever he pops into the RSL.
If he finds the time, that is.
MEMBERS of the Phillip Is-
land community enjoyed the
seventh annual Christmas
Day Community Lunch, held
at St Philip’s Hall, in Cowes.
Ten volunteers looked after
This year many ‘new’ faces
joined us and sadly some of
our regular guests could not
come because of illness.
Phillip Island is fortunate to
have a strong community of
talented volunteers who are
generous with their time and
The volunteer cooks and
kitchen staff worked together
to serve a meal of three roast
meats, scalloped potatoes
and salads purchased from
Kristos the day before, with
plum pudding or fruit salad
for dessert; and all served to
the guests with a warm and
Four of the volunteers
helped in 2016 which was
great and one of our guests
thanked us for putting on a
wonderful lunch and creating
a Christmas atmosphere.
Carmen Bush, Margaret Han-
cock and Ursula Burley said
they were very pleased with
the generous response from
all sections of our community
and would especially like to
thank all the volunteers and
guests involved in making the
day so successful.
The co -ordinators
extended their gratitude to
those generous guests who
gave cash donations and to
the local businesses and ser-
vice groups who have so gen-
erously supported this event.
They include: Phillip Island
RSL, Phillip Island One Stop
Discount Shop, PICAL, U3A
and of course St Philip’s An-
glican Church for providing
the perfect venue and catering
support and the wonderful
parishioner who helped to set
up the tables and chairs on
The Salvation Army, based
in Wonthaggi, passed on a
donation of Christmas pud-
dings and custard which were
This Christmas Day Com-
munity Lunch was organ-
ised by a sub-committee of
the Phillip Island Commu-
nity Services Group (PICSG);
membership is extended to
all service providers and
groups who have a substan-
tially local (Phillip Island and
San Remo) community focus.
The current membership
includes Bass Coast Shire
Council, Bass Coast Health,
Uniting, Catholic, and Angli-
can Churches, Inter-Church
Council, YMCA, St Vincent de
Paul Conference, Red Cross,
Phillip Island RSL, the Phil-
lip Island Community and
Learning Centre (PICAL),
Cowes CWA, Phillip Island
and San Remo Rotary and
TURNING Point researchers
are encouraging people who
drink alcohol or smoke tobacco
to participate in a free brain
health check this New Year.
The health assessment, which
measures the effect of lifestyle
choices on the brain, involves a
state-of-the-art Magnetic Reso-
nance Imaging (MRI) scan and
a series of cognitive thinking
Turning Point and Monash
University Professor Dan Lub-
man says the New Year is a per-
fect time for Victorians to pay
attention to their wellbeing.
“People may have over-in-
dulged in more than just pud-
ding during the Christmas pe-
riod – consumption of cigarettes
and alcohol generally
increases during this time,”
“We are offering participants
a fantastic opportunity to
check their brain health, free
of charge, using state-of-the-
art brain scanning technology
which would usually cost hun-
dreds of dollars,” Prof Lubman
Participants will be financially
reimbursed for their time, in
addition to receiving a free as-
sessment of brain structure
health by a qualified radiologist.
The assessment will take a
total of four hours to complete,
including one hour inside the
MRI scanner, and is located in
For more information, call
9905 1402 or visit www.tinyurl.
Phillip Island RSL committee member and recently retired vice president Bruce Shel-
ton is calling it a day after 20 years of active service.
He leaves a legacy of dedication and selfless involvement.
Bruce takes leave from the RSL
Volunteers Karen Duffy, Carmen Bush and Liza Lee are pictured at the Christmas Day
lunch they served to 25 guests at St Phillip’s Hall in Cowes.
Free brain health scan
ENJOYING a stroll along the San Remo foreshore walkway last week, not far away from
where the town’s pelicans were lining up for their daily feed, was this echidna.
The curious mammal became a star attraction in its own right, with the hordes of holiday
makers in the vicinity.
First a wombat, now an echidna
Links Archive January 4th 2018 January 17th 2018 Navigation Previous Page Next Page