Serendipity (definition):     A Pleasant Surprise or Happy Accident.  According to a Persian fairy tale, the three Princes of Serendip were  “always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of”.                                                                                                                                                                                  (Horace Walpole)

This is an eclectic and random collection of informal talks or discussions on intriguing topics.  Pick the ones that pique your interest.

Serendipity classes are on Wednesdays, 10:00 – 12 noon, in the Showground Hall.  Visitors and guests are always very welcome.

Feb. 27           WHAT DID YOU SAY? My hearing is fading             Rheanna Lee

Learn more about hearing loss and how to beat it beating you. View and trial up-to-date assistive listening devices during the presentation and learn how ‘Australian Hearing Centres’ can help you be more comfortable in the home and when among the public.

March 6         Greenhouse Gas Emissions – How, where, when, why, and                           what can we do to reduce them                                     Anton Kole

After a recap on the main cause behind this current rapid change in our climate, we will investigate how our emissions are produced, where they come from, and some of the simple things we can do to help reduce them. The numbers may make you rethink how significant our impact really is on our climate.

March 13         Alexander Technique                                                      Derek Smith

Derek Smith, a retired Alexander technique practitioner, explains this now-famous technique which was developed by Frederick Matthias Alexander, born in Wynyard in 1869. The Alexander Technique brings our conscious attention to habits that may have built up over a lifetime of stress. It helps us learn to move in a more relaxed and comfortable way and works to provide a path to a better result.  It is a simple process but simple does not mean easy. Examining and challenging existing habits requires work, but it can be very rewarding.

March 20            The Great War: Differing Perspectives                  Ian McFarlane

A critical exploration of some of the causes, experiences and ongoing consequences of the Great War.

March 27             Yacht Club Sails Into Top Spot     Chris Symonds & Mike Darby

The Wynyard Yacht Club continues to deliver safe, fun and inclusive programmes to the Wynyard Community and beyond. They have been recognized nationally, winning Australian Sailing’s “Yacht Club of the Year” and the Australian Sports Commission’s “Community Club of the Year” in 2014. The WYC welcomes the community to come and listen to its journey from a club about to fold to one which changed it direction, came alive and continues to thrive. The talk will cover the diverse programs it offers and include the international success of Para sailor Chris Symonds and his coach Mike Darby.

April 3                 Gluten – Facts, Fallacies and Fantasies               Frank Croucher

Glutens are a group of proteins found in wheat and other grains.  It has become fashionable in recent times to go “gluten free” even when gluten does not cause issues. Explore the facts, fallacies and fantasies associated with these proteins. Frank’s session will be followed on Thursday 4 April by Gluten free baking, a session of practical advice from Gill Vowles.

April 10               Finding Life before Life?                                           Jo Crothers

Controversy still surrounds the origins of the mysterious and previously unknown ancient life forms found in the Flinders Ranges in 1946. The discovery, by a young South Australian geologist, Reg Sprigg, led to Australia’s greatest claim to international geological fame. But incredulity and derision followed, requiring tenacity and passion to beat the sceptics.

April 17                Coffins, Caskets and Shrouds                                  Lynne Jarvis

Ever thought of making your own coffin or casket? Perhaps you prefer a simply shroud?  Join us for a Compassionate Communities Death Literacy session on all things coffin related including the law. You may even get to decorate a casket on the day.

A Care Beyond Cure Presentation.

April 24                Cuba and Peak Oil                                                       Susan Hartley

 Many people are sensing that the world faces major challenges in the coming decades: peak oil, peak phosphate, food shortages, economic crises and more. Cuba has had a unique take on ways to solve some of these problems when faced with its own crisis called “the special period” beginning in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, its major aid donor. Other societies have come to view Cuba’s experience as a test case for what we face in the future. What can we emulate? What is possible given the primacy of our individualistic values? There will be time for discussion after the film.

May 1                   Climate Change’s Biggest Dilemma – Global Dimming                                                                                                                                              Anton Kole

Recent studies have revealed that particulates in our skies (soot, sulphur, etc) from burning fossil fuels for 100s of years have masked the true impact that greenhouse gases have had on warming our planet, by counter-actively cooling our planet down via reducing the amount of solar radiation that makes it to our surface (Global Dimming). Soot only lasts in our atmosphere for days, weeks or months, and greenhouse gases can last from over 100s to 1,000s of years. If we stop burning highly polluting coal, forests, and other dirty fossil fuels such as diesel, global temperatures could drastically spike between 4-10C in a very short time period. We have a serious dilemma! Blowing up volcanoes has been one suggestion to keep our skies dim. Can the human civilisation solve this serious conundrum? Or is the human race doomed for extinction whatever we do? Time is quickly running out (if it hasn’t already).

A documentary produced by the BBC (49 minutes) gives further details of Global Dimming. Some climate scientists are now starting to openly talk about the global dimming problem, while many are still avoiding the whole issue altogether.

May 8                     Firefighter, Fundraiser, Surf Lifesaver … and now marathon                                    kayaker                                                                             Craig Machen

Craig was injured whilst firefighting in 1990, and after battling PTSD, chronic fatigue and pelvic injuries decided to fulfil a long-term dream to kayak around Tasmania raising funds for Motor Neurone research.

Craig completed the 1500 km in 18 days (with only 4 calm ones), inspired by his good friend Kirk Dicker, who sadly, recently passed away. The money raised has now exceeded $60,000.

May 15                   My family in Java                                            Alwyn Friedersdorff

 An unexpected experience took Alwyn to a country in which she had little interest, but an invitation to connect with family through two marriages, now colours her life to an extraordinary level. With a history that began over a million years ago, Java was inhabited by homo sapiens (modern man) at least 2000 years BC. Connect the past with the present, as we explore ‘what makes culture’, in what once was the Dutch East Indies.

May 22                  Thermal agitation                                                      Frank van Kann

Many people are familiar with the idea that heat is associated with microscopic vibrations of atoms and molecules. This is known as the “kinetic theory of heat”. One of the first to discover this experimentally was Robert Brown, a Scottish botanist with a strong connection to “Down Under”. He sailed with Matthew Flinders and collected and named more Australian plants than any other botanist (yes, including Joseph Banks). Brown features in a display at a museum in Port Augusta and has a nearby national park dedicated to his contribution.

His painstaking observations of microscopic pollen grains floating on a water droplet were the first evidence of the kinetic theory of heat, which took nearly half a century to be understood, in a paper by Albert Einstein (which contributed to his award of the Nobel Prize). The session will outline the theory and present practical experimental demonstrations of thermal agitation at work. Come and watch the molecules jiggling about with your own eyes.

May 29                 ABC history and Bloopers                                          Dario Salpietro

Dario will relate stories of his experiences as an ABC cameraman in Melbourne and will participate in a Q&A segment about earlier times at the ABC. He will illustrate the talk with footage from the mid 1970’s, including out-takes that never went to air. Some of the footage is politically incorrect by today’s standards, so if you are easily offended by bare breasts, swearing or nudity, please do not attend this session.