2010 Vanuatu Humanitarian Aid Effort - Precious Cargo (Stevie Wonder)

Signed, Sealed, Delivered - It's theirs. Given we've just had Van Halen, The Pointer Sisters and Ian Dury and the Blockheads on the site, it seemed appropriate to stay musical, even if I did have to change the song title a little...

Now there are literally hundreds of people to thank when you have a project like this, so let's start by thanking anyone who came anywhere near Robyn Brooke's baby.

Thank you, everyone.


(and we’re really sorry if we missed you – send an email and we’ll add it hastily!!!)


So, thanks to the Hunters and Collectors (boom, boom - and it was Robyn that added this band to the story) of the ORCV yachting community and Rotary International for sharing the secret about the magic that happens at your Donation In Kind warehouse. Specific appreciation goes to Bill Dagg and Laurie Fisher, who are the resident magicians that make it all happen out there, at the back of Woolshed #40. They have an amazing band of volunteers too - "How about those computers and student kits. What an operation...", said Robyn.

"By the way, don’t forget them, if you or your mates have obsolete stock, a change of logo or a computer upgrade at work. Also, time spent at the DIK warehouse is a real eye opener. Volunteers are always welcome on Tuesdays and Thursdays, to help sort and pack the donations for the various international projects they have on the go", Robyn mentioned.

Back to the big thank you and we have the regular volunteers at the DIK Warehouse - John Gordon, Rick Westcott, Dawn and Jack Watson and the rest of the talented IT team. They worked up the computers and flat screens donated by APC Logistics, the Child Safety Commissioner and Sandie O'Connor, into a networked computer lab for the school, complete with modem, hub and printer.

The Rotarians from the clubs of Brighton North, Kew, Woodend and Melbourne, some of whom just happened to be there on loading day and many others who were involved with the project. Trevor Nink from Melbourne was a quiet achiever (and boy could the company that had that as their tagline do with some nice PR right now), slipping in the last minute with a cool 27 cartons of books for Sarah Village in Epi. Virginia Turner worked tirelessly to collect science books for Isangel school on Tanna and for the Lamen Bay book project.

Huge thanks too for Hobson’s Bay Yacht Club for celebrating the fact that they have a Party of Five crews participating in the race. The evening generated even more donations, including that roll of paper (see pic below) - thanks to Vaughan from Norske Skog Boyer and K&S Freighters who donated the delivery of the hefty roll. Holly Fletcher’s raffle raised an additional $300 for the schools. Thanks too for the HBYC engraved garden rakes, which came about from the ‘recks for rubbish’ story. Thanks also to Colin Leake for donating the Hull Scrub, as first prize and gto HBYC for donating the wine.

In total, 590 cartons of school supplies and equipment were collected. The donations will be distributed to schools both on the main island of Efate, as well as Tanna and Epi. 62 cartons of mixed supplies will be distributed amongst the yachts that are going cruising after the post race for them to deliver to the more remote areas they visit. In a letter of support from Vanuatu’s Ministry of Education to the ORCV, they acknowledge the difficulties in servicing these more remote schools, which also happen to be some of the most disadvantaged as a result of their isolation.

The loading party got underway thanks to Kim from M2V entrant, Turbo. He hitched up the light tower to his car and using the boarding planks as a ramp, drove the generator straight into the container. Once that was secured, the crew quickly formed a human chain to unload the 25+ pallets of stock, finally creating a mezzanine for the lighter cartons and fragiles on top.  Thanks to the superb work of Greg Cleaver, Trevor Nink and the rest of the team, it all happened very quickly and at 11.45 the snags were on and the beer was cold. Robyn Brooke commented, “It wasn’t exactly in the right order and the projects weren’t quite kept together, which was my mandate from our friends at Port Vila who are receiving the container, but nothing was left behind. In fact, some big tubs of craft glue, additional diaries, exercise books and some PJs were somehow found in the Store to finish the last layer”.

A very special thanks to Sue Clinnick, our human Trevi Fountain, who must have made a million trips to the warehouse with all the gear and people she arranged and to Holly Fletcher, who we now understand Robyn stretched way out of her comfort zone, by getting her to go begging for donations. The two of them were the scribes on the day and it wasn’t an easy task keeping track of the cartons going flying by.

To the many suppliers who gave so generously, we owe you a huge thank you. Thanks also to Justin Watson who is donating four bags of tools and three months of his labour, in order to help build a dwelling for the community on Epi.  Thanks Joanne O’Donoghue for the tennis gear, Christian Rossow for that huge delivery from the Jedi Mind Trick mob, Tony Wheeler from Regent Sporting Goods and to Russel from NGT marketing for the diaries.

To all of our anonymous donors, especially our Wish upon a Star – thank you to those preferring to smile in private. Also thanks to the many schools that made donations - St Helena in Eltham, Athena School in Newtown NSW and the ones who dug deep, from Melbourne Uni to Kilvington Girl's School.

Thank you, too, if you opened your wallet and gave some folding, which helped to cross a few more items off the Wish List and to fund local port fees in Vila. This included Michelle and Roger Wale from Pretty Woman, Transcend Networks in Tassie, Carole Dunphy from Sydney, Tracey Kamens from Bayer and the list goes on...

Thank you to Nick, Adam and Eddie from The Age, who made sure far more people than just the yachting community knew of everyone's efforts to assist those people who have so little. The piece, Precious Cargo, appeared on the back page, no less, on Monday 21 June.

Now it all would not matter a cent, if our super wonderful friends at APC Logistics did not arrange for the 20 Footer to get to Vila in the first place. Also, if our new pals at Extra Transport had not given us a lift and made the container miraculously appear and then disappear from Rotary's warehouse to get it to the ship in time.  Interestingly, Extra is now owned by Toll, who move ORCV Mobile (the van) to Tassie and King Island for us. We love Toll.

On to some pics, then. Now, it is thanks to Holly Fletcher that we have an array to view - from empty to all sealed up!


ORCV Commodore George Shaw surveys the (almost) empty container... The generator section of the light tower from our anonymous, Star donator, is already in there.


Bill Dagg adds a 10Km roll of paper (WOW!!!!!!) donated by Norske Skog Boyer... The light fittings from our 'Star' anonymous donor are wrapped up in the corner there.


The team pile in a whole lot of diaries - many thanks to Holly Fletcher and her new friend Russell at NGT Marketing.


Don't think Mr Creosote wants the 'wafer thin' after dinner mint here.... (I'm full).


And then our Robyn Brooke seals the container with Richard Potter from Rotary, Brighton North.


The Loading Team - or part thereof… On the far left would be our Human Trevi Fountain, Sue Clinnick, next to her is busy Rotarian, Virginia Turner, Robyn 'no job too big' Brooke is next and then Petra Brewer from Rotary Brighton North (RBN). Behind Petra is her husband Russell, then Richard Potter, the RBN project coordinator. Standing to the side of the container are yachties Greg and Pauline Cleaver (from Mr(s) Bojangles and one of our current women in sailing poster girls), Phil Rowell (RBN) and Trevor Nink from Melbourne Rotary. Missing from camera are Holly Fletcher, Grant Hocking, John Green and their buddies from their sister clubs of Rotary Woodend and Kew.

Now Robyn was almost out of breath after it all, but made one last effort to get some names out. “I want to add my personal thanks (and in no particular order) to the participating yachts, crew, land support teams and especially the skippers of Slinky Malinky, Mirrabooka, Scarlett Runner, Gusto, Ingenue, 51st Project, Samskara, Turbo, Tevake II, Garisenda and The Secretary.”

“There’s also the Rotary Clubs of Brighton North, Kew, Woodend, Melbourne, and those wonderful souls at the Rotary DIK Warehouse. Special mentions to Virginia Turner, Sue McDonald, Sue Donald, Richard Potter, Jim Mitchell, Phil Rowell, Petra and Russell Brewer, John Green, Grant Hocking, Grant Ryan, Jim Pocock, Trevor Nink, Bill Dagg, Laurie Fisher, Dawn Watson, Jim Watson and Rick Westcott.”

“Finally, to all the extended friends of the Rotary and yachting communities - Sue Clinnick from Team Audacious, Joanne O’Donoghue, Lynda Brayton, Pauline and Greg Clinnick”, she said.

Robyn’s probably missed one thing. Now, we know that all of the beneficiaries in Vanuatu from the North Vila School to the remote villages in those outlying island want to thank you. Whether you’re named here or preferred to stay silent, there’s one thing that cannot be missed and that’s the quantum of the wonder that is now on its way to Port Vila aboard the Tasman Endeavour.

Well done to all…



By John Curnow





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Yachties 4 Vanuatu Day - Saturday 11 April, 2015

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