2018 is drawing to a close and what a year it has been! As I reflect with mixed sadness and joy on the events of 2018 I feel immense pride in our Club and our members for all that has been achieved, difficulties overcome, goals attained and the successful continuation of a vibrant and fulfilling Club culture .
The freak weather event on Melbourne Cup Day, which saw the city inundated with torrential rain, caused flooding on our 1st and 2nd floors. Soil and debris from the planter boxes clogged the drains in the lightwell outside the Cooper Room and two of the bedrooms, turning the terrace into a virtual swimming-pool. Carpets, some IT equipment, walls and the ceiling in the staff areas, and part of the parquetry floors have been damaged but all this is fully covered by insurance. Fortunately paintings hanging on walls were not affected. We will try to schedule repairs during the period the Club is closed, although it may take some time for the extent of the damage to the parquetry to be fully revealed.
Four new members were elected to the Board at our October AGM. They are Ileana Guizzo, Deb Johnson, Leigh Mackay and Amy Poynton. They bring a broad mix of governance skills and knowledge of different aspects of Club culture to the Board table. The new Board recently took part in a development day with three industry experts speaking on key aspects of Board duties and responsibilities, risk issues for Boards, crisis management, strategy formulation, legal considerations and financial oversight. I encourage members to access our website where you will find photographs and short biographies on each Board member.
Sophie McKinnon has retired as Chair of the Younger Members’ Advisory Group and we thank her for her service to the Club over the last two years, willingly undertaken whilst managing a young family and work commitments. Margaret Dodds has retired as Co-Convenor of Occasional Singers and we thank her for her role in making the meetings of this choir so happy and inclusive. Joanne Fenton continues in her role as Convenor.
You will have all received my letter informing you of the appointment of our new General Manager, Mrs Sue Blake and we look forward to getting to know Sue as she settles into her role in 2019. She will commence work at the Club on 17 December.
The time has come to farewell our interim General Manager, Martin Rudden, whose final day at the Club will be Friday, 21 December. Martin came to us at a troubled time and quickly settled into his role, putting staff and members at ease and taking a firm grip of the Club’s reins. With the assistance of Philip Chetham and our wonderful staff he has completed a number of messy, but very necessary tasks. The carparks and ground floor have been decluttered, providing much needed storage space. Preliminary work on reviews and audits of all aspects of Club management has been undertaken and our new General Manager will have the benefit of this when she commences. Martin has been a cheerful, reassuring and very efficient presence at the Club over the last four months and we thank him for ensuring that Club operations have continued to run smoothly and member use and enjoyment of the Club’s facilities has continued unimpeded.
We have our usual wonderful programme of Christmas events and festivities at the Club during December and I look forward to joining you at these celebrations. We will be decorating three Christmas trees this year on Monday 3 December and I invite members to join us for this, to be followed by a festive platter lunch. Please contact Reception if you are able to assist with the decoration and wish to stay for lunch.
On behalf of the Board I wish you all a joyful Christmas and extend our best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019.