The JOTTER…Coffs Harbour Toastmasters news letter

And that was Saturday.

Back to the Bowl-o.

Last Saturday Area 29 Contests were held at Park Beach Bowls Club in Coffs. What a great venue! A quiet, carpeted room, with picture windows onto the dune, and a delicious sandwich lunch, all for a very modest $5 entry fee. About 30 people attended from the 4 clubs between Grafton and Nambucca Valley, and this included judges and District level officials from outside Area. Top quality speeches as usual. Hats off to the dynamic Dysons for winning first place in the 4 categories – James in International and Evaluation, and Janet in Humorous and Table Topics.  Hats off also to all who contested or officiated, and especially the 3 who left at lunchtime after competing or chairing. These 3 had apparently fitted the contest into already very busy lives.


The mix.

It was the usual mix. Old timers showing their experience and newbies learning the ropes. There were more than a few who doubled up. James and Deebee, for example, after competing, put on different hats and came back as Chair or Sergeant at Arms. Similarly Donna and Paolo seemed to be everywhere as Timers, Counters and Sergeant at Arms. Special thanks to Kay Simmons who drove up from Port Mac to deliver a test speech for the Evaluation contestants to evaluate.


Pathways down the track.

Justyn Phillips took the opportunity (as a District90 Pathways Ambassador) to remind us yet again that Pathways, the new Education Program, will start in December.  The current program is a basic manual of 10 projects, followed by a choice of advanced modules which cater for special interests.  in Pathways, on the other hand, you choose one of 10 specialised paths at the outset. Pathways is already rolling out elsewhere in the Toastmasters universe and an interesting statistic is that the most popular path (20%) has been ‘project management’, followed by ‘giving presentations’ and ‘mentoring’, and then the remaining 7 paths are more or less on par.



The Jotter 17th May 2017

JOTTER  May 16 meeting


Newbies to the fore!

Our surge of new members continues to energise the club. Christine M was Madam Toastmaster for her very first time, and 4 of our relatively new members did well in Table Topics. There were 2 formal speeches. (There were going to be 3 but ‘Life’ intervened and one had to be cancelled). In Speech 1, John D spoke about the opportunities that come with living longer. In Speech 2 Leon P gave an enormously evocative word picture of life on an outback sheep station. There were 20 people there including 2 guests.


Changing of the guard!

Next year’s executive committee is now elected. Of the 7 office bearers, 3 are totally new, and 2 of the others are taking on different roles. And that’s as it should be with people rotating in and out of executive positions each year as much as possible. It’s all about getting experience! Our last exec meeting of the year is on June 13, when both execs – current and next – will be there. And our June 20 meeting is a Changeover Meeting when next year’s executive committee is inducted. There will be a longer supper and as always guests are most welcome.


Nambucca kicks up its heels! 

A second Area Joint Meeting was held at Nambucca RSL on Tuesday May 9. Bellingen, Nambucca Valley and Coffs Harbour clubs were all there. Thirty in all attended including guests, spouses etc. About 14 came to dinner beforehand at the club.

Special Thanks to Area Director Sue Hereford-Ashley and to Colin Steber

Area 5 Director Oxley Division, for taking part during this special event.

There followed a full program with 3 speakers.


Next Coffs Harbour Toastmasters meeting Tuesday June 6.


The Jotter News Letter Feb’ 21st 2017

Getting Together Combined Toastmasters Meeting.


Our last meeting on Feb21 was a buzz! Three clubs came together for a joint meeting which had been advertised in the Advocate and on local radio. Let the numbers speak!

  • 19 members of Toastmasters (Coffs Harbour 13; Bellingen 4; Nambucca Valley 2).
  • 19 guests (8 of them were totally new to Toastmasters).
  • Total audience 38


I found the 3 main speeches spellbinding. Speech 1, by Kyle Maloney of Coffs Harbour, was a series of yarns from his experience of dealing with medical emergencies. Speech 2, by James Dyson of Nambucca Valley, with the help of a Power Point slideshow transported us to medieval Byzantium and the building of the Hagia Sophia cathedral.  Speech 3 was especially thoughtful and thought provoking. Phil Wilson of Bellingen spoke about Toastmaster speeches themselves, which, he said, by their very nature spring from honesty and so are an antidote to dishonesties in the world (Think ‘alternative truths’!).


In the Warm Up  everyone got to their feet and spoke for 15 seconds on their ‘vision’ (the word for the night) for the year to come. Table Topics (or spontaneous mini-speeches) got 7 speakers on their feet. The voted winner was Jean Ryan, a guest, who gave an entertaining mini-speech about a mysterious contraption which was put into her hands.


Overall the program was a close to normal Coffs Harbour club program. We did make sure, however, that we explained the rationale of items for the benefit of guests unfamiliar with the format.

The Jotter December 2016



What do these 3 scenarios have in common: dinner conversation with a ghost; a choko vine covering a 2 storey house; and an angel appearing as a pakeha or a maori depending on who’s looking?  These were three word pictures in three of seven Tall Tales told at Coffs Harbour Toastmasters’ final meeting of the year. The winner of the Pigs Might Fly Tall Tales Contest was Fran Kerkhoff with the ‘true’ story of how Toastmasters International began with the perfect slice of toast. (Ha! As if!)


This last meeting was a blend of Contest and Christmas party. As a contest, it had a contest chair, judges from other clubs,  presentation of certificates, and a handcrafted, silver painted flying pig as the winner’s trophy (thanks to Deebee). And as a party, there were more guests than members (about 30 people in all), and an extra long supper gave us a chance to catch up with old faces and meet new friends. In the Hats Off segment (which gives everyone a chance to pay a compliment), one guest summed up the evening as: “food, friendship and frivolity”.


Now comes the long Christmas New Year break.  Our next meeting will be on Tuesday January 17 at the usual time and place, that is Cavanbah Hall in Coffs, meeting at 6:30pm for a 7pm start. We will have a full program with 3 speakers plus the usual other items. Please see our website for details. And don’t forget Tuesday February 21 when members from Bellingen, Nambucca Valley and Coffs Harbour clubs will get together for a joint club meeting at Cavanbah Hall.


Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy New Year!

David Whyte


Photo’s to follow very soon.


The Jotter 20.09.2016

Last Saturday Sep17, Park Beach Bowls Club in Coffs was the venue for the Oxley Division Contest (Humorous & Table Topics), bringing together clubs from Tweed Heads to Taree. It was nice not having to travel to this event, but rather have the entertainment come to us.

One thing about contests and conferences at higher levels (Area, Division, District) is you get to experience progressively higher standards, not only of speeches (prepared or off-the-cuff), but also of organisation, MC-ing and training. So whichever aspect of Toastmasters interests you, there is opportunity to observe, participate and learn. And at the end of the day it remains friendly because we’re all just ‘clubbies’.

Many of the 7 Humorous speeches were highly visual, acted out with gesture and expression. So for example, like after watching a movie, I can still replay in my head many moments from the speech “Five blokes and a boat-full of beer”.

The Table Topic was “Did I really do that?”. Most of the 8 contestants spoke about their achievements, but I got a chuckle from 2 exceptions who spoke instead about avoiding the pointing finger of blame, and of the blunders of DIY man

Next event is the District Semi Annual Conference in Gosford Nov4-5, which includes Humorous and Table Topic contests. District 90 is, roughly speaking, all NSW clubs north of Sydney Harbour. It consists of 6 Divisions, 30 Areas, 150 Clubs and about 3,000 members.


the JOTTER 24.08.2016

Test Speaker from Graftons Mighty Clarence
Bethany Mcalpine, test Speaker from Graftons Mighty Clarence Club.

Last Tuesday Coffs Toastmasters held its Speech Evaluation and International club contests. In the Speech Evaluation contest, Bethany Mcalpine from the Mighty Clarence Grafton Toastmasters club came all the way down to be “Test Speaker”. Bethany a 21 year old Uni Student told of her visit to East Timor. Her smoothly flowing narrative, told with expressive voice and gesture, took us via a series of word pictures from Dili airport, through city streets, to her lodgings, and then on a bus journey into the mountains. Through the rich weave of people, places, and conversations ran the theme of poverty like a thread, alluded to in a quiet and nuanced way: the smell of poverty; a young boy stunted from malnutrition; an old man (“he looked like my grandfather”) at risk of dying from lack medical resources. Thank you Bethany, and congratulations for delivering a very fine 7 minute speech without microphone or notes, to a large audience. Bethany says she is “shy” but that her confidence as a speaker in all situations has grown after 3 years in Toastmasters.


During the evening four speakers presented in each of the Speech Evaluation & International Speech  Contests. Speech Evaluation 1st place winner Fran Kerkhoff & 2nd Barbara Stewart. International Speech 1st place winner Deebee Bishop & Fran Kerkhoff 2nd  will now go on to compete at the Area contests  (Coffs, Bellingen and Nambucca Valley) on Saturday, September 3 at Mylstrom Hall 18-20 River Street Mylstrom starting at 9am, all welcome. Details regarding this contest will be on the Coffs Harbour Toastmasters website at

Fran Kerkhoff, Barbara Stewrat, Deebee Bishop (2)Fran Kerkhoff Barbara Stewart & Deebee

The Jotter 24.7.2016


Coffs Harbour Toastmasters…Club Contest #113690622_1224115727621861_4787494989340307746_n.jpghumorcomp (2)

Last Tuesday (July 19) Coffs Toasties had their Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests.

Five judges from other clubs travelled in to Coffs for the evening. Sue from Mighty Clarence was Chief Judge, and was supported by Rowena and Alison (from Bellingen), and Todd and Marian (from Nambucca Valley).

Two other new faces were visitors Tom Ashall (a former member)  and Kevin (who was responding to our ever improving website).

There were 4 contestants in each category. In Table Topics contestants give a 2 minute extemporaneous speech with, of course, zero preparation. The topic was: “How will your life be different in a year’s time?”, and the winners were Fran Kerkhoff (1st) and Janet Dyson (2nd).

After supper came the Humorous Speech Contest when the 4 contestants found the funny side of: being a dad, incompatible identical twins, a pom’s reactions to Australia, and death!

The winners were Dee Bee (1st/ Neo-Modern Dad) and Fran Kerkhoff (2nd/ death).

The 4 winners will go on to compete at the Area Contest on Saturday September 3.

Yet another evening of learning and fun!

David Whyte Club President


The JOTTER Coffs Harbour Toastmasters News Letter 18th May 2016

    THE JOTTER                          meeting 901.


No mics!

Because the Cavanbah Hall is being painted, our last meeting was held in a room in the Community Centre. The smaller space made a pleasant difference as we didn’t have to worry so much about “using the stage” or holding the microphone correctly. Instead it was more intimate with people talking in their normal voices. A different ambience but no less good practice!


We all talked.

Relatively low numbers was a case of swings and roundabouts. What we lost by not having a large audience was compensated for by everyone having a chance to get on their feet and say their piece. This was largely to the Table Topics Master making sure that challenges went to people without major speaking roles. Good on you Dee Bee!


A variety of speeches

There were three formal speeches. Fran’s speech, one ‘based on research’, combined anecdotes about fire walking and Billy Graham to make her point. Lyn gave us a very entertaining account of a stay in hospital.  And David W filled the room with a folk tale .

Great variety. The Warm Up was interesting; the Listening Post was harder than usual; and the General Evaluator (DavidG) was succinct and thorough.


June7 will see us back in Cavanbah Hall for Meeting 902. Once more striding the stage, projecting our voices, and gesturing expansively.

Our Thoughts & best wishes go to our good friend Barbara. We trust you have a swift recovery. We will see you back at T.M very soon.

David Whyte & Deebee Bishop

THE JOTTER… Coffs Harbour Toastmasters News Letter

Barbara Stewart The Jotter

                                    THE JOTTER                   by Barbara Stewart

We went in for quality not quantity at  our last meeting on the 19 April. Only 11 C.H. T M members and 2 guests were able to come . So many last minute apologies , from sickness, to family in need, to work problems. Everyone rallied around and with a little doubling up of duties and last minute assignments, we all enjoyed the evening and the quality of our meeting was great .

How fortunate that one of our guests was an experienced TM from Sydney , he was able to give invaluable advice to James, our Divisional representative in the International Speech Contest to be held on Sat 30 April in Sydney. Actually, all TM’s were asked for their evaluations of James’s speech ,  poor James !  Such an excellent speech it is . The very best of luck , and our thoughts from all of us go with you James.

We have such a strong Club – Fran was runner up in the semi-finals Speech Contest, 2 weeks ago in Port Macquarie, and Janet was placed in the Evaluation Contest there.

New TM’s can learn a great deal from the “elders” in TM , while the “elders” are kept on their toes by bright new thoughts and ideas from recent arrivals .

Don’t forget – if you can, come to the Speechcraft Course this coming Tues 26 April, 4.30 – 6.00 pm, in Room 2 at the Community Village.                                                                                                               The participants need an audience. Fran is the person in charge .

Next TM meeting we will be voting in our new Committee for the TM year 2016 – 2017 , as well as all our usual education and entertainment.

Be there or be square – and bring a friend.

The Jotter

Coffs Harbour Toastmasters News Letter

Welcome to the “Coffs Harbour Toasties News Letter”  

Barbara Stewart The Jotter
The Jotter


Stay in touch & tune in to this space for regular updates.

                        THE  JOTTER                by Barbara Stewart

Hello possums!   –  No, that’s Dame Edna.

G’day mates !  – No, that leaves out new arrivals and non-Aussie borns.

How about, “Friends, Romans and countrymen”  –  No, that’s Big Julie.

What do you think of  –   “Dear Toasties” – No, that’s so unoriginal.

So –

The top of the mornin’ to you !

Well it’s cheerful and full of goodwill !


What a great little Club we have ! Think about it – we have, or have had, doctors, dentists, accountants, bankers, self-employed, government employees, airmen, night soil removers, auctioneers, farmers, environmentalists, song writers, artists, Irish, Scots, English, German, Dutch,  dinky-di Aussies, Sri lankans, Chinese, Aborigines, and retirees . ALL wanting to speak more easily, present better, become leaders, learn , develop and enjoy.

What a fabulous Club, who wouldn’t want to belong, contribute and participate ?  Don’t you agree?  So why isn’t there a path being worn down to Cavanbah Hall door ? Who do YOU know  who you haven’t talked to about TM ?   Your checkout chick, plumber, postie, taxi driver, bank manager, policeman, traffic cop, and church member ?


ABC News watchers ; how many times does Graham Creed say “now” when delivering his weather forecast? How many people interviewed on TV cannot string more than two sentences together without saying, “you know”, or “um”. So aren’t we lucky ! We’re all at least half way to being perfect .

Yours in happy membership

The Jotter