Some 85 men were enthralled to hear Tim Fischer’s talk at the Men’s Breakfast on Saturday, March 10. Tim had come over in the morning after a railway function in Junee the night before.
The morning started with a cooked breakfast served by the ladies of St John the Evangelist Young. The church hall was almost full. The amount of chatter before Tim’s talk signalled an eagerness to get started. There were men there from places as diverse as Canberra, Harden, Boorowa with people from the New Life, Presbyterian and Uniting Churches. Rob Nash welcomed the men to the breakfast with the Reverend Ian Marshall opening proceedings with a special grace.
Mr Fisher spoke about three topics: the Global Crop Diversity Trust, his time as Australian Ambassador to the Holy See; and the work of General Sir John Monash.
Tim spoke of his time as Chairman of the Global Crop Diversity Trust or GCDT with the Seed Vault in North Norway. Over one hundred countries have contributed food seeds for safe keeping in this vault. Tim talked of the countries that had lost seeds, including a collection destroyed by ISIS, fortunately, the country had deposited seeds at GCDT and was able to withdraw their seeds and start afresh. His contribution as Chairman is a voluntary position.
Starting with a phone call from the then PM Kevin Rudd, Tim was appointed Ambassador to the Holy See in 2009. He spoke about the various officials he had got to know and how he had been able to substantially further Australia’s interests through his time there. He had arranged a steam train trip through the Holy Father’s private railway platform and had the photos to prove it. It clearly had been a great time in Tim’s career.
He also spoke about the work of that great Australian soldier, John Monash, starting with him growing up in Melbourne, establishing a career as an engineer, progressing to joining the First AIF and to commanding the Australian Corp in the final stages of the Great War. Tim spoke about his continuing contribution to the country as an engineer after the war. We were privileged to hear this account.
After each of the three topics that Tim covered, he took questions and provided thoughtful answers. The men present enjoyed his breadth of knowledge and generosity throughout the morning.
At the conclusion of Tim’s talk Rob Nash thanked him for his talk and gave him a presentation for coming. Rob especially thanked the ladies for their catering.