Black Swan Jan/Feb 2012

Black Swan
February 2012

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Gerry Prewett

In this issue

Select the link to go to the story

Gerry Prewett
District Governor Report
Mark Richards
Touch of Gold 100th
Martin Lindsay
News Releases
Robyn Richards
Ross Wilkinson
ReadingZ Rock
David Nicholas
Graham MacDonald
Top Clubs
David Nicholas


Here we are deep in the heart of February, gearing up for Club and Area competitions. I suspect everyone without exception must be really busy, because no one seems to want to write anything for Black Swan. I’m sure you are all fed up of reading my pleas for articles but probably not half as much as I am of making them.

Everyone in Toastmasters gives speeches (you do don’t you?) and I suspect the bulk of you prepare by writing them out. Well strangely enough writing an article is not that much different from writing a speech. Please share with us all your thoughts on, what makes your club special, what has being a Toastmaster done for you (good or bad!), what are your thoughts on the new branding, how do you think we are progressing as District 17? There’s a myriad of ideas, thoughts or concepts that you can ponder on, so come on, put on your thinking caps, sharpen your pencils and get writing!

You never know you may be able to stop me bleating for 5 minutes.

Gerry PrewettGerry Prewett

Gerry Prewett ACS, ALS

Black Swan Editor

Back to Menu


District Governor Report

Overall Performance – We are now placed 2nd in the world as a District. As you can see by the graph below, we have now achieved 3 of the 5 District goals with the Leadership goal being the latest goal reached. Only 4 other Districts in the world have achieved this status. We need only 19 more CCs to achieve the next District goal and I hope we can achieve this soon. I applaud all Clubs for focusing on the DCP and the needs of all members, by helping each member achieve their goals the Clubs/Areas/Division & District all benefit.

Membership Dues – Membership renewals have now reached a positive stage for the District. We now have 1208 membership payments which equates to 51.9% of our target. We will need to monitor this closely during the April renewals period. Can all Treasurers please ask members to pay their dues before the March 31st deadline. Please invoice your members and that will remind them to pay on time.

TLI – I was very impressed by the standard of our recent TLIs. I have received very positive feedback about the content, presenters and organisation of the training.

Area Governor visits – The second round of Area Governor visits have started. Can all Club Officers make sure you welcome your Area Governor and give them all the assistance they need to perform their role.

Mid- Year Training – The District Trio attended the training in Sydney and  we all performed very well as a District team taking out the spaghetti tower challenge and winning the best District presentation award. Oh, and the training was very beneficial too!!

I thought the midyear DOT was excellent and all Area Governors have expressed how good the information was for them in their role for the next 6 months. Well done to Ross and his team of presenters for a brilliant afternoon.

Upcoming Events –  We have some fantastic workshops coming soon so please keep an eye on the District website and register your attendance at these brilliant events. Don’t forget to register your place at the inaugural District 17 convention in May.

Mark Richards DTM
District 17 Governor 2011/12

Back to Menu


The Touch of Gold 100th

Looking forward, looking back, 100 meetings for Touch of Gold Toastmasters club

Touch of Gold Toastmasters club is a vibrant, enthusiastic club that is isolated from the rest of WA clubs, but carries on the tradition of the Toastmasters Vision, Mission and protocols in the rough and tumble mining metropolis of Kalgoorlie.

On a hot, parched and dry night in the heart of the historic goldfields, Touch of Gold celebrated their hundredth meeting in style, in their new venue at the Chamber of commerce and Industry.

President Ivan Henderson acknowledged the club founders, the sponsors, mentors and founding members, five of whom were present at the meeting. He also thanked the district officers, past and present, who have supported the club through its formation and development.

It was fitting that the general evaluator for the 100th meeting was Judith Allen, who took this role for the very first meeting, four years ago.

The four visitors from Perth, Sponsor Judith Allen, Lt Gov Marketing Pascale Amberville-Colby, Southern Division Governor Vicky Post and Area N24 Governor Martin Lindsay were given a royal welcome, and were included in the program as evaluators for the speakers. There were five advanced project speeches, and an epic round robin that had some twists and turns, drawing laughter and creative responses.

Toastmaster Tracey Browning did a splendid job keeping the meeting flowing seamlessly, relating each segment to the theme of looking forward, looking back.

Ivan gave us a history and mathematics lesson on the significance of 100, Paul Browning managed to combine naval battle history with poetry, Danny Sheehan built up the tension and drama regaling us with poignant and humorous anecdotes of trolley dramas, Robin Lonsdale, the “smiling assassin”, apologized as she sacked half the council workers, and Bertie rattled the pan to draw our attention to the persistence and perseverance of Colonel Sanders.

The meeting room was buzzing with 26 people attending, including five prospective members who were enthusiastic about joining. Supper was ample and the mid meeting break was animated and appreciated as we nibbled on sumptuous delicacies provided by the club members, and imbibed some fine wine and camaraderie.

The second half was time for table topics and theatre sports. Tim Cudini led the table topics all related to the theme of toastmasters experiences, then Robin Lonsdale had us intrigued with the “common brain” trio of one word responses to questions from the audience. The evaluations were delivered with sincerity and recommendations given to the speakers to help them with strategies for improvement.

Paul Andinach’s grammarian report was both detailed and comprehensive, listing interesting phrases and correcting some grammatical transgressions.  Tony’s droll timekeeping report was astutely delivered, tongue in cheek, with wit and wise advice to those that overstepped the timing lines.

On Sunday, we gathered at Paul and Tracey Browning’s for club Officer training, and despite technical hiccups with a recalcitrant data projector, covered the roles and responsibilities, membership strategies, educational presentations and a guided tour of the District website, while Judith showed Paul and Linda how to set up the Freetoasthoast 2 website for the club.

This was a momentous occasion for Touch of Gold, and a memorable trip for the four city slickers. Touch of Gold is such a welcoming club, with a diverse membership, all so energetic and enthusiastic, and it was a privilege to join them to celebrate this milestone meeting. I look forward to being invited to the 200th meeting.


Martin Lindsay

Martin Lindsay DTM
N24 Governor 2011-12

Back to Menu


Promote Your Club!

Publish News Releases

PPP image

Do you have something you want to share with the local community about your club? Did you know Toastmasters International have a myriad of means to help you to do this? What are you waiting for? Promote your club and gain valuable Positive Promotion Premiership points. There are 10 weeks left to gain points for your club in this contest.
Give your club the recognition it deserves! Tell the local community about Toastmasters events, programs and member achievements. Garner interest and awareness using the news release templates you can download from Toastmasters International.

This month I have chosen News Releases as my feature promotion. What do you have to promote? Has a member recently achieved an award? Is your club holding your International Speech Contest? Is your club approaching a milestone meeting? Did you hold a meeting to raise funds for a charity? Whatever the reason, Promote Your Club!

Choose the news release that best fits your needs, edit it to your specifications and then pitch it your local news media. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. All releases are formatted and downloadable as Word documents.

2. Click on a news release and save it to your computer.

3. Localize the release by replacing bolded text with your club or district information. Proofread it for accuracy.

4. Once finished, delete the bolded text and (parenthesis) and save your changes.

5. Email the release to local news media. Paste the release into an email, below the pitch and your signature. Do not attach the release to your email. Attachments to journalists usually get caught by spam filters.

Here’s the link to these TI tools

Have fun promoting your club to your local community and earn Positive Promotion Premiership points.

Robyn Richards

Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 Public Relations Officer 2011-2012

Back to Menu


Toastmasters Leadership Institute

What a successful second round of Toastmaster Leadership Institute we have had. Our 3 Division Governors. Robyn Lloyd, Nola Haddrill and Vicky Post put together an interesting agenda for the 2 main TLI’s which incorporated interesting and educational workshops, presentations and Club Officer Training that was relevant at this point of time in the Toastmaster year.

Besides the TLI events in Inglewood and South Perth, two groups of dedicated Toastmasters travelled to Kalgoorlie and Busselton respectively to run TLI for Touch of Gold and our South-West Toastmasters.

It is pleasing to report that over 210 Club Officers have been trained so far. Division and Area Governors are conducting additional training for those Club Officer that could not make the training. If is important that Club Officers attend training in order to develop their leadership skill and keep up to date with changes within Toastmasters so they can perform their Officer role efficiently.

If you have any feed back on TLI, please send me an email at – your opinions are valued and the District Executive does take on board any recommendations.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this round of TLI, especially Lyn Brighton and Valda Ross who co-ordinated the supper at the events.








Ross Wilkinson DTM
Lt Governor Education & Training 2011-2012
Back to Menu


Readingz Rock at Armadale

Armadale Toastmasters at the Armadale Library

2012 is being celebrated as a special year to encourage people to use public libraries. The Armadale Council is participating enthusiastically in this project and has appointed one of their librarians to supervise it. It’s Jenny Ramshaw, an enthusiastic member of Armadale Toastmasters, who naturally thought of her fellow members as ideal helpers in her work.

So, instead of running their normal meeting at the Armadale Primary School on Tuesday, Feb 14, they visited the Armadale Council Library and presented a set of readings loosely based around the theme of comedy.  5 members gave readings and two attended as visitors.  Besides one of the librarians there were only two other visitors.

AudienceThe audience – two visitors on the left, Max, Yun & son, Shane

The small audience didn’t deter us.  We had prepared well and all five of us gave excellent readings.

David was the Toastmaster and Shane handled timing.



Marianne gave the first reading – The true story of the 3 little pigs by Jon Scieszka.  Marianne was very dramatic as you can see from this photo.  The wolf gave his version which was entirely different from the traditional libellous account, he claimed, of what actually occurred.  Eating the first two pigs was purely a conservation issue after the accidental collapse of their inadequately engineered houses.

Then Max read one of Bill Cosby’s stories of family life and his skill and expertise as a father when his wife had their first child – a daughter. The title tells it all – Almost as smart as the Neanderthals – in other words, not very smart at all.



Glenis  read the story of The Flying Emu by local indigenous author and artist Sally Morgan.  Boastful Emu is easily outwitted by Kookaburra who tricks him into flying too close to the sun.  Despite losing his wings, he is soon boasting again, this time about his very strong, very fast legs!

David followed with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber.  Walter Mitty is a timid, henpecked man, pushed around by his aggressive wife.  In his imagination he lives through heroic episodes as a naval flight commander, as a defendant in a murder trial, as an airforce ace on a hazardous mission and finally faces execution by firing squad with a relaxed smile.



Jenny gave the final reading. It was a story by British comedienne and author, Pam Ayres – Reading the Map. Pam confesses she is not good at reading maps – particularly road maps – whereas her husband seems to have an inbuilt GPS. The story is about a particularly chaotic and stressful outing where she takes them off the wrong roundabout exit and ends up in a peaceful country road with a very unpeaceful husband.

As well Jenny gave a final Wrap Up. She explained the ReadingRockz program is part of the National Library awareness program through the whole of 2012. There will be further readings each month on the third Wednesday evening. The theme for March is Think and for April is Feel.

David Nicholas

David Nicholas DTM
District 17 Webmaster
Back to Menu


Successful News

From beginning to completion

On Monday the 13th February Successful held a performance to behold. The other 60 clubs looked on in awe to what could only be described as brilliant. Two new members who had only been with us one month gave Icebreakers with such oration they could only be considered as outstanding. Holly Buykx, gave a speech on the opportunities of travel, and Max Morgan on roads. There was no collusion but as it often happens members turn up only to find someone else has an identical theme; the theme of travel was evident in our Icebreakers. We had originally three ice breakers slotted in – however one of our new members had work commitments.

Our president Sarah was then able to give the last of her workshops to complete her Advanced Communicator Gold, and this made it a memorable evening with speeches at both ends of the spectrum.

Joining us were four visitors Stephen, Luke, Asha and Mario. All have shown an interest in joining our club.

We are a club who is truly successful by name and nature. Our Sergeant At Arms has secured a radio interview on the 22nd of February. Successful is a truly great club to be in. We meet every alternative Monday and are happy to have dual members from other clubs.




Graham MacDonald
Back to Menu


Who are our Top Clubs?

Well, it depends.  Amongst other factors it depends on the criteria used.  World Headquarters maintains several reports, which use different criteria.  I will outline them below.

Does it matter?

It depends on your attitude and opinions, but World Headquarters obviously thinks it does.  That’s why there is such an emphasis on achievement for both members and clubs.  For example, the DCP – the Distinguished Club Program – sets standards for Distinguished, a higher level for Select Distinguished and the very highest for Presidents Distinguished.  At the end of each year they publish Tables of all Distinguished Clubs – but the Presidents Distinguished Table has an extra column noting the number of years Distinguished Clubs achieved all 10 Goals.  Clearly this is an incentive for clubs to aim for this most demanding target.  Additionally they publish a special table which shows all the clubs in the world which have always achieved that top award.  To date there are 61 – our District has one of them.

Here is a list of those varied reports

Top 10 Clubs with highest education awards per 7/1 base membership (as at Feb 16, 2012)

This report gives encouragement to smaller clubs to promote awards in their members. Note the way the ranking does not reflect the number of awards, but the ratio to the opening number of members.  So a club with only 2 awards is on the list because it started with only 6 members, while a club with 15 awards ranks behind clubs with 14 and 7 respectively.

There are two reports which are published only at the end of each year.

Top 10 Clubs based on an open-ended DCP score

This a list of the ten clubs which would have the highest Distinguished Club Program (DCP) score at the end of the year, if the caps were removed. For example, a club can only get a maximum of 2 goals for 2 ACs, but in this calculation, a club that earned 6 ACs would get 6 DCP goals, a club that picked up 20 new members would get 5 DCP goals (1 goal for each 4 members), etc.  Part Goals are also awarded – for example a club with 3 CCs would receive 1.5 Goals.

The table below for 2010/11 shows the report for District 73 because in that year we were still in that District.  Note that it has only 4 clubs not from WA.


Presidents Distinguished Clubs

This Report is updated only once at the end of the Toastmaster year.  It records the number of years a club has been  Presidents Distinguished and  the number of years at Presidents Distinguished with all 10 Goals.  Because World Headquarters has full computer records only back to the year 2004/05, which is 7 years to the end of 2010/11, it adds a “+” if it has paper records showing previous success at Presidents Distinguished level.

To the end of Year 2010/11 (while we were still in District 73)

Number  Name  Years Distinguished  Years at all 10 Goals
5769  Victoria Quay 7+  7+
5491  Fremantle Gateway 7+ 6
1068213  Fremantle Gourmet 4 3
1133609  Canning Vale 4 3
7986 Western Founders 3 2
1150233  Cannington Communicators 3 2
8611  Gosnells 2 1
875582  Riverside 1 1
867905  Armadale 1 1
1363463  Southern River 1 1
6314  Durack 7
995774  Young Guns 4
9703  Subiaco Early Birds 1
8347  Guildford Stars 1
2236  Belmont 1
1427841  Victoria Park 1
751215  Jetty 1

I maintain a report updated weekly which shows progress in the Distinguished Club Program for the current year. Have a look at

Successful Clubs 2011/12

Toastmasters International also publish some minor reports which highlight members who have lodged multiple awards and members who have sponsored multiple new members.  You can see the set of these updated to current figures at

District 17 Minor Reports

How is your club progressing this year?

Toastmasters is a success based organisation.  Is your club listed amongst the successful above?  What can you do to make it more successful?

David Nicholas DTM
District 17 Webmaster
Back to Menu