23 February 2024

Dilys Hoser picks up friendship, fun and a new passion at Corrimal Rotary

| Eileen Mulligan
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Dilys Hoser holding a rubbish bag.

Dilys Hoser’s dedication to picking up rubbish earned her a Rise & Shine Award last year from Wollongong City Council. Photo: Eileen Mulligan.

Friendship was one of the things Dilys Hoser was looking for when she tentatively turned up to a Corrimal Rotary Club meeting five years ago – and she found it in spades.

“I wanted to do community-type good things,” Dilys said. “And I wanted to join a group to find more activities and more friends.

“My accounting didn’t give me life-long friends, because I’ve had to move on for different reasons.”

But at Rotary, Dilys has found colleagues who greet each other with hugs and take time to get to know each other.

“Corrimal Rotary is a very active group and the people are really nice people. They are great fun – and they get things done,” she said.

Dilys also gets things done. Last year, Wollongong City Council honoured her in the annual Environment Awards with the Silver (Rise & Shine Award) for her dedication to cleaning up rubbish as the co-chair of the Corrimal Rotary Environment Group (CREG).

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Dilys is ready and willing to take her “superpower” to the next Clean Up Australia Day on the first weekend in March. The official clean-up day is Sunday, 3 March but Dilys’s group will leap into action on 2 March.

Meantime, she keeps busy by organising six creek/beach and Lake Illawarra clean-ups a month: every Thursday and the first and third Saturday.

“Generally, we pick up the rubbish to stop it going into the ocean and killing the marine life,” she said.

“We lead by example and hope that others take that example with them wherever they go. We meet people and talk to them. Sometimes they’ll join our CREG group. They don’t have to join Rotary.

“We clean up from Primbee and Dapto in the south, right up to Woonona in the north – not just Corrimal. The idea is people see us doing it and maybe they’ll do it in their own backyard.”

If you go for a stroll along Corrimal Beach, you’ll often see walkers carrying bags, picking up rubbish as they go.

“But you can’t expect them to pick up microplastics,” Dilys said, which brings us to her next project. Corrimal Rotary is working with Ausmap, a national citizen scientist project to take samples from the beach high-tide marks to measure the amount of microplastics in the detritus. Corrimal Rotary’s project should get into full swing in June.

A group of Corrimal Rotary members.

Friendships flourish at Corrimal Rotary Club. Back row: Peter Beattie, Amber Gao, Gerri Wood and Gerry Riordan; front row: Xiang Zhifei and Dilys. Photo: Eileen Mulligan.

But there is more to CREG than litter. Other projects include the GreenFest Sustainability Expo, scheduled for 24 March at Corrimal High School.

“That is an expo to encourage people to come along and find what they can do to help the environment in their own lives, in their home, in their garden, and also to encourage the exchange of ideas between exhibitors,” Dilys said.

“GreenFest was one of our new initiatives. This has come about because Rotary International took up the mantra and decided that supporting the environment had to be an area of focus for Rotary.”

There is also Adopt a Tree, where for $5 members of the public can help farmers restore habitat for wildlife on their land. Other benefits include improving the microbiology of the soil, water retention, reducing salinity and soil erosion.

The group works with other organisations including Bushcare and Landcare.

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CREG also established and ran the University of Wollongong Community Garden until handing it over into the students’ care in 2022.

But wait, there’s more. In addition to its environmental work, Rotary is involved in six other areas: basic education and literacy; maternal and child health; peace and conflict prevention/resolution; disease prevention and treatment; water, sanitation and hygiene; and community and economic development.

The club fundraises for ShelterBox which provides shelter for people who’ve lost their homes after disasters such as bushfire and floods.

Ride 4 Rotary will be held in April to raise money for Southern Youth and Family Services, a not-for-profit group that supports vulnerable and homeless young people and their families.

“The fundraising will be for the extras people can’t afford, such as fees to go to TAFE, fees to go to uni, books, things to help them find a career. It’s for the extras the government doesn’t fund,” Dilys said.

“Volunteering with other people is fun. We also have coffee and cake afterwards and the camaraderie is great. The volunteers become friends and care about each other. It’s our way of caring for and giving back to the community.”

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