About us ...

—The Wynnum Region Organised Computing Club for Seniors (WROCCS, pronounced ‘rocks’) was formed in 2002 following a public meeting called in August that year by Julia Ponder, a local business woman and then President of the Wynnum Chamber of Commerce. Julia wanted to gauge local interest in the formation of a seniors’ computer club in Wynnum.

—More than 120 interested people attended the meeting, including a small group of enthusiasts who were prepared to share their computer knowledge for the benefit of seniors in the local community. That small group of ‘coaches’, led by retired school teacher Graeme Askew, organised the first formal meeting of WROCCS. This was held in the Wynnum Services/RSL Club in September 2002. Classes began the same week, using computer facilities kindly provided by the Wynnum Central State School and Wynnum State High School. The rest, as they say, is history …

—From that first official meeting, and thanks largely to Graeme’s efforts and some initial assistance from the State Government’s Connecting Generation 3 Program, over 2,800 seniors have since received computer training in the first ten years of the Club’s existence.

—Graeme remained as Convener until he retired from WROCCS in August 2008 to move his family to northern NSW, but not before he had taken the initial steps for WROCCS to become incorporated. This occurred on 8/8/2008, and WROCCS Inc now has a Management Committee of up to 7, headed by a President. (The other positions are Secretary, Treasurer and up to 4 general committee members.) Our inaugural President for 2008/09 was Rob Carlyle.

Lavina Scott then became President in 2010 and remained so until January 2016. Rick Davies has been President since then.

Club Honour Roll (Life Members)

  • Graeme Askew - Founder/Convenor (2002 - 2008)

  • Lavina Scott - President (2010 - 2015)

  • Alan Hancox - Founding member

Club President History

  • Graeme Askew - Founder/Convenor (2002 - 2008)

  • Rob Carlyle - President (2009)

  • Lavina Scott - President (2010 - 2015)

  • Rick Davies - President (2016 - 2020)


Prepared by Alan Hancox, August 2012

Alan was one of the founding members of the club

In early 2002, Julia Ponder, then President of the Wynnum Chamber of Commerce and owner of Co-Mart Software Pty Ltd, became interested in the possibility of training seniors in the community at reduced rates. (She was a qualified and professional computer trainer.) She made enquiries through her contacts in Women in Information Technology (WIT) and was subsequently contacted by Paul Lucas MP, the local State Member and Minister for Innovation and Information Technology. He advised her to contact Connecting Generation 3 (CG3), a State Government funded body set up under the Enabling Queensland-Smart State program to establish community computer training for seniors.

Julia contacted CG3 and was informed about the Bribie Island Computer Club model and its success. She was told that CG3 could provide some funds to get a similar club up and running in Wynnum, provided there was sufficient interest locally. She put an advertisement in the local newspaper for a meeting in Wynnum and, again through her WIT contacts, arranged an interview with Peter Gooch on ABC Radio, which was broadcast in mid-July.

Following the newspaper advertisement she was contacted by Graeme Askew, a retired school teacher, and Keith Brown,and the three of them arranged for a meeting to be held at the Wynnum RSL in late July 2002. At that meeting, conducted by Graeme and attended by about a dozen interested prospective tutors, it was decided that a public meeting shouldbe arranged and advertised to gauge the amount of community interest, to be held at the RSL Services Club in August,.

Accordingly, a meeting was held on 16th August 2002 attended by Paul Lucas MP and 120 people (according to the Wynnum Herald of 21st August 2002). That meeting determined that there was certainly sufficient local interest to form a seniors’computer club, and the first official meeting of the Wynnum Region Organised Computer Club for Seniors (WROCCS), with Graeme as our Convener, was subsequently held in the Pandanus Room at the Wynnum Services Club on 10thSeptember 2002. Classes began the following day!

Through her contacts, Julia had arranged for 6 second-hand computers to be donated by the Brisbane City Council. Graeme and Julia arranged for these to be installed at the Wynnum Central State School in Charlotte Street, whereWROCCS was allowed to use a large room as a training venue. In the meantime, Graeme had arranged for permission from the Principal, Keith Werder, for the use of two computer classrooms at the Wynnum State High School in Peel Street.

Beginners classes were taken initially by Keith Brown and later by Les Stennett. Ted Doré took Operating Procedures, Graeme took Microsoft Word, Alan Hancox took Excel, and Email and Internet were taken by Ron Stewart. Keith Brown also acted as Treasurer, although all funds were transferred to CG3 who kept the official financial records. Members were asked to make a gold coin donation at each monthly meeting and at each class attended. This provided the funds needed to cover operating expenses. The first edition of the ‘Rolling Stone’ newsletter, edited by Graeme, was issued in October 2002 and the WROCCS website (with Graham Amy from CG3 as our webmaster) opened in November. Graeme had selected the Australian Pelican as the WROCCS logo, as it was always seen along the Wynnum foreshore.

In January 2003 ‘Hosts’ were appointed by Graeme to help with membership enquiries and issue nametags: Ailsa and Alf Floyd, Carmel Cumner and Helen Andrews fulfilled these roles. Margaret Brown was our Scribe for the newsletter. Also in January, the name of WROCCS was changed from Computer Club to Computing Club.

WROCCS followed the Bribie Island naming convention for graduation through its classes: the Bribie Island Seniors Computer Users Informal Training Scheme (BISCUITS) graded its members according to their computer knowledge and training, starting at Cracker Biscuit, then Arrowroot, Cream Biscuit, Chocolate Biscuit and finally Tim Tam. WROCCS (pronounced Rocks) grades were Dust, Gravel, Pebble, Stone and Boulder. This system fell into disuse late in 2004.

By March 2003 WROCCS had 218 registered members. Also in March we had a visit from Betty Web of the genealogy group at the Bribie Island club. As a result, Dell Topel and Pat and Tom Gerrard got our own genealogy group going in April. Graeme also affiliated WROCCS with the Global Learning site in the US for online computer training. In April 2003 Graeme Askew and Ted Doré were invited to the ABC Studios at Toowong to be interviewed on ‘Seniors being taught computers’. This resulted in a large influx of new members. Corel Draw classes with Joe Elkenhans and PowerPoint with Dell Topel & Lavina Scott were introduced. Ron Stewart’s Email and Internet and Joe’s Corel Draw classes were held at the (old) Baptist Church in Kianawah Road for a while.

In September 2003, only one year since our first WROCCS meeting and thanks to some hard work by Graeme and two of our members who were also members of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, permission was obtained for WROCCS to use a spare room beneath the Church as our Club ‘base’, in return for a small rental. Thanks to Graham Amy at CG3, some computers were donated by Unisys, and some hard work mainly from the late Des Shanks soon had the room up and running. Most classes were transferred there forthwith, and Tuesday morning ‘Help sessions’ were introduced

Alan took over the editor’s job for the newsletter in March 2004, by which time WROCCS had over 550 members. Kevin Brown replaced Keith Brown (no relation) as Treasurer in June 2004. The system of ‘pay as you enrol’ for classes ($10 for 4 classes) was introduced in August 2004.

The Enabling Queensland program and assistance from CG3 finished in November 2006. We started 2007 under the mantle of the Wynnum Manly Regional Development Partnership, which became the Bayside South Development Forum in June 2007.

On 8th August 2008 we became incorporated (Wynnum Region Organised Computing Club for Seniors Inc.), had our first President - Rob Carlyle, a Management Committee of seven and a new logo. At last we were fully responsible for ourselves!

Graeme Askew and Ted Doré retired from active WROCCS duties at a farewell luncheon in August 2008. Lavina Scott became our President in February 2010 and still presides today …

Four of our hard-working former members have since passed away: Des Shanks, Alf Floyd, Les Stennett and Ted Doré.