Rain­bow fol­lows storm

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By Pa­trick Tansey For more in­for­ma­tion, phone Mr Bischoff on 0408 305 455.

❝I re­ally do love Co­bram now. When I go to Melbourne, the city doesn’t do much for me like it used to.❞

Rolf Bischoff

It was the type of com­i­cal mishap that would leave most ob­servers belly-laugh­ing on the ground in a state of hys­te­ria.

But for Rolf Bischoff, it was any­thing but funny. The un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent left him with a bro­ken neck and back and nearly ru­ined his life.

The for­mer Ger­man na­tive was walk­ing his two dogs when dis­as­ter struck and nearly left him a quad­ri­plegic.

The two dog leads some­how man­aged to wrap around Mr Bischoff’s legs, prompt­ing him to fall back­wards and hit the pave­ment with enough force that broke bones in places you least want bro­ken.

It took him a full year to re­cover and he had to learn to walk again, spend­ing months on end do­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion in the Ep­worth Hospi­tal in Melbourne.

Not long af­ter his ac­ci­dent, Mr Bischoff’s wife Pa­tri­cia nearly ripped her leg off when it got caught in a lad­der.

Thank­fully since that tu­mul­tuous time al­most eight years ago, things are look­ing rosier for Mr Bischoff.

He has re­cently been ap­pointed pres­i­dent of the Co­bramBa­rooga Probus Club.

It is an ex­cit­ing pe­riod for both Mr Bischoff and the club, which is due to cel­e­brate its 30th an­niver­sary at the Ba­rooga Spor­ties on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 15.

The Probus club holds monthly meet­ings for re­tired and semi-re­tired men and women who ap­pre­ci­ate and value op­por­tu­ni­ties to meet oth­ers in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances and en­joy fel­low­ship.

Mem­bers also get the chance to lis­ten to en­gag­ing guest speak­ers and visit not-for-profit clubs as well as fundrais­ing bod­ies.

When it be­gan in Novem­ber 1998, un­der the spon­sor­ship of the Ro­tary Club of Co­bram, Probus was a men-only club.

But in 2012, it com­bined with the Ladies’ Probus Club, mak­ing it the com­bined Probus Club of Co­bram-Ba­rooga Inc. to boost dwin­dling num­bers and keep up with the times.

It has cer­tainly been an in­ter­est­ing ride for Mr Bischoff, who has served as trea­surer for the past four years.

He ini­tially de­vel­oped feel­ings of re­sent­ment to­wards Co­bram af­ter his ac­ci­dent, but af­ter meet­ing Alan Tyson while do­ing phys­io­ther­apy in the town, he was en­cour­aged to join Probus. That mo­ment was a turn­ing point for him.

‘‘I’ve met some won­der­ful peo­ple here through Probus,’’ he said.

‘‘I re­ally do love Co­bram now. When I go to Melbourne, the city doesn’t do much for me like it used to.

‘‘I en­joy the quiet­ness of this place and sense of com­mu­nity spirit you find in a group such as Probus.’’

Born in Ham­burg, Ger­many, Mr Bischoff first ar­rived in Aus­tralia in 1959.

‘‘My fa­ther was in the mer­chant navy in Ger­many. Af­ter I fin­ished school I de­cided I was go­ing to join the Ger­man army, but my fa­ther threat­ened to rip the pa­pers up be­cause he hated the war so much,’’ Mr Bischoff said.

‘‘He al­ways used to say how much he loved Aus­tralia and had vis­ited here be­fore, so he in­structed me to come here, so I did.

‘‘The ship’s first port was in Fre­man­tle, Western Aus­tralia, and all I could see was rusted roof tops and I re­mem­ber when we got off the ship noth­ing was open. I won­dered what I had got my­self into.’’

He then es­tab­lished him­self in Melbourne, where he later ob­tained a cer­tifi­cate in en­gi­neer­ing at RMIT Univer­sity.

His pro­fes­sion landed him ‘‘the best job he ever had’’ work­ing at BP. At the peak of the oil boom, BP paid 18 per cent to his su­per fund.

Mr Bischoff’s story is just one of many in­ter­est­ing tales within Co­bram-Ba­rooga Probus Club. If you are in­ter­ested in join­ing the club or find­ing out what it has to of­fer, head along to a meet­ing at the Se­nior Cit­i­zens Hall.

Meet­ings are held on the first Mon­day of each month at 10 am.

New leader: Rolf Bischoff is now pres­i­dent of Co­bram-Ba­rooga Probus Club.

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