Around District  9800

This week marks a special time in Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands Rotary history when we celebrate the establishment of Rotary in our region a century ago with the chartering of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, followed very shortly after by

Rotary Sydney, then Auckland and Wellington. I am sure all Rotarians in District 9800 join me in congratulating Rotary Melbourne in our District 9800 and acknowledge its incredible contribution. There is no doubt the Club will continue to be a beacon of giving over the next 100 years.

I recently attended the launch at Government House, Canberra of the hard copy book Humanity in action: Celebrating 100 years of Rotary Clubs in Australia and island neighbours, written and compiled by a representative committee of the Rotary International Zone 8 Australia Institute and edited by Bob Aitken. In his address at the launch, the Governor-General of Australia remarked:

“When you read the text and when you meet Rotarians, what jumps out is the enjoyment and fulfilment that comes from all who are in Rotary and that they are always looking for the next project.

“The book also provides a superb coverage of what Rotary ‘is’ and ‘plans to be’ in the future. The inspiring projects and topics – international, regional and local – reflect every avenue of service from caring for communities to lifting vocational ethics and working for world peace.”

I think this perfectly sums up what this book is about and I encourage you to purchase a copy quickly, as the production is quite limited. I congratulate Bob Aitken and all those involved in producing this wonderful gift to Rotary’s history in Australia.

Our Multi District Conference, Virtual Victoria, is fast approaching, and I would like to encourage you all to book for both the online event, as well as District 9800’s Breakout and Showcase at Hyatt Place, Essendon Fields. Don’t forget to invite your sons, daughters, grandchildren, nieces and nephews along to the event. Children under 15 can be booked at half price.  

Enjoy the week ahead in service above self.

Rotary District 9800 Governor Philip Archer

By Kevin Sheehan, Immediate Past President, Rotary Melbourne

Rotary Melbourne is proud of the entire centenary effort, which after many years of concept promotion, gained valuable momentum throughout Australia and New Zealand.  

Rotarians far and wide are witnessing not only the 100th Anniversary of the first Rotary club in Australia, but also the creation of the Centurion Alliance with Rotary Sydney, Wellington & Auckland, all having a 1st May 1921 Charter date, the first such alliance in the Rotary world. 

Plus, there is the great work of our National Committee enabling Rotary throughout Australia to capitalise on 2021 as the centenary year, expose the hundreds of centenary projects that clubs have implemented…some small, some huge…and promote signature events.

A brief overview of its long and proud history

Since its charter luncheon on 21 April 1921, the Rotary Club of Melbourne has not only had a rich history of service to the community, but also the advancement of Rotary in District 9800, and well beyond. In fact, in 1924, Rotary Melbourne chartered the Rotary Clubs of Adelaide, Hobart and Launceston with a further 24 clubs between 1925 and 1999, which have in turn, gone on to charter many more.   

The charter membership of Rotary Melbourne was based on the classification system and included an impressive group of Melbourne's leading business and professional men, such as General Sir John Monash, widely acknowledged as one of the great Australians for his outstanding military service during Word War I and as the first General Manager of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, and serving as Vice-Chancellor of The University of Melbourne. Charter members also included Sir John Latham, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. Later, Sir Angus Mitchell joined the Club, becoming one of its most distinguished members and being elected as the first Australian President of Rotary International. A very close friend of Paul Harris, Sir Angus is credited with the re-establishment of Rotary in Japan after the end of World War II.

As we farewelled Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose funeral was held on 16 April, in Rotary we acknowledge his service to the community.

Prince Philip was an Honorary Member for four Rotary clubs: the Rotary Club of London; the Rotary Club of Edinburgh, Scotland, since 1952; and, the Rotary Clubs of Kings Lynn and Windsor & Eaton, in England.

Rotary has also been a long supporter of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, created by His Royal Highness to give young people the opportunity to learn, grow and engage in voluntary action.

The day-to-day operation of an effective and vibrant Rotary club is multi-faceted. From governance, administration, procedures, meeting practices, planning, project management, membership recruitment, marketing and public relations to leadership and the general social and behavioural aspects that come with a group of people working together as volunteers. It can all seem pretty daunting.     

District 9800 has, however, a manual that is a practical guide to providing information on many, but not all, of the Rotary procedures arising in the course of a Rotary club’s operations. It is intended to assist the office bearers and board members with their approach to club administration. It is also a useful tool for all club members and in particular, those who may be considering taking on a club leadership or board role.

By Rowan McClean

As a young doctor starting out, Murray declined two approaches to join another voluntary group, saying that he was too busy.

A third approach came from a hospital colleague who said: “Murray, you’ve been nominated for Rotary and we have to interview you!”

Murray recalls that he had no idea what his colleague was talking about, but it felt like this invitation was a real privilege. He joined Rotary Williamstown a week later in 1981, after a briefing in his clinic and attending a club meeting.   

“I think today we are too casual about approaching people. The process should be something of value,” advises Murray, who believes that joining Rotary was the best decision he has made in his life, quickly adding: “Apart from marrying Irene, of course!”

By Deb Sloggett, Foundation Chair, International Committee – Rotary Club of Keilor East

Being disabled in Cambodia is hard. It is thought that 60% of disabled people live under the country’s poverty line, and most live in rural areas where access to support is non-existent or cost-prohibitive. Children with disability don’t attend school, as there is no suitable infrastructure. Significantly, most families are unaware of any support that they could access.

However, there is an NGO reaching out to change this.

Safe Haven, a therapeutic and medical outreach centre (NGO), is located in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Its mission is to create lasting change in the lives of children with disabilities and medical issues. The staff members provide holistic and culturally appropriate support suitable for the individual child and family. This program is so good that word of mouth is one of the main referral arms.

By John Granger

Woodend … it sounds like the borough next to Jed Clampett’s place. But, although there are significant forests and some local critters, there’s really nothing here for the clan patriarch of ‘The Beverley Hillbillies’. And alas … no oil!

Woodend is approximately 70km northwest of Melbourne and it actually became known as ‘Wood End’ because it was at the northern end of the Black Forest (also known for a bit of bushranging history). Major Thomas Mitchell first surveyed the area in 1836, and being on a main thoroughfare, it became a key stop for miners and families en route to the Bendigo goldfields in the 1850’s and beyond.

By Helena Wimpole

The PDGs Fellowship, as it is informally known, was developed by the 2010-2011 class of District Governors, but later was opened to all Past District Governors of Rotary and their friends worldwide. By 2013 the Fellowship was well underway with more than 200 members around the world. In 2014, the Rotary International Convention was held in Sydney where the relatively newly created Fellowship of Rotarian PDGs made further strong headway with its development.

The primary purpose of the Fellowship is to improve and enhance the existing friendships and fellowship among Rotarians who have served as District Governors by increasing the number of reunions and similar events at all levels of Rotary, including the annual conventions. Other purposes are to provide additional opportunities for past District Governors to remain actively involved and connected at the international level of Rotary and to motivate them to support important Rotary activities, such as PolioPlus, The Rotary Foundation fundraising, international service projects and membership growth.