Around District  9800

I would like to extend my best wishes for a year that is more peaceful and stable as we serve our communities.

As we start 2021, many of us are meeting face to face in a COVID-safe way, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity of catching up with you in person. It is now the time to consider being bold and creative about embarking on “whole of club” projects. There is no doubt that when every member takes part in a particular special club project, no matter how big or small the participation, the best results are achieved. The camaraderie and unified sense of purpose and achievement gained from giving back to our communities is what binds Rotarians together and cements our commitment to service above self. And don’t forget to involve potential new members, community partners, Friends of Rotary, and of course family members in your “whole of club” projects so that they too can share that unique sense of what being a Rotarian is all about.

We have a great opportunity for our whole Rotary network across Australia to join together on 26th January for Australia Day, as we reflect, respect and celebrate. Please join the festivities being live-streamed at 12.30 pm AEDT by booking online at:

With Australia soon to embark on its COVID-19 vaccination program, Rotary has much to offer the effort to stop this virus. Rotary International is encouraging all clubs to use our collective knowledge of vaccine safety and efficacy gained through our polio eradication experience to support vaccination education and outreach in our communities. Clubs are also encouraged to engage with our current polio eradication partners WHO and UNICEF at the country level where applicable to offer Rotary’s support to COVID-19 response activities, and to partner at the local level with health departments and other agencies. You can also let the Rotary world know what your club is doing to support COVID-19 vaccine introduction efforts. Please share your efforts and projects on Rotary Showcase.

Finally, in January, we focus on Vocational Service as the essence of Rotary and the foundation from which we serve our communities around the world.

Welcome to 2021 and have a great week everyone!

Rotary District 9800 Governor Philip Archer

By Mary Barry, District 9800 Chair Vocational Service

Vocational Service is the essence of Rotary and the foundation from which we serve our communities around the world - a world that has dramatically changed over the past 12 months. We have experienced the first world pandemic in 100 years, lockdowns, job losses and much stress. As we enter 2021, unemployment in Australia is at its highest level in decades and many businesses are either on the brink of closure or already closed. Never has participation in Vocational Service activities been more important for Rotarians.   

Through Vocational Service we can assist those most in need at this time, by utilising our unique skills to work with and support communities in need; our wisdom and life experience to train, mentor and develop others; our values to inspire others to act ethically and with integrity at all times.

By Past District Governor Murray Verso, COR & COL Representative District 9800 2020-23

The Council on Resolutions (COR) of Rotary International meets annually online to vote on resolutions proposed by clubs, districts, and the RI Board and on any urgent enactments proposed by the RI Board that will amend the constitutional documents. Resolutions are requests to the Board or the Foundation Trustees to take an action that is outside the purview of the constitutional documents.

By Rowan McClean

Last year, many of our new Rotary club members were asked the reason they joined, and the following responses came to light:

  • Have found they have more time
  • Wanted to give back to the community
  • Recently retired or cut back on their work
  • Wanted to feel more connected with the community
  • Have been a Friend of Rotary and wanted to convert to membership
  • Have found that COVID has highlighted the need for connection and community
  • Various combinations of these factors.

By Rowan McClean

Bob joined Rotary Altona in very different times. The club was established for people who were working locally, but living elsewhere, and a dominant force was the local petrochemical complex.

A vet, Bob worked long hours and whilst he was initially interested in joining APEX, they met at an inconvenient time, which made joining Rotary more appealing.  He joined in 1975 and has never regretted that decision.  

Some of the Club’s early projects were Bingo Nights, an Art Show (still continuing) and, the jewel in the crown, a house-build with the profit from its sale greatly boosting Club coffers. Bob recalled that this particular project involved a Club member in real estate who was able to arrange attractive terms for State Government land; materials being donated; the local TAFE College providing labour; and, a solicitor Club member handling the conveyancing.

By Jane Drury, Rotary Hawthorn

I’ve long admired Rotary’s work and loved helping husband Henry in many varied projects and events during his 30 years of Rotary Hawthorn membership, particularly when he was District Chairman of Youth Exchange for three years and District Secretary during Past District Governor Dennis Shore’s year.

We’ve hosted ten (mainly wonderful) Rotary Youth Exchange Students, led several of their extraordinary under-canvas outback safaris (fabulous fun but with about 40 teenagers they had their moments) and are still Mum and Dad to most of them. We’ve been live-in Auntie and Uncle at the Rotary National Science and Technology Forum for Year 12 students – a privilege to be with such outstanding youngsters.

I’ve been delighted to sometimes use my 40-plus-year career as a book editor (mainly with Penguin) to help with Rotary publications, including Rotary Hawthorn’s history, lots of District Conference material and the two very successful fundraiser Relish cookery books for St Kilda Rotary.

By Past District Governor Greg Ross

At the start of 2020, Rotary North Balwyn’s Vocational Service Committee invited year six students at local primary schools to enter an essay writing competition on the topic ‘If I Could Change One Thing In The World.’ The intent was to encourage and develop the writing skills of the students, as well as promote Rotary to them, their parents and school staff. A positive business relationship was also formed with Officeworks East Kew. While COVID-19 restrictions meant extending the completion date and not being allowed to enter school grounds, all essays were judged by mid-May and prizes presented in early June. Each essay had to be between 300 and 500 words and the entries were judged on the clarity of the writing, the quality of the ideas expressed and the innovative thinking and imagination presented.

By Kevin Ch’ng, Year 6 Balwyn North Primary School - 1st Prize Winner Rotary North Balwyn Essay Competition

Grunting with annoyance, I threw my textbook to the floor. I was annoyed, as even after I had worked for hours, I could not seem to find the perfect answer to the question. Deciding to take a break, I walked outside to play soccer instead.

Looking for the ball, I saw a note on the ground. ‘Taken the ball. HA! Brayden.’

Brayden was the school bully. He had pulled this stunt many times before. And annoyingly, he never returned my ball.

By Henry Drury

The village of Wyndham was founded in 1850, some 30 kilometres south west of Melbourne. It was named in honour of Scottish General Sir Henry Wyndham who achieved fame for exploits in the field at the Battle of Waterloo. In 1909, Wyndham was renamed “Werribee” after an aboriginal word for “spine or backbone”, which resembled the “lovely curve of the river” fronting the township.

Chartered in 1968, the Rotary Club of Werribee in turn proudly chartered Wyndham Rotary on 14th January 1985, which today has about 50 diverse and active members.

Like all Clubs, the COVID pandemic severely curbed normal fundraising and service activities. Faced with that challenge, President Michael Lapiña sought to find “creative ways” to keep the Club cohesive and productive. Initially the technological and “talking head” aspects of Zoom discouraged some members, which led Michael and his Board to apply operatic and theatrical effects to the Club Zoom meetings–sound, colour and movement always lifts morale.

By Helena Wimpole

The Cycling to Serve Fellowship had its origins in Belgium in 1984 when a Rotary club organised the first World Rotary Cycling Championships. The championships were held again in 1985 and 1986, but it was then decided that the effort was too much for a single club. Consequently, some of the Belgian and Dutch participants got together and formed the Cycling to Serve Fellowship in 1988 and annual events have been organised by Rotary clubs in many countries throughout the world, including Australia.

The Fellowship is a group of Rotarians dedicated to cycling with the objectives of developing worldwide friendship through cycling, both competitively and recreationally; to serve the community locally, nationally and internationally through cycling activities; and, to promote international understanding and peace.