By John Granger

When Arwon won the 1978 Melbourne Cup, ‘interest’ stories filtered through. Arwon is Nowra spelt backwards. So, Nowra, famous for its blowhole on the NSW south coast and for producing Archer, the first Melbourne Cup winner in 1861 (and 1862), had struck again … a mere 116 years later! Archer’s sire was owned in the Nowra district by the forbears of Chris Soper.

Recently inducted into the Rotary Club of Daylesford, Chris advises that the family still lives in the Nowra district. It’s been a long journey for Chris – primary school in Nowra and then secondary school in leafy Bowral. He then moved to Sydney and lived in historical Drummoyne – then and now, a trendy, near-CBD suburb – and commenced work as a hospital orderly at Concord West Hospital.

Chris met his partner Malcolm, a computer scientist, in 1987 and the couple moved to Daylesford in 2002. Why Daylesford? Actually, it was a magazine article that prompted their first visit and they were hooked almost immediately. As Chris says, “We just kept coming back.” The spectacular country, the wineries the dining options in a ‘feel good’, close-knit town meant that all boxes were ticked.  

For Chris, Daylesford and the Rotary Club of Daylesford have met and exceeded expectations. He’s found a very considerate community and club that values its older residents and looks to assisting those in need; dovetailing perfectly with Chris’s view of the world … helping the community’s less fortunate members is his raison d’être. Rotary membership for him was a natural progression, and as he says: “It was the genuine article - Rotary really cares.”

Many of us have an image of homelessness as just a city problem. It’s not, and the access to assistance is limited. Among Chris’ many forays into helping alleviate hardship is the provision and distribution of blankets throughout the Hepburn shire ... even as far as Malmsbury, Clunes and Creswick.   

Chris Soper is committed and resourceful. He has also completed qualifications in remedial massage to supplement the therapies he brings to the community. Together with the Rotary Club of Daylesford, Chris‘ selfless efforts to assist the elderly and the disadvantaged will continue and Nowra has provided Victoria with yet another winner.