By John Granger

For many decades, following the VFL side South Melbourne was hard going. But each rare home victory would certainly put a spring in the steps of battle-scarred ‘Bloods’ fans who’d quickly exit the Lake Oval and ‘beeline it’ to the Clarendon Street pubs, ever mindful of the 6 o’clock closing.

The old South Melbourne was a suburb with a football team and the harrowing weekend fortunes were an intrinsic part of a close-knit community. Many residents were born, schooled, married, produced and died there…workers mostly, linked to industries in the immediate area and in nearby Port Melbourne.

But that was the old ‘South’, and it has certainly ‘kicked on’ since then. The splendid proximity to the CBD was realised, and professionals moved in to enjoy easy access to the city, St Kilda Road and Port Phillip Bay. Workers’ cottages and the larger Edwardian dwellings underwent structural rebirths, chic eating options opened up and a coffee culture flourished.

And, sadly, the mighty ‘Bloods’ moved to Sydney.

The Rotary Club of Melbourne South, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Melbourne, was chartered on 5th August 1952. In 2017, it incorporated the Rotary Club of St Kilda and widened the immediate area of its activities.

The Club has provided District 9800 with two district governors: Rob Dunn in 1993-94 and Bronwyn Stephens in 2018-19. Notable in the Club’s history is Joan Daniels, the first female Rotarian to be inducted into our District (on 1st July 1989).

Rotary Melbourne South is a ‘fun club’ with a 50/50 gender mix of members, employed and retired, and a commitment to inclusion of the LGBTQI community.

The Club’s projects are varied. One unique scheme is providing isolated international seafarers on container ships with care packs including homemade beanies (over 1,000 so far) as well as personal hygiene products via Stella Maris Seafarers Centre.

Supporting the opening of the St. Kilda Gatehouse Greeves Street Op shop has been a boon for the disadvantaged community in St. Kilda. The Days for Girls project provides production education and clean packaging of sanitary products for women in developing nations. Locally, care packs are supplied for the Alfred Hospital Mental Care Unit with Christmas hampers also given to the health workers at the Unit who have performed so magnificently in the current health crisis. Support for the endeavours of Donations In Kind (DIK) continues and a Christmas concert at St. Stephen’s Church, Brighton helped raise awareness and much-needed funds for the prevention of youth suicide.

Post-COVID, President Pam Dittmer and her enthusiastic crew at Melbourne South look forward to returning to their base at The Emerald Hotel in Clarendon Street, on the 1st and 3rd Mondays each month at 6 for 6.30 pm.