By John Granger

Prahran seems to be close to everything. An easy drive/tram ride will take you to St. Kilda, Elwood or Middle Park beaches. There’s easy access to the CBD, South Yarra, Richmond and Yarra River, as well as the MCG, Tennis Centre and the Royal Botanical Gardens. And, for the socially aspirational, Toorak is just ‘a short hop away’, while two-minute links to Dandenong Road (Princes Highway) and Nepean Highway underline Prahran’s location convenience.

One of Melbourne’s earliest settled areas, Prahran accelerated between the 1890s and 1930s when its shopping precinct rivalled the Melbourne Central Business District. During the 1990s, the demand for inner-city living saw medium-density housing increase in Prahran with significant population growth and a rich diversity of cultures. Today, the Prahran Market and Chapel Street stand as enduring icons of past and present. Food, fashion and entertainment dominate the retail core of Prahran, as it reinvents, evolves and addresses changing demands.

The Rotary Club of Prahran was chartered in 1965 and, with its 23 members, is a statement of hands-on and ‘just get stuck in’. President Susie Cole cites ‘INSPIRATION, COLLABORATION & PERSPIRATION’ as the driving forces behind a host of Prahran’s community and international endeavours.

This month, the Club provided 500 bed nets to combat malaria in the poorer areas of Kampala, Uganda, in partnership with Rotary Kampala Kawempe. Prahran’s RAMP (Rotary Aiding Mobility Program) has continued throughout this year with a sizeable donation of children’s mobility aids having been recently shipped to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Rotary Prahran has also been a driving force in establishing Rotary Inner Melbourne Emergency Relief Network (RIMERN), which facilitates the supply of quality second-hand furniture, electrical and whitegoods for people under classifications of homelessness, mental health, family violence, refugee and fire and flood.

Every Friday, in collaboration with Uniting Prahran, the Club arranges the packing and delivery of food to the homeless.

This year, the Club established a District 9800-wide partnership with not-for-profit Pinchapoo, to supply toiletries and hygiene products to vulnerable people in need, and partnered with a number of other clubs to supply care packs for arrivals and staff at the Alfred Hospital Mental Health Unit. With Covid-19 in mind, the Club sponsored teachers from Prahran High School to attend a Mental First Aid Course, and organised online weekly support for Stonnington area business people who were struggling during the lockdown.                                   

It’s all pretty impressive, and after months of ZOOM-only presentations, the Club is adopting a ‘new normal’ for their meetings held at 6.45PM to 8.00PM on Mondays. 1st & 3rd Mondays – Mt Erica Hotel, 420 High St. Prahran (social distancing). The 2nd, 4th, & 5th Mondays will continue with ZOOM.