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Beginnings of Rotary Club of Geelong West
The granting of our Charter on June 10, 1955 occurred as we had been sponsored by the Rotary Club of Geelong, chartered 1925, which in turn had been sponsored by the Rotary Club of Melbourne, the first Club in Australia, in 1921.
In turn, our club sponsored the Rotary Club of Corio (now Corio Bay) in 1963, which in its turn then sponsored Lara in 2013
The celebratory event of 1955 was the Charter Night Dinner August 26 in the Geelong West Town Hall, when the membership was 37 in May.
PP Ron Newberry (1969-70) wrote in 2004 about the Charter Night Dinner:
 “As the only charter member left in the Club, I would like to speak about its beginning. Come the 26th of August this year, our club will celebrate its 49th birthday. To me it does not seem that long ago that our club, which was the second Rotary Club formed in Geelong, was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Geelong. Vin Rushbrooke, a member of the Geelong Club, was appointed as the District Governor’s Special Representative to investigate the Geelong West area with the object being to form a new club. On completion of this work the Geelong Club, as sponsor, was advised by the DG to proceed.
Vin Rushbrooke, Bill Stephenson and my father, Harry Newberry, all members of the Geelong Rotary Club, were to transfer to the new Geelong West Club. Bill Stephenson was to be our first president and Harry Newberry Sergeant at Arms, while Vin Rushbrooke would continue tom guide our club and seekm additional members. A special night for the presentation of our Charter was arranged by the Geelong Club and 235 Rotarians and guests attended the function at Geelong West Town Hall. President Ernie McCann of the Geelong Club  presided and the Rev Pat Wood, also of the Geelong Club, recited the Invocation”.
(p5, Stories from the Rotary Club of Geelong West 1955-2005)
Giving by our Rotary Club in each of the following decades after 1955-56.
1955-56           The first year was given over significantly to the development of                         fellowship
1965-66           10th anniversary.  A number of hand-operated sewing machines                         were supplied to missions in New Guinea for the instruction of                         local inhabitants in their use.
1975-76           20th anniversary.  Among   donations was one to the Alfred                         Hospital in support of emergency heart operations on two                           patients from Ipoh in Malaysia.
1985-86           30th anniversary. Through the Expo funding the Club donated                         $9 500 to the Geelong Hospital for the purchase of a dialysis                                     machine.
1995-96           40th  anniversary. $4 000 was given for the provision of plants for                         the Illawarra Community. Club members joined members of the                         Illawarra Centre Auxiliary in planting a scented garden for the                         visually impaired.
2005-06           50th anniversary. The reward of good fundraising was that the                         club was able to make substantial donation of $38 000 to the                                     Housing Project in Sri Lanka, and $20 000 to the St John of God                Hospital Cancer Unit refurbishment of Family Rooms.
2015-16           60th anniversary. What will be a notable outcome this year?
The Early Years – from the weekly meeting reports 1955 – 1959
It is noted that during these years the Invocation was said at 12.55pm, and to conclude the meeting the toast “The Queen” was at 2.00pm.
There was also the ‘song for the day’ sung just prior to the guest speaker.
Wednesday 18 May 1955 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
Address   by Councillor J. McGregor Dowsett on “Pre and Post War Development of New Guinea.”
Wednesday 20 July 1955 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
Speaker: David Seward on “Tuberculosis Today”.
Wednesday 10 August Weekly Luncheon Meeting
Rotary Golf Cup to be organised by the Rotary Club of Melbourne for Monday 12 September.
Music interlude given by Teachers’ College staff and students.
Wednesday 26 October 1955 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
Guests of the Club were:   
Councillor Roy Fidge, Mayor of Geelong (Father of current member PP Jim Fidge)
Councillor W. Bodey, Mayor of Newton and
Wednesday 30 November 1955 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
Speaker Mr Franz Stampfl on ‘Athletics”
Wednesday 27 April 1956 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
Speaker: John Bechervaise on “Australia in the Antarctic”.
Wednesday 27 June1956 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
The Mayor of Geelong West, Cr G W Thom, extended an invitation for two members of the Club to attend a Naturalisation Ceremony in the Geelonfg West Town Hall.
Wednesday 29 August 1956 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
‘Rotary Club of Sunshine Charter Presentation Night. The function takes an unusual form, in that dinner will not be provided, and the official programme will commence at 8pm and terminate at 10pm, when a sit-down hot supper will be served. The registration fee is 17/6d.’
Wednesday 3 October 1956 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
District Institute. This one-day meeting will be held at No 9 Darling Street South Yarra on Saturday 13 October, from 9am until 5pm, with lunch from 12 noon until 1pm. The cot is 15/- per person.
Wednesday 31 July 1957 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
Operation Firewood. A meeting will be held on Thursday 8 August for the purpose of examining ways and means of forming a permanent organization for the distribution of firewood to pensioners in our area.
Wednesday 11 December 1957 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
Christmas Close-Down. After the special Christmas Luncheon on December 16, the next meting will be 8 January 1958.
Wednesday 28 May 1958 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
A Rotary Information Quiz session to be conducted by Information Committee Chairman , Rtn Stewart Venters
Wednesday 20 August 1958 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
Speaker Mr A Howarth, “ The Speech Therapy Branch in Geelong.”
Wednesday 28 January 1958 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
Bowls Night – The Rotary Club of Geelong, to be held on 10 February at the Bareena Bowling Club.
Wednesday 11 March 1959 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
Rtn Jim Bishop referred to a letter from the RC Coburg giving points for and against the fluoridation of water. ‘He will then move the following motion” That this Club is in favour of the fluoridation of water supplies.” ‘
Wednesday 24 June 1959
Information about the provisional Rotary Club of Malvern, with the Charter Night to be Thursday 23 July.
A view was expressed about Fluoridation of Water supplies.
Wednesday 19 April 1959 Weekly Luncheon Meeting
Induction of Mr Eric Knight  - Classification  ‘Meat Retailing’ (father of PP Pam Price)
Activities gleaned from Annual Reports and ‘A History’.
Joined with the Rotary Club of Geelong in running a Careers Night.
Building two craft rooms for the Geelong West Police and Citizens Youth Club
Sponsorship of the new Rotary Club of Corio.
Renovation of tennis courts at the Pirra Girls’ Home , Lara
Support for the St John’s Ambulance with donations of equipment including stretches, blankets, and air-viva respirator
A number of hand-operated sewing machines were supplied to missions in New Guinea.
The First Group Study team from Tennessee, USA arrived, housed and transported by members.
PP Bill Sones becomes DG
a further three British families were sponsored for immigration.
Assistance was given to the RC of Port Moresby to assist with the costs of the South Pacific Games in New Guinea.
Distribution of fruit to institutions and schools in Geelong.
A Picture Night arranged for Pensioners and Destitute families.
The provision of cattle for East Pakistan was also assisted by a donation of $300.
A caravan was set up in Ocean Grove for deserted wives and their children.
Cedric Carr becomes secretary (current member 2015)
A fete was held at the home of Sandy and Lesley Collins.
$2 342 went to Darwin Relief Appeal following Cyclone Tracey’s Christmas Day visit.
PP Murray Mitchell becomes DG
John Robb becomes president (current member 2015).
Bruce Adams is secretary (current member 2015)
Chew Chin Aw sent by the RC Ipoh for heart Surgery in Melbourne.
Money given to the Geelong Hospital for an exercise bike.
There were 74 members in May 1978, the highest ever level.
International projects included $400 to Dr Trevor Smith in Thailand for artificial limbs.
A major project was the construction of a section of the Barwon River Walk from West Fyans Street to Queens Park Bridge on the northern bank of the river.
Vocational Service activities were directed especially to matters of education.
The Club sponsored three young people for the RYLA awards.
A major project was to support he Australian Rotary Health Research fund with a contribution of $3 000.
A Trash and Treasure day was held at the Geelong West Town Hall.
The Youth Committee became a major committee in the Club’s structure.
From the Expo funding the Club was able to donate $9 500 to the Geelong Hospital for the purchase of a Dialysis machine.
From the Expo $2 000 was donated to the Geelong Branch of the Schizophrenia Fellowship.
Bowelscan was introduced.
Membership reached a high of 75.
President Bruce Adams managed to involve the then DG (Alf Swan) in a fine rendition of Gilbert Sullivan at our International Dinner.
The Club made a contribution towards a Geelong West Community Bus.
David Dadds became President (current member 2015)
PP Trevor Cole gave an address “A Hearse, a Coach and Two Pairs of Horses”.
Guest speakers during the year included a Cheese Appreciation practically combined with the luncheon.
A contribution towards the purchase a Braille Typewriters for Hungary       was one of the more unusual international ventures.
Gail Rooney became the first woman member of the Club.
Support for Organ Donation was a new venture.
A student photographic competition was conducted.
The International Night had a Finnish theme.
The President (Graeme Hawkins (current member 2015)) wrote” Rotary is becoming too tied down by traditions rather than values and that the demands and lead times may need to be reassessed.’
The Vocational Service Committee distributed mouse pads with the Four Way Test on them and inscribed with a Rotary logo to certain visiting speakers.
Heather Lyall became the first woman president.
Golfers, Brian Thom, Geoff Morgan, Barry Solomon and Ian Mathieson brought home the Mumme Cup from the Golf Day held by the Rotary Club of Geelong.
 A walking tour around Old Geelong West was organised by Audrey  and David Dadds.
A Rotary talent challenge was created.
Mock Interviews were conducted at Sacred Heart College.
A Rotary Information Day was held at Kirrewur Court in November.
The Club continued work with the Barwon Valley Park undertaking it as our Centennial project and aptly naming it Rotary Centennial Park.
It was resolved that $25 000 of the funds in the rainy day     account be distributed to local charities for capital works over the next 2-3 years in amounts of $5 000 minimum.
The major Fundraising effort was the Garage Sale in Nivember.
Vocational visits were made to the Ring Road Project and to the Andrew Love Centre at the Geelong Hospital.
The Interclub cooperation continued with the RCs of Highton and Bayside ‘lending’ us their BBQ trailers to hold sausage sizzle at Elsworthy’s Electrical Store and more successfully at Landy Field during the State Athletics trials in January.
The Club again offered to sponsor young persons if accepted for the National Youth Science Forum in Canberra.
The Anzac Day meeting was held in the Geelong Art gallery to view the Sidney Nolan Gallipoli Series of Paintings.
$3 000 was sent for Fiji Flood Relief via the RC of Christchurch.
$1 200 was donated for microscopes at Mathew Flinders Girls’ High School.
$20 000 donated to Barwon health for Patient Transport Service, for a new transport vehicle,  which helps outpatients attend appointments such as cancer treatment and kidney dialysis.
A new Committee, the Strategic Planning Committee, was established.
the Strategic Planning Committee continued to inform the Club in its planning and use of funds.
DGs: Bill Sones, 1967-68
            Jim Chisholm, 1970-71
            Murray Mitchell, 1975-76
District committee members in recent years
            DIK: Roger Bennett, John Chandler, Peter McColl (Honorary member)
            Youth: Heather Lyall
            Bowelscan: Graeme Hawkins
            Science Education: Lorraine Sawyer
            Interplast: John Nelson
Current members who have been presidents:
John Robb 21st president in 1975-76
Cedric Carr 24th president in 1978-79
Trevor Cole (Honorary member) 27th president in 1981-82
Bruce Adams 24th president in 1988-89
David Dadds 36th president in 1990-91
Graeme Hawkins 42nd president in 1996-97
Stephen Yewdall 43rd president in 1997-98
Barry Solomon 47th president in 2001-02
Geoff Morgan 48thpresident in 2002-03
Jim Fidge 52nd president in 2006-07
John Nelson 55th and 57th president in 2007-08 and 2009-10
Paul Bell 56th president in 2010-11
Mark McColl 57th president in 2011-12
Lorraine Sawyer 58th president in 2012-13
Trish Roberts 59th president in 2013-14
Nick Klein 60th president in 2014-15,
and, currently Jim Marendaz is the 61st president. He follows in his father’s footsteps, as Lloyd Marendaz was the 16th president in 1970-71.
Current members who have been secretaries:
Cedric Carr, Bruce Adams, Stephen Yewdall, Steve Mackay, John Nelson, Jim Fidge, Mark McColl, Lorraine Sawyer, and Mandy Gaylard.
From the Secretary’s Report of 1998-1999 we have the first of three stanzas
‘The Secretary’s a frightful man he’s called a lot of things,
For he’s a record keeper with his hand upon the strings
He’s occasionally pedantic, and periodically semantic
for he’s there to keep the records, and avoid all things romantic
He’s required to write the minutes – and he does that with flair
And tho’ you wish he’d go away- the Secretary’s always there.’
The author of this piece remains a member of the club today, but in another role.
Current members who have been treasurers:
Cedric Carr, Barry Solomon, Brian Anthony, Geoff Morgan, Nick Klein, Mark McColl, and currently Paul Bell
We thank all our treasurers who have carried out duties for our club.
Board Structures    
The 1958 committees were:                       Fellowship
                                                            Rotary Information
                                                            Vocational Service
                                                            Community Service
                                                            International Service
In 2015 the Club continues to employ RIs Club leadership Plan that was accepted by the Board in 2008.
The standing Committees are:      Membership
                                                            Club Public Relations
                                                            Club Administration
                                                            Club Projects
                                                            Rotary Foundation             
The Club Leadership Plan’s committee structure has been modified from time to time to serve the unique needs of our Club, and this year, 2015-16, the following committees, Book Fair, New Generations, and Fellowship have been added.
Youth Exchange students
Rotary Youth Exchange is commended by RI as a worthwhile activity in the advancement of international understanding and good will throughout the Rotary World.  Since 1961 the Club has supported Rotary Youth Exchanges. The first hosted student was Mary Mollohan from Colorado USA. The first sponsored student in the same year was Ian Urquhart who went to Denver, Colorado, USA. Over the years 28 in-bound students have come, from, and 33 out-bound students have gone to the USA, the Philipines, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, Finland, Germany, Mexico, and in-bound students from France, Denmark, and Switzerland. Out-bound students have also gone to the Netherlands.
Community  Major Projects
            Operation Firewood, with its 120 tons of wood cut and distributed to aged and needy folk, was a   very satisfactory experience for our members and benefitted some sixty pensioners in our region. 1956-57-58
            The Geelong Disabled People’s Industries was the result of a vision originally seen by Alf De Forest, in 1966 that citizens might co-operate to provide opportunity of personal fulfilment for disabled people who were without hope or dignity. It was officially opened May 28, 1977.
The Club still has a considerable number of members involved in the running of GDPI (2015), as the following current and recent members of our Club, David Dadds, Michael Duff (Chairman), Steve Mackay, Ian Mathieson, Geoff Morgan, and Barry Solomon are members of the Committee of Management.
            The Geelong Garden and Outdoor Living Expo. Whereas the thrust for the development of the GDPI was directed towards the one objective of providing opportunities for disabled people, the objectives of the Geelong Garden and Outdoor Living Expo were spread much wider. The setting was in Geelong’s Eastern Gardens adjacent to the Botanic Gardens. It was recognised that the Garden Expo provided a wonderful experience for members and their families of fellowship. Funds raised over the years were contributions to many of Geelong’s needy organisations.  It was a true example of Community Service, an inspirational idea of Ken Wilks.
            Schools Band Challenge organised by Brian Anthony in 2003 2004, and 2005 when he ‘organised the schools, the officials , ticket sales, sufficient donations to cover the prize money and all costs, food and beverages for sale and Rotarians to ‘work’ on the night.’ Over those three years close on $22000 was raised.’
            Geelong Book Fair. This project started in 2005 as a response to supporting the Tsunami affected areas of Southern Asia. Brian Anthony spearheaded the development of this venture and it continues today as our major project, with proceeds going to Rotary community needs.  In its first year the Book Fair attracted $ 11 518 which became part of the funds for the Rotary Club of Panadura’s, Sri Lanka, Tsunami housing project to which we donated $33 860. This year, 10 years further on, we have realised close on
$22 000 for Rotary related projects.
Geelong West Probus Club – as an initiative of our club, we sponsored the formation of the Probus club on August 27, 1987.  PDG Murray Mitchell was the foundation president.
Ideals of Rotary
Have we as a Club been able to maintain the ideals of Rotary International over the past 60 years?
Have we been faithful to the Four Way Test
that is” Of the things we think, say or do:
Is it the Truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
The current Rotary International President, K R Ravindran has written
“When Rotarians see a need, they meet it. When Rotarians see conflict, they work to bring peace. Rotarians work every day to make the world a better place. We have all come to Rotary for different reasons, but we stayed in Rotary because it has brought out the best in us. It has shown us the value of integrity, compassion, and dedication. In short Rotary has made us better people – people, whom want to make a difference.’
Since 1955 our Club has been led by people of good will who have kept in mind the ideals and objects of Rotary.
PP John R Nelson, August 2015