Our History

about history 2800x1800_1.jpg
 

For more than 110 years, Rotary members have been addressing challenges around the world. 

Grassroots at the core, Rotary links 1.2 million members to form an organisation of international scope. It started with the vision of one man — Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on 23 February 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas, form meaningful, lifelong friendships, and give back to their communities.

Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of its members.

“Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.”

Paul Harris 
Rotary founder

Our ongoing commitment

 
 

Rotary members have not only been present for major events in history — we’ve also been a part of them. Three key traits have remained strong throughout our history:

We’re truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Today, members in nearly every country work to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems.

We persevere in tough times. During World War II, Rotary clubs in Austria, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain were forced to disband. Despite the risks, many continued to meet informally, and after the war, Rotary members came together to rebuild their clubs and their countries.

$26.50

The amount of the first donation to The Rotary Foundation in 1917

$500

The Rotary Foundation's first gift, made to the International Society for Crippled Children in 1930

We’re committed to service, and we’re not afraid to dream big and set bold goals. We began our fight against polio in 1979 with a project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. Today, polio remains endemic in only three countries — down from 125 in 1988.

Ready to make history with us?

 

PAST DISTRICT GOVERNORS

DISTRICT 65

1931-32

Harry M Cummins*

 

1937-38

J. Burgess Watt*

 

1943-45

J. Burgess Watt*

 

1948-49

Eric Cuthbertson*

Service is my Business

 

1951-52

Rev. Harold Ralph*

Rotary is Hope in Action

 

DISTRICT 282 - Tasmania and parts of Victoria

1959-60

Dr. W.N.Bill Oats*OBE

Build Bridges of Friendship

 

1961-62

Alfred A. Freak

Kindle the Spirit Within

 

1965-66

Max Cleaver*OBE

Action, Consolidation and Continuity

 

1966-67

Dr. John Grove*CBE

Better World through Rotary

 

1967-68

Tim Jacobs*OAM

Make your Rotary Membership Effective

 

1970-71

John W. Emmerton

Bridge the Gap

 

1971-72

H.W. ‘Bill’ Bertram*

Goodwill begins with You

 

DISTRICT 283 - Tasmania alone as a District

1972-73

Tim Jacobs*OAM

Let’s Take a New Look and Act

 

1973-74

Basil Warner*

A Time for Action

 

1974-75

Dr. Athol Corney*

Renew the Spirit of Rotary

 

1975-76

Eric Webster*

To Dignify the Human Being

 

1976-77

Dr. Geoff Haward AM

I Believe in Rotary

 

DISTRICT 983

1977-78

Alan Abbott*

Service to Unite Mankind

 

1978-79

Graeme Davis OAM

Reach Out

 

1979-80

Jim Loughran*

Let Service Light the Way

 

1980-81

W. ‘Bill’ Bale

Take Time to Serve

 

1981-82

M.D. ‘Jock’ Geeves*

World Understanding and Peace through Rotary

 

1982-83

Bob Taylor*

Mankind is One - Build Bridges for Friendship

 

1982-83

M.D. ‘Jock’ Geeves

(Recalled to complete term)

 

1983-84

Barry Dadson

Share Rotary - Serve People

 

1984-85

Reg Lightfoot*

Discover a New world of Service

 

1985-86

Fred Edwards*AM

You Are The Key

 

1986-87

Campbell Gunn*

Rotary Brings Hope

 

1987-88

Allan Leth*

Rotarians - United in Service - Dedicated to Peace

 

1988-89

Harold Ogilvie*AM

Put Life into Rotary - Your Life

 

1989-90

Dr. John Thorne AM

Enjoy Rotary

 

1990-91

Brian Beardwood

Honor Rotary with Faith and Enthusiasm

 

DISTRICT 9830

1991-92

Sydney C. McClymont OAM

Look Beyond Yourself

 

1992-93

W. Leigh Milburn*

Real Happiness is Helping Others

 

1993-94

Peter Blesson

Believe in what you do - do what you believe in

 

1994-95

Geoff McLennan OAM

Be a Friend

 

1995-96

Geoff Rankine*

Act with Integrity, Serve with Love, Work for Peace

 

1997-98

Assoc. Prof. Don McTaggart

Build the Future with Action and Vision

 

1997-98

Maurice Hill*

Show Rotary Cares

 

1998-99

Richard Chugg

Follow Your Rotary Dreams

 

1999-2000

Bill Brundle

Act with Consistency, Credibility, Continuity

 

1999-2000

Una Hobday

Act with Consistency, Credibility, Continuity

 

2000-01

Tony Hennessy

Create Awareness, Take Action

 

2001-02

Lew Pretorius AM

Mankind is our Business

 

2001-03

Bob Sydes*

Sow the Seeds of Love

 

2003-04

Kevin Shadbolt

Lend a Hand

 

2004-05

Muriel Heron

Celebrate Rotary

 

2005-06

Paul Grubb

Service Above Self

 

2006-07

Lou Johnson

Lead the Way

 

2007-08

Bernie Charles*

Rotary Shares

 

2007-08

Kevin Shadbolt

(Recalled to complete term)

 

2008-09

Michael Perkins

Make Dreams Real

 

2009-10

Ian Shuey

The Future of Rotary is in Your Hands

 

2010-11

Ted Richey

Building Communities Bridging Continents

 

2011-12

Peter Murfett

Reach Within to Embrace Humanity

 

2012-13

James Wilcox

Peace Through Service

 

2013-14

Bruce Buxton

Engage Rotary, Change Lives

 

2014-15

Ken Moore

Light up Rotary

 

2015-16

John Dare

Be a Gift to the World

 

2016-17

Gerard Blizzard

Rotary Serving Humanity

 

2017-18

Tony Colman

Rotary:  Making a Difference