By Rowan McClean

Anne Peace was teaching at a small country school in Victoria when she was invited to join Rotary 30 years ago. She has since been an incredible contributor and, in AFL parlance, she uses effective teamwork and has been a dominant force “all over the ground”.

A networker and mentor, Anne is well-known to many Rotarians in different clubs.  She stresses her personal return from Rotary has far outweighing the input of effort.  Anne says: “Rotary presents opportunities to use your personal skills and, combined with the competencies of others, that is a powerful force.”

A past Assistant Governor and President of Echuca-Moama Club in 1999-2000, Anne is now a member of Rotary Bendigo South. She is quick to acknowledge the achievements of other clubs with which she has collaborated.

With interest in the Arts, Anne, along with several Balwyn Rotarians, was actively involved in starting the Balwyn youth concert band; together with Greg Penno, she initiated “Storm the Stage’, a Rotary project that has launched many artistic careers; has loved being involved in the Rotary in Harmony concerts last year during lockdown; and, she conducts a monthly Rotary Radio program.

With Rotary Bendigo South, Anne advised the club has been involved with a project for Asia Pacific children to receive surgery for physical malformations and, recently, with a relief program for Cambodian villagers devastated by the decline in tourism. Another project has seen the club obtain seeds from Gippsland farmers and build shade houses to propagate trees from the seeds so that local farmers can re-establish their forests and wildlife corridors.

Anne has helped organise District 9800 showcases to the public, and promoted and supported a range of programs including Days for Girls and Seven Women.  With others, she established the first Foodbank in Bendigo and the Timor Leste Friendship Group, which works with Donations In Kind to send supplies to Timor Leste. Another highlight for Anne has been projects with Malaysian special schools. When Camp Getaway commenced, Anne was there. She has organised Group Study Exchanges, and helped start the Kew Opportunity Shop with Jill Forsyth. The diverse list of projects in which Anne has been involved could go on and on.

Her commitment to others and her networking are key stand-outs. She says being in Rotary “has been an absolute privilege”.

Anne gets my vote as “Best on Ground”.  In fact her club voted her “best and fairest” in 2015 with a Max Ellis Award.