Around District  9800

Whilst COVID-19 is front and centre of everyone’s minds, we must not forget Rotary’s focus on eradicating polio. We are so close! World Polio Day is 24th October, and I encourage you to participate in the virtual event being held at Parliament House next Wednesday, 21st October. 

Polio eradication efforts have already made a major positive impact on our world. Since 1988, nearly 3 billion children have been immunized against polio, and nearly 19 million people are walking who would otherwise have been paralysed. Rotary has contributed more than $2.1 billion to global polio eradication efforts, and in 2019, there were 176 cases of wild poliovirus confined to just two countries – Pakistan & Afghanistan. It is so important we maintain the momentum on both eradication and fundraising until we see the finality of this insidious virus.

Last Sunday was the first Rotary in Harmony event, focusing on Classical music.  Over 200 people registered for the event with over 180 people joining in. There is no doubt it was a resounding success, and I would like to thank everyone involved in its organisation, as well as those who performed and presented. You will find a critique of the event in this edition of Networker. The next event scheduled for Sunday 25th October, promises to be lively as we rock ‘n’ roll our afternoon away to music performed by our own talented Rotarians. Proceeds from the event will support Australian Rotary Health, in particular Lift the Lid on Mental Illness, and The G’Day Network project.    

I am also delighted that so many Rotarians and friends are participating in the Morning Tea with the DG events. The next of these is this Saturday, 17th October, with a great line-up of speakers, a cooking demonstration, our regular quiz, and presentations from Tony Walker, CEO of Ambulance Victoria, on Shocktober, and Robert Pradolin, Founder of Housing All Australians. Please join us.

Have a great week everyone…Rotarians are amazing people of action who truly do make a difference.

Rotary District 9800 Governor Philip Archer

By Matt Maudlin

I joined Ping Pong-A-Thon (The Pong) in April 2017 following a 20-year career housing those at risk of homelessness.

The Pong is a quirky Australian movement that brings communities together and unites them under one cause: freedom to some of the world’s most vulnerable people – those caught in slavery. Pong holds table-tennis marathons each season (September to November). A Pong event is typically between 3 and 24 hours. One’s table-tennis ability is never the issue…the important thing is to play! The business model of ‘play table tennis to end slavery’ probably should not work! Yet, nine years later over $2.3 million has been raised from over 500 Pong events, positively impacting tens of thousands of lives in South-East Asia. It works!

The Rotary Leadership Institute Program presents a wonderful opportunity for experienced Rotarians, new members, and indeed people interested in finding out more about Rotary to experience its history, and learn about current and new initiatives related to this great organisation.

This four-part program is now available online.

Parts 1 & 2: Growing and strengthening Clubs through developing a Plan for the future of your Club.

Looking at Rotary Leadership through examining the styles and characteristics of great leaders.

Becoming a confident Club President or another club leader through understanding the roles and responsibilities and characteristics of effective and happy teams.

Part 3:  Focusing and Increasing Humanitarian Service whilst learning more about The Avenues of Service and The Rotary Foundation.

Part 4: Enhancing public image and awareness of Rotary, and sharing and promoting what we do.

Geoff joined Rotary when his boss at Sigma, who was a Rotarian at Springvale, invited him to a couple of meetings. Liking the atmosphere, Geoff determined he would join a club in his area if ever he was asked. That opportunity came when Rotary Balwyn started the North Balwyn Club, Geoff becoming a Charter member on 8 May 1980.

With an Applied Diploma of Chemistry and a Bachelor of Commerce, Geoff began his career as a chemist with Sigma Pharmaceuticals.  After attending a lecture in the 1970s, Geoff saw a business opportunity for locally manufactured health foods, and started Melrose Health in 1979. From modest beginnings operating from his Balwyn home garage, Geoff and wife Judy, provided a range of additive-free products. Moving the business to Box Hill and then Mitcham, they were the first in Australia to distribute flaxeed oil. Their fish and cod liver oils are still being produced today. Geoff sold the business in 2010 and retired two years later, aged 82.

When a friend introduced Samantha to the Orbit Satellite Club of Southbank, she saw an opportunity to use her business creativity and help make a difference in the world.  She joined the Club in June 2020.

Although having lived in Melbourne for most of her life, Samantha travelled extensively pre-COVID, particularly to the USA, Middle East and Brisbane for work. A digital transformation strategist, Samantha recently commenced maternity leave after giving birth to son, Harlow.

Gerry Cross joined Rotary Launceston 31 years ago. He enjoyed the camaraderie and opportunities to help others. Later, when posted to the Solomon Islands, he joined Rotary Honiara.

For the last 20 years, his name has kept ‘bobbing up’ in Rotary District 9800 with work at Donations in Kind (DIK), such as collecting used hospital furniture, packing containers and driving the truck. He had been Chairman of DIK some years ago.

Glenferrie is a peaceful sounding name evoking images of wooded slopes and distant waters with a small punt enabling its crossing.

Back in 1840, that image was about to change when a solicitor named Peter Ferrie built a property on the banks of Gardiners Creek, which he unsurprisingly named, Glen Ferrie. Soon, the abutting north-south access road became Glenferrie Road and the village to the north, originally called Upper Hawthorn, developed into today’s vibrant shopping and university precinct called Glenferrie, but much in need of a Rotary Club.

The Rotary Club of Hawthorn chartered the Rotary Club of Glenferrie on 22 October 1975 with two of the charter members still active in the Club. About one-third of the current membership is female, many holding active positions in the Club.

Rotary International officially recognised the International Bee Rotary Fellowship in April 2020. This Fellowship aims to bring together Rotarians who are interested in bees and bee-related activities. 

In District 9800, another group of Rotarians, also with an interest in bees, formed ‘Rotarians for Bees’ after a David Attenborough program highlighted the decline in the bee population, as well as the impact such a decline in pollinators would have on our food production, security, and economy. Canterbury Rotarian, John McCaskill felt that Rotary would be the perfect organisation to highlight this issue and take it forward, subsequently engaging an enthusiastic group of Rotarians, beekeepers, and industry partners.