Around District  9800

As we enter the last week of February and its theme of Peace and Conflict Prevention & Resolution, it is important to remember that peace is embedded in all that we do as Rotarians. Each of our seven areas of focus has an impact on peacebuilding and conflict prevention, and it is incumbent on us as Rotarians to become true ambassadors for peace. There is also so much available to us in which to promote peace, from joining the Rotary Action Group for Peace, learning about the Rotary Action Group Against Slavery and Rotary Safe Families, starting a Rotary Friendship Exchange across the international Rotary community to erecting Peace Poles and undertaking other peace projects. Rotary has a rich history in promoting peace and there is much we can do to continue this into the future.

Rotary in Australia and New Zealand has promoted the advancement of international goodwill and peace for 100 years through its many humanitarian aid and education programs. This centenary of peacebuilding is worthy of celebration. Through The Future of Peace Leadership symposium, we will bring together leaders in peace and conflict resolution to provide perspectives on challenging global and domestic issues and discuss how we can all contribute towards building a more peaceful world. The symposium will take place on 21st and 22nd April 2021, and for more details, or to register, go to:

There is a new range of learning and resource materials now available to Rotarians and clubs on the My Rotary Learning Centre website called ‘Australia & New Zealand’s Centenary’. These resources will assist you with promoting Rotary through your events and initiatives during this year of celebration and I encourage you to visit this site.

During this past week, I visited the Calder Cluster (Castlemaine, Daylesford, Gisborne, Kyneton and Woodend), the Rotary e-Club of Melbourne and my own Rotary Club of Southbank. It is so pleasing to see the full range of projects in which these clubs are involved and that most now are back to face-to-face meetings. The e-Club that of course meets via Zoom has attendees from different parts of the world and it is wonderful to see such diversity of conversation.

On a final note, I’m pleased to advise that our District 9800 Bushfire Committee has now fully allocated all the funds (approximately $650,000) that were raised last season. It is pleasing to see the difference these funds have made, and are making.

Have a great week everyone … Rotarians are peacebuilders, doing good in the world day-by-day.


Rotary District 9800 Governor Philip Archer

A Rotary Eastside Cluster Centenary Project

Rotary Australia and New Zealand Centennial celebrations aim to raise awareness of Rotary’s incredible work through gaining positive publicity, as well as boosting membership for Rotary clubs.

Each club was asked to create their own legacy project to propel the organisation into the next century. The Eastside Cluster of four clubs was not going to sit down on that job! From April 2020, the Balwyn, Camberwell, Canterbury, and North Balwyn clubs, with Boroondara Council and residents, decided to collaborate on the creation of a suitable commemorative piece as a R100 initiative.

The perfect alternative to our initial thoughts of having a peace pole structure came in June 2020 when Sue Godfrey, Boroondara Council’s Senior Landscape Architect, invited the cluster to fund a park bench as part of the Stage 2 reinvigoration of Balwyn Park, situated at the corner of Whitehorse Rd and Cherry Road, Balwyn. The initiative was to be completed within twelve months, in time for Centennial celebrations on 21st April 2021.

By Rowan McClean, D9800 Chair Club Service

In reality Rotary clubs like most organisations are never ‘there yet’, as we live and operate in a constantly changing environment.  Perhaps the better questions to consider are: “how does our current performance rate in terms of achieving our strategic goals,” and, “how do we develop those strategic goals in the first place?”

The development of meaningful and achievable goals almost always arises from a comprehensive planning process that provides the opportunity for input from all members. 

Whilst most clubs have their share of outgoing ‘can do’ people, every member has something to offer and all members should be encouraged to provide input into developing the club’s strategic goals. By harnessing the diversity of skills and expertise that lies within clubs, the best outcome will be achieved.

By Jess Wheeler, Chair RYLA District 9800 Committee

In District 9800, the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is a leadership program focused on personal growth, leadership development and community for people aged 18 to 25 years. Over the course of seven days, participants are immersed in content designed to challenge, inspire and provide space to reflect.

RYLA 9800 is entirely designed and run by a team of volunteers who are recent alumni of the program. A committee that includes a mix of Rotarians and team members provides support, liaising with Rotary clubs, managing finances and ensuring that the program aligns with Rotary’s values.

By Rowan McClean

David was invited to join Rotary Keilor in 1993 by charter member Angus Abbey, whom he knew well through work. Rotary Keilor’s membership recruitment success has seen it charter two other clubs, and in fact, there are now four clubs meeting in the area, somewhat inhibiting further membership recruitment.

Like-minded people enjoying fellowship has been a rewarding aspect of Rotary for David, and he has made some really good friends.

“Understanding how powerful Rotary is, and what it allows you to do is another positive,” David says. “For instance, there is real value in going overseas on a project and seeing different living conditions.”

By Henry Drury

The paths to Rotary membership are not always well marked or direct!

James Rankin was raised in the semi-rural area of Narre Warren North surrounded by market gardens and dairy farms where a 12 year old boy could go on daily biking adventures, finding something new every time.

Then came the property developers, buying up the farms for residential subdivision and establishing a sales office on the family property. One day, James noticed a lady standing in front of the unattended office and, being the farm boy that he was, unembarrassedly asked what she wanted and subsequently showed her the advertised block that she ultimately bought. That lady told the story to the real estate agency sales people who came over one night and presented James with an L J Hooker badge, making him an honorary agent.

By Jeanette Leigh

IT consultant Jagath Jayasinghe finds it hard to express the joy he feels knowing that he’s helped improve healthcare for thousands of poor people in his country of origin, Sri Lanka.

“I donate blood regularly, but this feeling is far beyond that,” said Jagath who joined Rotary North Balwyn in 2018.Soon after his induction, Jagath visited Sri Lanka where he spoke to doctors in the North Central Province – as a child he had witnessed his relatives having to deal with the challenged hospital system in the region. He asked the doctors to compile an equipment wish list, that he could take back to the Club. Small regional hospitals are vital, but tend to miss out on a lot of international aid with most going to hospitals in Colombo.

By John Granger

It used to be just ‘Altona’, but now there’s North Altona, Altona East, Altona Green and Altona Meadows – quite a development story for a mostly bypassed hamlet near the Melbourne-Geelong road. But like many places, post-World War II development changed everything.    

No mention of Altona would be complete without reference to the Wiltona Migrant Hostel. In the late 1940s, migrants from war-ravaged Europe began to arrive and were housed in a cluster of ex-Army, corrugated half-cylindrical sheds … brutal in summer and winter. But the migrants stayed and many settled, contributing enormously to Altona and nearby suburbs. In fact, many of the local professions are, and were, peopled by the children (and grandchildren) of the original arrivals.

By Helena Wimpole

In 1928 Esperanto became the first of all the Rotary Fellowships, and it continues today.

Esperanto is an artificial language that was created in 1887 by Polish linguist and ophthalmologist, Ludwik L. Zamenhof. His purpose was to establish an international language or medium of communication, based on roots from the chief European languages, but with the advantage of grammatical regularity, ease of pronunciation and freedom from nationalistic concerns. Esperanto is now the most widely spoken constructed auxiliary language in the world.