Around District  9800

This week I had the great pleasure of attending, in person, a wonderful dinner hosted by the President of Keilor Rotary, David Whiting and his wife Marie, which was held at their home. After nearly a year of Zoom meetings, it was indeed a fantastic experience being able to join in the amazing fellowship that this club shares, as well as the diverse conversations – this surely is the essence of Rotary!

The first official meeting of the CEO Rotary Satellite Club of Southbank took place this morning, and once again, it was inspiring to see the enthusiasm of those in attendance, as they embark on this new Rotary initiative. The club discussed and agreed on its structure, vision and key areas of focus, and now has a good foundation on which to move forward with homelessness being chosen as the key issue on which efforts will be concentrated.

I’m delighted to advise that Australia Post has announced that we will have a special stamp this year for our centenary. There will be several ‘products’ including first day covers, stamp packs and inclusion in the annual collection. These will be ideal for collections, gifts, speaker thank you mementos, Rotary archives, memorabilia and more. Coming soon will also be a special coin that will feature the centenary of Rotary in Australia, and I will have more on this soon.

As you are aware, supporting the environment is now our seventh area of focus. Over the past several years, more than $18 million in Foundation global grant funding has gone towards environment-based projects. Now with this approved and added area of focus, grant applications for projects will be accepted from 1 July 2021. Clubs that take up environmental programs have compelling pathways to volunteering and new membership, bringing new energy and future leadership, as well as revitalising existing membership and member retention.

Next Tuesday is of course, Australia Day, and if you haven’t already done so, I again encourage you to book online for the free Rotary Zoom event being live streamed across Australia from 12.30 pm to 2.00 pm. Performances by Marina Prior, Mike Brady, Josh Piterman and John Foreman will support presentations on major R100 projects such as EndTrachoma, Rotary Safe Families, Australian Rotary Health and Give Every Child a Future. Bookings can be made via this link:

Have a great week everyone – it’s a time to reflect, respect, celebrate. We are all part of the story!

Rotary District 9800 Governor Philip Archer

Applications for this year’s District Recognitions Awards must be submitted by close of business Friday 26 February 2021.  

Project categories include the key service areas of Community, International, Vocational, Youth, Public Image & Communications, and Membership, to which has been added the new Rotary Area of Focus, Supporting the Environment. Innovation During COVID, a special category in this unusual pandemic-affected year, has also been added.

For further information, please visit the District website:

If you have any questions, please email the District 9800 Club Service Chair at

By Russell Cooper, Rotary North Balwyn

The concept of Rotary/Police Mentoring was initiated fifteen years ago by Rotary Central Melbourne, and is one of the longest running Victorian Police leadership programs. Whilst the program involves a range of training and development aspects for police, one important piece is assisting them to develop skills in working with community groups, particularly volunteers.  Through pairing a Rotary club member appropriately experienced in senior leadership with a Police Officer of at least Senior Sergeant rank, they work together on a project of benefit to the local community over a twelve-month period.

Whilst COVID meant suspending projects commenced in late 2019, many have now been reactivated. During the twelve-month project period, the Police Officer will attend a number of Rotary meetings to update members on the project and its progress.

An example of one project being run by North Balwyn Rotary involves Acting Inspector Ashley Wigg of Victoria Police as mentee, and club member, Russell Cooper, a retired Water Authority CEO, as mentor. The project chosen by Inspector Wigg focuses on reducing road traffic injuries at Greythorn Strip Shopping Precinct.

By John Granger

Sky blue … earth brown … yellow, red

Timeless land … alive and dead

Indigenous eyes lock on Botany Bay  

For evermore, a change of way

Convicts in chains … a nation’s seed

Gold rush, fortunes … hope and greed

Federation … convoluted

By Rowan McClean, D9800 Chair Club Service

When you visit different Rotary clubs, it is clear that there are many ways to run a successful meeting. Below are points on what has made them successful.

Before the Meeting

You do need an agreed format, agenda or running sheet, and an Attendance Officer or Club Service Chair does need to know in advance who will be attending for catering and special diets. The Club President should also be aware of guests attending.

Appointing “minders” to make visitors feel comfortable and introduce them to others is worthwhile, and some clubs appoint greeters and desk people for a specified period, whilst others roster different people on for each meeting. These are opportunities for new members to get to know their colleagues.

You might consider displaying Rotary banners and flags as part of the meeting set-up.

By Jaqui O’Donohoe

Since the age of 12, Carol has volunteered at churches, schools and not-for-profit organisations. She really identifies with the energy and friendships that people show when they are “doing the right thing”.  So, when she finally settled in Melbourne, joining Rotary was an easy decision, especially as she had grown up in a family where most of the men were Rotarians. She admitted being surprised when, in the 1980s, her Aunt was recognised with a Paul Harris Fellow, as she had not realised that women were able to join Rotary.

Originally from Chicago, Carol moved to Brisbane in 2007, Carol was a lecturer in Business Management at the University of Queensland, and completed a Doctorate in Philosophy.  She then transferred to RMIT in 2019.

Carol’s father was Club President at Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Rotary in Illinois, and sponsored her induction into the Rotary Club of Melbourne, the clubs now having developed a close link.

By Rowan McClean

Sam Pennisi joined Rotary Essendon North when it was chartered in 1976. Despite having a young family and working in real estate, he still found time to attend meetings, escaping the stress of 80-hour weeks. He inherited his high work ethic from his father who “just could not retire” and even though he is now in his 80s, is still working three days a week.

With a strong community mindset and being a past member of the Jaycees, Sam felt that Rotary would be good for him both personally and professionally. The Club had attracted members from various businesses around the area, many of whom were in their 30s and early 40s. Since then, the big change for the club has been the ageing of its members.

By Henry Drury

In 1839 a punt was the crossing from Melbourne Town to the fledgling village of Saltwater on the western bank of the Maribyrnong, then known as the Saltwater River. In 1848 the locality took the name Foots Cray after the village on the river Cray in south-east London (which resonates somewhat with Franco Cozzo’s “Foot-is-cray” memorable 1980s TV ads).                                                                                                           

In 1859, the municipality of Footscray was officially proclaimed and became a working-class suburb with varied industries including quarrying, and particularly the noxious industries of slaughtering, rendering for tallow, tanneries, wool scouring and, as some would suggest, the Bulldogs football team.

The noxious industry has gone, the football team prospers and the Rotary Club of West Footscray, chartered on 23 January 1978, now proudly serves a younger, vibrant and ethnically varied community in a rapidly regenerating built environment.

By Helena Wimpole

Since its inception in 1991, this Fellowship has undergone a number of changes including its name and scope.

Initially called The Rotarian Doctors Fellowship, it was started by a small group of Rotarian Doctors in the US and spearheaded by a Past District Governor who was able to produce a membership list of about 150 doctors in over 30 countries.

Over time, other doctors from different medical fields succeeded him as chairman of the Fellowship, and its direction changed. Further professional contacts and activities followed, including professional visits to hospitals in the areas where Rotary Conventions were held. The first newsletter was published in 1992 and Rotary International recognised the group in 1993 as Medicine/Health Vocational Fellowship.