Club History

Some Historical Background

The first Rotary Club was organised in Chicago USA by Paul Harris in 1905. Rotary quickly spread to other cities in USA, then to Canada in 1910 and Britain and Ireland in 1913. After World War 1, the expansion of Rotary continued and, in 1921, the Rotary Club of Melbourne was the first club formed in Australia.

Rotary grew in the suburbs of Melbourne after World War 2. The Rotary Club of Moorabbin sponsored the new Rotary Club of Mordialloc in 1971. The first meeting was held on 20 July 1971, the Charter was granted on 14 August 1971 and the formal presentation night was held on 12 November 1971. The Charter President was George Snow, a local businessman who proved a driving force in the early years of the club.

The club’s local territory is based on the suburbs of Mordialloc, Parkdale, Mentone, Beaumaris and surrounding areas. We share this territory with several other clubs.

Since 1971 the club has undertaken projects across all areas of Rotary service, providing for a huge range of needs both locally and in the national and international communities. We have a strong spirit of friendship throughout the club with members, partners, families and friends always welcome to attend meetings, working bees, outings and social events.

Activities undertaken in the first 10 years included assistance to local charities such as Red Cross, drug support groups, life saving clubs, a half-way house, local hospitals, the Salvation Army, bush fire appeals, and the Spastic Children’s Centre. The Club assisted training for aboriginal apprentices from Northern Territory, building of a bus shelter, and children’s playground, a community garden, creation of a Rotary village for the aged and arranging outings for migrant groups.

Programs for young people including international youth exchange, youth leadership awards, sponsoring of a Rotaract club, and providing careers advisors to local schools. The club was also involved in international projects such as Rotary Foundation, group study, and humanitarian projects. Support was given to a foster-child in Bolivia. In those early years, the Club commenced two major fund-raising community events – the Annual Art Show that ran from 1976 to 2015, and the annual Jumble Sale held up until 2006.

In following years, some of these programs continued while new ones were developed to meet changing community needs. Support for aged citizens has always been an important activity. In the early 1980s the Club agreed to deliver the City of Mordialloc (now Kingston) Meals on Wheels Service for those elderly citizens requiring the service at weekends. Every weekend (and at Christmas) club members delivered pre-cooked nourishing meals to up to 20 housebound people who may not have any community contact. This service continued until 2006 when the City of Kingston introduced alternative management arrangements.

In 1987, together with six other local clubs, the club organised a major air show at Moorabbin Airport attended by some 40,000 people to raise funds for the Salvation Army. In these years,  club members undertook volunteer work on projects in the Solomons and PNG and we also took a leading role in promoting health awareness and organ transplants for which we won the District Community Service Award in 1994.

In recent years, the club has continued its focus on international projects with members as volunteers on humanitarian projects in Laos, East Timor, India, Fiji, Kenya, Ethiopia and Vietnam, as well as providing financial support and donating goods to these and many other countries. Since 1997, we have held an annual golf day with the profits going to assist Interplast Australia undertake urgent plastic surgery in poorer Pacific and Asian countries.

We have strengthened our links with local primary and secondary schools and members participate regularly to assist with reading and student interviews as well as continuing to nominate students for Rotary leadership programs. Other significant recent projects include bushfire recovery works at Strathewen Primary School, the Community Kitchen, support for the SIDS “Walk to Remember” around Albert Park Lake and fundraising for the “Wheelchairs for Kids” program through local schools. From 2000 to 2013, the clubheld an Annual Charity Golf Day in partnership with the City of Kingston.

The Club continues to support The Rotary Foundation financially and by participation by nominating applicants for Group Study Exchange teams and the prestigious Ambassadorial Scholarship. The 2005 Group Study Exchange was undertaken with District 6000, Iowa, USA and, for the first time, the District 9810 team was lead by a member of our club, Past President Kay Gordon. Following a major review of Rotary Foundation programs in 2014, the GSE program no longer runs in its traditional format although opportunities for targeted vocational exchanges are being considered.

Our club helped grow Rotary in the local area by sponsoring a new club, the Rotary Club of Braeside, in 2001.

A recent new club initiative was the Gnome Festival aimed at young local families and first held at Scullin Reserve Mordialloc on Australia Day 2013. The event proved very popular and has been expanded to a Gnome and Fairy Festival now held each year in March. Details are elsewhere on this website. The club continues to develop new programs to meet changing community needs locally, nationally and internationally.

Over the years, many Mordialloc Rotarians have served on District committees and in various District leadership roles. Two members have had the honour of serving as Governor of Rotary District 9810 – the official representative of Rotary International and the highest position in the District organisation. They are Don Holderness in 1992-93 and Brian Foley in 2001-02. Most members and partners were involved in the organisation and running of very successful and enjoyable district conferences in those years, namely at Canberra in 1993 and at Shepparton in 2002.