FIFTY YEARS OF LARGS BAY ROTARY
The Rotary Club of Largs Bay has been supporting Communities in the Port Adelaide region & Overseas for over Fifty years
On the 9th October 1969, a meeting was called by the District Governor’s Special Representative, Graham Pryke, Past President of the Rotary Club of Port Adelaide, at the home of Rotarian A. Mort Pearce, to consider forming a Rotary Club in the Largs Bay area.
Present were D.G. Allen Hosking, past D.G. David Clarkson, both President and Secretary of the Port Adelaide Rotary Club, (the sponsor Club) and 26 other invited gentlemen.
It was agreed to form the Rotary Club of Largs Bay (the fourth daughter Club of Port Adelaide) and the Charter night was to be January 30, 1970 when Rotarian Mort Pearce was inducted as our first President. Rotarian Graham Pryke was a very efficient Secretary from the outset (being a Judge in the Arbitration Court) and was still Secretary when I joined in 1979.
The Club quickly adopted many COMMUNITY PROJECTS to support and over the 50 years the number of recipients are too many to list but we mention a few. The Yongala Street Kindergarten received physical and financial support (working bees etc.) Book prizes were awarded to Year 7 students in local Primary Schools. Largs Bay Scout Group and Glanville Hall Sea Scouts, received support, as did Wesley House and Philip Kennedy Centre.
Disadvantaged children from local schools were supported to attend YMCA camps on Kangaroo Island. Rotary Youth Leadership Awards were given as often as possible. Our club hosted a week long RYLA programme at Woodhouse Scout Centre in 1982. Other activities included:- Collecting and delivering food parcels to the Salvation Army. Collections for Red Cross, Red Shield Appeal, Freedom from Hunger, Adel. Children’s Hospital etc; Taperoo Surf Lifesaving Club was presented with an AMBOMANNEQUIN in 1972; Large print books were provided for the local elderly. A Shade house was built at Largs North Primary School; A Bird Cage was built and garden settings were provided at Marten Village. Wesley House bus trips were financed. Members became drivers for Meals on Wheels. A Reverse see-saw was installed at Largs Bay Jetty playground. Neighbourhood Watch newsletter printing and Safety House publicity was funded.
The INTERNATIONAL nature of Rotary was not forgotten, with the new Club launching into Rotary’s Youth Exchange Sponsorship. The first hosted student was from South Africa, and others followed from Japan, Finland, Brazil, USA, Norway, Germany, Denmark, Sweden & Indonesia and other countries over many years.
Educational Books were sent to Fiji, Samoa, Tuvalu and Papua New Guinea in water tight 44 gallon drums.
International Service is the fourth Avenue of Rotary, and whilst monetary donations are invaluable, our Club went that step further embracing FAIM (Fourth Avenue in Motion) and as overseas projects were announced our members have responded and volunteered for many over the years.
Several members and Rotaractors have gone to the Solomon Islands and PNG to build schools/ hospitals etc., training locals to use tools they would leave behind for them. In 1995 I led a team to BEMA (PNG) to build 2 – 6000 gallon water tanks in the highlands.
Our Club has periodically convened Awards Nights to present members of the public with a tangible THANK YOU for their display of: Courtesy in the Workplace, Pride of Workmanship, Community Spirit in everyday life, Dedication to task in helping another person, Compassion, Dedication in their Apprenticeship, Sportsmanship and Humanitarianism.
The Club met initially at the Largs Pier Hotel, and over the years has held meetings at many of the local Hotels & Clubs. Whilst at the Semaphore Surf Lifesaving Club we made sizeable contributions to their kitchen and purchased a “Rubber Duckie”, which was named after one of our long serving member’s wife, Dorothy Gillespie. We now enjoy the hospitality of this great venue with sincere thanks to the Port Adelaide Enfield Council.
Over the years many Fellowship5 outings etc. were enjoyed. Bowls Nights, Theatre Nights, Progressive Dinners, Ladies Nights with guest speakers were specifically planned for them, before membership was opened up to them in the early Nineties. We had visits to the Fisher farm near Stirling, a past member’s home on Hindmarsh Island, and various Industrial venues.
In our 50 years the Club has completed many Local Community Projects. Playground equipment and shade cloth at the Largs Bay Kiosk area. Erected a Wheelchair Swing in the playground north of the Palais. Throughout 1971 the Club negotiated the establishment of the Port Adelaide Historical Society donating $50 for postage and admin. costs. The Historical Soc. stood on its own feet in 1972, and is going stronger than ever (I am pleased to say).
On Dec. 5, 1972, the Board passed a motion to form the Rotaract Club of Largs Bay to cater for 18-30 year old people with similar aims to ours.
In 1982 the Club adventurously launched into Water Therapy and Swimming Instructions, one on one, at Mack’s Swimming Centre, for disadvantaged adults and children and continued in 1983.
1982/3 saw the Centenary of Largs Bay celebrations largely organised by this Club including the Centenary Ball, Centenary Rotagala, Historical Fashion Parade, Building a playground at Largs Bay, printing the Centenary Booklet and the erection of the obelisk style monument at the Largs Foreshore.
The same year we formed the Probus Clubs of Largs Bay, both men’s and ladies, and the new Rotary Club of North Haven, parting company with 16 of our own members to support the fledgling daughter Club.
1987/88 The Bicentennial Year saw us produce the “Land, Sea Pageant” Booklet and run the Rotagala Land Pageant, while also contributing $8460 to the Rotary worldwide major undertaking of Polio Plus.
In 1989/90 we triggered off the Semaphore Park Probus Club. Also in this year, Rotarian Dr. Bob Etherington and his wife Karen (a theatre nursing sister) went on an adventure to Kar Kar Island (off Madang PNG) answering a Rotary International call for medical personnel to relieve the resident medic there. On their return they reported to the Club on 12 September 1989, and begged the Club to find half a dozen wheelchairs and send them to Kar Kar, and so began “The Wheelies” about which you will hear more later in the evening.
How did we fund the foregoing? Bowls Nights, Theatre visits, Pool Parties and Quiz nights were initial fund raisers. In 1979 a major new initiative was to hold a ROTAGALA on the old ICI oval, selling space to stall holders, having a procession of floats, bands and marching groups. Our Club had its own stalls, as did our Roraractors, and entertainment and competitions kept the crowd around for most of the day. Progressively these Rotagalas netted increasing amounts from $3000 to $5000 a day. Garage Sales at the Le Fevre Community Centre and the Semaphore Baptist Church followed.
One of our main source of income occurred while Adelaide hosted the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Club members, relatives, or volunteers put their hands up to marshal the crowds and we were paid well to do so. Their bonus, a free view of the proceedings. Another money spinner was selling the Sunday Mail newspaper at the North Arm Fisherman’s Market for several years, starting by rolling the papers about 5am in the Port, then selling them at the Market. How’s that for dedication.Regular food catering followed with the purchase of a BBQ trailer “Basil” then followed by a double hot plate trailer built by “The Wheelies” “Sybil”. A van followed with another “in-van-size” BBQ acquired. Apart from individual private and corporate bookings we were regularly at Romeo’s Port Mall each Sat. then Coles, Port Canal (until redevelopment took over). Bunnings at Woodville is currently our only regular income. Our members regularly “man” the Semaphore Carousel, which earns the Club a portion of the income from that wonderful facility.
We regularly support the Rotary Youth Driver Awareness programme currently run by Charles Sturt Grange Rotary, and give them support by providing a BBQ lunch for the students and staff and volunteers. We have been supporting (by paying schooling expenses for) 2 students in Indonesia since in the 70’s & it’s still only $110 per child per year.
We are still able to support, RYLA, RYPEN, Rotary Health, Shelter Box, and we currently are supporting a young student Mohadeseh (here with us tonight) from Oceanview College to attend the National Youth Science Forum next January in Brisbane.
Vinnies and Uniting SA receive money for Christmas Hampers each year. Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Kick Start for Kids and Foodbank are also recipients. Just recently we helped financially with funds for landscaping at the Oceanview College Pre-school. The Club continually funds the Wheelchair Project with money for the hard rubber tyres which they put on every chair sent away.
Even though we are numerically low in members, we still proudly fly the ROTARY flag in the local area. We have hosted several Group Study Exchange Teams including those from India and Germany in relatively recent times as well as having produced two District Governors and run their District Conferences, but we cannot help but wonder what our future may be with the Districts 9500 and 9520 merger in 2020.
ERROL J. CHINNER, O.A.M.