This year is an important year for Rotary as it celebrates its centenary in Australia. It was in 1921, 16 years after Paul Harris established the first Rotary club in Chicago, that Rotary reached our stores. In that year, four clubs were formed in Sydney and Melbourne and across the ditch in Auckland and Wellington. Since then, Rotary has blossomed and Australia is now home to over 1,000 clubs with 30,000 members. Of course, over 100 years, Rotary has changed, including through the removal of gender barriers. But some things haven’t changed. The Rotary motto of ‘service above self’ remains a driving force in the ethos which has seen Rotary contribute so much to our local and global communities.
I’m proud to be a Rotarian and also to represent an electorate which is home to so many active and vibrant Rotary clubs. I was reminded of this over the weekend when I saw so many Rotarians supporting the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal. Rotary does an amazing job in bringing communities together, and many join for the fellowship that can be found at Rotary gatherings. Its role is, however, much deeper. Rotary clubs fundraise and organise to support their communities, particularly to help the most vulnerable, and globally they have made a difference in their support for aid projects or major campaigns like the elimination of polio. To all Rotarians in Australia, including the wonderful members of my own club, North Sydney Sunrise: happy 100th birthday and thank you for all you have achieved for Australians.