Rotary Club of Healesville
Making a difference

Club History

Club History


Chartered on : 30th. June 1977.
Club Number: 18368
Rotary District: 9810



The Rotary Club of Healesville was commenced due to the initiative of the Rotary Club of Alexandra.  That Club was commissioned by the then Governor of Rotary District 279, soon to become District 979, Keppel Turnour, to investigate the feasibility of establishing a Rotary Club in Healesville.  The Alexandra sponsoring group was led by the then President, Jack Sinclair, assisted by such stalwarts as Jack Shiel, Fil Sartori, Roy Fox, Roly Atkinson, Les Coates, Fred Darmody, Alan Dobson, Roy Lew Ton and many others.  Apologies to any others who were part of that group and who may have been overlooked. It is very sad that most of these fine men are no longer with us.

Jack Sinclair and the members of the Alexandra Club canvassed Healesville and gained a very willing supporter in the person of local Newsagent, Arthur Daws. It is a great pity that Arthur has now passed away.   He would have been very pleased to have been able to attend this meeting.  With Arthur’s help, the Alexandra group made a list of prospective members and invited them to a meeting to discuss the possibility of forming a Rotary Club in Healesville. As a result of their actions, the Provisional Rotary Club of Healesville was established in mid 1977.  The Provisional Club then applied to Rotary International for a Charter.

The Charter was presented to the inaugural President, Ion Whykes, at a function held at the Dorset Gardens Hotel in Croydon. More than two hundred people attended the Charter Night.  On that occasion, Charter President Ion Whykes spoke of the need for a Rotary Club in Healesville. He pointed out that the area was socially deprived, and that there were many members of the local population who needed support.  He expressed the hope that the Rotary Club of Healesville would be able to fill a role for the community.

The Charter Secretary was Arthur Daws and the Charter Vice President Carl Sherman. Twenty-eight members constituted the Rotary Club of Healesville when it was chartered.  During the first year, there was not one meeting without a member of the Rotary Club of Alexandra attending.  There is no doubt that the tremendous support offered by the friends from Alexandra was a significant factor in the development of the Rotary Club of Healesville.  Of that initial group, three resigned during the first year, but an additional ten members joined the Club.

In the first year or so much time was devoted to learning about Rotary, with a very strong emphasis on fellowship between members.  This has been one of the outstanding characteristics of the Rotary Club of Healesville throughout its existence.

Charter Members

The names of the Charter Members and their Classifications were:

       Gary Carmody              Groceries Retailing                   
       Michael Carter              Auctioneering Services
       Keith Crilly                    Law Practice                            
       Arthur Daws                 Newsagency
       Ian Edgar                       Hotels                                       
       Harold Flannery            Grain and Produce Retailing
       Russell Galli                  Insurance Brokerage                
       John Gentle                   Accounting Services
       Ronnie Goding             Saw Milling
       Terrence Hill                  Education – Primary Additional Active
       Adrian Hoogenbosch    Real Estate Agency
       Bryan Hyland                 Education Primary
       Colin Johanson             Banking -- Saving
       Bill Kennedy                  Electricity Supply
       Roy Lowe                       Water Supply Inspection
       Ken McKenzie               Catering Service
       Clem Matthews              Automobile Engineering

In Retrospect.

When the Rotary Club of Healesville was chartered, I expressed the opinion that Healesville needed Rotary, and the Club would serve the area with purpose.  I believe that to date the Club has fulfilled this prediction.  In monetary terms, the Club has raised and contributed approximately $1.5 million since its formation.  It would be impossible to estimate the number of hours of voluntary service that members have provided.  May I also pay tribute to Past President Rae Church for his assistance in compiling this report.

 If the Club has been successful, then it is due to the efforts of many of the individuals who have been members over the years.  Thirty-five years is a very long time, and while there are a number of members who have given excellent service, I believe that one member deserves commendation above all others.  Past President the late Ron Goding was a shining example to all. His attendance was quite outstanding, and he was always present at any Club function.  The motto of Rotary International is "Service above self".  Ron epitomised this motto.

Ion Whykes, P.H.F.
Charter President,
Rotary Club of Healesville.