21st April 2021 was the Centenary of the Charter of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, marking 100 years of Rotary in Australia.

Eight years after the first Rotary meeting in Chicago Melbourne businessman Walter Drummond paid a visit to Rotary‚Äôs founder Paul Harris, after which he was convinced that there was a place for Rotary in Australia.   He returned home determined to establish a club, but the outbreak of World War 1 saw the idea put on hold for several years. 



In 1921 two Canadian Rotarians, James Davidson from Calgary and Lt Col Layton Ralston from Halifax were appointed to visit New Zealand and Australia to promote Rotary.

They arrived in Melbourne and met with Sir John Monash and other interested parties and soon after the Rotary Club of Melbourne was chartered with 37 members.  Walter Drummond, who paid the visit to Paul Harris was Secretary and held that position for 8 years.  

One month later the Rotary Club of Sydney was chartered with 35 members and within two years clubs had been chartered in Brisbane, Adelaide and Newcastle and by 1927 there were enough clubs to form a Rotary District encompassing the whole of Australia. 

In 1935, at the invitation of Angus Mitchell, Paul Harris visited Australia and received a standing ovation wherever he went.  15 years later Angus Mitchell became the first Australian to be elected President of Rotary International.   

On Tuesday 29th June our will be celebrating 60 years of Rotary in Pakenham, so keep the date free and be part of this significant event. 

Ken Rook, Rotary Information Chair.