July 1st 2019 marked the changeover of the Rotary year, with outgoing president Chris Muir passing the reins to incoming president Michael Stephens. It is satisfying to look back on a year of steady but constant achievement. 
 
PRESIDENT’S ANNUAL REPORT 2018-19
 
As some of you may have realized, I was somewhat reluctant to succumb to the Presidency but the persuasive skills of Graeme Whitmore, honed in the rugby scrums in New Zealand, and Keith Watts , master deal maker, finally prevailed. I look back, however, on a very interesting and enjoyable year in which I have met many good people with valuable ideas and life experiences whose paths I would otherwise never have crossed as well as learning  a lot more about Rotary and, I hope, having vacated the position with the club in a reasonably healthy state.
 
The Club’s strategic 3 year plan, initiated by Daniel Vankov, provided a framework of evolution which prompted a number of changes, the value of which remains to be fully assessed. To encourage members to contribute to the direction and activities of the club we have instituted a club assembly, on the third Monday of the month, at which directors reports can be discussed before they are presented to the board meeting, and a number of these have witnessed some spirited discussion while others have been non-controversial.
The suggestion that the timing of meetings be varied to allow younger members to attend more easily, and have lower cost and a more social dimension, was initiated with two breakfast meetings but with fairly poor attendance. Considering this, a switch was made to holdiong one Friday evening cocktail hour gathering a month at the United Service Club. These meetings were generally quite well attended and attracted a modest number of family members and visitors as well as Rotarians from other clubs. The board has also had a preliminary look at the possibility of establishing a satellite club which could meet at a time more suitable for younger Rotarians. We have also introduced a reduced membership fee for family members living at the same address to encourage partners, and perhaps adult children of members, to join, and to date my wife is the first of two to accept this offer, the other being Michael Roetteler. It was very pleasing that Dymphna was one of three new female members inducted this year, out of a total of seven, and it would be wonderful if we could continue to attract more female members.
President Chris talks about his trip to islands off the coast of NT and the plastic pollution problem there at one of our Friday evening social meetings.
 
The guest speaker program has provided many excellent presentations, a number of which attracted significant numbers of guests and Denise Schellbach is to be heartily congratulated for her work in this area. It is not easy to attract top speakers when we can only promise a relatively small audience but Denise has again done a wonderful job this year.
 
Club activities have been quite numerous and varied and my apologies if I have missed any in the following list:
  1. The public appeal for drought assistance in the Macarthur Centre, initiated by Wal Bishop and directed by Cameron Bishop.
  2. The Melbourne Cup Trifecta fund-raiser, directed by Graeme Whitmore, which raised over $2000.
  3. Our club members contributed significantly to running the Eddies van, directed by Denise Schellbach, over the Christmas Holidays.
  4. The International Women’s Day Breakfast, directed by Daniel Vankov, was not only a great success but also raised $4000 for our charity fund
  5. The Alex Haslam dinner, attended by 15 Rotarians from 3 clubs and 29 non-Rotarians which was also a great success and made a small profit even though I attempted to just break even with the pricing.
  6. The RSPCA Million Paws Walk BBQ Breakfast which was manned by 5 members and 3 non-members was enjoyed by all the workers but unfortunately failed to make a profit as a result of a much smaller attendance than was anticipated.
  7. The Mundubbera Golf Day attracted 6 members and raised $1600 for the club.
  8. The Club’s Annual Golf Day, directed by Graeme Whitmore and Michael Stephens was another social and financial success with a final profit of almost $10,000.
  9. Work has begun, under the direction of Warren Walker, on a major Race Day event at Caloundra in March 2020 and this has potential not only to be great fun but also a very significant fundraiser.
  10. Graeme Whitmore has suggested a truly major project to celebrate the Club’s centenary in 2023. This would be the construction of a building complex to provide accommodation for “YoungCare” and is being considered by the board
RCoB Members with other charity golf day contestants in Mundubbera
Rotarians Jaqui De Lacy and John Smerdon collecting for the Western Queensland Drought Appeal
PP Daniel Vankov with the keynote speakers at the Women's Day Breakfast, Margaret Sheil AO and Councillor Adrian Schrinner
Rotarians hard at work packing a container destined for PNG at the Donations in Kind warehouse in Kingston
 
We have donated $50,000 from our foundation in 2018/19 but with generous donations from a number of members and a successful year for its investments the fund is now worth $50,000 more than at 1 July 2018. Major donations from the foundation were made to the following charities:
             
  • Kyeema PNG Chicken project
  • Western Queensland Drought Appeal
  • North Queensland Flood Appeal
  • Donations in Kind
  • Australian Rotary Health
  • The Rotary Foundation
At Left: Work starting on the Kyeema chicken breeding project in PNG
 
Smaller but still substantial donations were made to the following.
 
  •  The University of Qld. Crown of Thorns starfish research
  • The University of Qld Groups4Health research.
  • James Peterson'ss "Beaking Free" mental health charity
  • Royal Flying Doctors Mental Health Unit
  • Operation Cleft Palate
  • The Salvation Army
  • Surfers Sunrise Rotary Wheelchair  Trust
At Right: One of the wheelchairs we sponsored for PNG 
We also made donations from our general charity fund to:
 
  • RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership awards - sponsoring two group leaders)
  • The Club’s Rotary Peace Fellow, Morgan Marks to help her attend an academic conference
  • Gaba Gaba village in PNG to assist with severe cyclone damage.
 
 
We have been successful in partnering this year with the Rotary Club of Genoa Golfo Paradiso to win a Rotary International Foundation Scholarship to support an Italian medical science researcher come to the University of Qld. We have also made successful applications for District Grants for the Alex Haslam membership development evening and our Kyeema Chicken Project in PNG.
At Left: "Our" Rotary Peace Fellow, Morgan Marks
 
The membership committee under Keith Watts has had a very successful year with 7 new members inducted to give us a current total club membership of 38. The advantage of a club this size is that we all know each other well and we have a very friendly atmosphere at our meetings which I hope is conducive to attracting and keeping members. The disadvantage is that we have limited numbers available for projects which means we have to co-opt friends and relatives for some activities although this does have the advantage of exposing them to Rotary which may in time pay off with an interest in joining. We are very optimistic, however, that Dan Adler’s “Rotaryship” initiative will significantly increase our numbers in the years to come.
 
The Club administration has been admirably managed by Mark Williams and Warren Walker with the assistance of Jillanne Myers and Mark’s inauguration of “Club Runner” means our running costs are much reduced. The board decision to increase the membership fee by $50 a half-year but reduce the meal cost for members from $45 to $35 also appears to have been well received
 
A small committee, comprising Daniel Vankov and myself, arranged to recognize the dedication of a number of members during the year by awarding Paul Harris Fellowships. These members were:  Stan Francis, Don O’Donoghue, Keith Watts, Graeme Whitmore, John Smerdon, Michael Stephens, James Delahunty, Wal Bishop and Denise Schellbach. Mark Williams and Warren Walker will also be recognized in this way
 
Five club members and one spouse attended the 35th Anniversary Celebrations in Taiwan of our Sister Club of Taipei Tatung. We were overwhelmed by the hospitality and left with very many happy memories of our five days in the company of our Taiwanese Rotary brothers and sisters. Our club was also very pleased to donate $5000 to Taipei Tatung’s charitable endeavours.
Kira Keeley-Watts, One of our sponsored RYLA attendees, draws the raffle under the watchful eye of Sgt-At-Arms Tony Pilkington
 
In conclusion I thank all of our members for their support and I happily pass on the chain of office to Michael Stephens in the sure knowledge that he will also receive the same support and enjoy his year as president at least as much as I have. And finally my greatest support has been from our member and my wife Dymphna who has devoted many hours valiantly deciphering and typing my hand written reports and triaging and prioritizing the many emails which I receive and to her I extend my most sincere thanks and gratitude.
 
Yours in Rotary
 
Chris Muir
Past President Chris Passes on the Chain of Office to President Michael Stephens