History of the Rotary Club of Brisbane

Histories and Historical Document Downloads


A Themed History of the Rotary Club of Brisbane Inc. 1923-2023

PP Dr Keith Watts 21/05/2015
Revised 14/5/2023


The Club was chartered on 29 May 1923 with a membership of 16. The Charter President was Peter B Macgregor - a leading Barrister at the time.

The Club has been responsible for the sponsoring of the following Clubs: Mackay and Townsville in 1926-27 (with the involvement of Immediate Past President Tom McWilliam in conjunction with Rotary Commissioner Sir Henry Braddon of Sydney Rotary Club), Ipswich, Bundaberg (1929-30), Toowoomba, Maryborough, Lismore (1931-32), Fortitude Valley, South Brisbane, Brisbane North, Brisbane West, Brisbane Mid-City.


Extract from the History 1923-73: “The first meeting held with the view of forming a Rotary Club in Brisbane took place on the 24th November, 1922. At that meeting, Sir Henry Bradden, of the Rotary Club of Sydney, as a special Commissioner, addressed the following citizens of our city, namely­
Jas Allan
F. R. Lloyd
H. Monteith
J. D. Bell
J. P. Macfarlane
T. McWilliam
D. Hamilton
P. B. Macgregor
A. D. Walsh
M. G. Haymen
R. H. Moss
E. R. Isaacs
M. S. Herring

At this meeting J. P. Macfarlane was appointed Acting Secretary. Four days later another meeting took place, and it was then decided to take the necessary steps to form a Rotary Club of Brisbane.”

“After considerable work in framing By-laws and the nominating and election of members, a further meeting was held on 6th February 1923, at which meeting it was resolved that the Rotary Club of Brisbane be formed with the following 16 Charter Members:

Jas Allan
M. S. Herring
J. P. Macfarlane
R. J. Archibald
E. R. Isaacs
P. B. Macgregor
J. D. Bell
R. D. Kennedy
T. McWilliam
J. Espie Dods
J. J. Knight
R. H. Moss
D. Hamilton
F. R. Lloyd
A. D. Walsh
M. G. Haymen
The first Board of Directors consisted of: Messrs, Allan, Archibald, Bell, Espie Dods, Isaacs, MeWilliam, Kennedy, Maefarlane, Macgregor and Lloyd.
On the 12th February, 1923, the first meeting of the Directors took place, at which the following office Bearers were appointed:
President: P. B. Macgregor
Vice-President: F. R. Lloyd
Hon. Secretary: J. P. Macfarlane
Hon. Treasurer: J. D. Bell
Sergeant-at-Arms: E. R. Isaacs

The first weekly Luncheon Meetings of the Club were held in a room at Allan & Starks Ltd., Queen Street, kindly set aside by Rotarian James Allan for the purpose.

It was on the 29th May, 1923, when the Club was granted its Charter by Rotary International, its number being 1489.”

“The Club's first Ladies' Day was held on 5th June, 1923, when eighteen members and an equal number of Ladies attended. On this occasion the Guest Speaker was Miss Bedford, who gave an address on Creche and Kindergarten work. It was her address that was mainly responsible for the Club's interest in the pre-school child, for shortly afterwards the Club donated £55 for Christmas Presents for the children of the Creche and Kindergarten Association, this being the first donation from the Club for any Community Service.

“In January 1924, Sir Mathew Nathan, then Governor of Queensland, who by the way had shown considerable interest in Rotary, was elected the Club's first Honorary Member. “

“By the end of the first financial year, the Club membership had increased to 38. At this period, President P. B. Macgregor was elected President for a further one year's term, and on this occasion Rotarian J. P. Wilson was appointed Secretary. At the end of the Club's second year the membership was 55.”

Sergeant-Arms baton: “At a meeting of the Board held on the 23rd May, 1925, a discussion took place in regard to the most effective and satisfactory method for the Sergeant-at-Arms to adopt, for the collection of fines imposed upon Club members. This brought forth an offer from a recently elected member, namely Rotarian W. M. L'Estrange, to design and make, a special implement for the purpose. Soon afterwards this implement in the form of a silver mounted baton was presented to Sergeant-at-Arms Ernie, who undertook to wield it to good purpose, which many Members well knew he did. “

Rotary Club of Brisbane Benevolent Foundation/Public Ancillary Fund

1989-90 Decision made to establish a foundation which could attract donations and the funds be invested to provide income for community and international projects.  Draft constitution prepared for a Rotary Club of Brisbane Benevolent Foundation. (Source The History of the Rotary Club of Brisbane 1974-2003 p 20.)

1999-2000 The foundation was established on 28th August 1999 with initial trustees Dr Brian W Carss, Graham I Alexander, Henry Milne and Ian A Wilson as a perpetual public charitable trust under a charitable trust deed.  It traded as the Lionel Walpole Memorial Trust.  Initial funding came from funds bequeathed by Rotarian Lionel Walpole and subsequently via a bequest from Rotarian Clive Morman and the surplus from the 2003 Rotary International World Convention.

2011-12 total assets were $501,570.16 as at 29th May 2011.

Following changes to the Act the Foundation has now been set up as the Rotary Club of Brisbane Public Ancillary Fund. The Rotary Club of Brisbane Inc is the Trustee and there is an independent Investment Committee which manages all investment decisions.

2019-20 total assets now $1,076,166.91 as of 31st December 2021. To meet ATO compliance guidelines, the Club must donate at least 5% of the fund balance (i.e., approx. $50,000) each year by way of donations to Australian based charities by the end of each financial year. Donations in recent years include $50,000 to Red Frogs (2017-18) and $50,000 to Mater Foundation (2019-20).


During its history, the club has carried out many outstanding projects, set out below by theme, including:

Youth Service

  • 1923-24 Donated £55 for Christmas presents for the children of the Creche and Kindergarten Association.  This was the first donation from the Club for any community service.
  • 1932-33 Formed the Queensland Society for Crippled Children.
  • 1935-36 Establishment of Christmas Camps for Underprivileged boys. 1943-44 Convening of Youth Welfare conference attended by various Youth associations and other interested bodies.
  • 1943-44 Convening of Youth Welfare conference attended by various Youth associations and other interested bodies.
  • 1948-49 Organized the Orphanage Scheme where volunteer Rotarians visited 11 Orphanage Homes on weekends catering for the needs of children at the Homes.
  • 1949-50 Continued the Orphanage Scheme by improving the grounds and installing playground equipment as Christmas gifts.
  • 1950-51 Continued the Orphanage Scheme, particularly the Tufnell Home.  Support also given the Creche and Kindergarten Association.
  • 1954-55 Establishment of International House at the University of Queensland.  This was initially the club’s community service project for the year to recognize Rotary International’s Golden Anniversary year – a Rotary scheme for the advancement of International Understanding, Goodwill and Peace.  Initial funds totaling £1,000 (equivalent to $20,000 in 2021) were raised, and this led to a committee of public citizens being formed on 26th April 1955 by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane to take over from Rotary and create International House.  Extract from the IH UQ web site “International House UQ Brisbane opened 40 years later (after the first International House in New York, USA) in 1965 after 10 years of planning, instigated by Queensland Rotarian Bert Martin. The organizations supporting International House Brisbane were the University of Queensland, the State Government, the City of Brisbane, Rotary and other Service Clubs, the Brisbane Chamber of Commerce, and the Queensland Country Women’s Association. In our first year there was a Warden, 4 resident tutors and 59 male students. In 1969, female residents were admitted and lived in “G” tower.”
  • 1959-60 Gundoo Week which later developed into RYLA, now a world-wide project of Rotary International.  Sponsored RYLA students 2014 and earlier years.
  • 1959-60 An extremely ambitious but highly successful major project being the organising and staging of the H.Y. (Health for Youth) Carnival at the Exhibition Grounds on 26th March 1960 from 10 am to 10.30 pm in aid of the Queensland Bush Children’s Health Scheme and the Combined Women’s Athletic Association.  It raised £3,400 nett profit, an enormous sum in those days equivalent to $132,000 in 2021 dollars, split between the 2 organisations.
  • 1973-74 A 2-day Vocational Service Youth Seminar was conducted with 124 participants and raised $1,500 of which $1,000 was given to International House.
  • 1975-76 Major project under the RI President’s Theme for the year, “Dignify the Human Being” was adoption of a school community in a relatively underprivileged area nearby and the Petrie Terrace State School was selected.  Rotarians and Rotaryannes worked with the Parents and Citizens Association to run a School Fete, funds from which, with Government subsidy, provided for amenities, uniforms for representative school communities and visits by children to industrial and cultural activities.  Fund-raising by the club’s Groups and Rotaryannes raised $5000.  The first Paul Harris Fellowship was awarded, to PDG &PP Carl Bishop
  • 1976-77 The Rotaract Club reported a year of vigorous activity.  First Brisbane Rotary Art Show held, opened by the governor of Queensland.  This raised $3,000 (equivalent 2021 $14,400).  Financial help given to Petrie Terrace State School., Help Industries, Montrose Home and Australian Red Cross Society (Qld) totaling $4,616 (2021 equivalent $26,000)
  • 1979-80 Establishment of the Queensland organization of the Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia. The Club gave $10,000 to this while individual Rotarians helped in raising an additional $60,000 (2021 equivalent $232,000).
  • 1987-88 Construction of caretaker’s house/reception Centre at Shaftsbury Citizenship Centre, for which $20,000 was put aside awaiting completion. The handover was made next year provided at a well-attended ceremony, following the provision of a further $5,000 to complete the building.
  • 1991-92 Wine Sales, Theatre nights and other activities in the Groups raised $6,000 for the charity fund.
  • 1991-92 Teen Challenge received $16,000 ($32,000 in 2021 dollars) from the Club’s fund-raising projects for the supply of a van/bus  to assist them in reducing drug abuse in young street people.
  • 1991-92 Red Hill Special School received $13,000 ($26,000 in 2021 dollars) from the club’s fund-raising projects to add to the $8,000 they had raised to acquire a second-hand bus to take its children on school excursions
  • 2000-03 Rotaract Club of Brisbane City sponsorship and support including Rotaract Ball at World Convention 2003
  • 2004-05 Initial advance of $10,000 as a joint project of the 4 city clubs for Catalyst, a program to provide support and counselling services to disadvantaged youth, particularly street youth which failed to due lack of Government funding.  Funds were repaid to the Abused Child’s Trust $5000 and the Salvation Army’s Refuge for Women $5000.
  • 2014-15 Joint Sponsorship with other CBD Rotary clubs of establishment of Rotaract Club of Brisbane CBD
  • 2014-15 Joint Sponsorship of establishment of Rotaract Club of Brisbane Riverside
  • 2014-15 Refurbishment of Sundial (Brisbane Rotary & Rotaryannes project from 1979) at Petrie Terrace Special School.
  • 2017-18 Sponsored 2 participants to RYLA 2018 for $1,700.
  • 2017-18 Donated $50,000 from the PAF for the Red Frogs initiative Red Frogs is a support network for young people, aiming to provide safety responses, referrals to professional services, education and alternative event programming. Each year 24 tons of ‘Allen’s Red Frogs’ (provided by Nestle), are used as an ice breaker to connect Red Frog volunteers with 1.43 million people (predominately youth & young adults) in environments such as Schoolies, Universities, Festivals, Schools, Skate Parks and Sports Events.
The Rotary Club of Brisbane became a major partner of the Red Frogs program in September 2017 with a commitment of $50,000 across two Rotary years.
  • 2019-20 Donated $12,500 to Breaking Free and $7.500 to Youngcare both as continuing support from 2018-19 from the RCOB Public Ancillary Fund.
  • 2020-21 Conducted the Centenary Gala to celebrate 100 years of rotary in Australia and together we raised $15,000 for Jelly Beans via Open Doors Youth Service Inc. which enables them to continue their critical work supporting vulnerable young people in the Brisbane area.  We also raised $17,350 for PolioPlus which matched with a 2 for 1 contribution from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Service projects for the Disabled

  • 1927-28 Establishment of the Queensland Society for Crippled Children, one of 6 established nationally by Rotary. Extract from the History 1923-73
  • Establishment of Hilcom Limited - workshop for the disabled, developed into the Help foundation.
  • 1986-87 Provision of $20,000 to assist in the construction of a Therapeutic Pool Complex at the Montrose Home for Crippled Children.
  • Seed funding to Operation Kinder - Community project at Riverview.
  • 1980-81 The Pony Riding for the Disabled Association at Moggill had land and horses but not the means of keeping the place in good order. Equipment was provided for the maintenance of the land, together with a shed in which to house it.  For this the club gave $2,500, which was subsidized 4:1 by the Commonwealth. An additional $2,500 was given towards the cost of operating, subsidized 1:1. Thus a total of $17,500 went to the association. More than 20 years on, the Association and its activities are in good shape (now McIntyre Centre Riding for the disabled).
  • 1991-92 Red Hill Special School, $13,000 (towards the purchase of a bus to give outings to severely handicapped children.
  • 1995-96 Assisted in establishment of Vision Queensland to support vision impaired workers and raised $4,500 towards that.
  • 1978-79 Establishment of NADOW, the National Association of Disabled Office Workers. President John Woodhead who was very active in this and other things established the National Association for Disabled Office Workers (NADOW), which had arisen in Sydney), here in Brisbane. It continued successfully for some years and the club continued to provide some financial support.
  • 1991-92 Donation of $1,000 to NADOW and $2,000 to Bridging the Gap from fund raising for the year.
  • 2006-09 Contributed substantial funds to the Canine Helpers Guide Dogs for the Disabled Association over 3 years.
  • 2013-21 Contribution and staffing “Eddies Food Van for homeless. 8yrs & ongoing in years 2013-2021
  • Donation $300 to Purple House.

Health and Safety

  • 1977-78. The Queensland Surf Life Saving Association had been for decades providing an invaluable community service while living from hand to mouth in terms of finances. President Wal Bishop decided that Brisbane Rotary should and could establish a Foundation which would provide a sound financial base; one with sufficient capital to earn some regular income beyond that on which they depended. This was pursued with vigor and success, resulting in the establishment of a Queensland Surf Lifesaving Foundation with an initial investment of $107,000. This was achieved through a public appeal ($28,450), a Motor Car Art Union ($8,221), and a Miss Brisbane Rotary Quest ($21,669). There was a generous State Government subsidy of 75c.in the dollar.
  • 1974-75 Provision of a Mobile Canteen costing $6,203 for the Salvation Army in 1975 following the 1974 floods in Brisbane, of which $1,000 was donated by the Rotaryannes.
  • 1979-80 Establishment of the Queensland organization of the Child Accident prevention Foundation of Australia. The Club gave $10,000 to this while individual Rotarians helped in raising an additional $60,000.
  • 1991-92 The Rotaryannes raised $1,500 ($3,000 in 2021 dollars) towards the cost of sponsoring a car for the Blue Nursing Service and the club matched this, making the total donation to the Blue Nursing Service $3,000 (2021 equivalent $6,000)
  • 1991-92 Project joint with 20 other Rotary clubs. Furnished a unit at Wesley Rotary Lodge $7,000 (equivalent to $14,000 in 2021 dollars) for a room to take seriously ill patients and families when receiving treatment.
  • 1991-92 The Salvation Army received a refit of their mobile kitchen truck originally given by the club.
  • 1991-92 Donations from fund raising to Muscular Dystrophy and the Rotary Health Foundation
  • 1992-93 Donated medical equipment to Prince Charles Hospital and Honiara Hospital
  • 1994-95 Provided a mobile first aid caravan for Moreton Island ($22,500), handed over to a community group in 2014
  • 1995-96 Production of "Your Move" first aid adventure video.
  • 1997-98 Production and promotion of Your Move video as a life-saving lesson in resuscitation techniques produced by Health & Safety Director Rob Dickson in conjunction with sponsor Bill Wylie a Perth businessman and Trevor Hendy, Australia’s’ best-kown ironman in 1998.  Video was advertised through The Australian Women’s Weekly February 1998 and endorsed by the Hon John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia.  Cost was $80,000, but unfortunately sales of the video did not recoup the cost.
  • 2001-02 Joint project with the Rotary Clubs of Stones Corner and Brisbane High Rise for the Combined Brisbane Rotary Clubs Art Spectacular 2002 and we gained agreement to make the Salvation Army Mobile Kitchen project the major beneficiary of the Art Spectacular. On 24th June 2002, a cheque for $23,356 (2021 equivalent $35,000) was presented to the Salvation Army for this project, representing 50% of the net proceeds. Our special thanks go to the Rotary Club of Stones Corner for offering us the opportunity to take part in the Art Spectacular 2000.
  • 2000-03 Charity golf days joint with and in support of Diabetes Australia
  • 2016-17 donated $30,000 from the PAF to the Salvation Army for a mobile canteen trailer to replace the mobile canteen donated in 1974-75.
  • 2017-18 Donated $50,000 from the PAF to Red Frogs program to support adolescent kids
2022-23. Project launched in 2023 to recognise the centenary of Rotary in Queensland and involving all rotary clubs in Queensland is to raise five million dollars over 3 years for a named chair at the University of Queensland and the Queensland Brain Institute. The Chair will be named the Rotary Queensland Centenary Chair in Neuroscience to recognise the importance of this work in the Mental Health sphere.


  • YYYY-yy Established program that led to the formation of the Brisbane City Mission
  • 1991-92 Teen Challenge, $16,000 for the provision of a van to help homeless street children.
  • 2001-02 At the start of the year the club saw the need for a shelter for homeless women and girls in the CBD and budgeted $20,000 seed money to start this project. After the announcement at our first club assembly, we found that the Salvation Army and the Queensland Government had also seen this need, and the Salvation Army had plans prepared to convert one floor of “Pindari”, the Men’s Hostel in Spring Hill, to be a homeless women’s shelter. The board agreed to support this project, making it highest priority, and the three other CBD Rotary clubs also agreed to be involved, making it another joint project. The Queensland Government agreed to fund the conversion, with the four CBD Rotary clubs to organize the furnishings for the 19 rooms and the common facilities for the project, at a cost of $4,000 per room. The new shelter opened in September 2002. The Rotary Club of Brisbane provided $8,400 for the project, including a $4,000 donation from Rotarian Sir Robert Mathers and $2,000 from receptions to mark the visit of the Matthew Flinders Bicentennial sailing ship Windward Bound hosted by the club, and from the Antique Fair 2002.
  • 2012-14 Provided scholarships and mentoring for homeless youth administrated by the Brisbane Homeless Youth Association over 3 years.
  • 2014-15 Continued contribution to Brisbane Homeless Youth Services for a further 2 scholarships.
  • 2013-21 Eddie’s Van - This has been run every day in the Christmas school holidays by Rotarian Denise Schellbach for 20 years including in the Rotary Club of Brisbane since 2013.  Eddie’s Van is named after Edmund Rice, a Christian Brother.  The Van is run by St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace during the year and Rotary Club of Brisbane takes over during the long Christmas school holidays.  Rotarian Schellbach started this as a Rotary Community Involvement for people in need, the less fortunate people.  Over the Christmas school holidays Eddie’s van runs every weekday, Monday to Friday and provides breakfast for approximately 50 people each morning in Wickham Park, Brisbane.  Rotary Club of Brisbane pays for the registration of Eddie’s Van and members contribute by helping Rotarian Schellbach each morning.

Sausages and eggs for breakfast at Eddies Van

Community Service

  • 1943-44 Donation of rowing boat to the YMCA Camp at Tallebudgera Creek
  • 1952-53 Established Rotary Agricultural Scholarship at Gatton Agricultural College for New Australian and British migrants.  This was supported by the New Settlers League and 17 scholars attended.
  • 1976-77. A new fund raiser was the Brisbane Rotary Art Show, held in the MLC Building and opened by the Governor. It raised $3,000 and Art Shows in various forms, at various locations but not every year, were to continue for some years.
  • 1984-85 Establishment (from Melbourne) resources for Bridging the Gap - Job Help Inc, a highly successful job help program.
  • 1985-86 Major project was upgrading of walking trails in Mt. Coot-tha Reserve under the Commonwealth Community Employment Program with substantial support from Brisbane City Council which also provided supervision. It employed 15 young workers and is estimated to have cost $235,000 (2021 equivalent $593,000).
  • 1988-89 Installed a time capsule in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens near the Edward St entrance to commemorate the Australian Bicentennial.
  • 1989-90-91.  Decision made in 1989-90 to establish a community service club at the Sir David Longland Corrections Centre consisting of prisoners. The objective of the club was to encourage members to participate in constructive activities within the prison and improve their social functioning.  The club was established in 1990-91 but did not survive.
  • 1991-92 President Ron Barnwell.  Fund raising for the year totaled $66,000 for charities (2021 equivalent $131, 600) and approximately the same amount was donated, see details.
  • 1991-92 Conducted a garage sale at the disused service station raising $7,800 on the day (equal to $15,000 in today’s dollars) and donated all surplus stock to Lifeline.
  • 1991-92 The Christmas Art Union raised $13,300 (2021 equivalent $26,000).  Display in the Myer Centre and ticket sales supported by charities The Red Hill Special School, The Royal Flying Doctor Service and Friends of Blue Nurses who received 50% of any ticket sales they made.
  • 1991-92 With Ron Barnwell as president, held the official opening of the Wacol Correctional Centre, charging entrance fees and other activities to raise $20,000 (2021 equivalent $40,000) with half to go to Victims of Crime, $10,000 presented.
  • 1991-92 President Ron Barnwell.  Golf Day raised $4,600 (2021 equivalent $9,000) and the Bowls charity Day $725 (2021 equivalent $1500) for the Club’s charity fund.
  • 1992-93 to make a physical mark of Rotary’s presence in the city (we did not really have one, in spite of our many years here), a historical plaque was placed in South Bank, engraved with a view of the city skyline of 100 years earlier, to be seen in the direction of one’s view.
  • 2000-01 Set up the Rotary Club of Brisbane Benevolent Foundation as a charitable trust and built up the funds in the foundation to support charitable works by the club through registered charities.
  • 2001-02 Foodbank Queensland cold boxes and trailers project, with $2,500 raised through a fine wine raffle and donations and presented to Foodbank Queensland in April 2002. This was put forward by President Mike Evans of the Rotary Club of Brisbane North and became a joint project of the four Central Business District Rotary Clubs, Brisbane, Brisbane North, Brisbane Hi-Rise and Brisbane Mid-City.
  • 2006-07 Hosted a gala charity dinner and appeal and raised $75,000 for support to communities devastated by Cyclone Larry in March 2006 and provided secondary school kits and university scholarships to students in the area.
  • 2011-12 As a Gold sponsor donated $25,000 for the Brisbane City Hall Restoration in 2012
  • Significant fund raising over many years through profitable wine sales projects.
  • 2011-12 Obtained substantial contributions from sister clubs RC Charleston, South Carolina USA, Taipei Tatung, Taiwan and Kobe East, Japan to the 2011 D9600 Flood appeal together with own contributions
  • 2012-15 Developing a mentorship program for charities in need of support with a pilot program being developed in conjunction with Brisbane City Council.  The club held funds for this, including a $5,000 donation in 2012-13 from Rtn Clive Mormon.
  • 2013-15 Recommenced fundraising at over $10,000/year through annual charity golf days 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 plus BBQ fundraisers $3000 each.
  • 2014-15 Working up a joint program with Shaftsbury College to provide weaners to be raised at their Arethusa College Barambah Creek campus to provide training for students, profit for the college and benefit Foodbank.
  • 2014-15 Drought Funding South Burnett Farmers 2014 $5,000
  • 2014-15 Drought Funding Longreach Community Farmers 2015 $5,000
  • 2014-15 Provided volunteer marshals at the Brisbane Centenary of Anzac March.
  • 2014-15 Contributed funding to Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia of proceeds of Charity Golf Day 2015
  • 2017-18 Clean up Australia Day participation at Hamilton Reach Northshore Riverside Park, Brisbane River.
  • 2018-19 Clean Up Australia Day participation at Orleigh Park, Brisbane River.
  • 2019-20 Donation of $50,000 from the RCOB Public Ancillary Fund to the Mater Foundation for the Best Start Grants Program – emphasis on Families dealing with parental and perinatal mental health.

International Service Projects

  • 1934-35 Rotary Presidents Peace Park was established in St Lucia by Brisbane Rotarians with RI Past president Paul Harris planting the first tree.
  • 1943-44 Correspondence maintained with overseas Rotary Clubs and a large number of food parcels were sent to 20 Rotary Clubs in Britain for distribution in the blitzed London areas in WW2.
  • 1943-44 Funds raised to forward one thousand toys to British children.
  • 1945-46 At a luncheon meeting on 1st April 1946 His Excellency Honorary Rotarian Sir Leslie Wilson addressed the Club at the completion of his term as Governor of Queensland and 60 food parcels were contributed by those present as a token of appreciation to be distributed by the Rotary Club of Reading, England to needy cases in that area.
  • 1945-46 During the year club members contributed funds with which together with club funds 750 food parcels were sent to Rotary clubs in Great Britain
  • 1946-47 Raised funds in conjunction with the Fortitude Valley and South Brisbane Rotary Clubs totaling £3135.50 enabling the purchase of 504 food parcels, 4,800 tins of meat and 48,000 cakes of soap for distribution to various Rotary Clubs in the United Kingdom to deserving cases.
  • 1947-48 Conducted Food for Britain appeal in conjunction with the Fortitude Valley and South Brisbane Rotary Clubs and all clubs in the District and the Brisbane[KW1]  Courier Newspaper Company which raised £13,825.
  • 1970- -Donations in Kind (DIK).  In the 1970s Rotarian James Delahunty, a pharmacist, realised that a large quantity of still effective, but soon to be out of date pharmaceuticals were being dumped. He had a pharmacist friend and colleague who was a Missionary in Papua New Guinea so James sent these drugs to PNG where they saved lives. In conjunction with PDG Ian Wilson and his wife Jo Wilson, over time, with the support of the RCOB and later the involvement of Rotary District 9600 and Northern Region, this grew into Donations in Kind DIK), which has brought great benefits to the people of our neighbouring countries in the Pacific to our north.  DIK continued to sort and ship out of date pharmaceuticals supervised by volunteer pharmacists until Government regulations prevented these shipments.  DIK now (in 2022 rebadged as RARE(Repurposing nnnn)) continues to receive and distribute hospital and other equipment for hospitals and schools.
  • 1991-92 Donated $3,500 to The Rotary Foundation and $2,500 to DIK from the Charity fund.
  • 1991-92 Collected 20 typewriters and reconditioned them for dispatch to Badili Training School in Port Moresby, PNG
  • 1992-93 Special grants obtained for a water tank, serum supply and other medical equipment for Aitape, Papua New Guinea.
  • 1996-97 Death Adder vaccine provided to Ataipe Hospital, PNG, through former Rotarian Frank Evans, principal of St Ignatius secondary school.
  • 2002-03 Hosted the 2003 RI World convention, commencing with the 1999 set up of an incorporated association World Convention 2003 Inc to run a very successful convention.
  • Sister Clubs and Matched Club formed:
  • 2000-01Matched Club with the Rotary Club of Port Moresby, D 9600 PNG
  • 2000-01 Rotary Club of Tsim Sha Tsui East, D 3450 Hong Kong
  • 2001-02 Rotary Club of Taipei Tatung, D3480 Taiwan
  • 2004-05 Rotary Club of Charleston, D 7770 USA
  • 2004-05 Rotary Club of Amsterdam-International D1580 The Netherlands
  • 2008-09 Rotary Club of Kobe East, D 2680 Japan
  • 2020-21 Rotary club of Colombo Reconnections, D 3220, Sri Lanka
  • 2001-02 Joint project with sister club RC Tsim Sha Tsui East contributing US $1,200 each for vocational tools and equipment for the Badili Vocational School, PNG.  Half of this supported a matching grant application jointly with the Rotary Club of Boroko.
  • 2001-02 Joint project with matched Club the Rotary Club of Port Moresby in their portable school desks project, by agreeing to contribute $1,000 for the purchase of 200 desks.
  • 2001-02 President’s At-Home receptions for the visit of RI World President Bichai Rattakul and Directors and the formal signing ceremony of the sister club agreement with RC Taipei Tatung raised funds for The Rotary Foundation
  • 2004-05 In conjunction with PNG clubs, provided relief funds for affected communities from the Tsunami in December 2004 and the volcanic eruption at Manam Island off the coast of PNG which destroyed the villages on the island.  Funds totaling $20,388 from the Club $10,000, individual members $4,190 and John Puttick’s company and staff $6,198 were provided to the salvation Army for PNG relief.
  • 2007-08 PNG Dental program $6,000
  • 2007-08 Support for Shelter Boxes program including $12,000 in this year.
  • 2004-05 matching grant with the Rotary Club of Las Heras, Argentina to purchase and install 2 classrooms of computers in a school community centre at Las Heras for teachers, students and members of the community to become computer-literate.
  • 2010-11 Continued support for the Rotary Foundation and since 2010 all members contribute $100/year as a centurion club
  • 2010-11 Earthquake aid in Japan US$3,000 sent thorough sister Club RC Kobe East.
  • 2013-14 International Service project in association with sister club RC Taipei Tatung Taiwan provided $5,000 for their 30th anniversary celebrations.
  • 2017-18 Donated $5000 to Rotary Club of Townsville to support the Kits for Kids program for Timor.
  • 2017-18 Donated $5,060 to The Rotary Foundation for the Annual Fund ($4,820 from the James Delahunty Testimonial Lunch and $240 from sale of Christmas Cakes) and $680.90 for the Polio Plus Fund.
  • 2017-18 Donated $11.865 to Donations in Kind raised from the James Delahunty Testimonial Lunch.
  • 2018-19 US$3,500 donated to the Rotary foundation Annual Fund to maintain the Club’s Centurion status.
  • 2018-19: Donated $5,000 to Kyeema Foundation for the PNG village chicken project to set up a shed and train staff in village chicken keeping for Haus Pikinini, a community orphanage for children abandoned by HIV parents in Wau town, Morobe Province, PNG.
  • 2019-20: Donated $3,980 to Kyeema Foundation for the PNG village chicken project to support setting up village chicken breeding centre and coral garden nursery in Gabagaba village, Central province.
  • 2020-21 From the centenary Gala we also raised $17,350 for PolioPlus which was matched with a 2 for 1 contribution from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • 2020-21 Donated $5750 from the charity account for the shipping of a container from Melbourne to PNG containing medical supplies for COVID-19. for use by the Port Moresby General Hospital, with customs clearance and distribution managed by the Rotary club of Port Moresby.
  • 2020-21 Created a Standing Committee for PNG to manage fundraising and support for PNG disaster relief and support.
  • 2020-21 Joint project with Rotary Club of Colombo Reconnections to conduct training in early intervention for Autism in children by Zoom over 6 months for 35 professional resource staff at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for children, Colombo, Sri Lanka at a cost of INR225,000.  MOU signed.

Rotary Family Tree North-Eastern Australia and the Solomon Islands

  • 2002-03 As part of the Club’s 80th anniversary celebrations, culminating in an international dinner during World Convention 2003, the family tree showing all the branches of the family of Rotary clubs originating from the Rotary Club of Brisbane was developed and displayed at the World Convention 2003.  This is designed to be printed on A4 sheets for each branch of the Rotary family.
  • 2012-13 The club celebrated its 90th anniversary at an international dinner attended by delegations from its international sister clubs in June 2013.

Constitution and Bylaws

  • 2011-12 Constitution 2010 and Bylaws adopted by the club and registered with the Office of Fair Trading
  • 2014-15 - Constitution 2013 and 2015 bylaws adopted by the club April 2015 and registered with the Office of Fair Trading dated 3 June 2015 and approved under the Collections Act 1966 on 3 June 2015, Organization No. CP0345.

Admission of Women into the club

  • 1989-90 A motion in favour of admitting women into the club was passed without dissent.  Two female presidents, in 1996-97 and 2004-05.

Honorary Memberships

  • 2022-23.  The board approved Honorary Memberships for the Lord Mayor of Brisbane Councilor Adrian Schrinner and the Governor of Queensland Her Excellency Dr  and Professor Lt Col Graeme W      .  The Lord Mayor was inducted at his office in City Hall be President Bruce McNaught on Wednesday 19th April in the presence of president elect Phi Saxby and Rotarians Denise Schellbach and Past President Keith Watts.  Her Excellency and Professor Graeme W   will be inducted at a reception to be held at Government House on Tuesday 27th June 203 in the presence of all members of the club, District Governors and Rotarians from other clubs in the District 9620.

Strategic planning, Vision and Core Values

  • Strategic planning in 1999 saw the adoption of a vision and core values for the club and experiment with a new business structure. This vision and core values remains the club’s ethos.
Our vision is for the Rotary Club of Brisbane to be high profile, dynamic service organization with the Brisbane Central Business District, actively involved in worthwhile community projects, which make a difference in the lives of all involved.
Core Values
We will operate in an ethical manner, displaying honesty and integrity in dealing with others, as reflected in the Rotary Four Way Test:
Leadership Image
Our corporate behavior will reflect the Club’s leadership role within the Rotary community in the CBD and District.
Club functions will be focused on CBD-specific and designated RI projects that will really make a difference in the lives of others.
Responsiveness to Members
Club services will respond to members’ needs and expectations, with support mechanisms available to members in need.
Members will be informed regularly of Club developments and community projects in which they can become involved.
Fun and Fellowship
Activities will be designed to inform, and provide members with fun, fellowship and social stimulation.
Members are encouraged to become actively involved in all aspects of Club life.
  • 2017-18 3-year strategic plan adopted with assistance in preparing the plan from the QUT M Bus candidates for 2017-8 and the QUT Ideas Factory.
The Presidents 1923-1983
P.B. Macgregor K.C.
Dr. N.L. Sherwood
P.B. Macgregor K.C.
W.R. Gilbert
T.M. McWilliam
G.H. Nelson ⃰
Prof. H.C. Richards
C.W. Bishop ⃰
F. de Witt Barry
W.R. McDonald
R.C. Hancock ⃰
H.T. Lewis
J.K Cannan
Sir Arnold Bennett QC ⃰
PDG R.J. Allen
H.J. Broad
T.J. Barry
E.T.Router MBE ⃰
W.K. McLuckie
W.A. Jolly W.B.
A.R. Tritton
W.B.Darker ⃰
A.H. Blackman
S. Willmott
H.S. Gresham
R.L.H. Peterson
D.W. Picking
Rev. P. Watson
W.R.A McAlpine OAM
Dr. A.V. Meehan
W.H.G. Best CBE
C.R. Christmas
Prof. I A Wilson*
L.G. Hinwood
B D Eggleton
M.S. Herring OBE
F J Kennedy
J.H. Buckle
K J Barry
H.W. Broad ⃰
W A Buetel
H.W. Watson OBE
P J Self MBE
J.E. Peden ⃰
A R Kreuger
F.J. Morgan
A H Brady
H. Bryden
W Bishop AM
A.A. Jackson CBE
L T Padman
P.R.T. Wills
M A K Thompson
B. Flewell-Smith CBE
A G English OBE
B. Martin OBE ⃰
R G Conley AM
F.L. Bonney
N V Hellen
*District Governor
The Presidents 1983-
H F Mitchell
A Smith
D J Knight
G Whitmore
J Woodhead
Greg Whitmore
S D Jolly
P Gresham
R C Palmer
T McKinnon
Greg Whitmore
Prof. G L Wilson
Dr Daniel Vankov
F A McKay
Dr Chris Muir
R K Hamburger AM
Michael Stephens
R Barnwell
Dan Adler
Dr R K Bougen OBE
Mark Williams
J R McK Worrell
Bruce McNaught
John Blake
Dr J R Puttick
Yvonne E Levien
Dr G I Alexander AO
Dr P E Ulrich
Dr G I Alexander AO
W D Hampton
Dr B Carss OAM
Dr K W Watts
A Gillespie
R Dixon
Marjorie Carss AM
W Cunningham
G Ridler
M Evans
M Evans
M Kelly
M M Mauger
B T Veal
A Smith
Paul Harris Fellows
C. W. Bishop
PP M.Carss
M. W. Davies
P.T. Barry
George. W. Martin
S.D. Jolly
Gladys Martin (Mrs)
W.J. E. Kerrison
H. S. Gresham
J. D. Knight
PDG J. W. Peden
H. F. Mitchell
PDG C. Brand
Jocelyn. A Wilson (Mrs)
PDG Sir Arnold Bennett QC
J. Woodhead
E. L. Walpole
A. J. Love +1
H. C. Jenyns
J. A. Menzies
L. W. Finney
D. L. Murchison
A. H. Blackman
R.C. Palmer
J. P. Love +1
D.P. R. Sellars
J. Berry
K.M. Shaw
PP W. Bishop AM +3
P. Tsikleas
L. J. H. Teakle
J.W. Warham
W. R. A. McAlpine
M.L. McAlpine (Mrs)
PDG V. H. French
A.M. Sellars (Mrs)
A. J. Campbell
PP P.J. Goldston AM
W. A. Buettel
PP Prof G. L Wilson
George. D. Martin
A. R. White
A. A. Jackson
PP R. K. Boughen
H. J. Broad
W. Bremner
H. T. Lewis
M.M L.Forde (Mrs)
D. W. Picking
R. T. Francis
Ted & J. D. Router (Mrs)
PP F. A. McKay
W. G. H. Best
K. B. Ward
PDG I. A. Wilson +1
S J. Francis +2
H. E. Commodore Sir James Maxwell Ramsay KCMG KCVO CBE DSC
F. Evans
C. Cormie
J Furby
A. H. Braby
L. Suggars (Mrs)
M. B. Hoare
D. Ealding (Mrs)
A. R. Kruger
C M Manning
PP L. T. Padman OBE
M. Humfress
M. A. K. Thompson
PP K. Hamburger AM
M. F. Peden (Mrs)
T.J. Carter
PP A.J. Gillespie
PP R. Barnwell (PHF +I)
Lady Bennett
K. Benson
K. J. Barry
D.S Charlton
PP Dr B. W. Carss
P W Dent
Paul Harris Fellows
C.B R Mann
Tony J Pilkington +1
PP W. D. Cunningham
Bill Heymink
J.A Delahunty +1
Denise Schellbach +3
PP BH McNaught +8
PP Michael Stephens +1
J. Jones (Mrs) J P
PP Alistair J Smith +1
R. A. Bland
C J Morman
PP J. P. Worrell
PP Dr CB Muir
PP Dr K. W. Watts +1
John Smerdon
J. Blake
Mark Williams +6
PP P. Ulrich
Dr Peter J Drum
N. Dickson
Warren J Walker
G. Zietch (Mrs)
Prof Gerald Holtmann
G. Mulligan
PP Dr John Puttick +3
PP Dr John Puttick +3
Rick Tamaschke +4
G K McHarrie
Phil Saxby +1
N A Dickson
PP Yvonne.E. Levien
J Torrance
PP G I Alexander
M Barnwell (Mrs.)
J.F. Charlton +1
R.J. Esler
S.E. MacNish
Tracy Walker
Margaret Scott
PP W.D. Hampton
H. Milne
WA Tod
R W Mathers
Dr Marjorie Herrington +8
RJ Thistlethwaite
PP PJ Gresham
PP G Whitmore +3
D Hanson
Dr D J O’Donoghue +2
Dr Marianne Hanson
June Jones (Mrs)
K Jones
Janeen Hamburger
General The Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK CVO MC (Retd)


The PHF date shown in the table is the date when the listed person first became a Paul Harris Fellow.  The PHF levels relate to the Recognition Amount in US$1000 steps.  As of February 2021, the club had 122 Paul Harris Fellows, 2 major donors, 36 Rotarian donors and 57 non-Rotarian donors and All Time Giving stood at $195,400.


Awards and Honours

RI Distinguished Club Awards

  • 2000-02 Awards were received in 2000-01 and 2001-02
  • 2001-02 Perhaps the most important outcome was to welcome 27 new members into the club, including a group induction of nine members on 27th May 2002.  This was the culmination of our “Club within a Club” project, a very successful promotion.  Mentors were appointed, and a New Member Retention and Mentoring Committee was set up to “love our new members to death” in fostering their introduction into the club.  At year end 2001-02 the club had 100 active members and 10 honorary members.
  • 2016-17 RI President’s citation. Awarded the D9600 Membership Development and Membership Retention Awards.
  • 2017-18 RI President’s citation.  Awarded the D9600 Alan Ward Memorial shield for outstanding activities in vocational service and the Herrington Shield for best club bulletin.

Rotary Club of Brisbane Exemplary Service Award

This was an award conferred on a member who is judged to have provided a service to the Club and Rotary at a level beyond that normally expected of members. The evaluation criteria were developed by the Club to act as a guide in the selection process, based on the club’s published core values.

Exemplary Service Award Evaluation Criteria

1. ETHICS Members of the RCOB will reflect ethical behaviour in their relationships, not only with fellow members, but also with others in their community, business and professional networks.
2. LEADERSHIP. For the RCOB to give an image of leadership as the premier service club in the Brisbane CBD, this value is concerned with the leadership qualities displayed by RCOB members within and outside the club.
3. FOCUS. Focus addresses a member's ability to identify promote and develop RCOB projects for implementation; that will really make a difference in the lives of those who will be affected by the project(s).
4. RESPONSIVENESS TO MEMBERS. This value reflects a member's willingness to be available, and to assist other RCOB members who require assistance in some, or any particular respect, whether it is related to Club or personal matters.
5.COMMUNICATIONS. Effective communications within the RCOB are critical for the growth and development of the Club. This value is concerned with how effectively a member facilitates/disseminates information of significance to members, with respect to Club growth, development and RCOB membership generally.
6. FUN AND FELLOWSHIP. Membership of Rotary is about building relationships within the Club and the community and having fun in the process. What contribution is made by this member in promoting fun and fellowship amongst the RCOB membership?
7. ACCOUNTABILITY. How active is this member in playing an active role in the life of the Club, including regular attendance at meetings and participation in Club and community projects?

Award Recipients

1988-89 PP John Puttick
1999-00 PP Dr Keith Watts
2000-01 Rtn Peter Ryan
2001-02 PP Marjorie Carss
2002-03 PP Dr Brian Carss
In 2017-18 the exemplary service awards were given as Paul Harris fellowships, US $3000 was donated from the PAF to The Rotary Foundation for this purpose and 3 awards were given.

Rotary Club of Brisbane Lifetime Achievement Awards

2021 Recipients

PP Chris Muir
PP Keith Watts
PP Michael Stephens
Rtn Warren Walker
Rtn James Delahunty
PP Wal Bishop AM
Rtn Denise Schellbach OAM
Rtn Mark Williams
PP Phil Gresham
Rtn Don O’Donoghue

Rotary International Citation for Meritorious Service


1984-85 PP Keith Watts (D9650)

100 Years of Service Above Self