Projects ‘Interruptus yet Effective’ seems to have defined this Rotary year.
My diary tells me we were permitted just seven person-to-person meetings from December 16 until the close in the year. Notwithstanding, our Club was able to continue with its long heritage of participating and giving.
As a club we continued to punch well-above our numbers, participation levels, and average age. No matter ‘Projects Interruptus’ for the second half of the year, we strengthened projects from 2018 & 2019 (Kyeema, Outback Futures, Downs & West Community Outreach, Drought Appeals, Breaking Free, and Youngcare) with financial aid by standing on the shoulders of past RCoB Presidents and Members.
We also lent our physical being by turning shoulders to the wheel with:
  • ‘Donations In Kind’ in the heat of Summer by again delivering goods and packing containers for our friends in the Pacific region.
  • ‘Eddies Van’ – (substituting for St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace) a daily labour of love for two months over the Holidays to provide breakfasts to those who find themselves with chemical imbalances, needy or sleeping rough; perennially directed and driven by Denise Schellbach.
  • ‘Melbourne Cup Trifecta’ fund-raiser; directed by Warren Walker.
  • ‘Mundubbera Golf Day’ – again bringing City and Country closer; directed by Mark Williams.
  • ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ – doing our bit; directed by Terry Kung.
RCoB Members hard at work unloading trucks and packing containers for Donations in Kind
Ready to feed the masses from Eddie's Van
Our Treasurer Warren Walker and co-drivers Jaqueline DeLacy and Ryan Muller have diligently worked up a new Fund Raising initiative with a Race Day at Caloundra Racecourse Corbould Park. The delivery only to be put on ice right at the point of securing the first major Sponsors. We will no doubt reignite this exciting and fun event at the earliest opportunity and re-emergence of Sponsors.
Guest speakers have again shone with Denise Schellbach running hard and long into the year and Dan Adler (our incoming President) more recently being handed the baton. Presentations, the quality and variety of the speakers have not disappointed. Attracting quality speakers is a difficult job and approbation only seems to come from the generous applause at meetings. Mark Williams, Dan Adler and Gerald Holtmann were leading lights on keeping our meetings alive with ‘Zoom Meetings’ with truly special topics and participation from around the globe. Expect future meetings to provide members with the option to partake either in person or on-line. I am reminded that some many years back our Club also broadcast its meetings over the Radio – everything old is new again.
Dan Adler and his team continued with the development of the Rotaryship website in preparation for this exciting initiative to attract Membership and a structure to identify, launch, and or assist new Projects. It is worthy to recognize Dan Adler’s hard yards in designing and selling the concept to those in the Rotary hierarchy. The Board’s desire is to use this website/concept to deliver external advertising, promotion and recognition of the Club. This also is a repeatable model for the wider Rotary community.
Membership is a never-ending task and again Keith Watts just does not tire. Club numbers at year’s end have steadied at 33 (including 1 Honorary). At the time of writing we have proposals to induct two young members and we expect one more from our recent luncheon. It also gives me confidence to see that Keith and Dan have recently tapped a rich vein of prospective young members – as a consequence the average age of members will drop precipitously and new enthusiasm should continue to drive our Club.
I am glad that Daniel Vankov is not a professional boxer – he will not lay down. His efforts to secure grants and projects together is outstanding; be it QUT, Scouts, Rotary District, or The European Commission, he never gives up.
Once again the club has been involved with hosting Rotary Peace Fellows studying in the Peace Programme at the University of Queensland. This year we said a fond farewell to Peter Lindsay from class XVII and welcomed Anthony Pemberton and Megan McKeown in class XVIII.
Mark Williams as Club Secretary has invested a literal regular full-time commitment to dragging our Club Administration into the digital 21st  Century. Be it Club Runner, our Website, District Website, working with Dan Adler to integrate Rotaryship and more. Tireless and quality work.
Much in the same vein as Mark, the efforts of Warren Walker in his role as Treasurer – a job that just keeps on coming at you. John Smerdon’s astute guidance of our Public Ancillary Fund (PAF) has us on par with our opening balance from 2018/19 even after all outlays from the PAF. This result is even more remarkable and skillful when we consider his navigating and mitigating against the massive downsides experienced by the stock market and investment community (falls 20-25%) that were forced upon us by the Global shocks delivered this year. Awesome gentlemen.
As a result of their efforts, generous donations from members and friends of the club and members’ efforts in running fundraising activities, the club’s finances remain robustly healthy. Furthermore, during the year - in addition to the sweat of our members’ brows - the club was able to make direct financial contributions to charities and community organisations of almost $85,000. Organisations supported were a diverse bunch and some of them are listed below:
  • Breaking Free – a charity devoted to directly helping schools to address mental health problems.
  • Kyeema – a charity that supports communities in PNG and Africa to establish sustainable food production to improve nutrition.
  • Western Qld Community and RAWCS drought appeals
  • Outback Futures – a charity that works directly with isolated communities in western Qld to help them improve educational outcomes, particularly for children with learning difficulties.
  • YoungCare – an organization devoted to providing age-appropriate caring environments for young handicapped people, allowing them to get closer to their full potential
  • The Mater Foundation which is embarking on a groundbreaking initiative to provide residential care for those suffering severe post-natal depression.
Once again the Rotary Club of Brisbane supported The Rotary Foundation in excess of US$100 per member in 2019-20
Truncated as the year was in fund-raising projects (no Race Day, no Golf Day, no Police Commissioner Lunch) the Club has nonetheless finished strongly in supporting others.
The RCoB may seem to run on auto-pilot to the casual observer, but that belies all participants – but particularly your Board constantly and diligently working behind the scenes.
Dan Adler has accepted the baton and has my backing to continue supporting past projects and more importantly, our backing to try new projects to grow the Club so as to benefit others not so fortunate, and Society in general. Dan’s enthusiasm and skill is infectious and deserves all the support capable from our generous membership.
My personal thank-you and gratitude to all who have supported and or participated in each and every project. My apologizes if I have inadvertently missed a recognition.
If you are like me, you just feel good by lending a hand so that a little light may shine on the lives of others deserving some help. An awesome effort all.