Tuesday, 02 July 2024

Reception to celebrate 100 years of International Inner Wheel and to thank members of the South Australian Districts

As patron of Inner Wheel District A70, I warmly welcome you all to Government House.

I thank District Chair Cathie Rumbelow for writing so generously about this reception in the January edition of the Compass Rose.

I too am delighted to mark the significance of Inner Wheel’s centenary with you all.

This is the second anniversary celebration for the Inner Wheel community in recent times. It was my pleasure to join you last year for a luncheon to mark half a century of your district.

Milestone anniversaries such as this provide an important opportunity for organisations to reflect on how far they have come.

One hundred years ago, in Manchester, England, the wives of Rotarians saw what Rotary membership offered their husbands - a space to belong, forge friendships and be of service to the community.

They wanted to create an experience like this for themselves, and they took action.

I note that Inner Wheel’s very first meeting was convened at a bath house, chosen for the best of reasons – it was free.[1]

It seems that flexibility and ingenuity have long been hallmarks of women forging new roles for themselves!

As I said at last year’s luncheon, while everyone knows that Inner Wheel is a reference to a smaller wheel contained inside the original Rotary wheel, the organisation has always had its own significant momentum.

Today, Inner Wheel has over 100,000 members in 103 countries.

In Australia, the organisation has 14 districts with more than 3,000 members.

This is a considerable number of Australian women working as part of a larger, global effort to promote peace and friendship in local communities.

Much of your own work aligns with my priorities as Governor in using all opportunities to encourage and support women in the community, as well as offering support to broader society, both here and overseas.

At last year’s luncheon I noted your support for Cord Blood Research, as part of a national effort raising over three-and-a-half million dollars since the initiative began in 2001.

I note your generous giving to various Rotary international projects in recent years, including hearing testing for primary school children in the Kingdom of Tonga, and war victims in Ukraine.

Individual Inner Wheel clubs have also fundraised for local SA causes including the Zahra Foundation, Foodbank and Animal Welfare League.

In addition to its community work, Inner Wheel is an excellent source of friendship and camaraderie for its members.

At a time when loneliness and social isolation are increasing challenges for our society, this is a true gift to your members, especially long-term members, as so many of you are.

I urge you to continue your wonderful work and your pursuit of new ways to grow membership, which I know is an on-going challenge for any volunteer-led organisation.

I encourage you to be bold in letting others know of your considerable contributions.

Congratulations to Inner Wheel on celebrating 100 years.

May you continue bringing women together through friendship, and a shared commitment to service, for many years to come.

[1] https://www.innerwheel.org.nz/IW-History#:~:text=Inner%20Wheel%20is%20formed,'Ladies'%20Rotary%20Club'.

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