Sunday, 04 February 2024

Rotary Centenary Luncheon

You understand that cultivating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture is essential to realising a world where people are able to come together and take action to create lasting change.

One hundred years ago, the founders of Rotary Adelaide – some of Adelaide’s leading citizens – recognised that as a group and by combining their skills, expertise, and commitment they could contribute to building a better community.

Since then, the values on which Rotary is based: service, integrity, diversity, fellowship, and leadership have endured.

We all know we can get more things done by working together, by including others, by respecting difference, by listening.

And Rotary gets things done because people are at its heart.

As I travel across metropolitan and regional South Australia on my vice regal duties, I often see evidence of Rotary’s presence in the community, such as facilities in a park or reserve, a Rotary op shop, and now the centenary Peace Poles, which I have seen in Port Lincoln and the Riverland.

No doubt I will see more as time goes on.

As a career diplomat I also bore witness to Rotary’s international efforts, supporting a range of overseas aid projects and goals, such as the eradication of polio or the creation of prosthetic limbs for people in war-torn countries.

Innovative, well considered, generous projects in our state and across our nation are a hallmark of Rotary.

Your commitment to service has remained strong throughout your first one hundred years in the state, and I have every confidence this will endure.

Rotary has achieved a lot during the past century – far too many things to detail here.

What really stands out for me are your ‘bread and butter’ activities – the small initiatives that have been undertaken hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of times.

All the fundraisers such as golf days, book marts, fundraising balls, art shows and BBQs have raised impressive sums to support the community.

Young people are often the benefactors of your work; your funds supporting them to attend camps, develop leadership skills, go on youth exchanges, sail on the One and All.

Visiting schools throughout the state, Rod and I are inspired by the commitment to service we see in young people.

It is not always cast in ways of my generation, but it is just as inspiring.

I thank Rotary for supporting young people to reach their potential and I thank young Rotarians, those in Interact and Rotaract, for developing their leadership capabilities through their involvement in Rotary.

You are the next generation of the organisation’s leaders, and community leaders more broadly, and I trust you will embrace innovation and change as you contribute to Rotary’s direction during its second century in South Australia.


There are undoubted challenges before us locally, nationally, and globally, but within all of us is strength and the determination to be changemakers.

And Rotary Members are changemakers because you care, and because you can.

Congratulations to you all.

Coming events