Thursday, 24 August 2023

Rotary Club of Adelaide - Founders Day Lunch

It is an honour to be with you today at the Founders Day Lunch to celebrate 100 years to the day of the first meeting of the Rotary Club of Adelaide.

I am pleased to do so as the Patron of Rotary Adelaide and the Rotary South Australia Centenary.

A Centenary is always a significant milestone, inviting both celebration and a charting of the future.

It is a time for reflection, too. A century ago we were a different society. World War I had taken many young lives and those who returned after serving their country were indelibly changed.

Then the roaring 20s gave us prosperity, new ideas, new roles, and new hope.

It was a time of optimism before the challenges of the depression and another World War took their hold.

Against this backdrop, 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.

I congratulate the Rotary Club of Adelaide on its proud history of working in communities locally and internationally and leading the sponsoring of more than 100 Rotary, Rotaract and Interact Clubs.

Today is an opportune time to briefly mention some of the achievements of Rotary Adelaide over the past 100 years:

  • The club championed the introduction of Medic Alert in SA.
  • COTA grew out of a Rotary Adelaide initiative.
  • The club helped make the first Festival of Arts in 1960 a successful event by billeting visitors and artists.
  • It was involved in the establishment of the Crippled Children’s Association, now known as Novita.

These are now all part of our community fabric.

I also commend Rotary Adelaide for its Aboriginal Chronic Disease Prevention Project - its major Centenary Legacy project in conjunction with the School of Public Health at the University of Adelaide, SAHMRI, Australian Rotary Health and Rotary District 9510.

This project will enable two Aboriginal health scholars to complete PhD Awards to research a culturally appropriate model to prevent and manage chronic disease.

It’s an important step in the quest to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous health outcomes.

In another project, together with other Rotary Clubs, the Peace Poles will remind us that peace begins in our heart, our home and in our community. I was interested to learn that the first was placed here at Adelaide Oval.

There are many more milestones and achievements, which I am sure will be outlined today and throughout the year.

Of course, as we look to the future, one of the key challenges is ensuring that today’s members are followed by tomorrow’s members.

Undoubtedly, many service organisations face the challenge of renewal and growth.

The Rotary Club of Adelaide, South Australia’s largest and oldest Rotary Club, is known for moving with the times.

It is always looking to reflect the diversity and aspirations of our community. Because that brings new ideas and longevity in achieving your important goals.

When I was invited to speak today, it was suggested that on this important milestone that I could encourage us all to look towards the future with hope and courage.

I believe we can do just that. 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.

Today at this lunch we celebrate your history. I know from here, Rotary Adelaide and Rotary Clubs around the world, will continue to make history – of a kind which will be celebrated by future Rotarians and the communities to which you contribute so much.

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