Manjimup’s Rotary Club celebrates 70 years strong
For 70 years the Rotary Club of Manjimup has been contributing to the community and it has been an enjoyable and eventful time for members who have participated over this time.
The club was granted charter on February 23 1952, only 23 days after the formation meeting was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bunbury.
Charter night was held on April 26 with 188 Rotarians from around the State in attendance and the first general meeting was held on May 5 1952.
The club’s first president was Dr Bill Williams, and the Manjimup Club was the 13th Rotary Club in District 34 (now 9465), which at the time covered all of the state of Western Australia.
Over these years, the club has been involved in many major and diverse community events and projects.
Just two years after formation, the club adopted the establishment of the Warren Youth Centre in honour of Rotary International’s golden anniversary in 1954.
The centre, built on the old Manjimup Primary School site, was a major project and began a fundraising campaign that lasted into the 1960s. The centre was demolished, along with the school, in 2010.
The Rotary Club of Manjimup was approached by the Apex Club of Bunbury to help form an Apex Club in Manjimup, which happened when the Apex Club of Manjimup received its charter on November 19 1955.
In 2008 the Club sponsored the formation of the Probus Club of Manjimup as a social club for retirees in the district.
The development of Moonya Lodge was initiated as a major community project in 1967. Management of Moonya was later taken over by Baptist Care.
The Rotary Club of Manjimup held district conferences in 1964, 1988 and 2010. All of the conferences were well-attended, with more than 400 people at each and were used as a tool to promote the region and its produce.
In 1987 the club members helped set up the St John Ambulance at the Manjimup Airport Terminal and also donated $3000. Other donations included $4000 towards the sealing of a 200m airstrip extension to enable to the Royal Flying Doctor to land at night.
In 1988, the club’s project was the construction of Manjimup’s southern entry arch. The club was contracted to rebuild Manjimup’s northern entry arch when it was badly damaged in 1998 and the major project of 1999 was the installation of lighting to highlight the arch.
In its 70 years, the Rotary Club of Manjimup has taken on many projects to cater for a range of demographics.
For youth, the club has been involved in training programs through its RYPEN (Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment & RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards).
For many years the club has been involved in the Rotary Exchange Student program. The club’s involvement commenced in 1971 when Gail Dunns (nee Sherman) being the first student from the region to travel overseas where she spent a year in Oklahoma as a Rotary and Australian Ambassador.
Other youth-focused programs that the club supports include; sponsoring students to attend the National Youth Science Forum in Canberra and sponsoring students to attend the Santos Science programs at their nominated university.
Other areas of support include Blackwood Youth Action. Support was significantly increased in 2022 and 2023 to meet the increased costs of the expansion of the program into Manjimup and a scholarship and book awards program as the club continues to offer scholarships to students at Kearnan College and Manjimup Senior High School and book awards to the schools in Manjimup and Pemberton.
In 2005, the Rotary Club of Manjimup celebrated the Rotary International centenary by establishing the Timber Towns Regional Wine Show, now the RSM Southern Forests & Valleys Wine Show.
Its aim was to promote the wines and producers from the Manjimup, Pemberton and Blackwood Valley regions.
The show has been successful, and it continues to promote the region’s wines and their producers. In 2021 the show invited producers from the Frankland region to become part of the event and judging.
The wines are judged by a panel of accredited judges from within the state and interstate.
An awards presentation dinner is held featuring the producers’ wines and the region’s quality produce.
This year the 18th event will be held on Friday September 16. The committee, comprising of club members, producers and our naming sponsor are looking forward to another successful event.
The event has generated more than $80,000, with the funds used for the club’s projects both locally and internationally.
The Rotary Club of Manjimup’s Community Services calendar was introduced in 1979 and has since been named the Manjimup Community calendar.
In its 43 years this project has raised more than $200,000 for the club’s range of projects.
The calendar continues to receive strong support from the business community. Two thousand copies are printed and distributed to the public through a number of these businesses.
The Manjimup Rotary Club, with the support of the Shire, installed a number of bench seats in the town centre and other locations for the convenience and use of the public which are well-utilised.
The club was involved in the development of the aged accommodation at Dunreath Cottages and continues to support the cottages, most recently donating funding for CCTV for the cottages.
A ‘thank you’ seat in Coronation Park; this was a project taken on by the club to celebrate Manjimup’s centenary in 2009. The seat has plaques that list the very many ethnic groups that have been an integral part of the development and growth of the Manjimup region and continue to do so today.
Anne McKay address – in conjunction with the Shire of Manjimup the Club started the Anne McKay address where successful women and guest speakers talk about their lives, careers, and leaderships.
Speakers have included Julie Shuttleworth, Professor Lyn Beazley, former Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan and former leader of the WA Liberal Party, Liza Harvey.
A wheelchair at Aqua Centre – donation of a wheelchair for people to be able to access the therapy pool at the Centre.
The Manjimup Shire language program whereby support is given for resources to assist in the delivery of an English language program to recent emigrants to the region.
The Manjimup Family Centre shade sails project through donation towards the replacement of the shade sails at the centre.
State, national and international projects
Royal Flying Doctor Service & Cancer Council – over many years the club has undertaking fundraising activities and given support to raise funds for these worthy groups.
The End Polio Now program, this Rotary International project continues to be supported by the club as it recognises the importance of the program and its humanitarian benefits. The club is amongst many supporters, including the Bill Gates Foundation.
The Timor Leste projects; in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Kwinana, the club is supporting projects to deliver clean potable water to vulnerable communities and villages in Timor Leste.
The Rotary International & Rotary Relief sees annual donations from the club goes towards relief projects both within Australia and overseas that are identified by Rotary International as regions requiring their support.
The Shelter Box initiative where the club has been contributing to this worthy project for many years and continues to do so as people and regions are affected by natural disasters and conflicts.
Recently, the Club welcomed three new members, Lynn Daubney, Lynette Alvins & Kevin Wintergreene bringing the membership to 23.
One of the local, long-term projects that a passionate group of club members is undertaking the preservation of the Bolghinup Hut.
The club was approached by community members to offer their support and assistance to ensure that this part of our farming history is preserved.
Thus, the ‘Friends of the Bolghinup Hut’ group was formed and now has 100 members who all have an interest in preserving this historical hut and to tell the story of the farmers of the region who drove their cattle to coastal areas such to access summer feed for their animals.
“In all these activities and programs, the club members have received overwhelming support from their partners and the community,’’ said Manjimup Club president Neil Halden.
“Without this support many of the club’s projects could not have been able to be achieved.”
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