Rotary In Action: Wollongong club reflects on year of achievements

Our column last week explained “changeovers” which occur in June/July each year throughout the Rotary world to celebrate the achievements of the year and to present the plans for the year ahead. 

Changeover: Outgoing Rotary Club of Wollongong president Leigh Robinson hands over to incoming president Dot Hennessy, OAM, at the club's changeover dinner.

Changeover: Outgoing Rotary Club of Wollongong president Leigh Robinson hands over to incoming president Dot Hennessy, OAM, at the club's changeover dinner.

Last week Leigh Robinson, the 89th president of the Rotary Club of Wollongong, shared the depth and breadth of the programs the Rotary Club of Wollongong has conducted in 2016-2017. 

Membership grew by 27 per cent; the club finalised the purchase and wrapping of the Wollongong PCYC Bus; there was Breakfast at Greenhouse Park; we established a partnership with Destination Wollongong with a Memorandum of Understanding - MOU for “When the Ship Comes In” and a submission for future planning in the City of Wollongong.

The club was alos involved in Clean Up Australia and Bowel Scan.

Internationally, funds were provided to the School of St Jude in Tanzania and Rotary’s Polio Plus. Youth programs were extensive, particularly through supporting students of Keira High School Interact Club which was established by the RC of Wollongong 60 years ago this year. We also have a strong relationship with Wollongong PCYC.

Most of the club’s funds to support these programs are raised from Rotary barbecues which serve as an ideal tool for involving young people from Rotaract, Interact and some university students. Having international students assist at our barbecues enables them to interact with the community in ways that they might not have the opportunity to do otherwise. It also shows to some of them who do not have volunteering as a cultural factor, the benefits to be gained by contributing time and effort in support of the community and of their neighbours. 

The club has a long relationship with Wollongong City Council and the Botanic Garden, including the very successful and inaugural Easter Egg Hunt, the Garden Open Day and the summer family working bees at Mt Keira.

For Leigh Robinson and the club, there were two outstanding highlights. Firstly, the club was one of only five in the Rotary District to receive the prestigious Presidential Citation achieving the goals set by the Rotary International President. Secondly, the club had the District’s outstanding Youth program – Keira High School Interact Club’s Harmony Day Celebration.

Leigh especially acknowledged the bestowing of an Order of Australia Medal on President Elect, Dot Hennessy. He congratulated Dot for her ongoing contribution to the community, mainly through Rotary and vocational education and training. 

He also handed over the traditional Rotary Collar to Dot, who introduced the new board and outlined the club’s plans for the coming year.

Rotary began in the Illawarra on September 14, 1927.  A 90th birthday celebration dinner will be held at City Beach on October 28, 2017.  More details to follow shortly.

For more information about Rotary in the Illawarra, contact Dot Hennessy on 0412 120 314 or