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Vice President's Report - 2005/2006

Club Service Committees - Sue McCarthy 


The activity which brings us together most often is the Wednesday luncheon meeting, organised by the Program Committee, under the Chairmanship of John Edmonds.  The Committee sees its work as somewhat akin to the role of an AFL umpire - the better it does its job, the less the members notice its efforts.  And it isn't above being "yelled at" if its patrons are unhappy with an outcome.

The setting up of the room each week is a task undertaken by a small group of dedicated members, led by Jens Holstein.  Alan Trumble co-ordinates the "meeters and greeters".

Don Hyde, with another small group of helpers, has provided us with a wonderful array of speakers.  Who could forget Professor Roger Short's riveting address on some quite simple measures which can be taken to combat the spread of AIDS?  Or the absolutely inspiring talk by our member John Fuller's son about work undertaken to clean up the world's worst polluted sites?  Or indeed, the excellent Angus Mitchell oration delivered by Past President John Kendall?

On the lighter side, cast your minds back to the great 85th Birthday function, and "Marilyn Monroe" singing "Happy Birthday Mr President" to our own somewhat bashful President Mev.


Our next most frequent interaction with Rotary is via a fellowship activity, often through our Group.

Club Groups

The Captain of Groups, Rod Armitage, surveyed all the groups mid-year to ascertain activity levels.  All groups reported regular meetings held and well attended - the majority monthly and some bi-monthly.  Participation by group members varies from an average of 80 per cent in many to less than 20 per cent in others. Some groups are very active and others less so.

This year the Hawthorn-Camberwell and the Kew Groups merged.  This has proved successful, with meetings scheduled for Mondays and Wednesdays in alternate months.

In summary, the 'fellowship function' of the groups appears to be strong and appreciated by all those who participate.

Inter-Club Visits

There were seven inter-club visits this year.  All were appropriately attended, as we don't want to over-run smaller clubs with too many visitors.  Visits were spread evenly throughout the year and included breakfast, lunch and dinner clubs:

·         Carlton                          August 2005

·         Melbourne North              September 2005

·         Melbourne La Trobe          October 2005

·         Hawthorn                          November 2005

·         St Kilda                            February 2006

·         Geelong                          March 2006

·         Albert Park                        June 2006

Nineteen members of the Rotary Club of Williamstown visited us and we also had a visit from the Rotary Club of North Melbourne. 

On to Conference

The  District 9800 Conference was held in Geelong this year and we were very well represented by a group of 34 members and partners.  The conference and its associated social activities were much enjoyed by all participants and our thanks go to Alan Trumble for his organising skills.

New Fellowship Activities

 All of the regular activities, together with new opportunities provided by the Arts Committee, Lets Go and Young at Heart, made this a bumper year, possibly providing a record number of fellowship opportunities for those members who want to be involved.

LetsGo is a Fun and Fellowship Group aimed at improving the health and fitness of Rotarians and their families, with an event on the last Sunday of each month. All participants have been encouraged to undertake a health assessment at the Baker Institute and to become registered Organ Donors.

LetsGo was launched on 28 August 2005, with a very successful rowing event at Banks Rowing Club. A Classic RCM VIII seated a few new rowers amidst a number of veterans.  Jack Shaw was back on the river after 65 years!  There are now 8-10 regular rowers and we are aiming to enter competition teams.

Since the launch, two bike rides and three rowing events have involved more than 30 RCM members and their families.  Highlight was the lap of the Commonwealth Games roadrace course, 11.1km around the Botanic Gardens and South Yarra, undertaken by a dozen bike riders on 30 April.

President Mev and President Elect Chris have taken the LetsGo concept to the Batman Cluster, so participants are expected from our Cluster Clubs at future events.  A bike ride has been organised for 25 June.

Young at Heart is a new committee meant to engage younger members although their activities have attracted many senior members also.  Their inaugural function took the form of a private, well-attended, viewing of the Dutch Masters exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.  Young at Heart combined with the Arts Committee to offer visits to the Mornington Peninsula Art Gallery and Villa Beleura.

Bruce Davidson, our Fellowship Director, comments that it was a very successful and engaging year for fellowship in the club with a very large range of activities organised and well attended.  However, he cautions that members choose to join Rotary for a variety of reasons; fellowship is not always a priority.  It appears that, regardless of the nature of functions, some Rotarians either cannot or will not join in,  and perhaps we must accept that fact.


Underlying all the activities of our club is the communications function, headed by Clifton Warren.  Alistair Urquhart edits the Bulletin which arrives regularly in our mailboxes, be they of the electronic or physical variety.  It is a large and constant job, and we thank him - and photographer John Tozer - for keeping us in touch.

During the year, the Committee achieved significantly improved communication between the avenues of service.  PR and photography have been working with the speakers team to ensure we have the right resources in place to maximise PR benefits for the club.  And the Committee has been working on a forward plan for the development of the club website.

Communication is behind-the-scenes, yet very important for the long term success of the club.  Most of the committee members work in isolation (photography, bulletin, Phil Bowley on website) and this was the first time in many years that a team approach has been taken.  This basis can be built on.


Several changes have been, or are being, effected in relation to internal administrative matters:

·         The Club's Bulletin is now being produced, printed, and published internally at a substantial cost saving.

·         Measures are being explored to enable reduction of pressure on the Honorary Treasurer relating to book-keeping tasks.

·         Membership recording is in the course of being brought back into the Office.


Membership of course is the lifeblood of our club.  Without it, we can't undertake the community projects outlined in VP Peter Abotomey's report, nor can we support the infrastructure of the club.

Stephen Lake has been the Membership Director and I thank him on behalf of the Club for his efforts in this important area.  There are many strands to membership.

David Richards and his team have worked on membership development.  Today's three inductions (Wed 21st June 2006) bring our membership total to 273 members, up four from last year.  We have one more awaiting induction and three more for approval later today.

The average age of the Club has reduced from 67 to 65 with our youngest member aged 30.

The Member"SHIP" campaign (you will remember Peter Dakin's ship and crew) has generated 135 prospects so far.

Attendance is 52.6 per cent, up from last year's 50.8 per cent.

Three very successful new member nights were held this year.  All new members' inductions include being introduced to Rotary at a New Member's night, joining the luncheon receiving line, and attending a Board meeting.  Peter Rogers and Cheryl Lacy have worked on membership involvement.

John Kendall, Peter Dakin and David Richards worked on our behalf, to introduce a motion proposing the opportunity for Clubs to consider a corporate membership category, which will be considered by the RI Council of Legislation in early 2007.

A membership brochure has been prepared for printing in the new Rotary year.  Thanks to Jo Banks for her work on this.

A combined Club Handbook and Directory was produced this year.  The Handbook portion will be the basis for a new member's induction kit due in September.

Club Services

The quiet achievers of the Club are the Club Services group, with director Peter Bailey. John Kendall on Archives, Grahme Bond on Insurance, Robin Syme on Legal, and Ian Ferguson in relation to Rotary Park, keep abreast of their topics and provide advice as needed.


Bill Charlton continued as Treasurer during the year, and our thanks go to him for his sterling efforts on a very large task.  Thanks to member Doug Marshall, his 21 year old student son Peter has assisted in the computer inputting necessary to prepare monthly Income and Expenditure Statements for the Board, for most of the year on a pro bono basis.

During the year an Audit Committee, under the able Chairmanship of Ron Cullen, was set up to oversee risk management, financial and reporting requirements of the Club.

The Investment Committee continued to provide well founded and expert advice on the management of the Club's investments, chaired by Ross Scholes-Robertson.  The key report producers are of course our Treasurer Bill Charlton and Peter Marfleet.

The total investments of the Charitable Trust Accounts are now over $1 million plus the club account of just on $300,000 in total.  However, because there is so much unsatisfied need in the community we are keen to see further gifts of capital into our Foundation.  David Wittner said we were aiming for $3 million extra for the Community Foundation, where gifts are tax deductible.  Ross Scholes-Robertson remarks optimistically that this should be readily obtained with 300 Rotarians donating $10,000 each.

So the final reminder is: 'take an early opportunity to review your wills and don't forget to include the Rotary Club of  Melbourne Foundation.' 

Sue McCarthy

21 June 2006

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