The history of the Rotary Club of Maleny

The 2020s

The club has evolved with the changing times from its foundation in a rural area dominated by dairy farming to a thriving tourist destination. The Club continues to be active in local and regional community projects.
One of the current projects is the ‘Pride of workmanship Awards’ – Celebrating workplace excellence in our community. Anyone can nominate a person from their workplace, business or organisation who you know to be worthy of receiving the Award, and you are endorsing and affirming a demonstrated pursuit of excellence in work practices.

The 2020 recipients of the awards were: Clive Powell, Debbie Rossow, Gayle Pope, Neal Charlton, Sherri Dan and Melody Fanti

The New Millenium

As the millennium approached, a major milestone occurred with the induction of the Club’s first woman president, Sherryl Gregory.

It was a very active year, which included the nurturing of the new Rotary Club of the Glasshouse Mountains. The year’s focus was on enhancing the profile of the Club in the community with Pride of Workmanship awards, business and professional nights, involvement with the Maleny Chamber of Commerce, and the administration of the Maleny and District Disaster Fund; which had been set up in 1994.

In 2000 The Rotary International President’s message was to ‘act with consistency, credibility, continuity and have the courage to change’. The Maleny Club acted on this message in a drive for teamwork and greater involvement of members in projects. It paid off. At the Gympie District Conference, Maleny won the Outstanding Club in District 9600 Award, the Service to Youth Award and the Vocational Service Award, the first time one Club had scooped the pool in one year

The 1990s

In 1991, the Club ‘adopted’ the Cedar Lodge at Erowal retirement village, the gazebo and footpaths at Erowal were constructed, and the planting of the riverside forest was completed. The Club has quarterly BBQ meetings at Cedar Lodge and visits the residents on their birthday.

In 1993, Rotary Club of Maleny arranged for the design, funding, engineering, construction and installation of a pedestrian bridge over the Obi Obi Creek linking the township to the Showgrounds via a boardwalk completed by a local land care group. The bridge known as “Rotary Bridge” replaced an old log which was unsafe.

A fatal accident at Witta in 1994 triggered a successful drive by the Club to raise funds for the ‘Jaws of Life’ and ancillary equipment for the Urban Fire Service in Maleny and the Accident Emergency Rescue Trailer for the Maleny SES.

A violent storm in 1994 prompted the establishment of a local disaster fund to provide immediate personal needs to families affected by unforeseen disasters. The Club provides funding on an annual basis to ensure the disaster fund remains solvent. The local Police OIC, the SES controller and the Rotary Club administer the funds.

The 1980s

The ‘Country Day’ concept was introduced where under – privileged city kids were sponsored to experience life on a farm around Maleny. The kids learnt about milking, feeding calves, shearing, woodworking, riding and leatherwork. This was a decade of numerous projects: movie nights screened at the Community Centre (now known as the Maleny Film Society) career guidance for school children through mock employment interviews, establishing the Probus Club. Another highlight was the construction of a playground at Mary Cairncross Park.
The first Maleny Folk Festival was held in 1987 with 800 people attending. By 1994 the festival was attracting 60,000 people and became too big for the Maleny township and was moved to Woodford. It is now known as the Woodford Festival and enjoys national significance

The 1970s

Land was originally offered to the club by Isabel Bryce for a nursing home, but after drawing up plans there was no Government funding, so the land was gifted to the Uniting Church who completed the building project. The club has remained involved ever since with various projects for Erow al Nursing home. Maleny Rotary club in 1971 became involved in The Exchange Student Program, Maleny students travelled to Brazil, South Africa, Denmark, Japan and Argentina. Inbound students arrived in Maleny from USA, Canada, Sweden, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Denmark and Japan

The 1960s

In 1941 the Thynne sisters vested 100 acres of land in Trust with the Council to hold the land as a Reserve and Sanctuary. The Rotary club had extensive discussions with the Council and Elizabeth Thynne, and it was agreed that the club would create and maintain the reserve and sanctuary as the club’s first major project.
Sir Henry Abel Smith, Governor of Queensland officially opened the “Mary Cairncross Park” on December 11th 1960 attended by Rotary president Vic Waddell and past president Norm Tesch.

Maleny Charter 1959

The foundation of The Rotary Club of Maleny was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Caloundra. The club was officially chartered on May 22 nd and a presentation of the Charter Dinner was held on Saturday, 10th October 1959 at the RSL Memorial Hall attended by 250 members and guests. Norm Tesch was the inaugural president and members numbered twenty. The club’s original meeting venue was the Maleny Hotel, and sixty years later it continues to hold monthly meetings at the Maleny Hotel.

The origins of Rotary

Rotary started with the vision of one man — Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on 23 February 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships.
The 35,000+ clubs and a global network of 1.2 million neighbours, friends, leaders, and problem – solvers that see a world where people unite, and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.
Solving real problems takes real commitment and vision. For more than 110 years, Rotary’s people of action have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects. From literacy and peace to water and health, Rotary is always working to better our world, and to stay committed to the end

Highlights from the Maleny Rotary Club have been extracted from the book ‘Rotary in Maleny – 50 years of service’ by Jack Wilcox AM.