The History of  Rotary Club of Hurstville

The First 50 Years

1939 - 1989

The Rotary Club of Hurstville was chartered on the 2nd September, 1939

(Eve of World War 2). We were chartered by the Rotary Club of Sydney.

Charter members were: President: Charles Barter (who served two terms), Vice-President: R. Rose, Secretary: H. Piper, Treasurer: H. Blaikie, Sergeant-at-Arms: J. Webster, Committee: A. Scott and A. Figtree.

The first meeting of the provisional club was held in a restaurant in Jolleys Arcade on 19 July 1939 and the Charter night was held at the Hurstville Masonic Hall. As World War 2 had just broken out, the club’s activities were somewhat limited but were directed to supporting the war effort.

 1944 the club sponsored an exhibition of handicrafts by the St. George District Scouts Association.

 1945-46 President Harry Monk decided that we would sponsor a new club in Rockdale - Rockdale Rotary Club was chartered in 1946.  Harry Monk became a District Governor in 1947-48.

1948-49 land was purchased in Carrington Avenue Hurstville and the St. George Area Boy Scouts were assisted in building their scout hall and area headquarters now known as “Gilwell”. Also during that year, assistance was given to the Mortdale Police & Citizens Boys Club.

With Reg Barter (son of Charles Barter) as President, the Apex Club of Hurstville was formed as the first suburban Apex Club; the Rotary Club of Cronulla was also formed and, as well, Hurstville Club rendered both physical (providing transport) and monetary help to the Orana Club run by the Crippled Children’s Association of New South Wales.

1950-51 President George Toyer, a local nurseryman, initiated the Festival of Flowers, held at Hurstville Oval with support from the Apex Club.

1952 the first festival was opened by Sir John Northcote, Governor of New South Wales and raised 2,000 pounds for Legacy.

1953 a “Maid of Spring” competition was incorporated with the festival, resulting in some 5,500 pounds being raised and donated to the St. George Area Scouts Association.

1955 a “Relatives and Friends” waiting room was built at St. George Hospital from funds raised from successive festivals and a successful Art Union for a Ford Customline car was conducted in conjunction with the festival.

1957 the club sponsored a British migrant family from Wales to settle in Australia. Mr and Mrs Rees and their five children were accommodated in a house in Hurstville provided by Rotarian Fred Parkinson.  The Penshurst branch of the Red Cross was assisted in building their present premises at Penshurst Railway Station.

1958 We donated a Morris Minor car to the Hurstville Home Nursing Service.

Also saw the beginning of many 100 pound yearly scholarships being awarded to St.George Legacy.

I961-62 under President John Crawford assistance was given to “The Laurels” children’s home.

1966-67 under the guidance of President Barry Pearson, “Meals on Wheels” was established in Hurstville and in 1997 PP PHF Barry Pearson OAM with then President Dorothy Dixon delivered the 1 millionth meal.

1973 the club hosted the District Conference with PP Bob Johnson as District Governor.

Through Arthur Garthon many vintage and veteran car rallies were held in conjunction with the Lions Club of Vaucluse and the Vintage and Veteran car clubs - providing outings and entertainment for senior citizens, blind children, et cetera.

1982-83 President Phil Paul - a toilet block for disabled persons was built in Barrett Street Hurstville; a joint project with Hurstville Apex Club and Hurstville Chamber of Commerce.

PP Ron Harper established “Carols by Candelight” in conjunction with Hurstville Lions Club, first at Penshurst Park and then at Hurstville Oval with the Salvation Army.

1983-84 President Arthur Garthon

1984-5 President Cliff Felton

I985-86 President Brian Heaton was We decided to raise funds to equip a wing at the new Westmead Children’s Hospital then under construction. Brian became District 975 Governor in 1992-93.

1987 PP Barry Pearson organised a Rotary Art Show which was intended to be an annual event.

 1987-88 the club was involved with the St George Great Train Festival which celebrated 100 years since the railway came to Hurstville.

 1988-89 Hurstville Rotary decided to start fundraising for a St. George Life Education Centre for our area. Sutherland was the first area that acquired and set up a mobile classroom based in a 40 foot caravan. Many have followed. The target was to acquire a fully equipped van at that time valued at about $125,000.00 - a lot of money in 1988.

Rotarians were convinced of its value and all became dedicated to raising what we could. For example, appeals to local businesses to contribute $100 to become founding sponsors was very successful. Major raffles and a Charity “Queen contest” were run. The Rotary Club of St. George Central joined with us on this project. Their members were a valuable asset. By the year’s end we had achieved the goal of raising the $125,000.00. The van was ordered and delivered and has served the community to this day.

We have sponsored a number of Rotary cubs in our area: Cronulla, Rockdale, Kogarah and St. George Central plus many Probus Clubs incl. Mortdale; Oatley; Hurstville; Penshurst.