May 2017 – Governor’s Message - June is Rotary Fellowships Month


District Governor Neville John

The foundation on which Rotary is built is friendship; on no less firm foundation could it have stood. - Paul P. Harris

The proverb “Birds of a feather flock together" has been around in the English language since the mid-1500s. When applied to people, this phrase means that people who share similar interests tend to spend time with each other. Members of Rotary are like-minded people working together doing what we can with the time we have, to help others. Along the way we build friendships, some life-long.

June is Fellowship Month and Fellowship is one of the five core values of Rotary - the others being service, diversity, integrity and leadership. How fitting then that we have recently felt what this means with opportunities to enjoy each others company at events like the Shepparton District Conference, District Assembly, Club anniversaries, The Rotary Foundation Centennial Dinner, just to name a few; and there’s more to come with the club changeovers.

Over the next month or so Rebecca and I look forward to a lot more of the same at changeovers, the 50th Anniversary of the Rotary Club of Kew, and the Echuca-Moama Steam Rally and Rotary Showcase on the Queen’s Birthday weekend.

Rotary also have Fellowships that are international, independently organized groups of Rotarians, Rotarian spouses, and Rotaractors who share a common vocation or recreational interest. They each give their members the opportunity to have fun, make new friends around the world, and enhance their experience in Rotary.

Rotary Fellowships began informally in 1928 when Rotarians with a shared interest in the international language Esperanto joined together. In 1947, a group of Rotarian boating enthusiasts began flying the Rotary flag from their crafts, calling themselves the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians — which now holds the distinction of being the oldest continuing fellowship. The scope of fellowships has changed significantly over the years, but their purpose remains the same: to unite Rotarians in friendship and provide opportunities to enjoy favourite recreational or professional activities. To learn about the fellowships currently recognized by RI, go to

100 Year Celebration of The Rotary Foundation

On Wednesday 31 May 2017, District 9800 hosted an amazing celebration of the 100th year of The Rotary Foundation that attracted almost 400 attendees, a mix of Rotarians and Non-Rotarians from all over the State.

To all those who attended and:

  • Master of Ceremonies, Amanda Drury (former Youth Exchange Student);
  • Speakers, RI Foundation Chair 2017-2018 Paul Netzel and Alistair Gee, Chief Operating Officer of the Institute of Economics and Peace;
  • Artists from the Choir of Hard Knocks, Nicholas Jones, Jonathan Welch AM, Danielle Matthews, and the Essentials Band;
  • Auctioneer Liam Jones;
  • Event Organiser Alex Bialocki;
  • The Atlantic Group; and
  • Philip Archer and the wonderful members of the Rotary Club of Southbank, supported by Sandi Fulcher and Barbara Adams.

You helped change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people for many years to come.  Every one of you played a part in an event that has lit up the minds and hearts of all those fortunate enough to be there.

In January 2016, Rebecca and I attended the RI Assembly for incoming Governors in San Diego. The Foundation Centennial was mentioned so many times there was no doubt it was going to be a big deal, and Rotary District 9800 just had to organise something special. And we did!

Your participation in the Foundation Centennial Celebration year, whether it be in your cluster groups or your involvement at the celebration last week, was not simply a small contribution. We may think that what we do is small, but it’s not, especially to those who receive our help. You will vaccinate children against polio, provide clean water to those without it and save the lives of mothers and children from poor maternal care. Add to that the peace scholars you will help train, the micro finance loans that will help a small villages develop their communities and the young children you will teach to read and write.

The combined efforts of Rotarians and others through their donations and bequests will exceed AUD$5 million in support of all of these things mentioned, because the funds raised will go through the Foundation and back to club projects of this kind. Add to that the personal donations and club Foundation functions throughout the year and we have truly risen to the occasion to ensure the wonderful work funded by The Rotary Foundation continues for the next 100 years. The year has not ended yet and there are still opportunities to register a donation or bequest to add to this special outcome. Just contact PDG Dennis Shore.

Rebecca and I thank you all most sincerely for being part of this 100th Year Celebration of The Rotary Foundation. We are in awe of what Rotary can achieve and just love what you do as you show the meaning of Rotary Serving Humanity.

Friendship is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything - Muhammad Ali


Neville John    

District Governor 2016-2017

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