Introduction - the Rotary Club of Brisbane Mid-City had its beginnings soon after Rotary International passed a proposal at its Council on Legislation in 1974 to allow "shared Territory" clubs. The District Governor for the year 1978/79, Jack Stephensen, in preparing for his year prior to taking office declared one of his goals to be a new "shared territory" club, and the Rotary Club of Brisbane, a very large group, took up the challenge and began forming a new Central Business District Rotary club which became the Rotary Club of Brisbane Mid-City. At that stage its recruiting territory was just that - the CBD north and west of the Brisbane River, as far as Creek Street in the north and about Roma Street in the west.
Businessmen, retailers, professionals and some who lived within these limits were canvassed to obtain members and a group of 35 met to vote to establish this Rotary club. Unusually, there were no members of the sponsoring club in the new group's membership.
First Major Project - in the early years fellowship and getting-to-know-you was the name of the game, together with information about how Rotary works. One of the main projects was the staging of a crafts display in Macarthur Chambers in the City to raise funds for wider projects, while publicising Queensland's craftspeople.
During that year and the following one, the local group of the Australian Birthright Association (civilian widows or families where there was a single female parent) was the focus of the club's programme of assistance.
At the beginning of the year 1980/81 the club changed its meeting place from the Canberra Hotel (then in Ann Street, and long since demolished) to the New York Hotel in Queen Street. This remained the venue until the 1985/86 year, when a brief and happy time was spent at the Minerals and Energy Club, Macarthur Chambers, before February 1988 when the club moved to the Edinburgh Room at The Brisbane Club, where it meets today.
Conference Hosting - in 1981/82 the club successfully hosted the District Conference at the then Crest Hotel - an event which took much preparation and involved every single member in some way or another. The year 1982/83 saw the establishing of the Probus Club of Brisbane, and a number of members belonged to both groups. The celebration of a new city hotel, the Sheraton Brisbane, with a French-inspired "Grand Bal" raised a large sum in the Rotary year 1983/84 for the club's projects which included continuing the hosting of Youth Exchange students, and assisting with Red Shield appeals.
1985/86 saw the hosting of a female Group Study Exchange team from Pennsylvania, USA, and the club took part in the opening of the Gateway Bridge, while 1986/87 seemed to be focussed on youth, with a number of Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Youth Exchanges (one was a District first - a Matched Twin exchange with New Zealand, two handicapped lads) and a Programme of Rotary International's Music Exchange experience for a Year 12 student.
A Big Award - in 1987/88 a further District first was the club's Pride of Workmanship Awards to a number of people in widely varying careers, and 1988/89 found the club making its mark around Australia by entering a plane and team in the Bicentennial Around Australia Air Race, visiting Rotary clubs en route, also assisting and enjoying EXPO. The club that year won the McCray Trophy for the "Most Outstanding Club in the District".
Hard work in 1989/90 resulted in the club's setting up an endowment fund for an award for "Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Music" at the Queensland Conservatorium. The following Rotary year was a busy one and finished with a runner-up mention in the District Outstanding Club Award.
1991/92 saw the club decide especially to help the disadvantaged and NADOW (National Association to assist Disabled train in Office Work), Blue Nurses, the Australian Kidney Foundation, Pony Riding for the Disabled, and the Mater Hospital Speech Therapy Unit being among those helped.
The major project in 1992/93 was the sponsoring of a new Rotary club, given the name of the Rotary Club of Brisbane High-Rise - Brisbane Mid-City Rotarians had "grown up" and produced a "daughter" club!
Among "business" the following year, the women partners of the club knitted for the premature babies born in the Wesley Hospital, and 1994/95 was the year the club reached its highest total of members to date - there were 73 men and women joining in Rotary work by the end of that year.
More Awards - 1995/96 was another year of work (and play - Ballymore rugby picnics were a feature!) when the club took out two awards, one for Service to Youth and one for the Best Bulletin.
A visit from a New Zealand Rotary club, that of Fairfield, Hamilton, was a special event in 1996/97, while 1997/98 was the year the club celebrated 20 years of successful work.
Both 1998/99 and 1999/2000 were characterised by work for the Albert Park Flexi School which educates disadvantaged young people, and this project continued into the new century. All this is merely a taste of our proud history, and there was plenty of fun and fellowship events, plus a heap of other great projects over the years.
Want to know more? We've published a book entitled "Mid-City Memoirs". Authored by Rotarian Col Morwood and his wife Helen, it provides a detailed history of our Club over 24 years.
The book is available to all past and current Rotarians and their partners for AU$15 plus $3 post and packing where applicable (RRP is AU$20).
Order your copy!
Or post your order together with a cheque payable to:
Rotary Club of Brisbane Mid-City Inc
G.P.O. Box 473
Brisbane, Queensland 4001