Qld Governor guest at Rotary 50th birthday dinner
IF THE number of Rotary Clubs in a region was a measure of dedication to the community, Gladstone was punching well above its weight- it has nine.
Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey was the guest of honour at the 50th birthday celebration dinner last night of the second club established in the region – The Rotary Club of South Gladstone.
The 26th Governor of the sunshine state was in town to present club stalwart Bruce Hunt with his Medal of the Order of Australia for Outstanding Service to the Community of Gladstone over almost 52 years.
The Oaks Gladstone Grand Hotel hosted 90 guests, plus Mr de Jersey and staff, for the birthday dinner.
A frequent visitor to the port city, Mr de Jersey delivered a speech full of glowing praise for Gladstone, its growth and community spirit.
Looking back to the beginning of The Rotary Club of South Gladstone in 1970, Mr de Jersey mentioned some poignant historical facts and technological advancements.
“Gladstone had already embarked on its first industrial boom,” he said.
“John Gorton was Prime Minister, and the average price of a house in Australia was around $27,000.
“There have been remarkable changes since that time, and not only in the city.
“What would those first Rotarians of South Gladstone made of club meetings via Zoom.”
Mr de Jersey congratulated Mr Hunt on producing a 304 page book chronicling Fifty Years of Fellowship and Service.
“This anniversary represents the clubs 50 years of dedicated and generous support to the community of Gladstone.
“For those in need, for youth, for the older generation, for the arts, for honouring the Anzacs.
“That honourable record is the embodiment of Rotary values and a powerful contribution to the character and resilience of the Gladstone community.
“I thank those keepers of the club’s history of the past, and Bruce Hunt now, for bringing together so vividly, 50 years of that history.”
Mr Hunt responded to Mr de Jersey’s speech, before presenting the first copies of the book to the club’s foundation members, Ian Steel and Gordon Gill.
“It’s been a very interesting exercise to track the development of the club over the past 50 years, to match and contrast it with the development of Gladstone as a whole,” he said.
“Many of the personalities mentioned in the book are the personalities that have contributed so much to the development of the city and the region.”
Then he reflected fondly on an association that has provided him decades of enjoyment and lifelong friends.
“In the earliest days, golfing, boating and fishing provided the social glue that kept the club together,” Mr Hunt said.
“In the 80s the club was very much into old time and ballroom dancing, holding up to five events a year.”
Over the history of the club, Mr Hunt said initiatives ‘flourished and faded’, including careers markets, the Gladstone Literacy Centre, the Gladstone Show hamburger stall, hosting and sponsorship of exchange students.
Guests included former Gladstone Mayor Peter Corones, current Mayor Matt Burnett, plus presidents and members of other Gladstone Rotary Clubs.
Mayor Burnett highlighted the significant role Rotary played in Gladstone’s development.
“Rotary in general plays a very important role in our community,” he said.
“South Gladstone Rotary Club’s 50 years is a fantastic effort.”
Mr Corones used his famous catchphrases of ‘cappucinoisation’ and ‘chardonisation’ is a speech to thank Mr de Jersey for attending, much to the delight of the audience.
The Rotary Clubs in the Gladstone region include Gladstone, South Gladstone, Port Curtis, Gladstone Midday, Gladstone Sunrise, Boyne Tannum, Calliope, Discovery Coast and d9560 Passport.
The Rotary Club of District 9560 Passport was for people who want to join the organisation, but were limited by certain constraints.
“Rotary Passport Club members are local people who want to make a difference in their community in a way that fits within their time, talent and finances, as well as with their family, work and life commitments,” a club spokesperson said.
For more information on Rotary, its projects, or to join, visit the website.