I am sure that no-one who has gone through the experience of COVID-19 will fail to identify this image. Even though the colours used are a construct, the electron micrograph will be instantly recognisable.
I am pleased to note that there has been a positive uptake of ZOOM meetings across the District. The Rotary Club of Coolamon is an example.
Even those clubs not using ZOOM are keeping in touch by phone calls, messaging or other means. It is really important to keep in touch and share what we are doing while restricted to home. I have noticed that the practice of having a beverage of some description at a Rotary meeting has been able to crossover to online meetings as well and there has been some discussion about the type and characteristics of the beverages as well.
While we are not able to do many of our service projects I was impressed by one club providing gourmet pizzas and cakes to local hospital front line staff, so with some imagination we can still contribute to our local communities.
At a Rotary International level the Rotary Foundation has been active in providing grants to affected Districts and communities for COVID related projects. The table shows that over $US13 million has been provided so far.
Grant type
Number of grants 
Total funding
Global grants (new applications)
Global grants (repurposed funds within existing grants)
Disaster response grants
While some of the restrictions on our movement will be slightly eased early this month, it is likely that larger meetings will be taboo for some time to come.
As we move towards the end of this Rotary year and changeover time, questions have been raised about what can be done for changeovers when we cannot meet in person. An informative article by Stephen Sennett, a Rotarian from Melbourne and digital guru, on having virtual changeovers gives some good guidelines and suggestions on how to conduct a virtual changeover. A link to the article is here. It is well worth a read.
On a completely different topic, for those who are missing their injection of culture, the Sydney Opera House site https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/digital.html  has a wealth of entertainment available for FREE! Their “Digital Season” of performances, podcasts and interviews is outstanding, with live performances streamed each week, or you can watch them at your leisure later. And, the ABC's I-view is showing videos of a range of performances of plays, operas and orchestras here.
As DG I have an advantage through club bulletins of getting all the good ideas of what clubs are doing and all the jokes circulating as well. How about we start to collect and share those ideas. If you send me a list of the ideas your club has been coming up with I can collate them and put them up on the District website for all to see and use. Let's see what we can come up with.
In the meantime keep safe and keep adapting.

Presidential message


Mark Daniel Maloney

President 2019-20

May 2020

Increasing our ability to adapt: That is one goal of our new Rotary Action Plan. And wow, have we seen that ability put to the test this year.

In March, Gay and I were to visit Zimbabwe, Turkey, and eight other countries over the course of 30 days. After participating in a medical mission in Zimbabwe and Commonwealth Week activities in London, on the 11th day, we were packing our suitcases for Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

While attending a dinner at the High Commission for Pakistan in London, we received word that it would be impossible to travel everywhere on our itinerary. So, instead of flying to Zurich, we returned to Evanston and One Rotary Center.

Throughout early March, the news about COVID-19 became increasingly serious throughout the world. Following the advice of local officials, we canceled UN presidential conferences in Paris and Rome. Soon, the World Health Organization declared the virus a global pandemic, and we consulted with authorities on more critical decisions. We asked all Rotary districts and clubs to curb face-to-face meetings until further notice and to hold virtual meetings instead. To the districts and clubs that have adapted so quickly, thank you.

The Rotary Board of Directors held its first-ever virtual meeting to make the most difficult decision of all, to cancel the 2020 Rotary International Convention. Like the more than 20,000 registrants who planned to attend, I am disappointed. We acted to protect the health and safety of convention attendees and their families, friends, and colleagues, as well as those who call Honolulu home, and I am confident we made the right decision.

I want to thank the 2020 Honolulu Convention Committee, the Host Organization Committee, the 2020 Honolulu Convention Promotion Committee, and Rotary staff for planning what would have been one of the best Rotary conventions yet. I appreciate their hard work.

This issue of The Rotarian was going to press as the decision about canceling the convention was made, and many other decisions across the Rotary world were still up in the air. Future issues of The Rotarian and of Rotary's regional magazines, along with Rotary's social media channels, will keep you informed.

We began this Rotary year promoting the importance of the new Action Plan for all Rotarians and Rotaractors. Today, we are putting that plan into action out of necessity. That includes the possibility of a convention-like experience with you through a virtual event. We will have more to say about this in the near future.

The world is changing rapidly, and so must Rotary. Our adaptability and strength will help us navigate this experience. The world needs our leadership today more than ever. Truly, Rotary Connects the World.

“Never waste a good crisis” -Winston Churchill

 RI President, Mark Maloney, used this phrase attributed to Winston Churchill as he addressed the Zone 8 Rotary Senior Leaders in separate Zoom meetings. It speaks well of how Rotary has been quickly adapting and making the most out of the situation we are facing at the moment with the COVID19 pandemic. Both President Mark and General Secretary John Hewko gave assurances that the organisation is financially and operationally sound and that Rotary is successfully going into this new frontier of going virtual. The culture that is emerging may actually present opportunities to make Rotary more attractive to a new demographic. The Presidential themes of Rotary Connects the World and Rotary Opens Opportunities back to back are very apropos and have taken more profound meanings in light of the times.

John Hewko particularly gave us a 4-point Call to Action:


  • Concerning possible membership decline amid the crisis, we need to focus on engaging members who have been in Rotary for less than 2-3 years. Statistics show there is a higher probability of losing these members so this focus will be vital in retaining them.
  • Clubs and districts need to identify clubs that have not caught on to meeting virtually and help them along to remain active.
  • Find ways to replace the in-person cultivation of donors and to think of creative ways to allow virtual fundraising.
  • As with fundraising, we need to also come up with creative ways to conduct service projects taking into consideration all the social distancing measures in place locally.

 Having the President and General Secretary in our Zoom meeting was a great opportunity to hear first-hand how the organisation is responding to the changing times. 

Now that many clubs are holding digital meetings the opportunity to access guest speakers from around the world is at our fingertips (or mouse clicks anyway).
Some examples are (and there are plenty more out there):
Sarah Brown from Purple House - a presentation to District 9870 online conference - click here.
TED talks - on pretty much anything - click here
Rebecca Fry - RI Social Media Manager presentation to District 9570 - click here
Try ZOOM bingo

While we continue to practice social distancing to ensure the health and well-being of our families and communities, it’s important that we can stay engaged in Rotary during this extraordinary time. Here are some highlights of how clubs and districts are keeping members engaged and providing service:

·      Members from Rotary Club of Central Melbourne decided to go camping for Easter, as ‘normal’, with one variation – they put the tents up in their backyards! Social drinks were held in backyards and out by the BBQ. Everyone had a wine and a few nibbles and partners joined in as well.

·      D9820 organised a webinar with Australian Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, also a Rotarian, talking about caring for our communities at this time. It was attended by over 500 Rotarians and non-Rotarians. Watch the recording here.

·      Rotary Club of Kurri Kurri from D9670, in conjunction with the Kurri Kurri Community Centre, have been cooking up a storm and providing meals, free of charge to the elderly and vulnerable within their community. So far they have cooked and delivered over 1200 meals!

·      Instead of cancelling the Knox Art Show, a collaboration between the Rotary Clubs of Rowville-Lysterfield and Bayswater, the combined boards agreed to hold a virtual art show instead. Sponsors supported this new format and artists were very pleased with the outcome. More than 5000 people have visited the virtual art show website so far - that’s five times as many visitors compared to last few years at the art gallery. Check out the show here.

·      Rotary Satellite Club of Orewa-Millwater in D9910, New Zealand set up the Gulf Harbour Army Bay support group, made up of approximately fifty local community members, volunteering to pick up shopping for the aged and vulnerable in the area. One recipient thanked the group saying ‘that because of Rotary we are safe’. They also received a $2000 donation from another recipient

·      In this Q&A, Membership Committee Chair and RI Director 2021-2022 - 2022-2023 Jessie Harman discusses how she sees COVID-19 effecting the Rotary landscape and urges us to lead with compassion, care and urgency.


The Rotary Learning Centre has a wide range of resources for online activity.

Australian Rotary Health Podcast – The Research Behind Lift the Lid

Australian Rotary Health (ARH) has started a very exciting new project - our first podcast called 'The Research Behind Lift the Lid', hosted by ARH Promotions & Mental Health Research Manager Jessica Cooper.

In our first episode, we did a zoom interview with ARH Postdoctoral Fellowship/Mental Health Research Grant recipient Dr Louise Mewton from the University of New South Wales.

Louise talked about her research findings for her project: Preventing adolescent mental illness through brain training.

You can listen to our podcast series here: https://australianrotaryhealth.podbean.com/

Our first episode is also on YouTube at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge5n6pgm1Hk&feature=youtu.be

Donate to our COVID-19 appeal to support more important research like Dr Mewton’s here: https://australian-rotary-health.giveeasy.org/covid-19-appeal

Australian Rotary Health COVID-19 Appeal

It has become clear during the COVID-19 pandemic that looking after our health – particularly our mental health – is more important than ever.

With social distancing rules in place, many of our supporters across Australia who would normally raise thousands of dollars towards mental health research, have been forced to postpone and cancel their fundraising events.

We can see that this virus is affecting our mental health tremendously. Therefore, continuing to support mental health research to learn how to best support our communities when unexpected events like these occur, is crucial.

We ask that you please consider donating to mental health research today to help Australian Rotary Health #Liftthelidonmentalillness in these uncertain times and ultimately improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians.

We have set a target to raise $200,000. Any dollars towards this will be greatly appreciated.

Please share this link with your family, friends and social networks.

Thank you for your support!


Donate here: https://australian-rotary-health.giveeasy.org/covid-19-appeal

As scientists work to find a vaccine for the new coronavirus, we can do our part to keep our communities healthy by helping Rotary not only spread the word about the importance of vaccinations during World Immunization Week, 24-30 April, but also make our annual financial contribution - remember every dollar you donate the End Polio campaign receives $3. This will pay for one vaccination.
Many of us have missed our Rotary gatherings, and perhaps saved some meal costs, why not donate to the End Polio fund the sum you have saved from not attending your Rotary breakfast, lunch or dinner in the last few weeks and more than likely the next 4-8 weeks.
Just click here https://www.endpolio.org/donate
Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic has grown at such a pace that the world has been forced to cancel most public events where this virus can spread.  The District Governor has cancelled the 9700  District Conference for the benefit and safety of all those attending.
Also  the scheduled District Technology Training (DisTec20)  in Young on April 19, 2020 has been cancelled.
The District 9710 Clubrunner Training scheduled for the first week in April has been cancelled.  However, the 9710 ClubRunner Training will be held as an online video training session on Tuesday April 14, 15 and 16 at 7:30 pm.  Register online here or click on the Rotary District 9705 menu screen.
D 9705 District Assembly scheduled for Saturday May 9 has been cancelled.
District Changeover for D 9705 has also been cancelled.
Rotary Youth Exchange has been suspended meaning no inbound or outbound students for the forseeeable future.

International Assembly 2020 San Diego USA

“Rotary Opens Opportunities” was the theme announced by incoming International President Holger Knaack for the 2020-21 Rotary Year. Present were over five hundred District Governors Elect from around the world. Combined with partners and the training teams, meant that there were nearly fifteen hundred people at the Hyatt Manchester Grande Hotel in San Diego. Overwhelmingly the “opens opportunities” theme was well received.

Discussion around the different ways of interpreting the theme was to be part of the training as District Governors Elect (DGE). So much was learnt from each other in the facilitated discussion groups. Parallel programs were run for DGE partners and, as Past President of the Rotary Club of Canberra, Helen felt very much at home in this Rotary learning environment.
A regret for me was that I had not done this training earlier in my career. So many of these lessons were applicable across many aspects of life. Although delivered in the context of Rotary, there was an emphasis on good government, managing people, understanding law, interpreting regulation and rules, financial management and strategic planning .
Another emphasis was on the importance of having fun in Rotary, building friendships and strengthening networks. Along with these was building new models of the way we do Rotary. Changes within clubs, different styles of clubs and being innovative were key messages considered by DGEs. Additionally, Holger Knaack was keen to ensure that clubs would have at least one strategic planning meeting in his year as President and would take special care in selecting new members and looking after them.
In the context of “opening opportunities” one of the greatest opportunities for Rotary is to complete our decades old campaign to End Polio. Rotary deserves the credit and should be letting our communities, and people further afield, know about our successes. We should also let them know how much we have appreciated the more recent support of the Gates Foundation, GAVI (The Vaccine Alliance) and the World Health Organization. However, it has been a Rotary initiative. It’s why we raise funds at BBQ’s or other events.
In a nutshell, the message is that having fun, doing good work and appreciating the local, district, national and international fellowship are just some of the opportunities open to Rotarians.
The Four Way Test is a fundamental part of Rotary and has been since it was first formulated by Herbert Taylor, a Rotary Club of Chicago member and 1954-55 RI president, to guide his attempt to save a faltering
aluminum company. Rotary later adopted it, and it underscores Rotary’s value of integrity. The Four-Way Test has long served as an ethical guide for members to live by in their personal and professional relationships. An interesting discussion of the purpose of the Four Way Test has been written by PDG Martin Postic Jr and you can read it here.
On behalf of District Governor Ron Degenhart and District Governor-Elect Merewyn Wright, District 9550 extends an invitation to join Timorese Rotarians and Rotaractors at the inaugural Zone 8 Rotary Timor-Leste Project Expo in Dili, Timor-Leste at the Timor Plaza Hotel on the 14th -16th of August 2020.
The Rotary Timor-Leste Project Expo is an opportunity for Rotary Clubs, Rotary Districts, and other NGOs active in Timor-Leste, to display their projects, seek partners and funding opportunities, and network with people with an interest in the community development of Timor-Leste.  Rotary Districts, Clubs and individual Rotarians are invited to Showcase their successful projects and explore the opportunities for new projects that will be on display, and meet the people involved.

Over the last eighteen years over 120 RAWCS Projects and many Rotary Foundation Grants have been activated in Timor-Leste.
To register please go to the Expo web site www.rtlpf.org.au .  Stall-holder registration includes a display table, two chairs and the registration of two people.  Individual registration and information about accommodation venues are also available on the website.
A number of tours, both pre- and post-Expo, have been organised to assist visiting Rotarians in gaining a better understanding of Timor-Leste, its people, and its needs. These are all small group tours and will fill quickly. Details of the tours are on the website.
We look forward to welcoming you to Timor-Leste in August.
Kind regards,
PDG Phil Dempster
Timor-Leste Project Expo
Mob. 0402253673
Email: lad@iig.com.au

Can you help us?

At this end of the Rotary year all clubs are deciding how to spend the dollars raised from the community.

Food Plant Solutions has an urgent need for funds as we have country groups waiting on our educational materials that we cannot fill without funding. We all know that children are dying from malnutrition every minute around the world. Many of those are in communities that are wanting our educational materials, to build gardens and ensure food security in that region.

Below is a list of requests that we have received, with information about each group. A club could choose an area to support or think about a Global Grant to work with one of these groups.

Thank you for your support in a year when “Rotary connects the world”

Yours in Rotary


PDG Una Hobday OAM PHF

Chair, Food Plant Solutions RAG
The December End Trachoma by 2020 Newsletter is now available!
Many good things have been achieved in the last 12 months and Rotarians and their communities have made great efforts to ensure improvements in health and eye care are both delivered and sustainable.
Please take the time to download the Newsletter and share it with your Club.
Did you know there has been a steady decline in the number of communities at risk of this infectious disease, from 244 classified communities in 2010, to 120 in 2018, as reported by each state and territory!
You can find the full copy of the newsletter on the ET by 2020 District page and by this link

What does your roadside sign say about your club?

Is your Roadside sign looking worse for wear or displaying the wrong meeting information? 

Then it's time to replace it. 

Making sure our roadside signs are in good condition and use the correct branding is an important, and easy, step we can take to help create the right impression about our Clubs, and our organisation. 

The Rotary Club of Manly’s transformation to a new sign is a great example of what can be done. 

If you can only afford to do one thing to raise your Club’s public image this year, updating your roadside signs is the way to go!

Article by RC PDG John Prendergast 
We regularly seem to hear the complaint that Rotary is too expensive, and that this cost is a deterrent to attracting new members. 
So, what does Rotary cost us each year? I reckon about $1,680.32. 
My Club subscriptions are a very low $200 per year – consciously kept low because we have a number of members on fixed incomes. We are able to have a low sub because every year we deliver telephone books around our city, and the funds we earn from that project are used to offset some of the costs of running our Club. 
So, $200 a year doesn’t seem like a deterrent to attracting new members. 
Established in 2007, the Food Plant Solutions Rotary Action Group creates publications that help people understand the connection between plant selection and nutrition, and empowers them to grow a range of highly nutritious plants which have different seasonal requirements and maturities.  The work is underpinned by a database of edible plants for all countries of the world.
2019-20 Rotary Theme
2019-20 District Directory
2019-20 District Directory
Click on the above directory to download a full copy.