The Mirror News

Foster Rotary turns 50

For the past fifty years, the Rotary Club of Foster has been working with the local community raising funds where required and providing services.

Last Monday the Club took the opportunity to share its fifty years since formation with a dinner of 150 guests including representatives of the community including the Shire Council, schools, Hospital, aged care facilities and the museum. Members of the sponsoring club the Rotary Club of Yarram and members of each of the clubs in the South Gippsland/Bass Coast cluster, including Inverloch, Korumburra, Leongatha, Phillip Island & San Remo and Wonthaggi, Foster Probus Club and the Lions Club of Toora were also welcomed.

Welcoming all guests to the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre, Club President Richard Jones asked the audience to reflect on the changes of the past fifty years and re-created the sights of the original Charter Dinner held in the same hall on 27 August 1966, introducing the audience to the top table on that night before introducing their current equivalents, with the subtle changes that have taken place in the interim – there is now a female District Governor, unheard of fifty years ago, and a significantly larger Shire of South Gippsland.

Included in the audience was just one original Charter member, Charlie de Marchi. A number of relatives of the other Charter members including Doug Davis (the first Vice President) and Ted Linton (who drove the Club’s largest project in establishing Linton Court including donating the land on which it now stands.) were also guests. Richard Jones introduced local musician Geoff Sparkes, a grandson of Charter member Jack Sparkes, who was himself the grandson of Alfred Sparkes, one of the original prospectors responsible for the discovery of gold in Stockyard Creek.

For many Rotarians, to be named as a Paul Harris Fellow by one’s own Club is the highest achievement. Named after Rotary’s founder, Paul Harris, it is recognition of a recipient’s contribution to the Club, to Rotary or to the community. Foster Rotary has named twenty-six people as Paul Harris Fellows over its fifty years, including two non-Rotarians. Fifteen of these were present at the Dinner and were applauded for their contributions.

Two new names were added to the list:

Local accountant, Rotarian Peter Tilley has played a significant part in the community since arriving in Foster. Within Foster Rotary he has been President, Secretary and Treasurer. With Rotarian Barry Richards he put in an enormous effort in keeping Parks Victoria in Foster and persuading the Shire to build the Parks’ offices.

Having a full time job has restricted his participation in some of the Club’s programmes that involve weekdays, but has been more than made up by his night time community activities including providing help for Prom Country Aged Care and its predecessors, Linton Court Elderly People’s Homes Society, and particularly his role at the Bendigo Community Bank since its inauguration. His role on that Board has been important to the success of that organization.

He has also contributed to the community as a cricketer and with school basketball. He is keenly involved in the annual Foster Show as steward of the poultry exhibition.

Raised and educated in the district, Rotarian Dr. Cheryl Glowrey has a highly distinguished background in secondary education, culminating in her role as Principal of South Gippsland Secondary College where she received her own secondary schooling. In her role as Principal, Cheryl made an outstanding contribution towards the education and pastoral care of the youth in the district.

Her genuine concern for the wider welfare of country students may be seen in her active and visionary support to important initiatives such as the local Youth Assist Clinic and various other programs involving music performance, the Alpine Education Project, linkages with schools in China and the establishment of education networks throughout South Gippsland. Cheryl now teaches at Federation University, Churchill..

Cheryl has been a regular Board Member of Foster Rotary and was President in 2012/13. She is currently a very active Assistant District Governor for the South Gippsland/Bass Coast cluster.

Cheryl is also a published historian, where her interest in the local district has played an important role in highlighting the importance of research and documentation to advance the standing of Foster and local towns as a rich source for further study and visits to South Gippsland. She is a highly active member of the Foster & District Historical Society including roles as a Curator for a number of exhibitions including the current exhibition “Road to the Prom.”

Overall Cheryl continues to give generously to the wider community of South Gippsland both in a range of education and leadership roles within and beyond Rotary.

Rotary District Governor, Lynne Westland, presented both with their certificates and medallions.

Throughout the evening Geoff Sparkes played music of the 1960s to revive memories.

In closing the evening – somewhat earlier that the first dinner which had finished with the National anthem at 11.30pm – Club President Richard Jones asked the audience to pencil in the date of the Club’s Centenary Dinner, 27 August 2066, place to be advised!


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