What follows, is a brief history of the Club and a list of highlights over the years.
The Rotary Club of Corowa is proud of it history of involvement in the advancement of international understanding and goodwill towards all peoples. The club has accepted many opportunities to help in World Community Service Projects.
The Club's support for the Rotary Foundation has never wavered and each single year has contributed significantly to the fund, with the last few years seeing an increased emphasis on contributions. In addition the Club has keenly participated in the programs of the Foundation by hosting Group Study Exchange Teams from countries such as Canada, India, England, Denmark, America, Finland and Sweden. Since the commencement of the Student Exchange Program, we have regularly hosted overseas students for one year and sponsored local students who have experienced the benefit of a twelve month stay in an overseas country.
The Club accepted the challenge of contributing to Rotary’s Polio Plus Program which is Rotary International’s largest ever project, and aims to immunise all the children of the world against polio and other preventable diseases.
The Club has participated in many projects that have benefited developing countries and countries in need. Early in its history, the Club led the way in exporting sheep to India and over the years it has collected many items for Donations in Kind (DIK) such as spectacles, books, clean water, hygiene products and school requisites. These items have been sent to overseas countries in need. When there has been some natural disaster in the world, the Club has donated to the Shelter Box and Aqua Box programs which provide temporary housing and clean water to those in affected areas. The Club has also also supported assistance with famine relief and continued financial donations to I.P.A.C. projects in needy areas.
The Club's records tell us that in 1939 the Charter members traveled to New Zealand for a District Conference. Our ever growing collection of banners reminds us that the trend has continued with many visits to International Conventions, District Conferences and overseas Rotary meetings. They also remind us of friendships made with overseas Rotarians and of the fellowship we have enjoyed with overseas visitors.
It is with pride that we recall the Club’s international adventures in service over the years and in stepping into the future we include in our service a responsibility to contribute towards improving the quality of life of the countless less fortunate people of the world.
Below are the significant events and achievements in the Clubs history.
- Chartered 17th May
- Chartered Rotary Club of Benalla
- War years, civilian war effort.
- Chartered Rotary Clubs of Leeton and Wangaratta
- Chartered Rotary Club of Yarrawonga/Mulwala
- Food for Britain Fund
- Portsea Camps
- Wheat Farming. Lease land at the airfield was prepared and sown, mostly at night, with borrowed equipment and variable skills. Favoured in 1955 with a good growing season, crop stripped and bagged in temperatures of 107 on New Year Holiday. Profit to the Memorial Hall Fund.
- In 1956 the repeat effort was a rare battle with the elements and machinery problems throughout preparation, the crop was later submerged, hence a failure and financial disaster. Nevertheless the Club still donated the imaginary profit from its charity funds.
- Cattle Project. A then unique and most profitable long term scheme which was later emulated by many other local organisations. Twenty five Hereford cows in calf were purchased for $70 each, financed by debentures from the 25 members and farmed out to seven members and two friends.
- By 1970 the net return had exceeded $12,000 which was dispersed to various charities annually. The project was phased out in the mid 70’s due to low prices, breeding problems and poor seasons. Amongst worthy shepherds the key words were “Don’t fence them in”.
- Redlands Road tree planting. After 30 year almost half had survived.
- First Student Exchange with America. One incoming and one outgoing the following year.
- Sheep for India. First major independent international project commenced. After immense and protracted red tape to solve problems of health, transport, export licence and quarantine etc. the gifts of 25 stud Corriedale ewes were located at the Research Farm at Kodaikanal. Reports from India in 1967 indicated that the sheep acclimatised well and were prospering.
- Telethon Appeal for Hospital X-ray.
- Bikathon for Mansfield Autistic Centre
- Day Care Transport gift
- Technical College Project. A long battle with bureaucracy saw the old primary school acquired as premises for the college. The daughter of one of the Club's charter members was instrumental in expanding courses as Registrar from 1985-88 to develop a most valuable local asset.
- Tourist Booklet Project. A tremendous effort in compilation, arranging advertising, proof reading, printing and distribution, which involved eighteen months solid work. 15,000 copies of a very useful aid for the tourist industry were produced. Amended issues were produced in 1977, 1981, 1985 and 1987. In 1939 Corowa had no motels and one caravan park with 6 power points. Now there are four caravan parks and 22 motels.
- Construction of spinning wheel and stands.
- Construction of brick electric barbecue at Ball Park, since removed.
- Funds for search and rescue equipment donated.
- Construction of Sports Equipment for Little Athletics Organisation.
- Heart Foundation Bikathon
- Construction of furniture for Mansfield Autistic Centre. Mower raffle for Heart Foundation.
- Construction of street seating for Corowa and Rutherglen shopping centres.
- Red Cross mannequin parade.
- First District Govenor from the Club - Lyons Kerans.
- Vampire Jet Project. A World War II De Havilland Vampire Jet donated by current member Graeme Campbell was restored and ultimately erected as a monument to the R.A.A.F. at the R.S.L. Club. Over a period of 18 months considerable craftsmanship was exhibited by several members and many hours of semi-skilled labour was involved before the impressive aircraft was placed in position in 1985.
- Pergola construction and paving at Karinya Elderly Citizens Home, the scene of many working bees over the years.
- Assist Knoxville Cyclathon for Australian Rotary Health Research Fund
- Federation Park Patio and Seating Project.
- Polio Plus fundraising started, with the clubs target exceeded in 1988.
- Chartered Rotary Club of Rutherglen
- Stage one of the Bicentennial project in conjunction with Corowa Shire, River Walk and Park. One hundred trees were planted and nursed through a long hot summer.
- Charles Sturt Park prepared, lawn sown, trees planted sprinkler system installed and plaque affixed to an appropriate red gum log.
- May 17th - 50th Anniversary of Charter.
- August 5th – Celebrations, guest of honour I.P.P.R.I. Royce Abbey and his wife Jean. Civic Reception. Commemorative Tree Planting and Golden Anniversary Dinner at the R.S.L. Club.
- First female inducted into the Club - Gail Law, soon followed by more, changing the social dynamic of the Club forever.
- Hosted Group Study Exchange Team from Sweden, District 2380.
- Commenced catering for Restored Military Vehicle group (KVE) when they visit Corowa. This annual visit has enabled the Club to cater for an ever increasing number of KVE enthusiasts and it has become an ongoing and very profitable exercise.
- First Scholarship Fund Gala Dinner Dance held
- First two Tertiary Scholarships Awarded for $2,500 each.
- First female President - Gail Law.
- Commenced community newsletter The COG in an effort to lift the clubs profile, and seemed to receive a favourable response among local businesses and the community.
- Received recognition from ARHRF for having given $1,000 per member to the fund.
- First Pro-am held at Corowa Golf Resort
- In May 2008 eleven members and friends travelled to Vanuatu to spend a week working on refurbishing classrooms at the Port Villa Central School
- Took over Federation Festival committee and began running monthly markets, now called Corowa Rotary Federation Markets. Also began running annual B&S Ball on Australia Day weekend. Parade suspended for a year.
- Coordinated community funded New Years Eve Fireworks
- Added Federation Dinner- Tim Fischer Oration to the Federation Festival weekend and re-commenced the Federation Parade on the Sunday of Australia Day weekend.
- Club undertakes the Whitehead Street Wetlands project and receives grants totaling $120,000. Shade shelters, paving repairs, bird hides and signage all completed.
- In conjunction with Michell Wool and The Corowa Show Society we rejuvenated the wool competition at the Corowa Show.
Fulfilling 13 of the possible 25 goals set out by Rotary International, the Club was very proud to receive a Presidential Citation - Silver for its achievements during the Presidential year of Paul Miegel.