Archive Articles

The Free Press, Wed 26th January. 2022

Spectacular 42nd Federation Festival

By Adrienne Hartnett

The 42nd annual Federation Festival weekend has been hailed a success evidenced by the great crowd numbers and smiling faces across the three-day extravaganza.

Traditionally held in January each year, the Federation Festival was first held in 1980 and celebrates Corowa’s place in history as the ‘birthplace of Federation’.

Celebrations kicked off on Friday night with the Tim Fischer Oration Dinner at the Corowa Civic Bowls Club.

Federation Festival Director Gary Poidevin OAM said Friday night’s dinner with guest speaker Rosalie Ham was a hit, followed by the Corowa Rotary Club’s fireworks on Saturday in RSL Park and the “fantastic” Federation Festival parade down Sanger Street on Sunday.

“It was a very successful Federation Festival weekend organised by the Rotary Club of Corowa. People who attended the dinner, the fireworks and the parade all said they had a wonderful time,” Mr Poidevin told The Free Press.

Much to the delight of locals, temperatures remained in the mid 20’s for Sunday’s Grand Parade and monster market in Bangerang Park. Hundreds gathered in the shade to watch the floats and pipe bands come down Sanger Street with vintage cars and colourful floats delighting young and old.

The parade was led by the Corowa RSL Sub-Branch, with local pipe bands adding vibrancy to the atmosphere.

Member for Albury Justin Clancy and Member for Farrer Sussan Ley were also in attendance and took the role of parade judges very seriously as they watched the affair from the Royal Hotel Balcony.

Essential Energy sponsored the major prizes for the best floats on show including $1000 for the winning float.

“We cannot thank Essential Energy enough for sponsoring the prizes for our winning floats,” Mr Poidevin said.

Country Buddies were awarded “Best School Float” while Corowa and District Historical Society were crowned “Most Humorous Float” for a second year in a row.

The judges were extremely impressed by Gyles Newsagency who created an outstanding float honouring 130 years of business in Corowa. For their efforts, Gyles were awarded “Best Themed Float” in the parade.

Meanwhile, the enthusiastic Corowa Rutherglen Football Netball Club were awarded overall Best Float for 2022.

Following the parade, locals were able to cool down and enjoy the Rotary Club’s Federation Market in Bangerang Park with plenty of local produce and unique creations.

“In these tough times, it was great to see so many people come out and support the Federation Festival,” Mr Poidevin said.

“A special thank you to people who participated in the parade. It takes time and effort to enter and prepare floats and we are hugely appreciative to those who put their hand up to be part of the fun.”

Ms Ley also gave a shout out to Mr Poidevin for his tireless work creating an incredible event for the community over many years.

“Gary has been part of the Federation Festival for 42 years which is just outstanding,” she said.


“Well done Gary! And well done to all the participants and the Rotary Club of Corowa for continuing to organise this long-standing and wonderful tradition.”

The Free Press, Wed 26th January. 2022

Rosalie Ham delights all

By Adrienne Hartnett

Residents of Corowa and surrounds were treated to a spectacular night last Friday with acclaimed author Rosalie Ham delivering a fascinating and heart-warming address at the seventh annual Tim Fischer Oration Federation Dinner.

Held at the Corowa Civic Bowls Club, it was the perfect start to a big Federation Festival weekend with over 70 guests in attendance including Member for Albury Justin Clancy.

Born and raised in Jerilderie, Rosalie now calls Melbourne home. She published her first novel ‘The Dressmaker’ in 2000 which was so successful that it was made into a film starring Kate Winslet, Hugo Weaving, Liam Hemsworth and Judy Davis.

The novel female celebrates fashion and draws attention to the small-mindedness of small-town communities, the injustice of bullying, and the satisfaction of revenge.

The Dressmaker has also been an established presence on the VCE Literature List and the English Studies reading list.

While she is best known for her debut novel, Rosalie has also written four other best-selling novels including ‘The Year of the Farmer’ and ‘There Should Be More Dancing’.

Rosalie recounted her experience growing up in country NSW, her studies, travels, journey to becoming an author, and the success of The Dressmaker.

The audience related to Rosalie’s experience growing up in a small town and shared a few laughs with the dynamic author.

“As a teenager I realised I was writing short stories as a form of therapy because I was killing off the main protagonist who would be one of my siblings or someone in the neighbourhood who had offended me”, she said.

“Coming from Jerilderie, that’s where the landscape of my imagination was formed. As far as I am concerned, that’s the only thing that’s relevant in my life.”

“The ability to go back to where I came from, to look at the landscape, the people in it and make sense of everything. All my stories come from there and all my stories feature strong women.”

Having sold over 300,000 copies of her novels in Australia and internationally, Rosalie’s story also touched on the power of overcoming rejection.

Rosalie’s speech was well-received by the audience with Master of Ceremonies Gary Poidevin proudly proclaiming, “now I know why you’re the favourite daughter of Jerilderie!”

“Thank you for inviting me to Corowa. It’s a joy and a pleasure to be here in the name of Tim Fischer AC who I never met but I thought was a lovely politician”, Rosalie replied.

Rotary Club of Corowa President Deborah Rowe thanked Rosalie for sharing her story before presenting her with a gift to remember Corowa by.

“Thank you for sharing with us tonight, it was absolutely wonderful,” Ms Rowe said to rousing applause.

2021-11-27 Free Press Article

Rotarians clean up the highway

By Adrienne Hartnett

The Rotary Club of Corowa spent last Sunday picking the rubbish from a section of the Riverina Highway as part of their Clean-Up the Highway project.

Rotarians were greeted with perfect weather conditions and a great day had by all who participated.

The Corowa Clean-up the Highway project was inspired by the Keep Australia Beautiful campaign. Rotarians Graeme Campbell and David Talbot thought it would be a good idea for the Club to adopt a section of the highway with the aim of keeping it clear of litter and presenting a better look for the town.

It has proven to be a great success and has had the added bonus of lifting the town’s profile.

2021-03-09 Water Station at the Wetlands



Thank you to Federation Council and their Community Grants! The Rotary Club, with Federation Council’s assistance, has installed a Water Filling station at the Whitehead Street Wetland. A bubbler, water bottle filler and place for our four legged friends to get a drink too. Also not far off the bike track. Enjoy!

2021-02-19 Corowa Rotary Celebrates 100 years of Rotary In Australia.

For a fortnight the Club was able to show various aspects of our Club's activities and interests in a display in the foyer of the Federation Shire Offices.

As well as an emphasis on our participation in the District Youth Exchange program, there were momentos of various District Conferences and International Conventions which members had attended. There were also a cycling top from Ride to Conference, a high viz work vest for Club working bees and a selection of some of the many banners received / exchanged from Clubs around the world. Historical documents and photos complemented the whole eye-catching display.

Many thanks must go to the Shire Council for allowing our display to be in the foyer.


2021-02-03 The Free Press


Dr Nelson's Powerful Oration

By Robert Muir

Dr Brendan Nelson’s dynamic, powerful, emotional and heartwarming address was admired by all at the sixth annual Tim Fischer Oration Federation Dinner on Friday January 22 to start off the big Federation Festival.

It was a 30-minute journey about people and events which have shaped Dr Nelson’s life, with a focus on character and education.

Conducted by the Rotary Club of Corowa and held at the Corowa Civic Bowls Club, there was an air of excitement at the Federation Dinner and a continuous buzz the moment each of the 93 attendees entered the club’s function area.

Attendees were excited to see their friends and colleagues, and tickets always sell fast. But not as fast for the 2021 dinner, because Dr Nelson AO was the guest speaker.

Ticket holders were looking forward to hearing from the much learned, much travelled, much achieved and highly decorated man. And he didn’t disappoint. At the end of his talk, diners were amazed, gave a huge round of applause and were almost speechless.

Master of Ceremonies Gary Poidevin OAM was almost lost for words, taking time to say “Wonderful words … a tremendous oration … fantastic! Thank you, Brendan.”

Excerpts from Robert Muir’s Free Press article on Dr Nelsons talk included:

…  Dr Nelson was made Federal Minister for Education, Science and Technology in 2001.

…  “What ‘s most important about education is the quality of the teacher”

…  “Education is the defense of the nation. Listening to people and new ideas, having an open mind, and displaying courage both mentally and physically, sacrifice and mateship form the character of the people I’ve admired”

…  At the turn of this century, Dr Nelson was the person who saved the Mulwala explosive Factory from closure. … A new factory has since been built and now has 380 employees.

…  Dr Nelson remembered with honour the achievements of Senator Neville Bonner

…  Dr Nelson studied at Flinders University SA where he graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery. From 1993 to 1995 he was National President of the AMA and campaigned on a wide range of social policy issues, including Aboriginal health and immunization.

…  In 2006 he became Minister for Defense when troops were deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

…  In November 2007 Dr Nelson was elected leader of the Liberal Party of Australia, serving as the Leader of the Opposition until September 2008. The following year he retired from federal politics before taking up his ambassadorial appointment to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO (2009-12).

…  Dr Nelson was Director of the Australian War Memorial from 2012 to 2019 and gave wonderful insight into his role,

…  Tim Fischer AC was regularly referred to by Dr Nelson, who said that Time embodied all the characteristics required to be a champion Australian.

…  This was an amazing night with 62-year-old Dr Nelson AO – now chairman of Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific – who said it was an honour to speak at the Federation Dinner.

Pictured: President Norm O'Flaherty with Dr Nelson

2021-01-28 The Free Press

Federation Festival Success

By Adrienne Hartnett

The 41st annual Federation Festival weekend has been hailed a success evidenced by the smiles on the faces of those who attended.

According to Federation Festival Director Gary Poidevin, Friday night's Federation Dinner with guest speaker Dr Brendan Nelson was a hit, followed by "spectacular" fireworks on Saturday and a "fantastic" parade down Sanger Street on Sunday.

"It was a very successful Federation Festival weekend, organised by the Rotary Club of Corowa. People who attended the dinner, the fireworks and the parade all said they had a wonderful time,"  Mr Poidevin told The Free Press.

Despite the soaring temperatures over the weekend, hundreds of locals gathered on Sunday to watch the floats and pipe bands come down Sanger Street. It was a year like no other with COVID-19 check-in stations and sanitiser available to the public. "Considering the heat and the COVID restrictions, we are pretty pleased with the turnout," Mr Poidevin said.

A total of 19 floats paraded down Sanger Street to Bangarang Park, including emergency service vehicles, mini coopers and vintage tractors. After a year of limited performance opportunities, five pipe bands including The Scots School Albury Pipe Band embraced the opportunity to perform for the community.

Corowa Public School were awarded "Best School Float" while Corowa Federation Museum were crowned "Most Humerous Float". Corowa Public School really put some flavour into the parade. Their float was remarkable, and the school did a fantastic job putting it together," Mr Poidevin said.

Following the parade, locals were able to cool down and enjoy the Rotary Club's Federation Markets in Bangarang Park with plenty of local produce and unique creations.

Despite only three weeks notice, Mr Poidevin praised everyone who made the effort to attend and contribute to the weekend's festivities. "Organisers were diappointed they couldn't announce the festival sooner. However they were very pleased with the attendance numbers over the weekend," he said. "Well done to all the participants and the Rotary Club of Corowa for continuing to organise this long-standing tradition."

2020-11-29 Vale - Arthur Joseph (Pod) Francis

Arthur, also known as 'Pod', was born in Rutherglen on Oct 23rd 1927, son of Arthur John and Elizabeth Marion Francis. He was the 5th child for Arthur and Elizabeth, with older siblings, John (Jack), Raymond (Mick), Joan and Kathleen and younger brother Leonard (Hec).

He attended St Mary's primary school in Rutherglen and completed his matriculation at Assumption College, Kilmore. He went on to spend 3yrs at Melbourne University before returning to Rutherglen to join the family transport business with his father, & brothers Jack & Hec.

Arthur married Lesley Margaret Campbell on 4th June 1956 at St Mary's Catholic Church in Rutherglen and they went on to have 5 children: Mark, David (dec), Raymond, Andrew and Jane.

As the business and his family grew, Arthur spent more time at home and became an active member of the Rutherglen and Corowa communities. He was a member of the Corowa Rotary CIub for 44 years, including 2 years as President, and was awarded the Sapphire PauI Harris Fellow for his contributions to the local community,

Rotary's international community work and his commitment to the Rotary motto of "Service above Self".

Arthur was also a founding member of the Rutherglen Wine and Food Club and maintained his membership for over 50 years. Sport was another of Arthur's interests, in particular golf, football, and horse racing. The Corowa Golf Course was the place to find him on a Saturday afternoon!

Loved Grandfather of EIIa, Serena, Layla, Daniel, Grace, Anna & Rebecca. 

He was a very private and humble man, he gave generously, was loyal and dedicated, admired and respected by

many. He wiII be greatly missed.

The members of the Rotary Club of Corowa express their deepest condolences to Lesley and family on the sad passing of Arthur (Pod) Francis, Arthur held many portfolios including President(1982/83) during his 44 years as a member of the Corowa Rotary Club. Arthur was a Sapphire Paul Harris Fellow.

Arthur will be sadly miss by all.


President Corowa Rotary Club

2019-05-16 Charter Night – 80th Birthday

This weeks meeting celebrated and reminisced about the 80 years of the Rotary Club of Corowa.

We were charted by the Albury RC on the 17th May 1939. Since then we have had many years of excellent service to the community. We have been involved with all aspects of Rotary and have helped to raise lots of money for Rotary and community events. The meeting reminisced about all the things we have been involved in and the fun we have had as a club.

Our activities have encompassed involvement in: Youth Exchange, DIK, School Bursaries, Ride to Conference, Bike-a-thons, Community Xmas Parties, IGA Giving tree, Group Study Exchange, Polio Plus, RAWCS, RYPEN, RYLA, National Youth Science Forum. Murray Darling School of Freshwater, Rowers Park Rotunda,  Movember The Fred Taylor Scholarships, Pride of Workmanship, the Easter Egg Hunt, Karinya Fete, Ian Murphy Memorial Debates, KVE Catering, Whitehead Street Wetlands, Clean up the Highway, Battery Roundup and Bowel Scan, to our big projects, NYE Fireworks, Federation Parade, Federation Festival, B&S Ball and the Federation Markets.

We have been a valuable and important part of the community and all our members (past and present) should be proud of the service above self we give to the Corowa community. 


Pictured: President Bill Bott and our most senior member present - Neil Davis - cutting the cake.

2016-10-27 Vale Chris Erickson

It is with great sadness that we are informed that our esteemed member Chris Erickson passed away this morning. Chris was a long-time member of the Corowa Rotary Club.

Chris joined Rotary in Deniliquin in 1969 and joined the Corowa Rotary club in 1975 when he moved to Corowa to become the Shire Clerk. He was our Club President in 1984/5 and was recognized with a Paull Harris Fellow in 1994. Chris will be sadly missed by us all. We offer our deepest sympathy to Betty and the family.

Forever Memories Are Ours to Keep

2016-06-16 Robert & Janet Dickins – Paul Harris Fellow Recipients

There were a few teary eyes in the room as Robert and Janet Dickins were recognized for the work they have done for the communities of Corowa and Wahgunyah and the Rotary Club of Corowa, by each being presented with a Paul Harris Fellow.

Rotarian Gary Poidevin, who has a long association with both Robert and Janet, gave the citation as follows, “This year is gives me great pleasure to announce that the Board of the Rotary Club of Corowa has awarded two (2) Paul Harris Fellows. These awards are for exceptional service for many years to the community of Corowa and district and they are awarded to Robert and Janet Dickins.

Both Robert and Janet have worked in a voluntary capacity for many organisations for their entire married life. Whether it be for the District Bands in their op shop or selling tickets to raise funds for the local schools, 30 plus years for the Federation Festival – the list goes on – and since becoming friends of Rotary they have raised over $3000 in raffles to support Rotary projects. For many years Robert was the voice of the local Free Press for the visually impaired and now he has retired he devotes much of his time to the local FM community radio. I could go on much longer and I offer my heartfelt congratulations to you.”

President John Law, on behalf of the trustees of The Rotary Foundation then presented them with the three emblems of a Paul Harris Fellow:- the certificate, lapel pin and medallion “in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations between peoples of the world.”


Robert and Janet are the first non-Rotarians to receive this recognition from the Rotary Club of Corowa and it is certainly one of the most deserved. Congratulations to you both. 

 2016-04-28   Cultural Exchange Weekend.

Once again we went ahead with a Cultural Exchange weekend. This year it was in conjunction with the Corowa High School.

It was an action packed weekend, with 24 ladies from many different cultures, arriving on Thursday night and sent off to their billets for the night.

One of the interesting things was that these ladies were not keen to stay in a home where there was a dog, as in their culture dogs are for security and are usually quite aggressive, and so it is quite understandable that they fear of them.

On Friday morning they went up to the Corowa High School and spoke to the students’ from years seven to eleven at different times throughout the day, sharing their stories and traditions to the very interested audience.

Students studying Food Tech in years 9/10 prepared lunch and coffee for our Refugee women.

Towards the end of the afternoon an Ethiopian coffee ceremony was held and presentations were made to the High School in appreciation of the experience that was had by all.

Friday night was just a night at home with the host families to relax and get to know one and other. Saturday morning was spent looking around Corowa and participating in a little retail therapy before heading down to Bangerang Park for a BBQ where kangaroo sausages were served along with kangaroo steak and other BBQ foods and salads.

Saturday night we headed off to the Memorial Hall in Corowa for a feast of ethnic food that had to be seen to be seen to be believed.

We were entertained a fantastic local band the Squid Doctors. These young guys played music from the 80’s, 90’s and some of the current songs as well.

One of the benefits was learning to tie a scarf African style.

Sunday morning, after a quick look around the market our visitors headed back home to Sydney in their bus and we received a phone call Sunday evening to let us know that they had arrived home safe and sound.

This was another great initiative from Corowa Rotary Club and following is a quote from our visitors on the success of their visit to Corowa.

“Our job is done here, planting a seed of multiculturalism and social inclusion. This was tops of all the cultural exchange programs we had had for the past 9 years because it involved sharing our stories to the young minds. Thank you Corowa Rotary Club, Corowa High School, STARTTS, Community Migrant Resource Centre, African Women Group and our hosts within the communities of both NSW and Victoria.”


Federation Festival Extravaganza

Rotary has put the Federation Festival back on the Map. Wow! What a couple of weeks we have had. Every member should be feeling pleased with themselves, and quite rightly so. All of the planning and hard work made weekend a huge success.

The first function of the weekend was the Federation Dinner including the inaugural Tim Fischer Oration. With over 80 attendees, including 11 of the past and our present Citizen of the Year, a wonderful night was had by all. Dr Geoffrey Brownrigg proved to be a very entertaining speaker and to have The Honourable Tim Fischer present really capped the night off. 

2015-12-18 Opening of the Shade Sails in Bangarang Park

Our last meeting for the year was a transfer meeting for the Carols in the Park and the Twilight Federation Market. It was well attended by both our members and the public. 

The evening also saw the opening of our shade sails in Bangerang Park. With Club members witnessing, the ribbon was cut by President John Law, assisted by Chris Gillard, representing Southern Phones. Present also was the Shire Mayor - Rotarian Paul Miegel - to make it all official.

2015-09-03 Club Hosts visit by Migrant Women to the Country

On the weekend of September 4th, 33 migrant women, many with refugee backgrounds and now living in Sydney, along with their driver, came to Corowa to get a taste of the country.

Martin Clarke of Rutherglen approached the Corowa Rotary Club to co-ordinate the weekend.  The Community Migrant Resource Centre and African Women’s Group both from Sydney had in turn approached Martin about organizing a weekend in the country.

The Rotary Club then put out an appeal for host families and we were fortunate enough to receive more responses than we needed from families from as far away as Rutherglen and Burrumbuttock.

The ladies came from 17 countries, which included China, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Palestine, Peru, Kenya, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Ghana and Congo and were aged between 15 and 80 years.

After arriving on Friday our guests spent Friday night with their host families ready for an early start on Saturday morning.  Saturday saw a trip to Rotarian David Talbot’s farm for a shearing exhibition followed by a tour of the farm, then back to Corowa for a Rotary BBQ lunch.  The afternoon was a bus trip to All Saints Winery, a stop at the Corowa Whisky and Chocolate Factory and a quick tour of the highlights of Corowa.

Mid afternoon everyone met back at Corowa IGA to buy food for our visitors so they could prepare traditional meals to serve to host families and guests that night at the Corowa Civic Centre.

A total of about 100 people attended the night, enjoying a wide variety of traditional dishes from the countries represented by our visitors.  The Sing Australia Choir and Will Johnston and Matt Toy of Squid Doctors Band, provided some Australian themed entertainment.  Later in the evening we heard stories about how the ladies came to be in Australia and many of them also performed some traditional songs and dances.

One thing that came over from all the stories was how our guests were to be in Australia and how much they loved their new country. The weekend concluded with a visit to the Corowa Rotary Federation Market, on Sunday morning, before everyone departed for Sydney.

Special thanks must go to the host families for opening their homes to our visitors, Martin Clarke and Gary Poidevin for their work in organize the weekend, Graham Brown who helped Gary with the tour guide duties, and Corowa Shire for the use of the Civic Centre.

This visit proved such a success that the ladies returned again in May, this time to talk to Corowa High School student, which proved a very rewarding experience all around.

2014-07-15 Rotary Takes on The Federation Markets

September's Federation Market will see some changes start to take place, firstly it will be run by the Corowa rotary Club who have taken over the administration of the market, although the usual faces of Dev Knighton, and Robert and Janette Dickins will still be there doing what they have always done, just under a different banner.  Robert and Janette have both expressed their delight with the involvement of Rotary and their focus on giving the market a new lease of life.

There will be two other changes, firstly we will be introducing a Farmers Market Section, which will see all fresh food stalls located in one area.  We have been working hard, speaking with stallholders at other Farmers Markets to attract them to Corowa and anumber have expressed an interest in being involved in our new initiative.  We are hopeful the Farmers Market will see additional visitors to the marketto buy fresh quality produce and help the markets grow overall.

The second change will be the installation of a temporary fence around the market perimeter, creating two distinct entry points and the request for a gold coin donation on entry, which is typical of most markets.  All funds raised through the market will be put back into the Australia Day weekend entertainment and fireworks.

The club hopes to reinvigorate the market and any suggestions for improvements are welcome, by contacting our Market Co-ordinator, Graeme Campbell 0428 331 568.Site fees will remain unchanges at $10 for a standard site.

The Rotary Club will also take on the running of the Federation Festival B&S Ball, which is run over the Australia Day weekend.

The club has also submitted an expression if interest in being involved in the Federation Parade.

2014-05-15 75th Anniversary Dinner

This week saw the Rotary Club of Corowa celebrated its 75th  ear of serving the community of Corowa and its surrounds. The Rotary Club of Albury chartered the Rotary Club of Corowa on May 17th 1939 and is the second oldest club in Rotary District 9790.

The 75th Anniversary dinner was held on Saturday night at the Corowa Golf Club and was well attended by many current and past members of the club. There were also many visiting Rotarians from other clubs such as Rutherglen, Yarrawonga, Albury and Cobram who helped celebrate this milestone. District Governor Philip Clancy (RC of Southern Mitchell) spoke about the importance of community service and the value of Rotary in society. He also presented the Club President Ian Carrington with a rare 75 Year Certificate of Service.

Our guest speaker for the night was the Member for Albury and Legislative Assembly, Mr Greg Aplin. (A Rotarian himself with the RC of Albury Hume) Mr Aplin spoke about the history of Rotary and how important it is not to forget the value of service. He congratulated the Corowa Rotary Club on its achievements and the number of years it has maintained its excellent commitment to Corowa. It was a fantastic night, and everyone had a great time reminiscing about the past and what has been accomplished over 75 years.

DG Phil Clancy, President Ian Carrington, Mr Greg Aplin MLA