From the District Governor

District Merger with District 9810 to form new District 9815
The applications for the District Governor for the new combined District 9815 have closed.  Interviews were held on Sat 28th May before a panel of twelve from the two merging districts 9810 & 9820.  Unfortunately, no candidate was chosen, so we will be consulting with the staff of RISSPO in Sydney as to how we move forward.
Although we have inducted new members at many of the clubs  our membership numbers continue to fall.  District membership numbers at the end of May are 1,093 (a drop of 39 members).  This is below the number in the RI constitution of 1,100 to remain as a District.  
Rotary Club of Langwarrin – 40th Anniversary
Judy & I celebrated with the Langwarrin Rotary Club for their 40th Anniversary. The evening was held at the Settlers Run Golf Club.  An award was made  to Peter Haberle for his 40 years of service with the Club.  Peter responded with some of his memories of the life of the Club.
Environment Boat Cruise – Western Port Bay
Following on from our conference in February, where one of our speakers, Vic Grosjean had spoken about the importance of Mangroves to keep the oceans healthy, President Elect, Dick Cox from Somerville-Tyabb Club arranged a boat trip on Western Port Bay.  We saw first-hand the impact of the degradation of the sea grasses and mangroves were having on the water and shores of Western Post Bay.  Dick managed to arrange for Vic Grosjean, Past Rotary International President Ian Riseley, Zone 8 ESRAG member Ted Waghorne as well as many scientific experts to speak about the degradation in the Bay.  I also learned that the Bay and surrounding peninsula are part of a UNESCO Biosphere project.
Jeff Harvey – 50 years of service with Hastings Western Port Club
Judy & I attended a celebration of Jeff Harvey’s 50 years of service with the Hastings Western Port Club.  I presented a Citation on behalf of Rotary International President, Shekhar Mehta and Jeff was awarded a certificate of 50 years of service by DGE Paul Mee.  Peter Rawlings spoke of Jeff’s connections to many organisations on the peninsula.  The Club awarded Jeff a Triple Ruby Paul Harris Fellow for his service.
Rotary Club of Maffra – 75th Anniversary
Judy & I enjoyed a luncheon with the Maffra Rotary Club at Duart Homestead in Maffra to celebrate 75 years of service to the community.  There was plenty of memorabilia and photo albums on display.  Long standing member Neil Wishart gave a talk on his recollections of club life and assisted President Veronica Dwyer and President Elect Mark Saddington in cutting the cake.  Neil will have served in Rotary for 50 years next November.
What have I planned this month?
I have completed my official DG visits to the 47 clubs.  28 of the visits were by zoom so I will continue to revisit clubs in person where we were not previously able to physically meet because of Covid-19 restrictions.  I will attend 15 changeovers.  Unfortunately, there are seven clubs holding their changeovers on Wednesday 29 June.  Sorry, I can’t be everywhere.
I will take on the role of District International Services Chair next year, and I feel privileged to lead the committee in continuing to facilitate projects in the surrounding communities in which we serve.  
Philip Island San Remo puttin' on the Ritz 
DG Bill Degnan & Judy and President Elect Peter Buitenhuis and Rhonda.
DG Bill and Judy Degnan were treated to a special evening on Phillip Island on May 27th 
The Rotary Club of Phillip Island and San Remo put on a Ritzy evening transforming the Phillip Island Senior Citizens Hall in Cowes hall into an opulent Ritz ballroom, something the island hasn't seen for quite a few years. 130 lucky people gathered for a grand night of good music, fine food and delicate wines.
Club President Judy Lawrence said the sole aim of the event was to raise $15,000 for the Rotary National Flood Appeal. “This is where Rotary shines as Rotary Clubs are perfectly placed to assist in these types of disasters. Our clubs are positioned throughout Australia on a grassroots level and present a community-led approach. Any support through Rotary will be delivered immediately to people who are impacted by floods.  This is through local Rotary Clubs in the areas affected by the floods, not from an ivory tower located in a city building hundreds of kilometres away.”
During the evening, live music was provided by Island Jazz band together with Rockhouse which proved to be just the right combination to encourage guests to grab their partner (or not) and dance the night away.
A live auction provided extra excitement with items such as mature palm trees, Apple iPad, laptop and iPhone, painting donated by David Taylor, Jenny Jackson and Tom Tyrrell.  Not forgetting the silent auction which is always a popular activity.
Accolades were thrown around at the close of the evening with emails requesting the date for next year's Puttin' on the Ritz!  Kate Cleeland sent her thanks to all the organisers for ..'the astonishing Night at the Ritz. I absolutely loved every minute - the music was fantastic. Would love to have that in my diary every Friday night...'
Rotary Club of Phillip Island and San Remo would like to acknowledge the generous donations of all of the supporters and congratulate everybody for a hugely successful night.  What did they raise? A sensational $22,000 which will all go to the flood victims.
Moe welcomes Fijian workers
Traditional Fijian kava ceremony to thank hosts
On a cold Saturday in Moe, a very warm welcome was given to a group of Fijians here on three year working visas.
Sixteen men and four women, between the ages of 20 -45, responded to a Government advertisement calling for workers in the Australian agricultural industry.
They are working at the Moe abattoirs and are billeted in Moe, but not surprisingly, came unprepared for Gippsland’s cool weather.
A call for help received from the Fijian Community Association (Victoria) was met with an immediate response of warm clothes and household essentials from members and friends of Moe and Morwell Rotary Clubs, the local Vinnies stores and businesses.
The Fijians were welcomed with a BBQ lunch at the Moe Botanic Gardens where great Rotary fellowship was enjoyed and  family photos and stories were shared. The visitors keep in touch daily with their families through their phones on facetime, email, texts etc.
Rotary Presidents Di Harrison from Moe and David McInnes from Morwell  in their welcome to the Fijians, made known Rotary’s ongoing support and friendship to them.  Rotarian Pam Wood, representing the new Rotary program ‘International Positive Peace’, made a surprise visit from Melbourne bringing extra gifts of clothes, shoes and food, also offered support.
After lunch, Rotarians and friends were  treated to a traditional Fijian ceremony where kava was served to the hosts with thanks and blessings, and songs were sung in the most beautiful harmonious Fijian voices.
East Gippsland timber milling project update
The project is in full swing with two mills are operating 5 days a week. Five full time people who were previously unemployed, are now accredited in Forestry Management, chainsaw and Lucas mill operation and hold NATA certificates through our local TAFE.
Formation of East Gippsland Milling project Incorporated.
Partnership with BRV, DELWP, NRRA, Rotary, Lions, Minderoo.
105 properties registered.
33 completed
780 logs have been milled with an estimated retail value of $1.5 million.
$40k of timber surplus to property owner’s needs, donated to those property owners who do not have trees down.
Average time on spent on property is 3 weeks.
Average timeline for cutting logs with 50% moisture content is 4-5years dependant on weather and log location.
Greatest strengths, economic impact:
  1. We only cut fallen trees which are generally a waste product left by the devastation of 2019-20 fires. Thousands of trees were felled during this disaster from wind, fire and back burning operations. This created an enormous resource that would otherwise be chipped or burnt.
  2. Value of timber packs. The average price $15k cut per farm 10. The average cost of timber required to replace a small cattle yard is $35k.
  3. Our contractors are five passionate previously unemployed people who are now running 3 contracting companies. They had great training and mentoring programs supplied by TAFE, Rotary and Lions.
  4. Grant money was directly injected into East Gippsland economy with no overheads. The board is totally volunteered.
  5. For every tree we cut, we offer ten trees to landholders to plant. These trees are from seeds collected from local areas and propagated by volunteers and returned as saplings.
  6. Mental health. Our team manager lost her own home in the fires, as the first contact to our business her empathy makes  our project successful by getting the property owner out of the dark spot and re focused. Getting farmers involved in our operation helps get them back on track. We have letters from partners stating we have saved their partners lives and the farm.
  7. We bring the community together. Farmers drag logs from each other’s farms to milling sites. A lectern for the local hall was built from timber from farms where we cut logs. Community launches are held to bring farmers together with a chance to talk, discuss and plan.
  8. Facebook page "East Gippsland Milling Project".
We need further funding as our property owner list is growing.  Farmers and Lions club members have been retrieving logs and stacking them onto suitable sites ready for our teams to arrive.
We have purchased another mill and have trained and accredited another team in preparation.
We need another two mills to complete our goal of 105 properties in the 5-year window. The need is established, the formulae has been tested and works. Money is needed to provide our farmers and property owners with a tangible relief from two years of extraordinary circumstances and three years of drought prior to the fires and pandemic.
Rotary unites for Ukraine
Click on the link to read the Rotary Downunder article and find out how you can help.
RI  Council on Legislation  - results
Council on Legislation
The recent Council on Legislation held in Chicago in April had 94 enactments that were transmitted to the Council.  The Council adopted 29 enactments, including three items that were adopted during vetting ahead of the Council. The Council rejected 51 proposals, 13 proposals were withdrawn from consideration and one item was postponed indefinitely. Of the 29 adopted enactments, 4 were adopted with amendments, which are noted in the report with an asterisk (*).
For those interested in the detail of the enactments that were passed, please click on this link to see the accepted changes and voting.
Australian Rotary Health
Rotary Global Awards
Rotary Global Rewards, our member benefits program, offers discounts on products and services from local and global
merchants, along with opportunities to give back to Rotary. 

Over 33,000 members have signed in to use Rotary Global Rewards. To raise awareness of this program, you can:
  1. Recommend Rotary Global Rewards to all club members. They can visit from a computer or download the Rotary Club Locator App to use the program on mobile devices.
  2. Post a "Rewards" link to on your club and district websites. This gives members easier access to Rotary Global Rewards.
  3. Encourage club members to post offers on Rotary Global Rewards. 
  4. Suggest that club members help the program grow in their communities by asking local merchants to post offers. 
You can find instructional videos, how-to-guides, and promotional materials on the Rotary Global Rewards page of My Rotary.  If you have any questions about the program, write to
Wheelchairs For Kids
Wheelchairs For Kids has the objective of providing wheelchairs to families with disabled children living in developing nations - it was establised by the Rotary Club of Scarborough in Western Australia.  At the latest count, 52,500 wheelchairs have been provided free of charge and delivered via disability centres in the home countries.  Because WFK operates totally with volunteers, each wheelchair is provided at a cost of only $250 - details of the fully adjustable wheelchair and examples of recipient children can be found at or by contacting Grant Klaaysen from the Rotary Club of Casey
WFK is seeking to partner with clubs in District 9820 for fundraising, awareness, and other support - one of the main ways clubs can assist it by hosting a Wheelathon.
Wheelchair Wheel-a-thon
WFK can be a local Youth Project when fundraising is combined via a Wheelchair Wheelathon.  WFK in Melbourne is very happy to assist any Victorian school and their student leadership group to run an international aid project that will have a great impact.  The concept is an outdoor fun activity where students are riding in wheelchairs that are being pushed by other students.  The students will have pre-arranged sponsorship from their families and friends.  The objective is that each grade is targeting $250 to cover cost of one wheelchair but the underlying priority is the message where our children are changing the life of others less fortunate living in countries where they might never have an opportunity in life if they don’t ever get a wheelchair
To see a video from a recent school wheelathon click here
RC Yarram 75th anniversary  invite 23 August 2022
Special Registration for RICON May 2023
Ensure you register for this once in a lifetime opportunity as the 114th Rotary International Convention is held in Melbourne 27-31 May 2023.
The best and cheapest registration fee is available for 5 days only during the Houston Convention [4-8 June 2021, Houston time].  
This special registration fee is USD $425
From 9 June the fee increases to USD $475
You can also visit the Host Organising website
Feel like volunteering for a role in support of and at the Convention? After 9 June, you can register as a volunteer on this website.   
Rotary International Convention Melbourne 2023
For an update on the planning for the 2023 Melbourne Convention and hear about opportunities for Clubs and Rotarians to be involved in Host Hospitality Events and volunteering for the Convention see the video on the District website using this link.  
District Leadership Team Positions Vacant
Incoming District Governor Paul Mee is seeking expressions of interest from suitably experienced Rotarians or Rotaractors for a number of positions on the District Leadership Team. The following positions are currently vacant: 
  -  District Interact Club Coordinator
  -  District Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment (RYPEN) Chair
If you have any interest in these roles, or for a full position description, please contact District Governor-Elect Paul by emailing 

Editors Note

Requests for inclusion in the newsletter can be made using  

Many thanks to Rob Cook, for editing the April/May newsletters while Stephen and I were on leave.