Froggie's March/April Message
As I reflect on the year so far, on my front deck with No. 1 assistant, I have to admit that I had an idea that in 2019-20 things would be different. I had an idea we would dare to be different and ‘Break the Chains”. Little did I know just how different this year was going to be. Reflecting on what has happened both in Australia and the globally, the changes are far beyond my imagination - it’s not quite what I had in mind. However, among the famine, flood, fires and plague there are opportunities to create a better world, and a better Rotary. We need to seize them, to look for them and incorporate them in our clubs, in our district, in our communities and beyond.
District Conference Cancellation
It was a very sad day when I had to advise everyone that the District Conference was cancelled. The rapid development of COVID-19 subsequently however, has showed it was indeed the right decision. I mentioned in that message “We will now begin the process of negotiating with suppliers in order to minimise those costs to in turn maximise refunds.” The fantastic news is we have been very successful and will be able to provide 100% refunds to those registered for conference.
COVID-19 Coronavirus
Since I put out the first edition of COVID-19 Coronavirus Guide for Rotary Clubs on March 14th, there has been almost daily changes to the recommendations and regulations from our State and Federal leaders, as every effort is made to slow the new infection rates to save our health system being overwhelmed. The most important message right now for us all is to stay at home and avoid all gatherings of people. An updated version can now be viewed on the District website and on Facebook. Here’s a quick link COVID 19 Rotary Club Guide Updated 29th March 2020. This updated version contains some important mental health additions.
We are still seeing growth in COVID-19 cases though there is some guarded optimism from the Government. Our duty is clear, do everything we can to support all efforts to “flatten the curve”, so our health system can cope. If collectively as Australian citizens and residents we don’t, then when the infection rate peaks we will not have enough ventilators for everyone who needs one. That means unnecessary fatalities. Please do NOT treat COVID-19 lightly.
Controls put on Indoor and outdoor gatherings mean our clubs can no longer go about normal business. We can no longer hold physical meetings or run most of our fundraisers or projects. In District, many programmes and events have been curtailed or switched to alternative delivery methods. Later stories in Chain Mail cover the current status of District Programmes and Events and guidance for Clubs to maintain communication and engagement with their members.
East Gippsland Fire Relief
With the focus very much on COVID-19 it is not surprising that donations to the various relief funds have largely dried up for now. That doesn’t mean the relief efforts have stopped though. Our East Gippsland Rotary Fire Aid Committee are continuing to do excellent work. District Emergency Chair PDG Janne and I visited Mallacoota (before the Coronavirus lockdowns) to investigate how we can assist and met with several key community leaders. You’ll see the photo of a tinnie that didn’t come through the fires well!. Updates are included later in Chain Mail from EGRFA Committee Chair Pearl and District Emergency Chair Janne.
Brilliant Efforts by Clubs
I am amazed and very heartened by how clubs are adapting to these difficult times. There are clubs I would never have expected to that have embraced Zoom and other online meeting tools, and WhatsApp and other group communication tools. Wow! I am so impressed. Well done everyone. I know you have some members who haven’t embraced this. Please use your more I.T savvy members to mentor and assist those not so early to embrace. Communication right now is critical, so if you can’t get some members over the line, please be sure that they get regular telephone contact to keep them up to date. Do you know, most who don’t embrace the technology wrongly fear it is too complicated or difficult for them? Seriously, it is not, that’s why I ask that mentoring assistance is put in place for these members. Just remember, despite the world as we know it falling apart, we are current, we are cool, we’re right there so as Rotarians we can continue the great work we do, even when in isolation. Prove me right!
Stay safe everyone
Issue 9    March 2020

April is Maternal and Child Health Month
5th April
Foundation Meeting
(Zoom at 10:00 am))
10th-13th  April
19th April
District Leadership Meeting
(Zoom at 5:00 pm)
District Finance Meeting
(Zoom at 7:00 pm)
District Board Meeting
(Zoom at 7:30 pm)
25th April
3rd May
District Assembly
(Time tbc)

Thank you All Seasons Resort Hotel Bendigo and City of Greater Bendigo

Article submitted by District Governor - Adrian Froggatt
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Planning any trips to Bendigo once we can travel again?   
The All Seasons Resort Hotel Directors and the management of the City of Greater Bendigo have released us from the Conference contracts in place and refunded the deposits we had made.
Truly a community spirit at its' best in this tough time. As D9820 Rotarians, please support both the city and the All Seasons Hotel with future visits to thank them for their generousity.
Conference Refunds
Our Conference creditors have been very generous by allowing us to reimburse 100% of registrant’s fees. Awesome work by our Berwick organising committee.
As some have indicated a willingness to donate the value of the registrations, we are putting up 3 options for refunds to those who registered:
  1. Full refund back to the credit card that the original payment came from, or
  2. Donate the amount to East Gippsland Rotary Fire Aid Committee, or
  3. Donate the amount to the DG Partner Project “Polio Endgame”.
Please advise your preference to before midnight Saturday 4 April 2020.
With no advice we will default to option 1.
Successful Ride to Conference
Article submitted by District Governor Adrian Froggatt
Congratulations to Neil Stitt and his team of robust riders on another successful ride to conference. The only problem was, there was no conference but they persisted! Well done by all involved.
Communication & Engagement during COVID-19
Story from Rotary Membership Minute
For more than a century, Rotary has connected the world through fellowship and service. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our daily routines and forced the cancellation of many in-person Rotary and Rotaract club meetings and events. But even when we can’t hold our usual events, members have lots of ways to stay engaged, connect with one another, and serve their communities. 
Online Options
Clubs can meet online using services such as Zoom, Skype or GoToMeeting. All three platforms offer robust support, from their directions for setting up an account to helping with technical issues. Rotary and Rotaract members get a discount on Zoom through Rotary Global Rewards. Members can also connect with each other on social media and with services such as FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or WhatsApp groups. 
  • Learn how Rotarians and Rotaractors are staying in contact and keeping members engaged during these difficult times:
  • Find ideas and resources for holding virtual meetings, engaging through social media, and serving from afar in District 6690’s guide to Maintaining Member Engagement During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Read how the Zone 34 Rotary coordinators are maintaining membership engagement (hint: ingenuity and adaptability) and download their COVID-19 response guide
  • See how Big West Rotaract, a multidistrict information organization in the western region of North America, is connecting Rotarians and Rotaractors who are experiencing difficulties with others who can help. Look at its Rotary and Rotaract COVID-19 Mutual Aid form.  
  • Read advice from Charlotte Ahlberg, past chair of the Rotary International E-Club Committee, on taking your club online. 
  • Visit Rotary’s website to get more tips and guidance for holding online club meetings.
Keep Members Engaged
How is your club or district keeping your members engaged during the COVID-19 response? Share your ideas and resources or participate in a discussion in the Meeting Online group in Learning Topics. 
Keep in Touch with Your Club Mates
Submitted by David Hanlon - D9820 Membership Chair
Traditionally Rotary has connected with the world through services and fellowship, but now the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way in which we go about our day-to-day life, including how we can meet as Rotarians.  However, during this period of isolation, it is most important that we continue social interaction with one another and use the time to plan service activities that we as Rotarians can undertake when we come out the other side of this crisis.
Clubs can meet online using Highly Interactive Tools such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Hangout, Skype etc.  For information on how to run online meetings please check out Rotary resources on virtual meetings:
Rotarians can also stay connected with each other on social media and with services such as FaceTime, or WhatsApp groups.  Please establish telephone contact with those members that lack computer skills and walk them through the processes, so they are not left isolated.
I recommend to Club executive teams that you visit the following link to District 6690’s guide for suggestions on how to maintain member engagement through this crisis –
It might seem strange to suggest that this, but it is a perfect time to invite prospective members, or members who have recently left the Club, to join you for your Club’s online meetings. It may be the social interaction that they need now.
Finally, I would like to hear from Club’s about your innovative ideas that you are prepared to share our other District Clubs.
Get with it and Zoom
Excerpts from a paper by DGE Mark Humphries
Club life is important to us, it provides fellowship, it is where we make a difference to those around us. Don’t just suspend your meetings, embrace the new age of communication to maintain the connections and social aspects of your club. As DG Adrian says, it’s easier than you think.
With Zoom (or similar products) you can web conference and maintain the connections and social aspects of your club despite the COVID-19 restrictions. You’ll see later in Chain Mail that there is a special offer available for zoom subscriptions for Rotary clubs (see the Communication & Engagement during COVID-19 story). Alternatively, District has 3 Zoom licenses, which clubs are very welcome to make use of. We are looking for someone to administer this for us.
Not sure about zoom – why don’t you join Latitude 38 on one of their zoom meetings to see what it is like. Visit for more information on this. You’ll be made very welcome.
Do you have an inspirational speaker that you think people from across our District might be interested in hearing? Why not send us their details, we will contact them and see if we can establish a webinar, then advertise this across our District and beyond.
Mark Humphries
District Governor Elect, 2019-2020
M:  0419 340 014
District & Regional Programme & Event Update
COVID-19 Notice from RAWCS
Submitted by John McLaren - Chairman, Rotary Australia World Community Service Limited
Rotary Australia World Community Service Limited (RAWCS) remains operational. However, in accordance with Government directives:
  • All interstate and overseas travel has been ceased until further notice.
  • All face-to-face meetings have been cancelled until further notice.
  • All Donations in Kind (DIK) operations are suspended and warehouses are closed from COB 28 March 2020 for all deliveries and sorting until further notice.  Where there is a request to access donated materials, (typically health and medical supplies required by government) these will be dealt with on a case by case basis with each warehouse manager.
The current environment will significantly impact RAWCS projects and the activities of Rotary Clubs for the foreseeable future.  RAWCS is reviewing its budget with a view to containing costs to essential expenditure only.
Your communities need Rotary now more than ever so please take this opportunity to consider those in need in your community.  RAWCS supports people of action.
Stay safe and do what you can for others.
District 9820 Emergency Chair Report
Submitted by PDG Janne Speirs - Rotary Club of Traralgon
As D9820 Emergency Management Chair, I would like to make a few comments on the wonderful and practical work being done by the East Gippsland Rotary Fire Aid Committee on behalf of all Rotarians in the District;…. and on your behalf, we are currently working on the initial stages of a number of significant Global Grants which, if brought to fruition will be of huge future benefit in the region. Here’s hoping – first reactions have been positive.
Geographically, the recovery task is huge and of course the issues we and indeed the whole world face now with COVID-19 is intensifying the challenges being faced.
Where possible, people are continuing to receive assistance in many forms, regardless of the pandemic, and your Committee has been working tirelessly to make life easier for those who have suffered so much. We have also been able to assist some individuals through our District Trust and this has been much appreciated.
On the Labour Day weekend, DG Adrian and I spent time in Mallacoota, talking with a number of Community leaders regarding ways in which we as D9820 may be able to assist with the rebuilding of their Community. We were given a very thorough tour of the town, which was extremely sobering, but also showed how incredibly lucky the town was not to have suffered far more than it did!
One thing I became very conscious of was the fatigue being suffered by people in hospitality within the town – they went through the trauma, but then almost immediately had to cater for those who were dropped in – Emergency Services, Military etc.   Then, with those returning to rescue caravans etc and eventually new holiday makers returning to the area.
The upshot is they have had no time to actually process their own emotions and reactions and therefore some are feeling quite ‘overcome’, even those who had no physical losses.
For me though, the highlight was visiting a gentleman in Genoa, who was so grateful to receive shopping vouchers and some of the work wear. He had a typically Australian laid back approach to the whole thing, but has been impacted quite severely.  In fact to top it all off, when he took his wife up to Southern NSW to get away from it all, her car was washed away in the floods!!!!
As I conclude I would just like to thank PDG Jane Cox for donating a number of Resilience Diaries from Australian Rotary Health – they have been very well received.
East Gippsland Rotary Fire Aid Committee Report
Submitted by Pearl Findlay-James, EGRFC Chair and President of Bairnsdale Sunrise Rotary
As Chairperson of the East Gippsland Rotary Fire Aid Committee, I must acknowledge the work of the whole committee working as a team, each with a specific skill set, we have achieved an amazing amount of work over a very short time frame.  I am very proud to lead this team of dedicated Rotarians.
The Rotary family of District 9820, 9800, 9810 and all other districts within Victoria and beyond have also assisted, with financial donations along with ‘man/woman power’ in the form of working bees, they have certainly contributed to the recovery program.
Friday, March 13th, was an exciting day for us all. Kaelene De Laney of Sarsfield accepted delivery of the first shipping container donated by District 9800. Kaelene lost her home and all shedding on her property in Sarsfield, where Kaelene’s Mum also lived with her. Kaelene presently lives in rented accommodation several Km’s away. 
The arrival of the shipping container allows Kaelene to leave all her donated work tools and personal items in a securely locked up container ‘on-site’, while she commences her recovery journey.
Money Vouchers
The Rotary money vouchers have proved to be a great success, with over $100,000 being distributed to fire affected survivors so far. The vouchers are providing a source of income for the retailers locally during this very unstable time economically. Committee members visit the family or individual referred to us, carry along a Rotary fruit cake to share over a cuppa (so there are a couple of expanding waistlines !!). There are also follow up visits to present the vouchers, clothing or other needs, as determined during the initial visit.
Hay & Fodder Distribution
Hay & fodder distributions are continuing in preparation for the onset of winter and we are eagerly awaiting the delivery of a container load of ‘star pickets’, which will assist our hobby farmers with their challenges of fence lines being replaced.
GIVIT - An Amazing Partner Organisation
DG Adrian Froggatt, PDG Janne Speirs & I attended an information day for Registered Charities hosted by East Gippsland Shire. While attending, we were introduced to a young Lady from GIVIT. Who/what is GIVIT you ask? We asked the same question. GIVIT partner with the ACT, NSW, QLD & VIC State Governments with Disaster & Emergency Recovery Service.
Rotary International is a registered charity, which allowed me to register on their website for assistance.
I cannot sing their praises highly enough, we had a few items on a ‘wish list’. I uploaded to their website and within days our wishes were granted. A big shout out, ’Thank you Lisa & team’
Community Barbecues
Another community BBQ day was held, this time at Cann River. The weather was a little cooler, however, the Melbourne Army Band kept everyone moving and swinging their hips to a vast selection of music, in fact they did a ‘Pied Piper’, walking through the Main street of Cann River, returning with interested followers to see what was happening in town!
We met several travellers from the caravan park, who also enjoyed the activities, how can you not like free fairy floss, popcorn and a BBQ lunch expertly prepared by Orbost & Bairnsdale Rotary Club members.
This is a very brief snapshot of the activities undertaken over the past couple of months. King Gee work clothing and donated furniture continues to be distributed, as we move into uncharted waters with the current health crisis.
We will continue to assist our fire survivors, while keeping ourselves safe.
We demonstrated this by holding our first ZOOM committee meeting on Thursday 26th March & we all survived!!
We may have slipped from the headlines, however, we are still in the thoughts of many by continuing to receive donations. We expect to take delivery of a few refurbished caravans shortly. These will be new homes for those currently living in tents on their properties.
Thank you all, for assisting us to assist those in desperate need here in East Gippsland.
Please note photos were taken prior to the COVID-19 Coronavirus restrictions.
Reach Out To Fire Victims
Article submitted by PDG Janne Speirs - Rotary Club of Traralgon
While we are unable to physically start looking at the role clubs can play in fire recovery over the next few months, these post cards may give us a different way of interacting with and supporting our East Gippsland Fire survivors.
These packs of postcards have been developed by a lady who lost three family members in the Latrobe Valley fires on Black Saturday. As a way of healing for herself and giving support to communities in fire recovery, she developed the idea of creating packs of 12 postcards which one per month would be sent to a family in the current fire zone.
Could you please contact me at, or on 0409 356 469, if you would like one of these packs either as a club or as an individual. I will then ask the EGRFC committee to give you the address of your personal fire impacted family and for the next twelve months you can send these cards out.  
Please consider this - it is a way of still reaching out to our fire survivors at a time when all of us need to be physically isolated, but desperately need social connection.
Cancellation of Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA)
In consideration of the Federal Government and health professionals' recommendations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Rotary International recommendations, and discussions with the District Governor, the MUNA committee has taken the decision to cancel MUNA 2020, which was due to be held at the Phillip Island Adventure Resort in May this year.
It is our intention that we keep monitoring the situation and, if the opportunity arises, we hope to re-schedule the event later in the year and run a modified version of MUNA.
This decision was not taken lightly but we feel that the health of all participants is important and should not be compromised.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need to discuss and we look forward to your participation in the next MUNA Assembly
Yours in Rotary,                                                                                                                     
John Caruana PP PHF+2                                  Di Harrison PP PHF
MUNA District 9820 Co-Chair                           MUNA District 9820 Co-Chair
District 9820 Public Image Group
Article submitted by Janet Pugh - Chair of Public Image Group, Rotary Club of Mount Martha
Seeking new members for the Rotary District 9820 Public Image Group.
Are you looking for a different way to contribute to Rotary? Why not join the District Public Image Group next year and help us promote the activities of the District?

We are keen to recruit new people to manage our social media (Facebook), the District newsletter and the Website. Your time commitment would be 1-2 hours week with monthly Zoom meetings with the team.
The current team will provide support and guidance, so this may be a great learning opportunity for you!
If you are interested, please contact:
Jane Moore
District Secretary 2019-2020
Rotary International District 9820
m: 0418 175 878
Seeking a RAWCS National Treasurer
Article submitted by Mike Whitehouse - Treasurer, Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS)
As the current shareholders and 2020/21 shareholders of RAWCS Ltd, we are seeking your help to identify within your District, a retired Rotarian to take on the voluntary role of RAWCS National Treasurer. The current National Treasurer, Mike Whitehouse, will retire from the position after the end of this financial year.
The ideal person will be a Chartered Accountant or CPA who has worked as a chief financial officer in a major corporation or business. The position role is the day to day financial management and accounting of RAWCS Ltd and its three operating funds RARF, RAOAF and RABS, as well as providing high level strategic advice to the RAWCS Board of Directors and active participation in the RAWCS Board Executive Committee.
An average of 20 hours per week is the time commitment and includes monthly visits to the RAWCS office in Parramatta. All out of pocket expenses incurred in undertaking the position are reimbursed by RAWCS Ltd.
I will provide a copy of the RAWCS National Treasurer’s position description, on request to
A robust handover and training period is envisaged so that there is a seamless continuation of this important RAWCS function.
Please encourage interested retired Rotarians to contact me on 0448 710 882 for background information, or provide me with their contact details.
Thank you for your assistance.