I was a teenager when my father invited me to join him at a Father and Daughter lunch at Melbourne Rotary. That was my introduction to the Rotary concept. My father was a surgeon and he found it impossible to fulfil the 85% attendance rule which was in place back then, so he did not remain a member for very long, but I still remember how much I enjoyed that day.
Life went on, and then in 1986 my husband died, and I had four children down to 12 to bring up. I built a new career in Retirement Planning and Superannuation, and I was invited to speak at a number of Rotary Clubs and Probus Clubs around the suburbs of Melbourne. I was always made very welcome. All the meetings were a bit different. I remember some that had an antique copper warming pan, which was handed around to receive “fines”, contributions from members for all sorts of reasons. (Warming pans were filled with hot coals and used to warm the bed before the days of hot water bottles.)
There were a bunch of people who used to take the same train into town each day, and over time a group of us became good friends. We even had a Christmas dinner together. One of them, Past President Keith McNeil asked me if I would be interested in becoming a member of Rotary Melbourne, and I was inducted in 2006. I have enjoyed almost 14 years in Rotary now, I love the interesting people from so many different backgrounds, the amazing variety of projects that Rotary is involved in, and even in lockdown there is a strong feeling of fellowship with our fellow members. What a great global organisation this is, as Rotary Melbourne comes up to its Centenary.