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Club News

2019 Art Show another excellent show

We had a record 570 entries for our 43rd Annual art show which was held at Mesley Hall in Leongatha.

More than $250,000 worth of work was on display with between 25 and 30 Paintings sold across the 3 days.

The winner of the Best In Show was won by artist Vanessa Kelly for untitled work of a water colour of a hay bale in a paddock.

Art Show 2019 5.jpg

Don Bruce, David Panther and Kerry Pritchard were thrilled with the number of entries at the Leongatha Show ‘n’ Shine on Sunday.

Show N Shine 2019

AROUND 250 entries made up the 10th annual Leongatha Show ‘n’ Shine on Sunday.

Coordinator and Leongatha Rotarian Jim McNiven said the entries far exceeded expectation, considering the hot temperatures over the wee.

“The weather and nearby fires caused some uncertainty, but we had just about as many entries as ever,” Mr McNiven said.

“It was great to have the emergency services out to support us and the swap meet was very popular throughout the morning.”

Mr McNiven was pleased to see many top quality makes and models journeying out to the Leongatha Velodrome.

“I’d say quite a few of the displays were of world standard. Most of the entries were local, which is just fantastic,” he said.

“It was good to see a good crowd come out to have a look and we had plenty of food options for everyone this year. We had around 14 food vendors and we would absolutely ask them back again next year.”

Mr McNiven said all proceeds from the well supported event will go to charities supported locally, nationally and internationally by the Leongatha Rotary Club.

He thanked his fellow Rotarians for ensuring the success of the event.

“The Rotarians came together and everyone stepped up to different jobs. It was a great event,” he said.

Changeover Dinner 2018

The outgoing board was secretary Michael Hogan, treasurer Chris McDonald, immediate past president Don Bruce, president elect Jeremy Curtis, Foundation director David Panther, community services director Andrew Debenham, youth director Mary Dortmans, membership director Michael Holloway and public relations director Alan Steenholdt.
The change-over was attended by representatives of Rotary clubs from Wonthaggi, Korumburra, and Phillip Island-San Remo, Woorayl and Leongatha Probus clubs, and Leongatha Lions Club.

The new 2018/19 board of the Rotary Club of Leongatha is President Jeremy Curtis, President elect Michael Hogan, Secretary Kim Harris., Treasurer Gordon Morrison, Program director Anne Martin, Immediate Past President Sue Dutton, General director Leo Argento, Foundation director David Panther and General director Shirley Seabrook, Sergeant at Arms Barry Patterson, Youth director Mary Dortmans and

2018 19 Board.jpg
Changeover Dinner 2017

Posted June 19, 2017

Last week’s meeting witnessed a great gathering of the Club members and their partners, as well as many visitors to celebrate our annual “changing of the guard” and installation of the Club’s new hierarchy. Fortunately it all went according to plan, with President Don Bruce passing the trappings of office over to new President Sue Dutton, who was inducted by DG-elect Rtn.Don Ripper and with the process of all of this being very well managed by our Master of Ceremonies, Phil Botte. It was pleasing to see amongst the guests Assistant DG Cheryl Glowery, past Rotarians Phil Carter, Meg Riseley together with her mother Maie, Col and Barb Byatt and Leanne Taranto. Representatives of other Rotary and other Service Clubs were also in attendance, being from the two local Probus Clubs, Lions and President-elect for Wonthaggi Rotary, Ash Lamers. Brad Lester from the Star was also in attendance, as well as our Mayor, Ray Argento and his wife Fiona.

Inductions, inductions!

Posted June 1, 2017


Inductions have been coming thick and fast, with prominent local farmer Leo Argento being inducted a few weeks ago and Peter Charles, Senior Humanities teacher and VCE Co-ordinator at Mary MacKillop College inducted at our last meeting. We welcome Leo and his wife Karen as well as  Peter and his wife Julie to our Rotary family.

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Model United Nations

Posted May 22, 2017


Pia Westaway and Chiara Ryan from Mary MacKillop spoke eloquently at tonight's meeting about their attendance at the 18th annual Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) held at Phillip Island Adventure Resort between the 5th and 7th of May 2017. As representatives of South Sudan, the girls gained valuable insight into the machinations of international diplomacy by debating serious issues of worldwide importance.

A Dog's Purpose

Posted May 16, 2017


In spite of the numbers falling below our expectations, those of us who attended the Film Night at our last meeting enjoyed the fellowship and the night out. On the night the sum of $828.40 was the profit for the Rotary Foundation and the sum of $200 was raised from the raffle. Once again many thanks are due to David Panther for his tireless efforts in getting it all together for the benefit of Foundation.

Beau Vernon inspires the Club

Posted May 9, 2017


Very good meeting at the RSL, with close on a hundred present, including our Guest Speaker, Beau Vernon, Assistant DG Cheryl Glowrey, our own members and their partners, members from Korumburra and Inverloch Clubs, together with a number of prospective members. Guest Speaker at the RSL was Leongatha Parrots’ Football Club Coach, Beau Vernon, and most of us know of the unfortunate situation he found himself following a serious football injury. In spite of his disability he is conquering the negatives and was truly inspirational in projecting the positive side of life.

Oh what a night!

Posted January 19, 2017


The Rotary Leongatha year kicked off with a lovely social gathering at Julie and Jeremy Curtis' breathtaking Knockwood Estate. Many thanks to our hosts and to grill masters Harry and Barry for their barbequeing skiils!

Ho, ho! Not hum drum...

Posted December 25, 2017


Leongatha Rotary's Christmas break-up was held at President Don's and Sheryl's beautiful abode in Inverloch. Everyone had a jolly good time, and we were certainly well catered for with Brent Sinclair's tasty finger food. Santa even made an impromtu appearance with his big stocking!

Leongatha Lyric Theatre puts on a Show!

Posted September 29, 2016


Over 40 Rotarians and partners attended Leongatha Lyric Theatre's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream tonight at Mesley Hall. Shakespeare's 420 year old comedy was given a delightfully cheeky Australian twist by director Bernadette Grainger. Who knew there were so many talented Thespians among us with our Rotarians Bruce Grainger, Jeremy Curtis, Michael Hogan, Barry Paterson, and exchange student Max all leaving us gobsmacked with their performances!

Australia spends too much on its Olympic athletes

Posted September 16, 2016


The first Round of Secondary Colleges debates was held last Monday night with Chairo Christian School facing Leongatha Secondary College over the topic “That Australia spends too much on its Olympic athletes”. The winning team on the night, by a narrow margin, was Leongatha Secondary College and they will now go on to debate Mary MacKillop College, last year’s debate winner, in November. A big thank you to the schools, students and teachers, as well as the debate adjudicators Justin Heffey, Tegan Murley and Nick Deacon.

There are no kangaroos in Austria!

Posted August 15, 2016


Our New Exchange Student Maximilian has been with us for a few weeks now and is gradually settling into his new environment. By his own admission, he is a little bit shy but this is entirely understandable for one who has come to the other side of the world to a new country. He was born on the 2nd of February 2000 in the village of Egg, which has a population of 3,500, and which is in the province of Vorarlberg, Austria and co-incidentally where there are dairy farms.

Japan beckons Leongatha Primary

Posted July 23, 2016


Last week we enjoyed an informative presentation from four students and their teacher from the Leongatha Primary School who are shortly to depart on a 9 day excursion to represent their school and country at a Natural Disasters Summit for Youth in Japan. They have already done considerable work in preparation on their special topic which they are to present, being the management of risks associated with bushfires. A number of Asian countries and the USA are to attend and it will be a wonderful educational opportunity for the students. Hopefully we will receive a report upon their return.

Change Over Dinner

Posted June 25, 2016


The change of the management of the Club from one administration to another is always a significant event on the Club’s calendar and an opportunity for us and others to review and celebrate our Club’s many achievements. With the Clubhouse filled with current and past members, our spouses and spouses of past members, family connections and representatives of other Rotary and service clubs, it was indeed a full house. One has only to read the detailed and comprehensive report of immediate Past-President Shirley to see what a busy and productive year we have had with her at the helm. Much was achieved and importantly there was a lot of good fun and fellowship enjoyed along the way. Congratulations to you Shirley for a leading us through a most successful year and many thanks also to Jim for his support to you and the club. And we can have every confidence that the new year with President Don Bruce at the helm will ensure the Club’s and ongoing success.

Pizza, Wine & Good Cheer!

Posted May 23, 2016


The Club met last night at Lucinda Estate Winery for a partner's Social Night. Fine wine, tasty gourmet pizzas and great company made for a top night out. Well done David Panther for masterminding the evening, and for Lucy and Andrew Gromotka for hosting the Club! All proceeds from the evening go to the Rotary Foundation.

Florence Foster Jenkins

Posted May 5, 2016


Our Movie Night  was a great success with a screening of the critically acclaimed Florence Foster Jenkins at Leongatha's Stadium 4 Cinema. Rotarians and friends of Rotary enjoyed the film and the supper provided afterwards. Thanks to David Panther for organising the event!

Tony Currie on Melbourne's Underbelly

Posted May 3, 2016

Last week our meeting was at the RSL with members of the local Lions Club. Our guest speaker was retired Policeman Tony Currie and he gave us an interesting cops and robbers presentation. It is a truism that criminals and their antics have a morbid fascination for us goodie two shoes types like me especially when Tony’s occupation as a Policeman brought him into contact with some of the more infamous recent cases of our times. These included the Walsh Street murders and the Russell Street bombing and others and certainly made for interest listening. It did raise the question in some of our members minds however as to how can one hold to the ideal of strict application of black letter law where a policeman is confronted with a situation requiring spur of the moment decision making when life and death outcomes are the likely consequence. Interesting. The initiative in inviting the Lions to join us is to be applauded and perhaps it sets a precedent for future years. It was a great night.

Dr. Bob Speaks about his Career

Posted April 4, 2016

Our guest speaker last week was delightful medico Dr Bob Birrell who was accompanied by his wife Jan. Bob has been an innovative paediatrician and part of our local scene for many years. He is one of those speakers whom one wishes we could just let keep talking without the normal time constraints so entertaining were his reminiscences of a long life. He qualified as a medical practitioner in Melbourne in 1956 and eventually, in addition to his medical practice, came to a small cattle holding at Stony Creek. He and wife Jan now live in Leongatha. His contribution to bringing out into the open the previously suppressed criminal abuse of children is a lasting legacy to both he and his brother medico, former police surgeon Dr. John Birrell.

Flying Start to the Rotary Year

Posted January 18, 2016


We got off to a flying start with our first meeting for 2016 last Monday the 11th of January with a gathering at that fairy tale location “Knockwood”, overlooking Mossvale Park. What a magical and historic setting amongst the century plus old forest giants. Thanks again to generous mine host, the ever gracious and hospitable lord of the manor Rtn. Jeremy Curtis Esquire.

President Shirley's Christmas Message

Posted December 24, 2015


I extend to all Rotarians, their partners and families my best wishes for Christmas and the new year and hope that you all have a pleasant break and come back refreshed and invigorated and ready to serve in the New Year. I thank you all for your contribution to a busy half year and we will have plenty to keep us involved and active in the new year, with the Wangaratta Conference and Show ‘n’ Shine being high on the agenda. Those of you who are involved in Meals on Wheels in the coming weeks please ensure that you attend to your duties, as well as those involved in the Australia Day arrangements.

With best wishes, President Shirley

Secondary Colleges Debate

Posted December 14, 2015


The final of the 20th annual Leongatha Rotary Club Secondary Colleges Debates took place last meeting when students from Mary MacKillop College were again successful in taking out the honours as best debating team for the year over Chairo Christian School. Student Tomei Dal Pozzo from Mary MacKillop won the Ross Pearson Memorial Award for the best debater and she was presented with the $50.00 cash prize by Ross’s widow Marj Pearson. A great night was enjoyed by all present for this important fixture on our calendar focusing on advancing the education of the youth of our community.

Carmel Slater presents cheque to Rotary Leongatha
Carmel Slater presents proceeds of Concert to the Club

Posted November 17, 2015


Our guest speaker last week was latest recipient of a Paul Harris Fellow, Carmel Slater, one of the great contributors to the wellbeing of our local community. Carmel generously donated proceeds from her recent concert at the Celia Rosser Gallery in Fish Creek to the Club. The awarding of a Paul Harris Fellow to her by our Club was surely long overdue and of special significance in the fact that Carmel was the first non-Rotarian to be rewarded a Fellowship by our Club since it was charted in 1953.

Sergeant Dale McCahon

Posted October 26, 2015


Leongatha Police Sergeant Dale McCahon spoke eloquently at the Club meeting tonight about changing perceptions towards youth behaviour in the local community and some common misconceptions regarding stereotypes pertaining to ICE and family violence. Retired Meeniyan Sergeant, Rtn Jim Cusack, presented Dale with a book about Rotary in appreciation for his informative presentation.

Carmel Slater awarded the
Paul Harris Fellowship

Posted October 26, 2015


Congratulations to our newest Paul Harris Fellow, Carmel Slater, who has been a visionary music teacher and tireless advocate for the performing arts in South Gippsland for many years! The award was presented at the Carmel Slater Concert at the Celia Rosser Gallery last night. Rotarians and guests were treated to a musical extravaganza from a group of extremely talented local musicians, most of whom were still teenagers. While not a Rotarian herself, Carmel has hugely enriched the local community with her energy and passion for music and dedication to fostering local musical talent.

Best in Show

Posted October 18, 2015


There was a diverse and inspired range of entries this year at the 39th Annual Art & Photography Show. Guest judge Simon Gregg had a hard time choosing the Art Show Awards for 2015. The winning entry was by Glenn Hoyle of Langwarrin, titled ‘Sweet Still-life’.

Royal Australian Navy Volunteers

Posted September 28, 2015


Our guest speaker was Lieutenant Commander Jane Bourke who has been employed at the Cerberus Naval Base for the last 25 years.  Jane is currently an Executive Officer of the Royal Australian Navy Recruit School, which is where all sailors begin their navy careers. The mission of the RS is to induct men and women into the Navy, to enable them to think for themselves, work with each other, build the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct basic duties within the Fleet and progress to a specialised career. At any one period there can be up to 360 recruits training at RS. While Recruits complete a raft of specialised training modules, community engagement is also a key focus. Jane made an extremely generous offer to provide a busload or two of recruits (up to 100) who could come to our area on a weekend and assist in completing worthwhile Club projects.

Lieutenant Commander Jane Bourke and Rtn Andrew Debenham
Read the latest issues of Rotary Down Under below
Rotary Down Under Magazine
President Shirley presenting Christine Williams with a donation.
DG Merv Williams visits the Club

Posted September 21, 2015


We were delighted to welcome new District Governor Merv and his wife Christine Williams to the Club tonight. Merv spoke about the challenges of attracting new members to Rotary, while Chirstine informed us about her special project "Rotarians Against Malaria" in the Solomom Islands. President Shirley presented a donation to Christine to assist her in the project.

New Paul Harris Fellow

Posted September 21, 2015


The Club's newest Paul Harris Fellow was inducted tonight by District Governor Merv Williams during our Monday night meeting. Rotarian Graeme Evans has been a longstanding member of the Club and has dedicated countless hours to benefit the Club and the local Leongatha community.

Graeme Evans with his wife Wendy, daughter and grandson after receiving the award.
David Leslie regaling the Club
David Holloway telling us about his rock and roll band days
Five Minute Presentations

Posted September 14, 2015


We were regaled tonight by two of our Rotarians who presented insightful five minute presentations about their lives, careers, loves and interests. Michael Holloway spoke about his wild rock and roll band days travelling the world and staying in the best hotels. This is where he met his lovely wife Hyacinth, who was working in a top class hotel in Goa, before Michael whisked her back to Leongatha to a life on the dairy farm. David Leslie humourously recounted how his life was typically organised by "fives", including his four previous careers from cleaning toilets, truck driving, and teaching, before becoming Principal of Mary MacKillop.

First Round of Schools Debates

Posted September 1, 2015


The main item on the agenda for last week’s meeting was the first round of our Rotary Secondary College debates for 2015. By a very slim margin, our judges determined that the winners were Chairo Christian School and they will now go on to meet Mary MacKillop College for the final debate presently set down for 16th November. The topic examined “That we should abolish Zoos”. For the affirmative team from Leongatha Secondary College in order of appearance: Hannah Box, Ruby Martin, & Jasmin Ewing. For the negative team we had from Chairo Christian School in order of appearance: Justin Hibma, Jessica Erbs, & Abi Boucher. It was a very enjoyable evening and another example of Rotary’s endeavours to assist and advance the interests of the youth of our community.

Secondary Colleges Debate
Marc Dinger drawing teh winning Rotary Wood Raffle ticket
Wood Raffle Winner

Posted August 28, 2015


Congratulations to local Leongatha man Peter Hawkins for winning the latest Rotary Wood Raffle. The Wood Raffle raised $2,500 which will go to support the Club's projects. Thanks to all involved, including Marc Dinger for drawing the winning ticket!


Celebrating our Student Exchanges

Posted August 26, 2015


The Leongatha Rotary Club has long been a strong supporter of Rotary International’s worldwide student exchange programs and this was very much in evidence when the Club hosted a gathering of five past and present exchange students last Monday night. 


Austrian exchange student, Therese Holl, was back in town renewing acquaintances following her Leongatha exchange in 2013/14.  Local exchange student Matilda Morton-Pedersen is now back in Leongatha after having completed an unforgettable 12 months exchange in Finland, whilst new exchange student Marc Dinger has just arrived from Germany to spend the next 12 months with Rotarians and other host families in Leongatha.


Meanwhile, local secondary college students Hattie Steenholdt and Cleo Davison are preparing to leave for 12 month exchanges to Denmark and the Netherlands respectively.

Rotary Student Exchange
Leongatha Rotary Exchange
2015-16 Exchange Student Welcomed

Posted August 10, 2015


It was indeed a pleasure last week to welcome Marc Dinger, our new incoming overseas exchange student all the way from Germany. An affable young man with a cheery smile and big broad-brimmed hat who stood up (him, not the hat) and confidentially introduced himself which bodes well for his exchange being a great experience for us all. The tradition continues. If you haven’t already done so, make sure you introduce yourself and welcome him.


Rtn Kerry's Italian Adventure

Posted August 10, 2015


A highlight of last week’s meeting was serial holiday taker Kerry Pritchard’s entertaining pictorial travelogue of his most recent escapade, this being a latte sipping, vino sucking, gelato licking bike ride through Italy and Sicily. His six week ride took him from one end of Italy to the other including over the top of active volcano Mount Etna.

Dream Cricket International

Posted July 27, 2015


Our guest speaker was Rotarian Peter Dell of Warragul Rotary Club and he was accompanied by his partner Sally Jones, also a Warragul Rotarian. Peter’s passion (apart from Sally) is sport generally but in particular he is a lifelong devotee to cricket and is still an enthusiastic participant. Dream Cricket International is an organisation he is promoting which has been initiated by the Rotary clubs of the southern highlands of NSW in conjunction with the Movement Disorder Foundation (for disabled children), and the Bradman Foundation. The organisation’s aim is to provide an opportunity for primary school students who suffer from disabilities to play on the Bradman Oval and visit the Bradman International Cricket Hall of Fame at Bowral. It is hoped to extend the program to schools and children throughout Australia, and Peter submitted a very convincing case for it to be introduced into our part of the world.

Ellen-Jane Brown – ICE

Posted July 20, 2015


Where to begin and where to end is the question of attempting to distil into a few inadequate words the scourge of the drug ICE. It is an amorphous and pervasive blight on our community that is seemingly unstoppable. Ellen-Jane Brown was our guest speaker this week and she gave it her best shot in helping us to comprehend the magnitude of the problem.

Change Over Dinner

Posted July 2, 2015


The 2015 Leongatha Rotary Club Change Over Dinner was held on Monday 29 June at the Woorayl Golf Club in Leongatha. There was a great attendance with many past and present Rotarians and friends of Rotary present from around the district. Shirley Seabrook was sworn in as President for the 2015-16 year. We thank immediate Past President Gordon Morrison for his stewardship over the last year and for leaving the club ship shape for Shirley to take over!


Rotary Student Exchange

Posted June 22, 2015


It is most pleasing to confirm that our club’s commitment to Rotary’s Student Exchange Programs is as strong as ever. The life changing impact that exchange can have for the young citizens of our world, and the collateral benefits that accrue to we Rotarians and others, cannot be overestimated. We presently await the arrival of Mark Dinger, our new incoming exchange from Germany. He is coming in on the 8th of August, and his first host family will be the Morton-Pedersens, the family of recently returned student Matilda. We have also recently made a commitment to sponsor Cleo Davidson and Harriet Steenholdt as two new outgoing students for the coming year. In addition of course we are soon to welcome students from Turkey as they arrive for their reciprocal visit to our shores following six of our students visiting their country earlier this year. Our proud tradition in supporting student exchange has never been stronger.

LandCare Project with Malvern RC

Posted June 10, 2015


On Sunday 31st May, approximately 30 Rotarians from Malvern and Leongatha assisted with planting 1600 trees and shrubs at Valley Plains Pottery in Leongatha South. The main environmental factor is that the planting area is the largest piece of original natural bush in the area and the land owner has just fenced it off to protect wildlife from cattle.



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