Rotary Club of Chermside
After the Second World War, Chermside and surrounding areas developed rapidly. Many new homes were built as a growing population called the area home. Development was enhanced through the addition of major community facilities such as Allan and Stark Drive-in Shopping Centre. At this time, many young men were using their talents to commence new businesses in the Chermside district.
The well-established Rotary Club of Nundah observed that there was an opening for a new Rotary Club in Chermside and on 16 December 1957 an inaugural meeting was convened by Nundah Club representative, Alex Dewar, and attended by 22 prospective members. They were Jim Wayper, Gordon Harris, Bruce Pie Jnr, Keith Jaggers, Steve Pill, Jock Timmins, Arch Bell, Arthur Box, Len Brooks, Tom Coglin, Bill Davenport, Sam Harris, Frank Ives, Kevin O'Reilly, Tom Packer, Charles Pantges, Rod Voller, Whit Whittaker, Clyde Winton, John Wheeler, Ashley Collins, Tony Parer.
The presentation of the Charter occurred in May 1958, and members came from a wide variety of occupations - building materials, retailing, dentistry, doctors, panel beating, caravan manufacturing, electrical contracting - to name a few. Membership grew and at one stage there were over 50 members of Chermside Rotary working for the betterment of local communities.
Rotary meetings were held weekly, in the early days at the Allan and Stark Cafeteria and later at other venues. Rotary International promotes the concept of "service above self", and typical of Rotary Clubs world-wide, the Chermside Club discussions focused on four areas of service -
• Community service
• Vocational service
• International service
• Club service
Club meetings soon resulted in numerous service related activities.
One of the first projects was to build a new Scout hut. Members tackled the building tasks together, regardless of their skills or training. This certainly helped members to get to know one another. Most club activities saw hands-on involvement from all members. The next major task was to establish the Chermside Meals on Wheels on ground provided by the Brisbane City Council in Mawson Street, Kedron. This building was not physically constructed by club members but they all assisted in fund raising functions. Since inception, this project has been assisted by the public as volunteer kitchen helpers or deliverers. The largest project for the Club was the designing and building of Burnie Brae Senior Citizen s Club in what would become Burnie Brae Park in Kuran Street Chermside. Another project involved the establishment of the Skills Training Centre at the Shaftsbury Campus.
As well as helping in their own professions, Chermside Rotarians employed their extensive vocational and life experience skills to mentor and guide many young people. Roteract and Interact were Junior Clubs designed to actively involve young people in their communities to put "service before self" in their own lives. Work was organised to help indigenous young people improve their life prospects.
Chermside Rotary hosted exchange students from numerous countries such as America, Finland, and Japan. Similarly, students from the local area were sponsored to visit other countries in order to develop their international outlook. When a request came from Rotary International to eliminate polio world-wide, a special appeal was made so vaccination could be free to all children. Chermside Rotary played an active role in Rotary international's goal of bringing the peoples of the world closer together.
A good Rotary Club is a well-organised club. Rotary has a special service area within each club to ensure that the club runs smoothly. Chermside Rotary was no exception - even though most members led very busy lives, they could count on the fact that their club was well organized by their peers through club service activities. In 1991, Chermside Rotary sponsored the establishment of Chermside Probus - a fellowship organization for retired older and retired professional and business people. The Club also sponsored the formation of Rotary Clubs at Aspley and Mitchelton
The Chermside Rotary Club suffered the same problem that happens to many voluntary organizations - lack of new members coming through the ranks. The Club closed in 2004 and left a lasting legacy to the district through the selfless efforts of its many members. Many of the newsletters produced by the Club are now available at the Chermside and District Historical Society.