15 June, 2022

The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:49): It is a great honour to rise today to congratulate the Rotary Club of Adelaide Central. As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council and as the shadow minister for communities, I had the honour and pleasure of representing the leader of the Liberal party, the Hon. David Speirs, on 1 June 2022 at the civic reception at the Adelaide Town Hall. I want to thank Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor, Councillor Jesse Khera and the City of Adelaide team for hosting the reception to celebrate the formation of the Rotary Club of Adelaide Central.

The reception marked the celebration of a combined 100 years of 'Service Above Self' to communities by the Rotary Clubs of Adelaide West and Adelaide South, which amalgamated in 2020 to form a new force for the future. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to catch up with so many community leaders and great friends from the Rotary Club of Adelaide Central, including the inaugural president, Glenda Sherwin-Lane; youth services director, Cathy Chong AM; membership and marketing director, Bill Marles; and guest speaker coordinator, David Griggs; among the many dedicated board members and distinguished guests.

Please allow me to speak briefly about the history of Rotary. In 1905, founder, Paul Percy Harris, with his business colleagues, established Rotary with the initial goal of creating a club of professionals and businessmen for friendship and fellowship. Soon, Paul Harris realised that Rotary needed a greater purpose. When Paul Harris was elected as the third president of the Chicago Rotary Club in 1907, the club initiated its first public service project, which was the construction of public toilets in Chicago. This step transformed Rotary into the world's first service club.

In July 1910, Paul Harris married a wonderful Scotswoman named Jean Thomson. She supported the organisation but was never allowed to join because she was a woman. However, they became a formidable team. Jean travelled the world with Paul Harris in support of Rotary. She helped to make women an important part of Rotary, eventually leading to all Rotary clubs admitting women as full members.

Over the period of 117 years, Rotary International has grown to over 46,000 member clubs worldwide, spreading over 200 countries and territories, with a global network membership of 1.4 million individuals, neighbours, friends, leaders and problem solvers known very proudly as Rotarians, who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe and in our local communities.

Solving real problems takes real commitment and vision. Rotarians are people of action and are using their passion, energy and skills to do something important and to take action on sustainable projects. From literacy and peace to water and health, hardworking Rotarians around the world have worked on projects that make a difference and improve lives for over 110 years.

It is a great honour to have the opportunity to place my special thanks on the public record and acknowledge the Rotary Club of Adelaide Central as they celebrate a combined 100 years in the amalgamation of the Rotary Clubs of Adelaide West and Adelaide South. It is indeed fabulous to see that the members of both Rotary clubs have decided to come together to share and enrich their knowledge and experience to run a range of worthy projects to continue the great work of Rotarians by supporting a range of local and overseas projects.

Over the years, Rotary Club of Adelaide Central has donated significant amounts of time, money, products and expertise to a wide range of causes identified by their members, including $300,000 worth of cash and products to worthy local and overseas projects. The Rotary Club of Adelaide Central has donated food and products from the Adelaide Central Market traders to support four Adelaide homeless charities, worth over $150,000 over the last 11 years.

The club has successfully organised many fundraising activities as well; the list goes on and on. My congratulations go to the amazing team and members of the Rotary Club of Adelaide Central. I wish them all the very best as they embark on a bright new future by building on 100 years of foundation.