Back to 1924...
King George V is our monarch and Stanley Bruce our PM. In Victoria, we had 4 Premiers during 1924: Harry Lawson, Sir Alexander Peacock, George Prendergast and John Allan. In Bendigo, Ernest Morton Vains was Mayor and will go on to be to our first president in 1925. Women were for the first time allowed to stand for parliament in Victoria and Federal election voting became compulsory. Our first radio station in Victoria went live, 3AR.
Our footy lovers had an important year. The Brownlow Medal was first introduced after the death of Charles Brownlow earlier in the year. Cat supporters will be pleased to know it was Edward Greeves who was judged the fairest and best footballer for the year. Essendon were declared premiers after finishing on top of the ladder and winning a round-robin competition. There was no Grand Final in 1924. Had Essendon not won the round-robin competition, they could have challenged the team that did - to decide who should be declared premiers. It was also the year that home teams were first forced to wear black shorts, and away teams, white.
In 1924, meetings were held (and early 1925) for the purpose of forming the Bendigo Rotary Club (the name that was recommended by our foundation members).
Most of the meetings focused on who should be invited to join this prestigious gathering and where the club meetings should be held - The Shamrock or Favaloro’s.
With the help of members from the Rotary Club of Melbourne, after much debate, a final list was drawn up in the Mayor’s room and it was agreed that club meetings were to be held at Favaloro’s. Most foundation members were business owners or industry leaders. Some members may be interested to know that in 1924/25 we had a Bishop, a local surgeon and a share-broker among our foundation membership.
We had to wait until Thursday, the 19th of March, 1925, before formal club meetings began. With the assistance of 6 members of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, the formal structure of how meetings should be conducted was learned by our 25 foundation members. If members needed encouragement, a mace (we still have it today) was given to the club Sergeant of Arms to assist with maintaining order. According to Professor W.A. Osborne, Commissioner of Rotary International (and our first guest speaker) the mace was once blood stained! Professor Osborne added that he hoped the mace would never be needed by the Sergeant of Arms to maintain order!
It is important to note that while in 1924/25 the club did have club meetings, the club still had not been chartered. We had to wait until July, 1925 for that to occur. Hence, the Rotary year 1924/25 was known as our Pre-charter year. The first project the club took on in 1924/25 was to assist the Boy’s Scout Appeal- particularly with Scout Week.
Members promised 50 guineas for the appeal which, for the 20 foundation members, was a considerable sum of money for this time. An admission fee for the club members was 2 pound and 2 shillings. Half year subs for members were also 2 pound and 2 shillings.
In the future, we look at the year of 1925/26 and the overall achievements of our foundation members. The only other Rotary Clubs in Australia, when our club formed, were Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Launceston and Newcastle.