The Rotary Club of Padstow was chartered
on Saturday the 25th of May, 1957.

Founding President Mike Cannon

Rotary came to the South Ward of the Municipality of Bankstown in 1957, and for that, credit must be given to George Proud (the Governor of District 29 as it was then), and to Arthur Vernan (President of the Rotary Club of Bankstown), and – most of all – to Past President Tom Smith, district Governor’s Special Representative.

The territory ceded by Bankstown covered the suburbs of Padstow, Revesby, Panania, East Hills, Milperra, and Picnic Point being all the territory bounded by Canterbury Rd, Salt Pan Creek, and the Georges River. (Click here for a map of the Club’s boundaries.) The inaugural meeting May 9th, the granting of the charter, May 27th, and its presentation, June 20th, all occurred in 1957, and in the years that followed the club never faltered, developing slowly but surely and gradually earning for itself a reputation in each of the Districts of which it was part … a reputation of which we are modestly proud.

Charter night
Charter night, 25th May 1957

The history of the South Ward reveals that as early as 1795, Surgeon George Bass and Midshipman Matthew Flinders, in the tiny Tom Thumb rowed some twenty miles up the Georges River. They made such favourable reports on the possibilities of the area that Governor Hunter himself visited it and gave it the name of Banks Town, after Sir Joseph Banks, the Botanist from The Endeavour.

In 1848 Robert Symons came to Australia, acquired an estate of 900 acres, which he named Padstow Park after the seaside village of Padstow in Cornwall in which he was born. Life was by no means easy, and development was slow, but the early settlers earned a subsistence and gradually established themselves in their new homes. An essentially rural life was maintained until large overseas corporations (among them Lincoln Electric, British Paints, Amalgamated Batteries, and Yorkshire Fittings) began to introduce factories that eventually transformed the quiet countryside into bustling townships.

The advent of many companies and the organisations associated with them increased the potential for a promising new Rotary Club and soon there was a wide range of classifications to justify the action taken in 1957.

Buzzer kit

Among the projects that have been successfully undertaken by our members are the Save-a-Life buzzer kits for the benefit of elderly citizens living alone, dental treatment for disadvantaged children, the establishment of Senior Citizens Clubs at Padstow and Panania, the supply of a caravan for the YMCA at Revesby, the stimulus for the establishment of Rotary Supplies (started by member and Past District Governor Jim Stanford), and the initiation of the PACE program (Pacific Australia Cultural Exchange).

Sustained and robust interest in many youth activities is perhaps the finest feature of the club’s contribution to the community: RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership awards), Rotaract, Interact (and before this was introduced, CODE), Careers Days, Apprenticeship Encouragement, Work Experience, Citizenship Awards to School Students and, to a noteworthy degree, Student Exchange year after year and supplies of books and other materials for Schools in developing countries. Both GSE (Group Study Exchange) and PACE have featured prominently.

Rotary Foundation has always been supported to the limits of our resources and it is our determination to maintain contributions as funds permit.

Over the years, many of our fellows have played important roles in various committees at District Level but our proudest contributions to 9690 is to have had three outstanding members serve as Governors: Jim Stanford in 1979-80, Barry Thompson in 1985-86, and Barry McConville in 1994-95. Additionally, Barry Thompson has held many positions at International level, notably that of RI Director in 1996-97 and 1997-98, and RI Treasurer in 1997-98.

Padstow Club continues to work with old avenues of service and to find new ones such as Youth Vocational Awards and Youth Trust.

In 1986 Les Conley of the Rotary Club of Padstow Australia established contacts with the Rotary Club of Padstow Cornwall. With the efforts of Les and other Australian Rotarians visiting Cornwall, and the programme established to make Padstow Cornwall a sister club in President Mike Koder’s year (1987-88), an on-going relationship has developed that sees frequent visits on both sides of the world and a sharing in international projects.


See also