ORIGINS AND EARLY DAYS
The late John Vanderbom’s 1979-80 records on the Club history noted:
The story of the Kingston Rotary Club has some strong links with the rapid development of the Kingborough Municipality. Soon after the ‘bushfire year’, 1967, the Southern Outlet was opened, which was followed by some drastic changes in the quiet world of Kingston and Blackmans Bay. The Channel Court with its several shops and banks was opened, secondary industries established themselves in Browns Road, and the building and development of Kingston High School [since moved to Summerleas Road and the mentioned area now recognised as Kingston Park], and also the College of Advanced Education on Mt Nelson [now Hobart College] brought an influx of teachers and educationalists to this formerly rural district, and attracted many others. Kingston-Blackmans Bay became a popular living area.
In 1971, the then President of the Hobart Rotary Club, Darcy Blackwood, recommended the formation of a club at Kingston to DG Bill Bertram who appointed PDG Tim Jacobs as his special representative to investigate and report. After a lot of spadework, Tim called a meeting of existing and potential Rotarians from Kingborough on 2 August 1971.
The first regular meeting of the Provisional Rotary Club of Kingston was held on l6 August, followed at 8 pm by the first Board meeting, at which officers and directors were appointed. Also discussed were arrangements for ordering lapel badges; for publishing the Bulletin; the weekly meeting meal charge ($1.20 plus 10 cents for Club funds); the opening of a bank account; and organisation of the Charter Night dinner. The dinner was originally planned as a grand occasion for 400 at Wrest Point; but, after reduced estimates of 300 and 240, it finally took place at the Kingston Masonic Hall, in Maranoa Road, for 142 – much more in keeping with the neighbourhood spirit of the Club – with catering by Athol Salter.
Besides the more weighty matters occupying the attention of the Board at their early meetings, we find a decision to ask for larger coffee cups and cheese. The coffee cup problem was successfully solved, but no further comment was made about the cheese. Rotarian Phil McArthur was authorised to purchase a supply of Rotary handkerchiefs to present to members on birthdays – the first move of the Fellowship Committee.
The Charter was granted on 20 October and presented on 27 November (this then being designated ‘Charter Night’) to the 33 Charter Members. Initially our District was 282, but not for long, as on 1 July 1972 Tasmania was separated from parts of Victoria and became District 283. President Angus Taylor welcomed Councillor Golder (the Warden of the Municipality) and Mrs Golder, DG Bill Bertram and Mrs Bertram, PDG Tim Jacobs, President Darcy Blackwood of the Hobart Club and Mrs Blackwood, Rotarian Eric Howard and Mrs Howard, and PDG Keith Norman of Mornington, Victoria (who was visiting Tasmania). Other highlights at the meeting were the reading of a message from then RI President Ernst Brietholtz and the serving of claret, cider, beer, sauternes, moselle and fruit-cup to the 141 guests.
In March 1972 we hosted our first Group Study Exchange team – from District 605, Missouri. We sent them home with a copy of the HEC film, The Wild Side. In April we paid our first inter-Club visit – to our sponsor Club, Hobart. They returned the compliment in May. Early in 1972 we placed our order for the first 100 banners for the Club.
We established ourselves with RI by donating $1 a head to the Foundation – a small start leading to our very healthy contribution of $97 per member in 1995-96. Before the end of that first Rotary year three new members had been nominated and accepted, two of whom were inducted in June.
At the Club’s fortieth anniversary in November 2011 special recognition was given of the original 33 Charter Members.