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Manilla outgoing President, Stuart Faulks and incoming President, Peter Dutton with Dimity and I. The club cited the wonderful work Dimity did in helping them with their drought distribution.

Thoughts from the DG – Week 52

Well folks, this is my swan song – the last edition of the Inspirator.  So for this edition I will print my annual report.  I have enjoyed writing my thoughts each week, and letting you know what was happening. We’ve attended more changeovers – Inverell, my own club Armidale AM, Coonamble (their 60th and a combined event with Lions and Quota) Manilla (their 70th will be celebrated in October, and I noticed their Charter was signed by Roy Blake, the Governor of the day and a former Managing Editor of my old newspaper, The Armidale Express).  We will have Armidale Central this evening, and then the District Changeover on Saturday, when I move to ‘feather duster’ status with all the other PDGs.  

A huge thank you must go to my Editor, Andrew Maughan, of the Tamworth First Light Club.  He has done a sterling job of publishing each week, and fitting this into his busy working life of his Web Mogul on line business. Well done Andrew!

District Governor’s Report for the year 2018 /2019

It seems to me that I really shouldn’t need to write a report, as I’ve been ‘reporting’ to you all each week in the Inspirator.  So I will touch on a few areas I feel are important…

Club Visits were fantastic – we finished these in November.  You all made us feel very welcome, and I’ve been inspired by the many wonderful projects that are being carried out around our district.  And we were able to see some of these projects first hand.  Another thing that was inspirational was the fact that from the coast to the outback, as Rotarians, you play such a strong role in each community.  My thanks also to those who ‘hosted’ us on our travels – your hospitality was wonderful.

The Drought.  It started with our own RAWCS drought appeal in July, then the Channel 9 appeal kicked in.  We had two RAWCS projects – one for the District, and one for the Narrabri Neighbours in Need project. While our farming community has been through many droughts in each generation, they hadn’t seen anything like this ’never-ending’ event. I was amazed to discover that drought is not considered a disaster – floods and fires, yes, but not drought.  And isn’t it amazing that our farmers have been through so many droughts, but have never put their hand up before?  They are a stoic lot.  It was wonderful to see the everyday Australian at last realise that their farmers were in trouble, and they stepped up to help.  Reg Pierce, as project manager of the District appeal, and Darrell Tiemens and their teams did a wonderful job with this project, which was way out of our comfort zone. Some towns had their own fundraising efforts as well.  And how good was the fundraising that went on within and outside our District to provide help?  Not to mention the visits to the drought areas by city and coastal folk to support not only the famers, but the business people as well.  And the fact that the Federal Government gave Rotary the nod to distribute their funds speaks volumes for the trust they placed in our organisation.  The drought is not over, but our Rotary district can be proud of the leadership role our Rotarians played in this Rotary year, collectively distributing almost $2 million.   One of our workers in the outlying area of Wee Waa had this to say. 

Thank you for the thought of recognising the efforts of Neighbours in Need and the other drought relief programs.  However, I feel the wider Rotary community and organisation played a major role in our ability to help people affected by drought. We were only able to do what we did because clubs in cities and on the coast did amazing things raising the funds that we were distributing. The high esteem with which the Rotary organisation is held locally and by governments is a testament to the work every Rotarian does. Without this support and good will, none of the work by the Rotary Club of Wee Waa would have happened.
Darrell and Bruce Pyke (Rotary Club of Narrabri), Reg and his team at RAWCS need to be congratulated on their near seamless organisation of this project.
The North West and New England have had little if any relief from this drought, and although there is limited publicity, there is still a long road to travel.”

Rotaract.  Our RI President saw the reality of our Rotaractors being our Rotarians of the future, and I couldn’t agree more.  So we made an early start by inviting our one and only Rotaract club’s members to attend PETS and Assemblies, and we invited the Rotaract District Representative, Laura Telford, to sit in as an ‘observer’ at our Management Meetings.  They loved the recognition and being ‘included’ in these Rotary district events.  The next challenge was to get more Rotaract clubs established in the district, and our Rotaractors came up with their ‘Rotaract Roadshow’, where they travelled to clubs to talk about setting up a Rotaract Club.  The outcome is that we have one new club, the Rotaract Club of New England, established in Armidale, and there are two more ‘in the works’ in Inverell and Tamworth. 
The paperwork for our new club arrived last week – a great achievement for PP of Armidale Central, Kristyn Barker, their sponsoring club, who has done so much work to get them up and running.  And they have been supported by my club, Armidale AM as co-sponsor.  History shows us that we used to have a Rotaract club in almost every town in our district – even in small communities like Warialda.  Rotaract has been around for more than 50 years.  What went wrong I wondered?  From the research I’ve done, we set up all these clubs, but didn’t include them.   We let them hum along, and it seems when they reached the age of 30, most of them fell off the radar - especially the young women who were allowed to join Rotaract, but not Rotary at that time – women in Rotary came 20 years later.
I did find some Rotaractors who had become Rotarians – even found a few who met their wives in Rotaract.  In any case, the latest Council on Legislation has now raised the status of Rotaractors to that of Rotarians.  Another 863 new clubs have been established this Rotary year; 864 if you count our own New England Rotaract Club, and there are now more than 9,000 clubs around the world.  So, the momentum is growing and I believe Rotary will be in safe hands for the future. And our own Laura Telford is now Communications Director for Rotaract Australia.  She was also involved in the training seminar and was on the Conference Committee, held in Adelaide this year.

The District Conference was a great success thanks to our small but enthusiastic band of organisers.  The speakers were all good, (including our Master of Ceremonies, PDG Brian Beesley) and having Past RI President Bill Boyd and Lorna from New Zealand as our RIPPR was icing on the cake.  The show got off to a great start with the Dinner Dance on Friday night.  It was wonderful to see so many Rotarians having fun on the dance floor to the music of the Dixie Six.  The opening ceremony, where our production manager, Russell Bauer, played each YEP student’s national anthem as they came down the aisle was special.

And then the PDG’s parade had Russell and his orchestra playing the fanfare from The Man from Snowy River – very stirring.  A huge turnout for the Governor’s Dinner; great food and a wonderful concert afterwards – so many people told me how much they enjoyed it.  And to finish off with our service of remembrance and Professor Dominic Rowe telling us about the research being done for Motor Neurone Disease was a fitting end. 

District and Global Grants  Maurie Stack and Ken Hall have done a wonderful job in driving our District and Global grants.  All I’ve had to do in this regard is authorise them as DG.  I’m told we have expended all of our District Designated Funds in this process.  That’s great news, as this is money that is meant to be spent, not saved. 

The Global Project to outfit the Mother’s and Babies Hospital in Nepal. Dr Ray Hodgson will be going to Nepal at the end of this month – they are about to break ground on the Hospital building – wonderful news.  Our Global Grant to outfit the hospital once it is built is all but complete, with huge thanks to a great partnership with Districts 7670, 7570, 7770, 6920, 7680, 7890 (all in the US), and 1360 (in Iceland).  These Districts jointly contributed District Designated Funds of $55,000 US to our worthy cause.  This partnership was formed on the last day of the International Assembly in San Diego.  I was sitting around a table with David Hare (DG of 7680) and a couple of others from the US, as well as the DG from Iceland.  I had taken the Nepal Hospital project and pinned it on the ‘Project Wall’ with all the others, without success.  So I started talking about it with anyone who would listen.  These wonderful gentlemen listened, and acted – particularly DG David Hare, who did a wonderful job of rounding up all the DDF from the aforementioned districts.  I met up with David in Hamburg and presented him with a small gift of a print of an Aboriginal painting to thank him for all his hard work.  So, with our own DDF and cash contributions, together with the funds from RI, we will achieve the $262,743 to outfit our Mothers and Babies Hospital in Nepal.  This is a great result that truly shows the global magnitude of Rotary and our wonderful Foundation.

Dr Ray Hodgson – Humanitarian of the Year 2018/19. I was able to nominate Ray for this award, and he won.  This means he was chosen from all the nominations from Governors in Australia and New Zealand – a great honour for him.  He will be presented with his award at the Australian and NZ Conference in Christchurch in September this year, and will be given 10 minutes at the conference to speak about his Hospital in Nepal.  After the conference, Ray will fly on to the US to meet up with David Hale, to thank him for his support and he will speak at a number of clubs over there, which David has lined up. 

Youth Exchange Program.  The Inbound Exchange students who have been with us all year are now either ‘home’ or soon will be on their way.  Having met them all over the year, I can say that they were a group of wonderful young people.  And how good it was to hear from the clubs that had hosted them, about how much they enjoyed the experience.  A big thank you to all these clubs; the program could not operate without you.  Of our Out-bounders who went out in January this year, sadly one returned home very early.  The rest of the group are going well by all reports.  I had hoped to be able to catch up with Charley in Germany, but unfortunately, her club didn’t send her to the Hamburg convention.  Youth Protection officer, Diana Reynolds, has done a wonderful job to update our District Youth Protection Policy, which all clubs will be able to download and follow. 

Re-districting – how will it affect us?  The process to set up a Transition Committee is well under way.  The G-Train sent out an invitation to Past District Governors for their ‘Expressions of Interest’ in working on this Transition Committee.  It was wonderful to see how many responded to this call.  The G-Train then selected 5 people from the applications received, and these have been sent to RI in Parramatta.  RI will now select 3 people from our District and 3 from District 9670, and appoint an independent Chairman to form the Transition committee.  Their first task will be to put together an outline of the way forward to establish a new district by merging ours with 9670.  This outline and recommendations will be circulated to our District Rotarians, and Clubs will be given 30 days to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the proposal.  The reality is that RI has given our district another opportunity to vote on a merge – this time, armed with all the information we will need to make an informed decision.   And we were not going to be in a good position if the merge of 9670 with the newly merged 9705 district went ahead.  It would have left our district stranded between a super district to the north (3 districts merged) and the same number of merged districts to the south.  Once our numbers fell, it would be more likely that our district would have to be split, with some going north and some south.  Also a reality; RI sees the perfect size of a district as 75 clubs and 2,700 Rotarians.

I’ve stated many times that I have always been in favour of the merge with our nearest neighbour – more so now that I have been given access to the blueprint of the methods used in the 9700 – 9710 merge to District 9705.  What they have done is divide the bigger district into 6 distinct areas; each area will have 13 to 15 clubs in them, and each area will have an ‘Area Governor’.  This will mean that each Area Governor will have more responsibility than an Assistant Governor, and have closer links with the clubs in their area.  There will still be a District Governor (who has already been chosen) and he will have a close link with each of his six Area Governors. I was asked the other day whether the District Governor will continue to visit all the clubs in the new district.  I don’t really know the answer to this, but I would think that the Governor would probably make ‘area’ visits, maybe several times during the year, and they would most probably continue to attend special club occasions, such as anniversaries etc.  In any event, it will be the Transition Committee that will attend to all these issues if we vote to go ahead, and they will have three years to get everything in place for a smooth transition to a new District by July 1, 2023.

A final thank you to all.  When I took on this job, I had decided that after nearly 28 years in Rotary it was time that I gave something back.  I’ve always believed that we get more out of being a Rotarian than we ever give.  The satisfaction of knowing that as a collective of 1.22 million, it is immensely gratifying to know we are making a difference in our world.  And apart from that, we belong to a world -wide fellowship of friends.  Dennis and I have now made a whole lot more friends in our district and more around the world. I liken my Rotary friends to ‘family’.  My year as your Governor has been a wonderful journey.  It has had its challenges at times, but for the most part, it’s been a part of my life I would not want to change.  Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve you in this way – I have enjoyed every moment.  

Lorraine Coffey
District Governor 2018 - 19

Above Left:  Multicultural theme for AM PP Mutuota and Rose in their Kenyan costume

Above Right:  A pair of gypsies for Lewis and Faith Gratton

Below:  Sam Doyle and his new board

Thank you for a wonderful Rotary Year

Dear fellow Rotarians,

It’s hard to believe the Rotary year is almost at an end. I hope that you were able to join me in Hamburg earlier this month. The RI convention is always a unique, incredible experience and this year’s event did not disappoint. If you were unable to attend, you can watch select videos from each general session here.

We’ve accomplished a great deal in our year together. One thing I’m especially proud of is the growth of Rotaract that you helped make happen. Since 1 July, there has been an increase of over 1,100 new Rotaract clubs around the world, with 24,254 new Rotaractors, and these numbers are growing every day.

We also elevated Rotaract to new heights, with an important enactment that was approved during the Council on Legislation that now includes Rotaract clubs as a membership type. I championed this item because I believed it was the best way to make Rotaractors our equal partners in service. This will also help lay the foundation for emphasizing and growing Rotaract as a critical part of Rotary, while still allowing for the unique experience that Rotaract clubs provide. You can learn more about this change here.

I appreciate everything you have done during your term and want to thank you for your commitment to Rotary. I strongly urge you to check your outstanding membership leads (available to those with district level access only) before your term ends.

Since 1 July 2018, we’ve received more than 16,393 membership inquiries through the Join Rotary page, but only 28 percent of these potential candidates have been assigned to clubs.

Follow up with the 72 percent of potential candidates who are still waiting to hear from you. If you’ve already reached out and haven’t heard back, close these leads so next year’s governor can start afresh. Let’s finish the year strong!

One final thing I’d like to share with you is the trustee decision made to incorporate environmental sustainability into each of the six areas of focus. An example of this is the World Environment Day handbook created by the Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group in partnership with UN Environment. Both President-elect Mark Maloney and I hope that you find ways to implement many of these suggestions throughout the year. By helping to protect our natural world, we support all of our areas of focus — and take action to create positive, lasting change — across the globe.

Thank you for joining me in this year to Be the Inspiration to the world. It has been an honor and a privilege to be your president.


Yours in Rotary,


Barry Rassin

President, Rotary International 2018-19

Above Left: Current President and Incoming President, Emily Ryan, accepts the Coonamble club’s 60th anniversary Certificate and letter from RI President.
Above Right: The Coonamble board

Below: The new Manilla board

Our Partner’s Project deposit details
Direct Deposits:
Rotary International DG Partner’s A/c
BSB: 721000       a/c: 100143137
Please forward copy to
Cheques can be made to: DG Partner’s Project 2018-19
Please send cheques and ticket stubs to:
District 9650 Treasurer,                 
PO BOX 217                                             Armidale NSW 2350

I thank you most sincerely for your support. Dennis
'Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create a lasting change—across the globe, in our community and in ourselves.'

RI President

Barry Rassin

District Governor

Lorraine Coffey

District Secretary

Rob Anderson (PDG)

District Treasurer

Graeme Andrews

District Trainer and Finance Chairman

Neville Parsons (PDG)

Assistant Governors

Peter Paff Cluster 1

Peter Lawry Cluster 2

Trish Affleck-Mooney Cluster 3

Murray Difford Cluster 4

Carol Barnden Cluster 5

Dimity Betts Cluster 6

Aileen Bell Cluster 7

Bruce George Cluster 8

Neroli Bevan Cluster 9

P R Director

Brian Beesley (PDG)

Editor: Inspirator

Andrew Maughan

Foundation Director

Maurie Stack (PDG)

Membership Director

Diana Christian

Youth Director

Kate George

Community Director

Debbie Loveday

International Director

Reg Pierce

Vocational Director

David Mayne

Club Administration

Debbie Loveday

District Insurance Ofcer

Bianca Adimari

Your GTrain Team

Lorraine Coffey


Phil Hafey

Governor Elect

Debbie Loveday

Governor Nominee.

Please remember to send all Club Bulletins to the three members of your GTrain!

Copyright © 2019 Rotary District 9650, All rights reserved.

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