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Book Fair
2nd AND 3rd MAY
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Wagga Showground Saturay 8.00 am - 5.00 pm
Sunday 9.00 am - 3.00 pm

Early History

History of the first 60 years of the Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga

 Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Albury, twenty well-known Wagga Wagga identities organised the Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga in October 1929, holding their Charter Dinner on the 17th May 1930, at the then Commercial Hotel (now Romanos). These Charter Members, under the presidency of Harry Mitchelmore, became active in resettlement of victims of the post World War I depression. Taken from makeshift shelters near Wagga Wagga, selected families were settled on blocks at Gumly Gumly, then the Wagga Wagga Common, and later at North Wagga, the Club helping them establish new homes. The Club was aided immeasurably in this project by the late Eddie Graham MLA, our then State Parliamentarian.

Regretfully, there is now little or no documentary evidence of Club activities over the first fifteen years of its existence. It is however known that the Club hosted Paul Harris (Founder of Rotary), his wife Jean and Angus Mitchell from the Rotary Club of Melbourne in March 1935 while they were journeying from Sydney to Melbourne. Angus later became World President of Rotary International (1948-49). In addition, the Club sponsored new Rotary Clubs at Cootamundra (1937) and Young (1938).

Subsequently, after continuing active but quiet service during World War II, the Club energetically sponsored migrants from Britain in the immediate post-war period as well as participating in the development of the local Red Cross Hut and Rotary Youth Leadership Award camps.

In this twenty year period the Club's weekly meetings were held in a wide and varied number of venues, changing from lunchtime meetings to evening dinner meetings during 1945. At this time our meetings were held in the Australian Hotel (now the Australian Arcade) but later transferred to the Methodist Hall, now the site of the Commonwealth Bank; thence to the RSL hall in Baylis Street and subsequently to several other venues before finally coming to rest at our current venue (1990), the Wagga Leagues Club.

The 1950s and 1960s were years of action. In 1950-51, the late Steve O'Halloran presided over the inauguration of the Borambola Camp in which 25 eight to twelve year old boys whose "home circumstances denied them the opportunity for a holiday" were treated to a ten day summer camping holiday. Beginning with virgin country belonging to the NSW Pasture Protection Board Reserve on the Tarcutta Creek, the Club arranged transfer of the land to the Department of School Education. Improvements were added each year as the number of local and Sydney children selected increased (73 in 1955/6) to a level of 80 to 100 by 1980, when the Camp was vested in the Department of School Education. Over the whole period of the Clubs controlling interest, the Department of School Education provided instructors, the Army and Air Force camping equipment and catering staff, the Wagga Wagga business houses assistance of all kinds, for which the Club is still appreciative and thankful. Now, although Borambola Camp is still under the direct control of the NSW Department of Sport, Recreation and Racing, the Club maintains a fatherly interest in its activities.

In 1952, charter member and Past President Henry Ernest (Harry) Gissing, father of present member Maurice Gissing, became District Governor of the then Rotary District 30. Regretfully, Harry did not complete his term, dying in office at Cowra, 23 February 1953, during a tour of his Rotary District. Steve O'Halloran, probably this Club's most active Rotarian, became District Governor for 1956/7, was elected to the Rotary International Convention Committee in 1961 and became First Vice-President of Rotary International 1967/8 making the Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga known throughout the Rotary World.

In 1955/6 the Club commenced vocational service assistance to girls and boys of school leaving age, individual members giving first hand information about their professional, commercial or trade careers. This led to the development of an annual "Vocational Guidance" or "Careers" night (almost, one might say, a "Trade Fair" of potential careers) which terminated only when the Department of School Education appointed officers to schools for the same purpose.

A humid-crib was presented to the midwifery section of Calvary Hospital in 1960, the Willans Hill Lookout and the children's playground at the Botanical Gardens fenced in 1963 and blood transfusion kits presented to the Wagga Wagga Ambulance Service in 1964. Medical diagnostic sets were subsequently forwarded to several centres in Malaysia. Still active in fostering Rotary, we added to our growing list of daughter clubs (Cootamundra 1937, Young 1938, Tumut 1953, Junee 1958) by sponsoring South Wagga in 1960 and Tumbarumba in 1961. Later the Club sponsored Wagga Wagga's first Interact Club (1968) and Batlow Rotary Club (1969). At this stage (1970) an obelisk and location finder were added to the Willians Hill Lookout, a motor car given to the District Nursing service, and equipment to the "Meals on Wheels" service.

Furthering International Service in 1972, our then member Peter MacNeil, a Specialist Surgeon, was sponsored on a teaching mission to Indonesia. In 1976/7, a continuing bursary was provided to allow selected 11th or 12th year secondary scholars to continue at high school, where otherwise family finances would not have permitted such further education. Past President Ken White became District Governor in 1977/8 and, continuing to meet community needs, the Club established a youth emergency relief centre under the guidance of then members Brian Hill and Peter Veerhuis; and the decade ended under the direction of President Ned Buckley who presided over our Golden Anniversary Changeover 24th May 1980.

In the succeeding decade, despite the Club's maturity, young blood among the newer members maintained Wagga Rotary's progressive outlook. Not only did the Club continue its active participation in RYLA but, from time to time, successfully nominated students to take part in Rotary International's Youth and Group Study Exchange Programs, hosting in return students and/or GSE teams from Brazil, Britain, Finland, Germany, Korea, Japan and the USA. We also enthusiastically became part of the Australia New Zealand Matched Student Exchange Program, in which families in Wagga Wagga and New Zealand towns or cities, in turn, host teenagers from other of their paired families.

Later, in direct association with local hospitals, Wagga Rotary Club was responsible for bringing the Medic Alert Program to the district and also established a Benevolent Fund specifically to raise funds for Public Hospital projects. We also laid footpaths and landscaped part of the grounds at the Loretto Home of Compassion, and extended this type of assistance to Waratah Industries when that workshop for the disabled transferred to larger premises. Also in 1984, Wagga Rotary Club sponsored the first of the Ladies Probus Clubs to be established in Wagga Wagga; and became involved in a memorable and fruitful association with the Mount Austin Girl Guides Association. As a result, 1985 saw the Club supervising and helping build a Girl Guides Hall in Jack Avenue, Mount Austin. Some 2000 hours of voluntary labour over thirty weeks was given by Club members. In this regard, the Club gratefully acknowledges the generous assistance of local government authorities and trades people who provided goods and services at nominal cost. A similar co-operative project was undertaken in 1987 with the building of a toilet block and entrance ramp at the Riding for the Disabled Centre, and a footbridge in the Botanical Gardens.

Later that year, at the behest of past president Alan Pearson, then District Governor Nominee, and PP Col Eagle, the Club held a fund raising dinner in aid of Camp Quality, with John Singleton and Larry Pickering as guest speakers. Unfortunately, while actively organising the project with Vera Entwistle, leader of the Camp Quality group, Alan died and did not see his dream come to fruition. This Camp, giving parents of children with life-threatening illnesses some respite from strain, and the children a period of activity away from hospital surroundings, was held at Borambola Camp. The Club, with heartfelt thanks, acknowledges the generous donations from John Singleton, Larry Pickering and Paul Hogan, the transport provided unstintingly by State Rail Authority and the RAAF, and assistance of all kinds generously given by the Army, the Police, the Emergency Rescue Services, the Fire Brigade, business houses and many of the varied Clubs within the Wagga Wagga district. Camp Quality was hosted a second time in 1989 under guidance of President Alan Lean, this second time with headquarters at Mount Erin Boarding School. Here again, Wagga Rotary Club gratefully expresses its thanks and appreciation to all those organisations and businesses in Wagga Wagga and its environs, especially the Presentation Sisters in charge of the Mount Erin School, who gave assistance of all kinds.

In this latter period, the Club re-established the "Best Student Award" to apprentices at the Wagga Wagga School of Technical and Further Education. In addition, in co-operation with the family of the late PP Jim Braid, the Club established a trust fund to finance an annual award, to be known as the "Jim Braid Memorial Trophy" for presentation to the best apprentice student in the automobile industry course at Wagga Wagga TAFE. Included with these activities Club Service was being pursued actively. At the request of Paul Galloway, then president, PP Brian Henry and Secretary David Diprose quietly and effectively undertook the onerous and protracted requirements of getting the Club incorporated. The whole effort finally came to fruition, after voluminous correspondence with Government Authorities, during 1990.

Finally, in the period leading to our Diamond Jubilee, basically because of vandalism at our previous projects and at the request of Council, the Club restored and added to the lookout, and erected a barbecue shelter adjacent to the Historical Museum on Willans Hill. At the same time the Club inaugurated an Antique, Classical and Historical Automobile Fellowship, and had it accepted by Rotary International as one of its International Fellowships. While promoting self-interest between members, it is hoped that this international fellowship will also be able to promote the spread of Camp Quality activities from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, the USA and Britain, where it already exists, to the remainder of the Rotary World.

E.G (Cuth) Cuthbertson - 24 May 1990.

Our Charter Board
Our Charter President : Henry (Harry) Ernest Mitchelmore
Classification: General Law Practice 
Born in Williamstown, Victoria in 1868, Henry spent his early boyhood in Wagga Wagga, except for a few years when he attended Geelong College. At the end of his school days, he entered the offices of James Robert Garland of Messrs Garland and Anderson, solicitors in the Oddfellows Hall building (Fitzmaurice Street). He served his articles there in company with H.O. Heath, who would later become his partner, when they absorbed the company of Garland and Anderson.
Henry was an enthusiastic supporter of cricket in Wagga, he also played the occasional game of football and was a keen rower. President of the Wagga Wagga Golf Club in 1916, and played bowls later in life. He was a member of the Murrumbidgee Turf Club, member of the Riverine Club, the Land Board, the Murrumbidgee Pastoral & Agricultural Association, the Wagga Wagga Hospital Committee and was on the committee of the Patriotic Fund during World War I, personally donating three guineas to the Kangaroo March of 1915.
Henry married Isabella Elizabeth Stinson in 1894, and together they had two children - Horace and Bruce. Dying on 10th January 1941 aged 73, today he is remembered through Mitchelmore Street, which was named in his honour.
J C Blamey
James C. Blamey
Classification: Clothing Industry, Men's Retail 
 Born Wagga Wagga c. 1880. A mercer and draper by profession, James gained experience with leading firms in Sydney and provincial towns throughout NSW. He then opened the store J.C. Blamey & Co. in Baylis Street, c. 1912.  
In 1915, James subscribed £5 to the Australia Day Fund for the return of the wounded from World War I, and donated boots to the "Kangaroo" Recruitment March. He was an Alderman of the Council (1936-40), President of the Wagga Rotary Club (1933-34), Deputy Grandmaster of the M.U.I.O.O.F. (appointed 1928) and first sitting Worshipful Master of Lodge Loyalty (1921). James died at Manly in 1957, aged 77.
Stanley West
 Reverend Stanley Johnson West 
Classification: Religion, Protestant
Born 1884, Reverend West was an Anglican Minister. He spent eight years at Queanbeyan prior to arriving in Wagga Wagga in June 1928. On 8 January 1913, he married Miss Ivy Sophia Dixon of Junee.   
West Parade, Wagga Wagga was named after him in 1946, and he also has a memorial window in St. John’s Church of England dedicated in his honour in 1958.  
Reverend West died on 12 November 1954, aged 76. He is buried in the Anglican portion of the Wagga Monumental Cemetery.   
Jack Brunskill 
John (Jack) M Brunskill 
Classification: Fruit, Vegetable, Nut Products, Grain Distributing
Wedding notice of John Montgomery (Jack) Brunskill and Joan Draper -
"Before going to Sydney Mr. "Jack" Brunskill received hearty congratulations from his friends at a Wagga Rotary lunch, the members lustily singing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow".
Photo and story provided by son,
John Brunskill
     Walter Martin    
Dr Walter Wallace Martin

 Classification: Medicine, Physician


Born Ballarat, Victoria c. 1888.  Matriculated at the University of Sydney and came to Wagga in 1912, where he purchased the practice of Dr. Warren at “Huntley”, Gurwood Street.  He was Honorary Medical Officer at the Hospital for 35 years, and practiced in Wagga until 1946.


 Vice President of the Wagga Bowling Club in 1913, President of the Wagga Golf Club during the 1920s, and first President of the Riverine Association in 1925. 


During World War I, he subscribed five guineas to the Australia Day Fund for the return of the wounded in 1915, and also subscribed to the famous “Kangaroo” recruitment march.


Became Director of the Wagga Wagga Butter Factory in 1938.  Died in Moss Vale, NSW on 2 March 1947, aged 59, and is buried in the Presbyterian portion of the Wagga Monumental Cemetery.  Martin Street, Tolland, was named in his honour (1964), and today, a commemorative plaque hangs in the Historic Council Chambers.  

P W Williamson
Jack Dunn

Percy W Williamson
Classification: Livestock Industry, Wool Broking.
Dalgety & Co Ltd

John (Jack) M Dunn
Classification: Livestock, Commission Agency. J. Jeremy and Co.
Photo courtesy of Jack's youngest daughter Norma Zackerman. Thanks to Tony Dunn.

Hughie Condon
Classification: Auto Industry, Garage and Service

R H Blamey

Walter Slade Hardy

Richard H Blamey
Classification: Fruit, Vegetable, Flour Manufacture.
Murrumbidgee Milling Co.

Walter Slade Hardy
Classification: Ceramic Industry, Brick Manufacture

Richard Giltinan
Classification: Education,
Public Schools.
Headmaster, Wagga High School
Executive Committee 'Back to Wagga Week' 1927

JJ Scott



Robert J Johnston
Classification: Newspaper Publishing
Manager of The Daily Advertiser 1928

James Scott
Classification: Hotels, Resorts

Dr Cecil Rhodes Sim
Classification: Medicine; Radiology.
Wagga Base Hospital




William J Jacob
Classification: Food Industry, Grocery Retailing.
Hailey and Jacob

Edwin (Ted) H Beard
Classification: Dry Goods, Department Store.
W G Huthwaite & Co.


Herbert P Davis
Classification: Transporting, General Contracting, Draying and Hauling.
Chas Hardy & Co.




Herbert J Smythe
Classification: Recreation, Motion Pictures

Alfred C Nathan
Classification: Medicine, Dentistry

Thomas H Brunskill
Classification: Livestock Industry, Sheep Raising


i help needed to find photo


Honour Roll of Presidents

  1930 - 31 H.E. Mitchelmore 1970 - 71 Maurice Hale 2009 - 10
Tim Crowley
  1931 - 32   Richard Giltinan   1971 - 72 Owen Sykes 2010 - 11 Michelle Maddison
  1932 - 33 Bob Johnston 1972 - 73 Ken Rew 2011 - 12 Barry Francis
  1933 - 34 Jim Blamey       1973 - 74 Ken White PDG 2012 - 13 Daya Govender
  1934 - 35 Les Castles 1974 - 75 Herb Smith 2013 - 14 Brad Bland
  1935 - 36   Harry Gissing PDG 1975 - 76 Allan Pearson 2014 - 15 Ellen Braiser
  1936 - 37 Rod Hoare 1976 - 77 E(Cuth) Cuthbertson 2015 - 16 Mary Ann Kelly
  1937 - 38 John Campbell 1977 - 78 Meikle Halley 2016 - 17 Paul Galloway
  1938 - 39 Les Douglas 1978 - 79 Peter Walsh PDG 2017 - 18 Elaine Almond
  1939 - 40 Joe Spiers 1979 - 80 Ned Buckley    
  1940 - 41 Bob Norman 1980 - 81 Peter MacNeil    
  1941 - 42 Snow Davis 1981 - 82 Viv Littlewood    
  1942 - 43 N.A. Reidel 1982 - 83 Ian Rodda    
  1943 - 44 Keith Crisp 1983 - 84 Gordon Saggers    
  1944 - 45 Bill Loader 1984 - 85 Colin Eagle    
  1945 - 46 Harry Chaston 1985 - 86 Arthur Nixon    
  1946 - 47 E. Fenn Lusher 1986 - 87 Brian Henry    
  1947 - 48 W.E. Riordan 1987 - 88 Paul Galloway    
  1948 - 49   Stan Castles 1988 - 89 Alan Lean    
  1949 - 50 Bill Carr 1989 - 90 Dick Mead    
  1950 - 51 Steve O'Halloran PDG 1990 - 91 Graham Russell    
  1951 - 52 Jim Lowe 1991 - 92 Tony Dominguez    
  1952 - 53 Jack Truscott 1992 - 93 John Cullen    
  1953 - 54 Dick Doman 1993 - 94 Mario Baron    
  1954 - 55 Eric Byfield 1994 - 95   Paul Rafferty    
  1955 - 56 Jim Braid 1995 - 96 Hany Hanna    
  1956 - 57 Mick Rava 1996 - 97 Mike Murray    
  1957 - 58 Arthur Galloway 1997 - 98   Bryan Short    
  1958 - 59 Jim Bingham 1998 - 99 John Goldsworthy    
  1959 - 60 Ray Higgins 1999-2000  Peter Olsen    
  1960 - 61 Jack Skeers 2000 - 01 Kevin Power    
  1961 - 62 Jim Harmon 2001 - 02 Ron Ducie    
  1962 - 63 Sel Rawlings 2002 - 03 Don Pembleton    
  1963 - 64 John Griffith 2003 - 04 Tony Hutchinson    
  1964 - 65 Gordon Stark 2004 - 05 John Studdert    
  1965 - 66 Laurie Gallagher 2005 -06 Philip Cross    
  1966 - 67 Barry Griffiths 2006 - 07 Peter Veerhuis    
  1967 - 68 Kevin Kelly 2007    Leone Harvey-Smith    
  1968 - 69 Howard Turner 2008 John Studdert    
  1969 - 70 Cec Boardman 2008 - 09     Robert Evers    

2019 - 2020

Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga

logo 2019-20

District 9700

South Wagga : Monday 6.15 pm Wagga RSL Club
Wagga Sunrise : Tuesday 7.15 am Elenents at The Gardens 
Wollundry Wagga : Tuesday 12.30 pm Wagga Commercial Club
Wagga Kooringal : Wednesday 6.30 pm Wagga Country Club
Wagga Murrumbidgee: Tuesday 6.30 pm Wagga RSL Club
Tuesday 6.45 pm Junee Ex-Services Club
Tuesday 6.30 pm Lockhart Ex-Services Club

Henty :
Wednesday 7 pm (7.30 DST) Henty Community Centre
Monday 6.30 pm Coolamon Sport and Rec Club