Our Rotary Club of Lower Blue Mountains should be very proud.

A new era in District Conferences has arrived, and it has been delivered by our very own District Governor David Clark!

The very first virtual conference in Australia on Saturday was an outstanding success.

Some 16 members of our Rotary Club gathered at the home of Drew and Carolyn Fitzpatrick to enjoy and program of high-quality Rotary entertainment and education.


Governor David’s opening comments launched the program, followed by words of wisdom from RI President Holger Knaak, but nobody really expected the impressive presentations to be enjoyed over the next five hours.

  • PDG Juliet Riseley (wife of RI Past President Ian) gave one of the best ever summaries of life behind the scenes for a wife of the RI President.
  • RI Past President Ian (OAM) then joined the program himself and provided an insight into his future as Chairman of The Rotary Foundation – and the introduction of Rotary’s seventh focus – the environment.
  • Samuel Tokpora blew us away with his life experiences as a refugee and growing a new life in the modern computer world in Australia.
  • Then Ruby Seeto – New Zealand’s famous cancer survivor and T-towel girl – won the hearts of everyone.
  • Many of us had previously heard the story of the lighthouse Doc (Ray Hodgson) and his work with the women of Tibet – but that did not dim the inspiration of his message in any way. Amazing!
  • Jason Terry (Rotaract), Stephanie Woollard (Seven Women), and Cathy Booth (RAWCS Umoja project in Kenya) reminded everyone of how much ONE PERSON can achieve by working with Rotary; whilst and Cam Calkoen of New Zealand provided another lesson in the power of positive thinking – even when carrying a handicap like multiple sclerosis!

Then, of course, we enjoyed the traditional ‘gee-up from our Governor-Elect Lindsay May and his partner Tania on plans for the 2001/02 District Conference – a one-day event to be staged in the magnificent, new Rooty Hill Conference Centre. PDG Greg Ross also delivered a splendid promotion for Australian Rotary Health.

PP Geoff Brennan of the Rotary Club of Ryde did his usual impeccable job as Conference Chairperson – especially with the moving ‘In Memorium” session. PP Peter Kirkwood OAM of the Rotary Club of Wahroonga – aided by his didgeridoo - treated everyone to a special Welcome to Country experience.

To round off an absolutely perfect day, the selection of club videos presentations, along with a YEP video, provided colour and entertainment second to none. They really underlined the enormous variety of projects and service achieved by Clubs and organisations in District 9685.

Full marks to all who supported Governor Dave in the long and demanding planning and production process. Conference Chair PP Frank Portelli of Nepean was to the fore – along with our own member District Secretary Pamela Noal and PP Marilyn Kenny of Springwood. Our own members Assistant Governor Peter Agar, PP Karalyn Brown and Leigh Johnson, were also key members of the Conference team.

Carolyn and Drew were the perfect hosts and combined with members present to provide delicious morning tea and lunch – in the comfort of their beautiful home.

If you missed the Conference on Saturday, you can still catch up on the special link anytime in the next week.

Bob Aitken AM

Rotary Lower Blue Mountains
Meetings: Emu Plains Sporting Club
Club Phone: 0400 698 828
Email: Contact Form