The Rotary Club of Crows Nest began by holding an interest meeting early in 1969 at The Crows Nest Club in Hayberry St, where all of the selected persons decided to join the club.
We started operating on the 30 April 1969, with 31 members and the club was chartered on 10 June 1969.  Of the 31 members present only 2 had any previous rotary experience.
As we were chartered by North Sydney Rotary, who held their meetings at lunch time, we commenced with lunchtime meetings.  Many times over the years, it has been suggested that we hold our regular meetings at night, but the majority of members have always rejected this.
One of our projects in our first year was to sponsor a number of Malaysian girls to train as nurses at The Mater Hospital.  After they arrived we formed a roster of members to look after the girls on the weekends and on their days off.  We took them on outings and they often came to our homes, where sometimes they would cook themselves Asian meals.  On completion of their training, they were expected to return to Malaysia, but nearly all of them married and remained in Australia.
Another 1969 project was the purchase and supply of furniture for a unit in The Milson Retirement Village in North Sydney.  This project only cost us about $3,000,but in those days was a large commitment, and it took several years to pay off.  We did not have the fundraising abilities we have today.
The same year North Sydney Rotary decided to hold an Air Show at Hoxton Park as a fundraiser and because they had no qualified Electrical Member in their club they asked for my assistance with the Electrical Supply.  This was not a Crows Nest Club project, just a single Rotarian together with my staff spending two days helping another club in distress by erecting poles and wires together with outlets, for use by all the stallholders.  North Sydney club had borrowed a mobile generator from the Army to provide power for the various stalls.  Unfortunately the mobile unit was very old and had not been serviced for a long time.  About midday the radiator on the prime mover of the generator was boiling madly and we had to shut down the whole show while we flushed all the rust out of the radiator.
In 1973, with Steve Mills as our President we did painting and repairs at a Day Nursery in Rodborough Ave. North Sydney.  A few years later we were engaged in a similar project with Youth Off The Streets, at a property in West St. Crows Nest.  In recent times, due to our association with Phoenix House, we painted the kitchen in their premises.
In 1975 our Club conducted an Art and Craft Show at the Crows Nest Holiday Inn, which today is a block of Units, located on The Pacific Highway. We had Bobby Limb and Dawn Lake to open the Show, which consisted of Paintings, Sculptures, Pottery, and Jewellery.  It was very successful.
As a club we organised a Harbour Cruise for Senior Citizens on The Captain Cook Cruise Ship which was owned and operated by our member Captain Trevor Haworth.  We arranged for a bus, through Lane Cove Rotary, to pickup the seniors and take them to the boat and back, after the trip.
We distributed Food Parcels to Senior Citizens twice each year.  We also assisted with The Red Shield Door-Knock Appeal, where the members actually knocked on doors, because at the time we received no assistance from the various schools.  One of our current members, namely Paul Ogden, was the best collector we had in the club, because he was lucky enough to have a donor who always gave him a cheque for $5,000 each year.  Throughout this appeal the late Arch Mitchell acted as Honorary Treasurer for the whole Municipality.
A more recent project occurred in 2005 when we arranged in conjunction with North Sydney Council to install a Flagpole, in the centre of Crows Nest at the Five Ways, adjacent to The Crows Nest Hotel to celebrate Rotary’s Centenerary.
We used to have inter-club visits, and on one occasion, we visited Artarmon Club, where the Guest Speaker happened to be The Late William McMahon M.H.R and former PM.  Another time, a group of us took a bus trip to Port Kembla.  We visited Metal Manufacturers factory and then attended an evening meeting with Port Kembla Rotary Club.  We also visited Tamworth over  a weekend hosted by the RC of Tamworth.
In the past, Crows Nest Club has had a couple of problems with District Governors.
In 1973, under President Steve Mills, our local Locksmith, we were having our annual District Governor's Meeting and the District Governor was Harry Fieldhouse.  Harry met with the Board, and then came to the meeting with the members.  Harry addressed everyone and then tossed a hand grenade into the meeting by announcing he intended to install a Past President from North Sydney Club to sit in on all our meetings and report back to him about our operations.
This action produced uproar from all the Crows Nest members who threatened to resign from the Club if he went ahead with this action.  Harry then reneged on his decision, and allowed us to continue operating under our own directions.  Following this confrontation and without his knowledge, the members then referred to Harry as District Governor “Harry Fieldmouse”.

Another incident with DG Harry was while I was the Attendance Chairman.

All Club Attendance Chairmen were required, to submit a monthly attendance report to The District Attendance Officer by the 14th of the following month.  They in turn would then submit a combined report to the District Governor.
On this occasion, I was late with my report, so to overcome the situation, and with Crows Nest determination, I decided to approach the DG direct.  District Governor Harry had his business office round the corner in Alexander St, upon entering DG Harry’s office and presenting him with my report, he exploded with “You cant do this.  This has to go through District” and promptly ushered me out of his office.

Another Crows Nest defeat, District Governor one, Crows Nest nil.
On the subject of Rotary Committees, if you could think of anything relating to Rotary, we had a committee to look after it, as set out below.
  • Fellowship Committee
  • Fund Raising Committee
  • Programme Committee
  • Attendance Committee
  • Membership Committee
  • Classification Committee
  • Interviewing Committee
  • New Member Assimilation Committee
  • Membership Development Committee
  • House Committee
  • Rotary Information Committee
  • Public Relations Committee
And so the list goes on !
Concerning membership, currently it takes about three weeks for a new member to be inducted into our club, whereas in years gone by three to four months was the accepted period for inductions to occur.  In the past, membership applications took the following course.  The prospective members name was given to the Board for consideration.  The Board passed the name to the Membership Committee, who would investigate the person’s background.  If there were no problems, the Committee would approve and report back to the Board.  At the next month’s Board meeting, the person’s name would be passed to the Classifications Committee.  This Committee would then check the classification assigned to the person, either approve or alter same to comply.  This Committee would then report back to the Board.  At the next month’s Board Meeting, the person’s name would be handed to the Interviewing Committee, who would arrange to interview the person, advise him of the Rotary requirements and of his obligations to the Club.  The Interviewing Committee would then report back to the Board and the person’s name would be published to the members for comment and 10 days allowed for objections.  The person would then need to pay his joining fee and pro-rata subscription before an induction date would be set.
If a member changed his business or residential address, causing him to loose his membership, he was then given 12 months leave of absence in order to gain membership in another club, within his new territory.  In order to gain new members we carried out a classification survey of the Crows Nest business area.  In the early days, long before computers, we posted a weekly Club Bulletin to each member, listing what had occurred that week and what was happening the following week, including a list of members who had done make-ups and which clubs they had attended.  We also included a list of member’s birthdays or anniversaries.  In those days it was the custom, at the end of each president’s year to present him with a bound copy of his year’s bulletins.  This practice ended a year before my Presidency, so I and future Presidents missed out.
We held what were then called “Fireside Meetings”.  This was a small group of members meeting in one member’s home, for the purpose of learning more about Rotary Information.
Since our beginning the Club has met at various locations, starting at The Broken Bay Game Fishing Club, which was in Falcon Street,  then a short period upstairs at The Crows Nest Hotel, followed by The Cammeray Golf Club, and moving to the Anzac Memorial Club, followed by The Northbridge Golf Club, and finally back to the Crows Nest Hotel.
We have over 500 different banners, from clubs around the world.  Our club has always held a stock of our own banners, and whenever a visiting Rotarian presented us with their club’s banner, we returned the favour.  Quite often, when our members travelled overseas, they returned with banners from clubs they had visited.
Members were required to attend 60% of the meetings in any six-month period, as well as 60% of the time at each meeting.  If a member is unable to attend a meeting, he was expected to attend a meeting at another club, either 6.5 days before or 6.5 days after the missed meeting.  
This procedure is called a “make-up” and is counted towards the member’s attendance record. This “make-up” can be done at any club in the world.  When members make-up at other clubs they are normally issued with an attendance card, which was handed to the Attendance Officer when they next attend their own club.
For a long time it has been a rule, that if a member missed four meetings in a row, they forfeit their membership, but I have never seen this rule enforced.  In fact, we have one member in this club, who has not attended a meeting in several years, but is still considered a member.
In years gone by, we always gave our Guest Speakers a small gift on the conclusion of their talk.  Nowadays this practice has been dropped.  We also used to say “Rotary Grace” before commencing our meal but this has dropped out of fashion.  The Donation Bottle you see on the table was started by one of our late members, namely Aaron Feldman, who came to us from a club in South Africa.  The contents of the bottle are donated to The Rotary Foundation.
At all meetings, if there are visitors, members are urged to sit with them, also not sit in the same seat every week, but change places.  While we were at Cammeray Golf Club, the luncheon costs increased from $3 to $4 and at the time we were all shocked by the increase, not realising what the future held.
Some years ago the Club members travelled on a number of Goodwill Tours to Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, and Macau.
The biggest change in Crows Nest Rotary occurred in May 1997, when we inducted our first lady member to the Club, namely Lois Jones.  This was one of the best things that our Rotary Club has ever done.


We started our fundraising BBQ about 1999, when we were approached by Clark & Walker, a hardware store at Cammeray who were holding a promotion.  They asked if we would operate a BBQ for their customers, they would provide all the equipment and the food, and they would give us a donation on completion.  This we did with great success.  We then obtained approval from the store to continue the BBQ with our own equipment and stock.  We continued operating for a couple of years until the store closed and the site was redeveloped.  It was at this time, that our member Bill Lee approached Bunning’s in Artarmon and obtained approval for us to operate a BBQ on their premises.   We were the first in Australia.  Initially we were the only club operating at Bunnings together with our own equipment, but then Bunnings provided their own BBQ, set up a roster system and allowed other groups to operate on various days.

Trifecta Tickets

One of our main fundraising efforts is by selling Sets of Melbourne Cup Trifecta Tickets to other Clubs; we have been doing this since 2001.  There are 2024 tickets in a set.  They sell for $2 a ticket, and the winning ticket holder receives the $1,000 prize.  The tickets cost $400 per set cut only or $600 if we staple them.


Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) is a weeklong residential personal development program for young people aged 18 to 25, which focuses on them, their leadership, and the community.  Our club sponsors our Rylarians, and we are responsible for their transport to and from the camp.  During the week they hold a dinner, which we are invited to attend.

The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation was started by RI President Arch C.  Klumph in 1917, who proposed an endowment “for the purpose of doing good in the world”.  The Foundation collects donations from individuals & Rotary clubs to fund various projects throughout the world, such as the eradication of polio, Rotary against Malaria, Rotary Youth Exchange and Shelter Box.  The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have donated $355 million to the Rotary Foundation to help eradicate Polio.

Paul Harris Fellow Recognition

Paul Harris Fellows are recognitions, which are given to Rotarians or members of the community, who have shown an outstanding commitment to the Club or the Community.
Paul Harris Fellow recognition is also given to anyone who donates US$1,000 to The Rotary Foundation.  In Crows Nest Rotary, these awards are given to members or others who the Club considers appropriate recipients.

District Conference

The purpose of the District Conference is to provide opportunities for networking, inspirational addresses, and discussions on Rotary related matters.  The event recognises the service programs, projects, and public relations achievements in our District in order to inspire Rotarians to become more involved in service.  The Conference also gives Rotarians and clubs a vision of Rotary beyond the club level and provides a memorable fellowship experience.

District Assembly

The purpose of the District Assembly is to prepare club leaders for their year in office and to build their leadership team.  It also gives the incoming District Governor,
and the incoming Assistant Governors and District Team the opportunity to motivate club leadership teams and build their working relationship.  This year’s District Assembly was held on the 19 April 2015, at The Kings School, in North Parramatta.

Club Assembly

Club Assemblies are generally held twice per year.  The first Club Assembly is held so that the Club members can decide what projects the Club will undertake in the coming year, and how they are to be funded, throughout the year.  The second Club Assembly is a review later in the year to check on the progress of the various projects, as to whether they have been completed and/or their current situation.

Rotary International World Convention

Since 1910 Rotarians have gathered annually to connect and engage at an international level.
The last World Convention was held here in Sydney in 2014, at Sydney Olympic Park.
Two members of Crows Nest Club were members of the Host Organising Committee of this Convention, namely PDG  Harold Sharp as Chairman of Sponsorships and Past President Angelo Raveane who was Chairman of the House of Friendship.  This year the International Convention was held in Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Rotary eClubs

Rotary eClubs, are fully serviced chartered Rotary Clubs in every aspect of their management and activities, except that they do not meet for a meal, and their meetings operate online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Rotary eClub One was chartered in 2002.  You can even do make-ups with eClubs; they suggest you send them a donation equal to the cost of your normal meal.

Pride of Workmanship 

Pride of Workmanship Awards are given to members of the community who have shown outstanding pride in their jobs.

Rotary Youth Exchange 

We have arranged for many young people to travel overseas, stay with other Rotary families, and continue their schooling in that family’s country.

International Service

Our club hosted a number of Malaysian girls, to train as nurses at The Mater Hospital; we have built over 20 Primary Schools in China, and carried out water programs in East Timor.
[Thanks to Charter Member, Cyril Clark for contributing this historical information]