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Rotary clubs merge

Thursday, 2nd May, 2019

President of the Broken Hill Rotary Club, Bruce James, with president of the South Broken Hill Rotary Club, Brian Slater. PICTURE: Emily McInerney President of the Broken Hill Rotary Club, Bruce James, with president of the South Broken Hill Rotary Club, Brian Slater. PICTURE: Emily McInerney

By Emily McInerney

The Broken Hill Rotary Club and South Broken Hill Rotary Club are merging with the aim of attracting more members and the younger generation.

Bruce James, the president of the BH Rotary Club, and Brian Slater, president of South Rotary, said they made the decision to join last year.

“We had a discussion about the amount of workers we had in both clubs,” Mr James said.

“The population of Broken Hill has dropped drastically from when the two clubs were formed,” he said.

“The clubs got together and discussed it and it was unanimously voted it would be better for both clubs and the community for it to combine.

The Broken Hill club was formed in 1957 and the South club being chartered in 1972. Both are a part of district 9520.

“That was due to the original club having more than 50 members,” Mr James said.

“Back then it was regulated by Rotary International that you could only have one classification (for each job); like one doctor, one nurse that sort of thing.

“There were a few people in town that wanted to get involved with helping the community. “Due to the numbers, they sought to start a new club.”

Mr Slater said there were rules that also had to be followed by a Rotary club.

“The other issues are that Rotary International has now decreed if you have less than 20 members in a club and there is another club with less than 20 members in the same district they should merge,” he said.

“That was another reason why we looked into it.”

Mr James said the classification rule was now ‘null and void’.

“We can have as many doctors as we like,” he said. “We are very happy about that.”

With an ageing membership and fewer members, the clubs needed a boost.

“We found it more and more difficult to attract volunteers, which is no different to any other organisation in the world at the moment,” Mr Slater said.

“Our membership was starting to decline in both clubs because of age of members and the members still available were getting to a point where age was restricting them from doing any sort of physical side to the fundraising.

“We thought it we combine we could at least double the amount of active members that we have.

“The others could still be members of Rotary and enjoy coming to meetings.”

The new Rotary club will now go under the Broken Hill moniker.

“We will go under the Rotary Club of Broken Hill,” Mr James said.

“We discussed fancy names, we discussed changing it so there was no confusion between the clubs,” Mr Slater said.

“When we looked at if we changed it, for example, to the Silver City Rotary Club people in Darwin wouldn’t have a clue where Silver City is, so we came back to Broken Hill.

“They were the original chartered club anyway. We thought it would be best to go back to that.”

Rotary meets at various service clubs once a week and are firming up the details for a new meeting venue.

“There’s no responsibility or accountability for anyone who joins Rotary to be there all the time,” Mr Slater said. “We’ve relaxed the rules totally to the point if someone wants to come once a fortnight they are more than welcome to.”

Mr James said Rotary understood how hard it can be to juggle work and other commitments.

They will look at developing an honorary position for people who can’t attend and still want to be involved.

“By joining the two clubs together, we hope to get new prospective members.

The combined changeover dinner will be on June 24, with the merger to be completed by July 1.

“We’ve selected the executive of the club,” Mr James said. “We’re about to go to a meeting now to select the rest of the board and how it will be structured.”

Both presidents were very happy with how the merger had been received.

“It’s been an excellent transition,” Mr James said. 

“Both clubs have been happy with the process,” said Mr Slater.

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