Who Are We?

We are the Rotaract club of Burwood, a service club program run under Rotary International and sponsored by the Burwood Rotary Club in District 9675.  Burwood Rotaract is a youth based organisation for people aged 18 – 30 based in Burwood, NSW, Australia.

We conduct community service projects, network with community leaders, other Rotaractors and Rotarians, and develop our members’ skills with an aim to help improve the local and global community we live in.

In short, we’re a bunch of young people who want to contribute to the community. We fundraise by planning, organising and hosting our own events, from boat cruises to BBQs.  We also help out in the community, from driving Red Shield Appeal doorknockers, to cleaning up local areas for CleanUp Australia Days.

Everything we do is organised by members, done by members, for the community. We get our hands dirty, and have a lot of fun in the process.

Want to find out more?  Have a read of the history of Rotary and Rotaract below, or find out what we are doing now.


About Rotary





Rotary is a service organisation for men and women who want to make an impact upon their society – locally, nationally, and internationally.  The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

  • FIRST: The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
  • SECOND: High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
  • THIRD: The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life;
  • FOURTH: The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

Early History


The founding members of Rotary (from L - R): Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, Hiram Shorey, and Paul Harris

The founding members of Rotary (from L – R): Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, Hiram Shorey, and Paul Harris

On 23 February, 1905, Mr Paul P. Harris, a Chicago attorney, formed the Rotary Club of Chicago, inviting three friends to a meeting: Mr Silvester Schiele, a coal dealer, Mr Gustavus Loehr, a mining engineer, and Mr Hiram Shorey, a tailor.  At this time, this organisation was one of the world’s first, if not the first, service organisation.  The name of the organisation, ‘Rotary’ is said to have been suggested because meetings were planned to ‘rotate’ from office to office.

By the end of that year, there were 30 members of the inaugural Rotary Club, and in the following years new clubs were formed in San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York City and in Boston.  The first Rotary Convention, held by the newly formed ‘National Association of Rotary Clubs of America’, was held in August 1910.

However, Rotary continued to expand and very shortly after its establishment, the National Association was happily required to change its name when clubs were formed in both Canada and Great Britain in 1912.  The organising body was renamed to the ‘International Association of Rotary Clubs’, and was later renamed ‘Rotary International’ in 1922.


Mr PAul Harris, Rotarian leader, presented a portrait to Mr W. B. Darker, president of the Brisbane Rotary Club, when he left for the South yesterday. Mr E. R. Isaacs is on the left

Mr Paul Harris presents a portrait to the president of the Brisbane Rotary Club. source

Rotary In Australia

It was at about this time that Rotary came to Australia with the chartering of the first two clubs in Melbourne and Sydney respectively, on 21 April 1921 and 17 May 1921 respectively.

Councillor R Solly (Lord Mayor of Melbourne), Jock Reid (President of Melbourne Rotary Club) and Past RI President Angus Mitchell unveiling a monument to Paul Harris in October 1953. (The Story of Rotary in Australia 1921-71 by Harold Hunt (RC Melbourne)) Photos from Rotary Global History Historian Calum Thomson 4 January 2006

Councillor R Solly (Lord Mayor of Melbourne), Jock Reid (President of Melbourne Rotary Club) and Past RI President Angus Mitchell unveiling a monument to Paul Harris in October 1953. Photos from Rotary Global History Historian Calum Thomson 4 January 2006

The charter presidents of both clubs, Professor Osborne and Sir Henry Braddon, were subsequently appointed commissioners by the newly named ‘Rotary International’ to set up clubs in the major cities and in all States.

They were extremely successful, with Rotary Clubs in Brisbane and Adelaide being formed in 1923, Hobart in 1924, and Perth in 1926 – together with a number of other clubs outside of the capital cities being formed concurrently, such as Newcastle in 1923 and Parramatta in 1926.

By July 1925, Rotary had grown to more than 2,000 clubs and an estimated 108,000 members on six continents.

Our own sponsor club, the Rotary Club of Burwood, was chartered in 1939, the same year as the first All-Australian Rotary Conference held in Sydney.  Burwood Rotary very quickly became a very active club in the Sydney area.

Burwood joined the newly created District 76, and before it was 10 years old, Mr F Harold Reed, MBE, from the club, was appointed District Governor of District 76.  He would be the last district governor of that district before re-districting moved Burwood into the new District 29.


Rotary’s Mottos

‘Service Above Self’  |  ‘One Profits Most Who Serves Best’

From very early on in the organisation’s history, Rotary has had two mottos – ‘Service Above Self‘ and ‘One Profits Most Who Serves Best’.  Both mottos trace their origins to the 1911 Portland convention of the then National Association of Rotary Clubs of America, where the original motto, ‘He Profits Most Who Serves Best’ was approved, having been adapted from a speech by Rotarian Arthur Frederick Sheldon in the previous year’s inaugural convention in Chicago.

Rotary’s second motto, ‘Service Above Self’ was inspired during the Portland convention, when during a convention outing on the Columbia River, Ben Collins, president of the Rotary Club of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, talked with Seattle Rotarian J.E. Pinkham about the proper way to organise a Rotary club, offering the principle his club had adopted: Service, Not Self.

Pinkham invited Paul P. Harris, who also was on the boat trip, to join their conversation. Harris asked Collins to address the convention, and the phrase Service, Not Self was met with great enthusiasm.

In 1950, slightly modified versions of both mottos were formally approved as official mottos of Rotary, before in 1989 the motto ‘Service Above Self’ was established as the principal motto, conveying most effectively the philosophy of unselfish volunteer service, while the secondary motto was later modified to its current wording, ‘One Profits Most Who Serves Best’.



In 1932, Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor created The Four-Way Test. The Four-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships.

The test, which has been translated into more than 100 languages, asks the following questions:

Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


About Rotaract

The Rotaract Club of Barrie in 1968

The Rotaract Club of Barrie in 1968 – image credit barrierotaract.com

Rotaract began as a youth program, as part of Rotary International, at the Charlotte North Rotary Club, in North Carolina, USA.  It has grown and developed into a major component of Rotary, as a rotary sponsored organisation of over 9,539 clubs with over 219,397 members across the world. 


Pre-History of Rotaract

Since the early 1920’s Rotary has been closely involved with supporting and sponsoring youth programs – most notably the Scouting Movement in Australia, where Rotarians assisted in supporting and training scouts and leaders in the early 1920-1930’s. From very early on, Rotarians recognised the value of engaging with youth and encouraged them to pursue ideals similar to those espoused by their own Rotary Clubs.

The earliest known predecessors to Rotaract, Twenty-Thirty clubs, were first sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sacramento, California, USA. The clubs were based on the principles and goals of their sponsoring Rotary clubs, and membership was open to young professionals and university students. The first meeting of a Twenty-Thirty club was held on 19 December 1922. At one point, the movement claimed as many as 125 clubs under the sponsorship of California Rotary clubs, and published a monthly magazine.

Similar such clubs were created in Great Britain and Ireland, known as Round Table clubs, which were open to young men from 18 – 40.  In Australia, Apex clubs were established from 1930, and were open to professionals and students between 18 and 35.  Other such clubs such as Uniserve clubs in India, Orbis clubs in South America, Rotors clubs in South Africa, and Paul Harris Circles in Europe demonstrated the recognition of the need to continue to engage with youth.


Creation of Rotaract from Interact

In 1962, Rotary developed a high-school level program called ‘Interact’ (the name being a combination of the words International and Action).  Although this program was a success, it highlighted the distinct gap between the youth program run by Rotarians and the membership of Rotary clubs themselves.  This led to Interactors, having reached the age limit for this program, creating a new type of club: “Senior Interact clubs”.

One of the Interact Clubs which took this approach was the Interact Club of Secundrabad in District 3150, India, who, with the aid and guidance of their parent Rotary club, formed a University Service Club called “Uniserve”. It took very little time for the leaders of Rotary International, particularly then President Luther H. Hodges, to realise the importance of these clubs and of their action.

Realising that a bridging organisation was required, which would allow those young people completing the Interact program to continue their involvement with the Rotary Movement, in 1968 the Rotary International Board of Directors officially adopted the program, which was named ‘Rotaract’. The name, like the program, was a combination of both Rotary and Interact.  The first club chartered was the Rotaract Club of North Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, on 13 March 1968.

Within a day of the certification of the Rotaract Club of the University of North Carolina, the Rotaract Club of the University of La Salle was chartered in Tacubaya, Mexico. The Rotaract Clubs of Florence, Italy, Gaston College, North Carolina, and Secunderabad, India, were all certified in the following weeks.

Australia had the distinction of chartering the 4th and 7th clubs in the world, namely Brisbane West, Queensland on 16 June 1968, and Shellharbour, New South Wales in August 1968. In the first five years of the Rotaract program, Australia had 288 of the 1,543 clubs worldwide.

In 1968 the Rotary International Board of Directors officially adopted the program, which was named ‘Rotaract’. The name, like the program, was a combination of both Rotary and Interact. 


Burwood Rotaract

The Rotaract Club of Burwood is one of the oldest continuing Rotaract Clubs in Australia, having been initially chartered in 1971.  Charter members, including current Rotarian David Wright, have continued within the Rotary organisation, now serving as an important link between both Rotary and Rotaract.

Most recently re-chartered in 2009, the Club has continued and supported the work of our sponsoring Rotary Club in managing and supporting traditional rotary events such as our Primary Schools’ Citizenship Awards night, and assisting with other endeavours of the Rotary Club.

However, like all Rotaract clubs, Burwood is an independent club which functions autonomously, and has continued professional development, service projects and community work since its inception. Past  members have been recognised as Paul Harris Fellows, have been invited to attend Rotary’s Youth Leadership Awards program at district and international level, and have been awarded with ambassadorial scholarships for their service and support, and to pursue their goals across the world.

[sources: http://www.clubrunner.ca/Data/7080/html/77/OnePageHistory.htmhttp://www.rotaryfirst100.org/clubs/rotaryone/earlyhistory.htmhttp://rotarnet.com.au/users/9/96933/history_rotary.htmhttp://www.rotaryfirst100.org/districts/districts/9750.htm#.U7IccI2Sxss]