The celebration of 100 Years of Rotary in Australia and New Zealand got of to a spectacular start Friday, with an event broadcast via YouTube from Government House, Canberra featuring His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of Australia, and a litany of stars. The signature project for the event Give Every Child a Future was spotlighted during an online event that celebrated Rotary, Rotarians and the wonderful work done over the past 100 years.
Pop icon Leo Sayer kicked off the event with some of his hits culminating in a toe-tapping rendition of You Make Me Feel Like Dancing. Master of Ceremonies David Mann hosted the event remotely - from Melbourne - in what has become routine in 2020, but without missing a beat. Rotarians from all around the world joined the 'telecast' to hear His Excellency the Governor General launch the celebrations from Government House Canberra, relating the contribution that Rotary has made and continues to make to the betterment of the world. Although celebrating an incredible contribution over the past 100 years, the theme, said His Excellency, is very much about looking forward, not looking back.  There will be another 100 years, his Excellency proclaimed, because "big hearts don't stop beating".
Co-Chair of the National Centenary of Rotary Committee, Garry Browne AM, spoke of the strength of Rotary as an organisation, its networks and resources,  and of the abilities and dedication of Rotarians that make possible the broad range of significant projects that, in line with the Rotary crede of Service Above Self, have made a real difference to the lives of many.
The passing of the Baton was handled skillfully and magically, with His Excellency handing the Baton to President of the Rotary Club of Sydney Fatima Ali in Canberra, who then magically handed it to President of the Rotary Club of Melbourne Marion Macleod - in Melbourne!
The lunchtime broadcast via YouTube then continued with a video explaining the R100 signature project Give Every Child a Future that will, in partnership with UNICEF, vaccinate 100,000 children across nine Pacific island countries against three life threatening diseases: cervical cancer, rotavirus and pneumococcal disease. The project will also establish a sustainable vaccination program in each of those countries.
The celebration of the contribution of Rotary and Rotarians finished with another magical touch, a wonderful performance by Opera Australia tenor Nicholas Jones, in Government House Canberra singing To Dream the Impossible Dream, followed by a true piece of theatrical magic. Australian Josh Piterman, currently starring as the Phantom in the Phantom of the Opera in London sang Music of the Night from London, from the show, accompanied via Zoom from Melbourne by renowned musical director, arranger and pianist John Foreman OAM, truly a wonderful experience.
Those among the more than 800 Rotarians who were able to join the telecast were treated to an entertaining and inspiring opening to the year ahead, the 100th year of Rotary in Australia and New Zealand.