Club History



Our 1.2 million-member global organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organisations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member. In 1921, four Rotary Clubs were created in Melbourne, Auckland, Wellington and Sydney. From there, Rotary and Rotaract clubs were created everywhere across Australia and NZ

 Formation of the Rotary Club of Glenferrie

The Rotary Club of Glenferrie was granted a charter in October 1975. The Club’s first formal meeting took place a month later in the Hawthorn Town Hall, with 30 people inducted into membership. Glenferrie is the third club to have been sponsored by the Rotary Club of Hawthorn, the other two being the Rotary Club of Camberwell and the Rotary Club of Kew.

What makes Rotary so special?

From the beginning, two factors have consistently been identified as primary goals for any Rotary Club and Glenferrie is no different. These are:

  • The development of acquaintance or friendship as an opportunity for service.
  • To provide opportunities for community leadership

Some of the outcomes

In its 45 years to date, the Rotary Club of Glenferrie has carried out countless community service projects, operating on a local, State, National or International basis. Some of the standouts have included:

  • The River Run, a successful fundraiser for Vision Australia for 27 years, taking participants on a 10 km journey along the Yarra River from the city to Hawthorn.
  • Operation of a Coffee Shop at the monthly Hawthorn Craft Market in the Hawthorn Town Hall from 1985 to 2003 serving soup, sandwiches and Devonshire teas.
  • Establishment of the Boroondara Farmers' Market. On the third Saturday of every month up to 70 stall holders and 2000 customers come to Patterson Reserve in Auburn Road, Hawthorn, to buy a great range of fruit and vegetables, meats and prepared foods at this popular market. Club members do the set up and clear away work on a roster basis. Established in 2003, this project is now the Club’s major fundraiser and was recently voted the best farmers market in Victoria.
  • Sewing machines for East Timor. More than 500 second-hand sewing machines were collected by Club members, serviced and shipped to East Timor in 2001, together with large quantities of fabric and haberdashery.
  • The Boroondara Family Network was established in 2000 to provide support for parents with newborn babies and very young children. Through this program, a team of volunteers is organized to help families meet the often demanding needs of young children.
  • The establishment of the Hawthorn Men's Shed in partnership with Uniting AgeWell
  • The formation of the Sumba Eye Program on the island of Sumba in Indonesia, in partnership with Rotary Club of Kew, The Australian College of Surgeons and the Sumba Foundation.
  • Youth leadership. Glenferrie has hosted and sponsored many young people through the Rotary Youth Exchange program. The Club has also sponsored students to attend the National Youth Science Forum and Youth Leadership camps.

Click other headings in this website to find out more about the Rotary Club of Glenferrie and what it does. Better still, arrange to come to one of our regular meetings and see for yourself. You can be sure of a warm welcome.


  Rotary is a Global Movement

Rotarians have not only been present for major events in history—we’ve been a part of them. From the beginning, three key traits have remained strong throughout Rotary:
  • We’re truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Today more than 1.2 million Rotarians are working together through over 36,000 Rotary clubs in more than 120 countries to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems.
We persevere in tough times. During WWII, Rotary clubs in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Japan were forced to disband. Despite the risks, many continued to meet informally and following the war’s end, Rotary members joined together to rebuild their clubs and their countries.
Our commitment to service is ongoing. We began our fight against polio in 1979 with a project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. By 2019, only two countries remain polio-endemic—down from 125 in 1988.


Rotarians are your neighbors, your community leaders and some of the world’s greatest history-makers: 
  • General Sir John Monash, GCMG, KCB, VD, was a Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Melbourne
  • Sir Arthur Street, Australian Impressionist painter
  • Warren G. Harding, U.S. president
  • Jean Sibelius, Finnish composer
  • Dr. Charles H. Mayo, co-founder of Mayo Clinic
  • Guglielmo Marconi, Italian inventor of the wireless radio and Nobel laureate
  • Thomas Mann, German novelist and Nobel laureate
  • Friedrich Bergius, German chemist and Nobel laureate
  • Admiral Richard E. Byrd, American explorer
  • Jan Masaryk, foreign minister of Czechoslovakia
  • H.E. Soleiman Frangieh, president of Lebanon
  • Dianne Feinstein, U.S. senator
  • Manny Pacquaio, Filipino world-champion boxer and congressman
  • Richard Lugar, U.S. senator
  • Frank Borman, American astronaut
  • Edgar A. Guest, American poet and journalist
  • Sir Harry Lauder, Scottish entertainer
  • Franz Lehar, Austrian composer
  • Lennart Nilsson, Swedish photographer
  • James Cash Penney, founder of JC Penney Co.
  • Carlos Romulo, UN General Assembly president
  • Sigmund Sternberg, English businessman and philanthropist
Ready to make history with us? Get involved.