Putting service above self, these local clubs are bringing the concept of goodwill and giving to life and making our community a better place.
QUOTA INTERATIONAL OF TOWNSVILLE INC
A group of friends who volunteer their time and talents to help our local community, the 25 members of Quota International of Townsville Inc are united in their purpose.
“Quotarians create sound beginnings by empowering women, children, the deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired,” says Club President Barbara Burns.
“In 1994, I was looking for a way to give back to the community and meet new people while having fun and that’s when Quota came into my life. Most people join our club because it’s a non-profit organisation offering opportunities to help others. They stay because they like the camaraderie they develop with other women who share their values and the satisfaction of making a difference.”
Club members meet on the third Monday of each month (except for December) at the Rising Sun Hotel for dinner. Working bees are also held for causes such as filling emergency packs, which the club recently donated to the Townsville Hospital.
Quotarians donated the first machines to test the hearing of all newborn babies in our region many years ago.
“My finest moment was handing over the two portable hearing machines to the hospital, after the club had worked for eight years to raise the money,” Barbara says.
“This meant our children could be identified from birth as hearing-impaired and treatment started earlier. Now, with the Cochlear Implant Clinic the babies and children don’t have to travel to Brisbane for treatment.”
The club is also busy pricing lounge suites for the Domestic Violence Centre and supplies household items and children’s clothes and uniforms to women’s shelters.
DISTRICT GRAND LODGE OF NORTH QUEENSLAND
In his role as District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of North Queensland, Les Keane ensures the ancient guidelines of the fraternity are observed.
“Encouraging tolerance, integrity and self-development, as well as advocating community service, Freemasonry becomes a way of life for our members,” says Les, who joined in 1972.
“As a District Grand Lodge we have some 500 members in the region of Proserpine to Ingham to Mount Isa and we’re governed by our state organisation, the United Grand Lodge of Queensland, headquartered in Brisbane.”
On a mission to “make good men better” the District Grand Lodge of North Queensland supports a wide range of charities and community services. State-wide the Lodge’s charitable arm, Hand Heart Pocket, works to improve health, education and aged care outcomes as well as assisting in major disasters. Local causes have included the Freemason’s Leukaemia Village, Townsville Hospital Foundation, Flying Doctors, RSPCA and the Freemasons Park at Pallarenda as well as a vast range of smaller charities.
“I’ve seen many very worthy events in my time but perhaps the most memorable was seeing our Masonic Home for the Aged at Kirwan develop into what it is today,” Les says.
The Freemasons warmly welcome men (over 18) of all ages, races, religions, cultures and backgrounds. You must affirm your belief in a Supreme Being and your commitment starts from as little as two meetings a month.
ROTARY CLUB OF TOWNSVILLE
Celebrating its 90th birthday this year, the Rotary Club of Townsville has 43 active members who are part of a worldwide organisation with over 1.2 million members.
Club President Caitlin Scott became involved in Rotary as a teenager when her dad invited her to assist at the Club’s annual food stall at the Townsville Show. From then on she regularly took part in Club events and in 2005 was sponsored on a Rotary Youth Exchange Program to Finland for a year – an experience Caitlin says helped shape the person she is today. After joining the Australian Defence Force and returning from tours of duty to Afghanistan Caitlin realised something was missing from her life…
“I had served my country but missed serving the community so I joined the Rotary Club of Townsville in February 2014 and am proud to now be serving as the youngest president in the oldest club in Northern Australia,” she says.
“As the oldest club in Townsville we recognise the importance of supporting the development of youth and most of our projects surround them.”
These include the Rotary Youth Driver Awareness (RYDA) Program, the National Youth Science Forum (a Townsville student is sponsored to attend in Canberra) and Project Booyah.
“Project Booyah is a leadership and mentoring program run by the Queensland Police in Townsville for high school students identified as being ‘at risk’ through truancy from school or dabbling in petty crime,” Caitlin says.
“As Rotarians we provide the opportunity for participants in the program to gain communication, teamwork and social skills by working at our community events. They also complete practical qualifications by achieving a Certificate II in Hospitality through TAFE Queensland.”
0406 771 474
THE ROTARY CLUB OF TOWNSVILLE SUNRISE INC
Formed in 1990, The Rotary Club of Townsville Sunrise Inc currently has 80 members and is one of 32,000 Rotary clubs throughout 168 countries worldwide that make up Rotary International.
Club members meet at 7am on most Fridays at the RSL on Charters Towers Road in Hermit Park. The Club is currently working with the Townsville City Council to provide a number of location markers on Castle Hill’s more popular walking tracks. These will assist those injured, or those helping them, to provide an accurate location for a quicker response by emergency services.
“We’re also working on creating a more family friendly recreation park in Kirwan,” says Club President Paul Ryan.
“Lappin Park is located just off Kern Brothers Drive and this project will see more trees planted for shade as well as better facilities, including a barbecue.”
Furthermore, the Club assists with electricity costs for Food Relief North Queensland, which helps the less fortunate by providing food via bonafide welfare agencies. From an international perspective Rotary provides financial assistance to allow polio vaccinations to continue in many affected countries and helps out with emergency shelters and supplies in cyclone/hurricane-affected communities.
“If you join our club you’ll make many new friendships, some of which will last a lifetime,” Paul says.
“Members are encouraged to attend meetings and assist in any projects they can. They’re also welcome to contribute to the many programs Rotary runs including Youth Exchange Programs, which involve international exchange of students.”
0429 144 921
TOWNSVILLE CASTLE HILL LIONS CLUB
With 65 members whose time with the club range from six months to 45+ years, Townsville Castle Hill Lions Club is a busy hub of activity. It is one of a family of 87 clubs located in the Lions District that extends from Sarina in Central Queensland to Papua New Guinea in the north and Mount Isa in the west.
“The local club started in 1962 because several gentlemen wanted to do something constructive for the community of Townsville,” says Club President Gay Rebgetz.
“They mowed lawns, held barbecues to raise money and donated to many deserving organisations. Over the last couple of years we’ve been deeply involved in assisting graziers through the drought. Many of our members have visited western towns with cattle feed, fuel and food vouchers and pamper packs.”
The Club has also been busy raising funds for palliative care in Townsville.
Gay, whose father was one of the founding members, joined the Townsville Castle Hill Lions Club four years ago. This year she became the first female president of the Club in 55 years and her son is now also a member, making it three generations of involvement.
Meetings are held every second and fourth Wednesday of the month and anyone keen to learn more about the Club is invited to attend.
0419 640 956
With a grandfather who was killed in World War II and a mother who, along with her seven siblings, were all Legacy Wards it’s easy to see why Club President Mick Reilly became a Legatee.
Although Legacy itself was founded in 1923, Townsville Legacy formed in 1946 as a part of the national movement to look after widows and children of the soldiers who were killed during WWI or who died subsequently of war wounds. It grew from there to look after the families of those who have given their lives or health in military service.
“Within our area, which is south to Bowen, west to the Queensland border and north to Ingham, Townsville Legacy and the local Legacy Contact Groups care for over 700 widows and families,” Mick says.
“In Townsville alone there are over 500 widows and 30 children. We look to provide a point of contact, care and support for Legacy families including widows, widowers, adults with disabilities and children. Across Australia there are over 5000 volunteers caring for over 80,000 widows and families – a truly national team.”
There is no requirement for defence links or military service regarding joining Townsville Legacy – just an interest in helping. From an hour a month to a day a week, all levels of commitment are welcomed.
“Our Legatees and volunteers range from university students to people in their 70s and we’re currently looking at school volunteer projects to help us,” Mick says.
ROTARACT CLUB OF TOWNSVILLE
A new initiative, the Rotaract Club of Townsville chartered in July this year after seeing a need in the local community for a younger branch of Rotary. The Club already has 25 members.
“Our club aims to benefit our members personally and professionally, with networking and leadership opportunities,” says 21-year-old Club Vice President Timara Callaghan.
“We also benefit our community through local and international projects.”
The Club is currently involved in St Vincent de Paul’s Vinnies Refugee Assistance Program, where members visit the homes of refugee families to provide basic tutoring to children, as well as offer friendship and community interaction.
Other upcoming projects include fundraising for Rotaractors Against Malaria and providing footballs to remote Indigenous communities.
“Our club balances fun and fundraising and meets twice a month — once at James Cook University and and once online via Facebook,” Timara says.
“Our members range from 18 to 30 years of age and are uni students, tradesmen, lawyers and other young professionals. We aim to benefit the community around us in a meaningful way, even if the benefit is small, such as a gift at Christmas.”
0448 196 797
ZONTA CLUB OF TOWNSVILLE
An original member of the Zonta Club of Townsville, which was founded in 1984, Beth Snewin is now Chair of the Service and Advocacy committee.
“Joining Zonta has allowed me to work with women from a variety of professions and given me a way to assist women locally and in developing countries,” Beth says.
“Our local projects — breast care cushions, post-op drainage bags, student encouragement awards, care packs and hampers – provide support for local women at difficult times. Hopefully by receiving our gifts they will know that other women are supporting them in their struggles.”
Zonta Townsville has been coordinating the making of over 1200 birthing kits a year for 10 years. Countries across the developing world request the kits and local schools have been assisting with fundraising for the kits and assembling them.
“We believe that involving students helps them gain a greater understanding of the difficulties others face with the things we take for granted,” Beth says.
“It’s very sobering to think that the next person to open the kit will be a woman about to give birth. She may be alone or with a Traditional Birth Attendant, whose training has also been provided through the Birthing Kit Foundation. Sending off our first shipment of birthing kits to Cambodia was a big thrill.”
This month Club members will also be busy packing Christmas hampers that will go to women and children living in shelter accommodation during the holiday season. Each hamper has items to provide Christmas lunch and meals for a number of days as well as decorations and gifts to help make their temporary home more festive at a tough time.
THE APEX CLUB OF TOWNSVILLE
If you are under 45, want to make a difference in your local community and enjoy doing service work like fundraising and organising events then The Apex Club of Townsville could be for you. Club President Caleb Vella joined in 2013.
“I really enjoy working with other Apex members because they’re motivated, enjoy community service and know how to have fun while helping others,” Caleb says.
“Our golf day this year raised about $16,000 for the Cure Starts Now — a charity set up by local businessperson Ren Pedersen to help find a cure for DIPG (an aggressive brain cancer mainly diagnosed in young children). Ren tragically lost his daughter to DIPG.
“We hope our continued support of the Cure Starts Now will help it become a national charity that we can all be proud of saying was started in our very own backyard of Townsville.”
The Apex Club of Townsville was established in 1954. It presently has around 25 members and is part of the national Apex organisation. The club meets fortnightly at a dinner venue chosen by the executive. The commitment expected of members is that they attend most of of the dinner meetings and help out with service work when family and work commitments allow.