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Rotary Nowra's 86th Anniversary

Prior to speakers recapping the 86-year history of Rotary Nowra, Rotarian Polly Shepherd, who has coordinated our Biggest Morning tea fundraiser for the past few years, presented Vanessa Ng with a $1000 cheque from Rotary Nowra. Unfortunately, due to COVID, Polly having a well earned rest the annual event won’t be conducted this year and the donation was made is in lieu of the funds that would have been raised through the event.


Those present at the anniversary, some with mugs in hand, symbolising the 'Biggest Morning Tea', had this group photo taken.

Arthur King, who has been a Rotarian for 32 years and is our resident historian, spoke about his labour of love in producing "The 1st 75 years of the Rotary Club of Nowra" book that he had published in 2010, the year of the club’s first woman president Fiona Kibble. Fiona sent us a video message that was shown on the night congratulating the club on its achievements over the years.

Nina had some good practice with her Sergeant’s fine session finding something on everyone in the room, especially those who hadn’t read the smart/casual dress memo. She even fined those who were overdressed including our bow-tied MC.

President Jason conducted the official part of the meeting then handed the mic to Graeme our resident MC for the history lesson.

With a slideshow backdrop, senior Rotarians and Past Presidents, Norm Tucker (53 year’s service), Arthur Moorhouse (52 years service) and Graeme Cord (40 years service) gave a highlights summary of the activities of Rotary Nowra since it was chartered on 13 April 1935.

The Presidents since Charter that are engraved on the ceremonial chain worn by President Jason on the night are:

1934 to 36 Bill Lackersteen  (Charter President),  36/37 - H.L. Oliver,  37/38 - L. Lynch,  38/39 - U.K. Walsh,  39/40 - F.O Moorhouse,  40/41 - T. A. Gassimer,  41/42 and 42/43 - F.A. Rodway,  43/44 - F.O. Moorhouse,  44/45 - K.O. Harrison,  45/46 - R.P. Young,  46/47 - H. M. McDonald,  47/48 - J. K. Searl, 49/49 - P. M. O’Keefe,  49/50 - M. Rankin,  50/51- D. Glass,  51/52 - K. Schofield,  52/53 - B. Westwood,  53/54 - B. Simkin,  54/58 - T. Tate,  55/56 - R. Squire,  56/57 - J. Henry,  57/58 - D. Gibson,  58/59 – A. Kelley,  59/60 - R. Swanson,  60/61 - J. Williams & J. Henry,  61/62 - A. Morrison,  62/63 - A. Walton,  63/64 - F. Manse,  64/65 - K. Parker,  65/66 - R. Bishop,  66/67 - L. Boyd,  67/68 - G. Graig,  68/69 - D. Elvy,  69/70 - P. Farrant,  70/71 - D. Nicholson,  71/72 - R. Monaghan,  72/73 - I. LeCren,  73/74 - N. Tucker,  74/75 - J. Kitely,  75/76 -  G. Walker,  76/77 - P. Stevens,   77/78 - J. Nelson,  78/79 - P. Horton,  79/80 - A. Moorhouse,  80/81 - R. Evans,  81/82 - N. Russell,  82/83 -  D. Bray,  83/84 - R. Davison,  84/85 - R. Hurst,  85/86 - C. Lamond,  86/87 - P. Price,  87/88 - B. James,  88/89 - A. King,  89/90 - M. Bennie,  91/92 - T. Holdsworth,  92/93 - P. Broad,  93/94 - L. Wolfe,  94/95 B. Turner,  95/96 - G. Cord,  96/97 - E. Robinson,  97/98 - L. Guilfoyle,  98/99 - C. Crump,  99/00 – R. Moyle,  00/01 - T. Houldsworth,  01/02 - S. Burnie,  02/03 - G. Szymoniczek,  03/04 - E. Robinson,  04/05 and 05/06 - M. Ludlow,  06/07 - A. Baker,  07/08 - M. Cochrane,  08/09 - G. Szymoniczek, 09/10 - F. Kibble, 10/11 - A. Moorhouse, 11/12 - F. Kibble, 12/13 A. Baker/G. Cord, 13/14 - G. Cord, 14/15 - P. Pickup/G. cord, 15/16 - G. Cord, 16/17 - R. Russell, 17/18 - P. Hill, 18/19 - P. Presgrave, 19/20, G. Cord, 20/21 - J. Cox

I was not looking forward to deciphering Arthur, Norm and Graeme’s notes with my two-finger typing; however, Julie came to my rescue.  Thank goodness she hasn’t lost her exceptional typing speed.

Arthur Moorhouse spoke about the years 1934 to 1964

Well what a night & what a lot to cover so as that song from the 'Sound of Music' goes “Lets Start at the Very Beginning”.

Rotary Club of Nowra was inaugurated at a meeting held in the Hotel Nowra on 31 October 1934, following a comprehensive survey by the Rotary Club of Wollongong and attended by 20 businessmen.  Remember that the world and Australia were in the middle of the great depression with 30% unemployed.

The prospective Rotarians were in their mid-30’s, starting businesses and raising young families and yet when Mr Lackersteen moved that “The Rotary Club of Nowra be formed”, it was carried by hearty acclamation.

Mr Bill Lackersteen was elected President with Frank Moorhouse as the Secretary.  The Charter members and their classifications were: R.P. Young - Jewellery Retailing, M.J. Molony - Dentistry, T.C. Davis - Boots and Shoes Retailing, L.J. Lynch - Banking Government, J.T Johnston - Postal Services, B.A. Harris - Condensed Milk Manufacturing, W.G. Lackersteen - Local Government Administration, E.W. Varvel - Motor Vehicle Retailing, A.K. Schofield - Food Industry Meat Retailing, W.Dalton - Ambulance Service, H.L. Oliver - Law General Practice, S.J. Lovejoy - Banking Private, W.F. Stoner - Food Industry Milk Factory, J. Morris - Pharmacy, F.O. Moorhouse - Farm Machinery Retailing, D.M. Smith - News Paper Publishing, M.J. Connolly - Medicine, F.P. Ryan - Medical General Practice, A.H.Standen - Police Service.

The first major project in 1934 was in conjunction with the Nowra Municipal Council, (it probably helped having the Mayor as a member) organised an air pageant to mark the opening of Nowra’s Civil Aerodrome. Twenty Eight aircraft participated with 1000 spectators watching on.

Then on 4 April 1935 - 10 days before being officially chartered, Paul Harris and the District Governor Thomas Armstrong visited the Club. The Charter was officially presented by DG Armstrong on 13 April 1935 in the School of Arts building with 133 members and visitors attending.  DG Armstrong also presented the club with a silver Dinner Gong, which we are still using today.

In 1936, the club reluctantly increased the cost of the meal to 2 shillings and 6 pence (25c).

World War II was underway 1939 to 1945, but the club was able to survive and do its bit for the war effort.  Members were involved acting as Air Raid Wardens and being members of the V.D.C.

After peace was declared, the Club set about starting Nowra Tech College. The Department of Tech Education wouldn’t support them as the felt Nowra was too small.  Well just look at the Nowra TAFE now.  Members served on the advisory committee for 25 years.  Frank Moorhouse was Chairman for that period, which is an interesting story on its own for another night.

In 1945, they also arranged to send food parcels to the Rotary Club of A.U.L. in the UK, who distributed them to needy families.  A.U.L. was selected as it was chartered in the same year as our club and had the same membership.  Our friendship with A.U.L. continued till the club merged with the Tayside Club.   Over the years, a number of our members have visited them in the UK and likewise the have reciprocated.  I am still in touch with one of their older members.

In 1952, the ambulance service was in financial difficulties so the club raffled a Vanguard car and raised $2,200 (back then 1100 pounds).   Superintendent Bill Dalton from H.M.A.S. Albatross was a charter member.  Bestselling days were outside H.M.A.S. Albatross on pay week and one of the Navy fellows won the car.

Ken Schofield was president in 1956.  The club built a tiled wading pool at the new Olympic pool at a cost of $6,000 (back then 3000 pounds).

Jim Henry was president in 1960/61.  The Bangalee Scout camp was established in virgin bush, off Illaroo Road. The access road into the camp was quoted at 1,200 pounds but due to good friends it ended up costing only 8 pounds.  The bricks for the lodge building were donated by Nowra Bricks owner, Claude Downs, also a member.  Nowra Lions and Apex built the camp kitchen and toilet block. 

In 1960, our President Albert Morrison constructed a Rotary Park on the upper north side of the River along with erecting a monument to our foundation President Bill Lackersteen, which will remain in the future as negotiations with the new Bridge builders have agreed to move the Bridge a couple of metres to allow it to remain where it is located. Jim Henry was President at the time.



Crowds estimated to number more than 500, packed vantage points at the town’s Civic Centre in Junction Street on Friday night to see the switch-on and handover ceremony of the new Rotary Fountain erected to mark the visit of 989 Rotarians of District 275 for their annual Conference.

It was a gala occasion as a number of casually dressed townspeople swelled by hordes of visiting Rotarians.

Nowra Town Band began the festivities with popular music prior to the ceremony.

Then, from a dais temporarily placed before the fountain, former President of Rotary International Harold T Thomas declared the fountain open and handed it over to the President of Shoalhaven Shire Councillor, B.F. McIntosh.

Tributes were paid to the work of Nowra Rotary’s Gordon Craig, Shire Engineer responsible for designing and planning the fountain.  He was not only 100% behind the Pool – he was often IN it said Clr. McIntosh.

The new fountain, Nowra Rotary’s community service project for 1964, has five jets – the central one spraying five feet into the air and is set in a foot-deep square concrete pool.  Throughout Friday night and over the weekend thousands of people filed past to inspect it in action.

Nowra Rotary President, Fred Mance said the Club had decided that something beneficial to the district should be done to commemorate the holding of the District Conference in Nowra.  The Shoalhaven Shire Council were right behind us he said.


Norm then gave the highlights from 1965 to 1994

1965-67 - The birth of Shoalhaven Historical Society

1968 -69 - Nowra Rotary hosted District Conference which was held at the School of Arts Nowra. Peter Hurst organised the first visit to Nowra Rotary with 2 boys from Honiara King George V1 Solomon Island  - for the next ? years

1969 -70 - Captain Cook Bicentary function at Moorhouse Park. Nowra/Bomaderry Rotary Club on May 27 1970 with 23 members.. Pres. John Christmas (dentist)

1970-71  – Opening of Paringa Park

1971-72- Phonathon for the Shoalhaven Childrens ward – raised $1,650

1972-73 - Potato Project on Greenwell Pt Road

1973-74 - Norm Tucker Yr – Phonathon for motorvan for Smith Family raised $2000. Assisted Bomaderry Rotary Club  to form Huskisson Rotary Club. Entered a “Back to Nowra” Float in the Nowra Centenary Show and awarded Best Decorated Float.

1974-75 - An Art Union meeting was abandoned due to the Shoalhaven River Flooding its banks.

1975-76 - Nowra Rotary won Debating contest. Club completed the demolition of the old nursing home and did renovations

1976-77  – Big changes to District from 275 Sydney to Narooma changed to 271 centred on Canberra. Supported the Art show of Samuel Elyard Paintings at the School of Arts.

Having 75 members at this time the Rotary Club of Nowra chartered the Rotary Club of South Nowra. Bill Thompson, the Charter President of South Nowra, still remembers vividly Frank Moorhouse approaching him on the front doorsteps of his home with the proposal (an interesting story in itself).

For the Historical record Bill Thompson (Honarary Member and Charter President of RC South Nowra) adds these comments.

The inaugural Meeting of the Rotary Club of South Nowra, arranged by the D.G.'s Special Representative PDG Frank Moorhouse of Nowra Club was held at 6.30 pm On Thursday, 26th January, 1978. An inspirational Address was delivered by then District Governor Jack Olssen, the first governor of the new District 971.

The club was officially chartered on 10 June 1978. The District Governor was Tom Tait of Nowra Club.

Re District Numbering:  District regions/numbering are readjusted from time to time to meet changing needs. For example, Nowra club's Frank Moorhouse was the Governor of District 275 in 1963-64.  At the time the District extended from the Eastern suburbs of Sydney in the north to Narooma in the south. Canberra was in District 270.
A district change occurred in 77-78 Jack Olssen (Canberra Club) became the first Governor of Dist.  971.
A district number change occurred in 91-92  Bruce Sharp (Canberra Ginninderra Club) became the first  Governor of District 9710.

1977-78   – Tom Tait was inducted as District Governor. Rotary Annual fee at that time was $45 the Dinner was $3.50

1978-79 – The District Conference held in Nowra 16th – 18th March 1979

1979-80 - Arthur Moorhouse Yr – 75th Anniversary of Rotary. Tom Tait & Dove Glass presented with PH Fellow. Renovated Salvation Mall. Purchased Jaws of Life for Ambulance Rescue Unit. Took a number of Rotarians to Solomon Islands for Reunion with students

1980 – 81 – No annual report in Arthurs 75 year history book.

1981-82 - Built Orchid house in Harry Sawkins Park. RYPEN Seminar at Berry NSW

1982-83 - Lots of fellowship. Donations to 14 organisations over the year.

1983-84 - Orchard House completed. Door Knock for Hospital Cardia Unit – Raised $2,500. In conjunction with Rotaract $3,592 was raised by manning the gates at the Nowra Show, which was donated to furnish a room at an Aged Peoples Nursing Home.

1984-85 - Bob Hurst Yr – 50th Nowra President. Bob handed the Gavel to PDG Frank Moorhouse and asked him to conduct the rest of the night’s proceedings. Handed over the Orchid House to Mayor Harry Sawkins. Golden Jubilee Dinner. Handing over the Fountain in Park next to Council Chambers. Manned the Bar & Gates at the Nowra Show

1985-86 - Colton Lamond Yr – Donated $15,240 to Hospital Board to buy Cardiac Respirator Monitor & Blood Gas Monitor – the money was raised from the Hospital Radiothon. Colton was involved in many more projects.

1986-87 – Club raised $8,000 to help Solomon Island buy a tractor for the School after a deadly Cyclone. Club was awarded The Herald Award for Hospital Paediatric Unit

1987-88 - Bruce James Yr – Left half way through the year. Sad Death of Reg Walker. Manning Show Bar and the Gates. Working Bee at Camellia Park

1988-89 - Arthur King Filled in for Bruce James half way through the above year. Manning Show Bar & Gates. Work on Camellia Park. Lamington Drive. Assisted with Hospital Fete & Bed Derby – Raised $4,120. Xmas Party on Board the Jerry Bailey

1989-90 - Still Hosting Solomon Island Students. Hosted Royce Abbey & group study team from England. Manned Show Bard & Gates. Hospital Bed Derby – raised $1,350.

1990-91 - Support continued to Skillshare Projects. Further work on Nowra Show Bar. Competed in Bed Race. Working Bee for Camellia Garden. Painting Walls for Smith Family premises. $2000 worth of trees donated from Bob turner for “Trees for Survival” at Nowra Public School

1991-92- Hospital Fete. Completion of Smith Family Premises. Morning Tea at Osborne House by Rotary Anne’s. Working Bee at Camellia Gardens. Shade house at Nowra Primary produced first batch of trees – Raised $1676.30

1992-93 - Manned Show bar. Spring Festival Trailer Raffle raised $350. Osborne House Coffee morning. Aust Army Band was very successful – Raised $1,500 for Chesalon Nursing Home. Still involved in Skillshare – raised $5,500

1993-94 - Trailer Raffle again raised $4,000. Hospital Fete raised $550. Birthday celebration for Frank Moorhouse 89 yrs. Family cricket match attracted 80 people raised $990. After 160mm rain raised $1,150 at Nowra Show with Army Band Concert for Paediatric section at the hospital. Plus many other fund raisers totalling $15,859

1994-95 - Trailer Raffle raised $4,000. Manning Show Bar raised $2,000. Auction second hand goods raised $2,000. Drought relief with Huskisson raised $300. Skillshare. Special night for kids (local magician). Wine Tasting at Coolangatta. BBQ at Robinson, Diamond Celebration Dinner at Worrigee House

1995-96 - Graeme Cord Yr – Shoalhaven Youth Expo. Induction of 4 new Rotarians. Trailer Raffle. Army Band Concert at Bomaderry Bowling Club raised $2,800. Garage Sale at Cambewarra Hall $380 raised. Youth activities. 5 BBQ’s. Donations to many needy charities, including $500 for music Scholarship


Graeme completed the history listing the club’s highlights from 1995 to 2021

Selection of the highlights of the 26 years in roughly chronological order.  If I’ve missed any major or important event please see me afterwards.

1995 - We held Shoalhaven Youth Expo at Nowra High school, raised $3,000 which went to build a bus shelter at the school. The club won District Youth Award for the Expo, Solomon Island students continued being hosted, which ceased 40 years from the initial visit.

Late 1990’s - Hosted District Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment, RYPEN a weekend at Illaroo Farm. First Shoalhaven Farm Field Days held at Manildra, past member Elton Robinson heavily involved.

2001 -02 - Into the new Century Lin Fowler continued to produce the weekly 8 page bulletin, he should have received a District Award. Joined other local clubs in the Go Home With Rotary Project, which helped provide free caravans to people who had lost their homes in the bushfires, some caravans were donated others returned afterwards. Arthur Moorhouse was recognised by District for leading Fellowship tours to International conventions.

2002-03 - Nowra Rotary inducted our First Lady, Lynne Hodgkinson and she was very well received, she was a foster carer for 2 children with disabilities. Jointly ran District Conference with Nowra PCYC as the base. Continued to support Shoalhaven Employment & Training, a not for profit aimed to assist locals get jobs. The Beaut Ute competition became part of the 3 Field Days and it was a very popular event for competitors and spectators.

2004-05 - Shoalhaven Sunrise club was charted. PCYS connection saw our club take a bus load of disadvantaged kids and carers to Taronga Zoo. Local Rotary clubs combined to give Darren Flanagan a Paul Harris Fellow for his magnificent events in saving lives the Beaconsfield Mine collapse. Centenary of Rotary International celebrated.

2005-06 - 75th Anniversary of the Rotary Club of Nowra celebrated. Bishop Bus Tours continued, to Oberon and the donation to Club was significant

2007 - The club held a Prostate Cancer Fundraiser by having well know Australian Cricketer Kerry O’Keefe as headline speaker, raised $3,500

2009-10 - Our Club had its first lady President Fiona Kibble. One of Fiona’s important ideas was to set up the Clubs Facebook Page. 4 Members went to Honiara in the Solomon Islands to mark the 40-year Anniversary of the students being hosted by our club.

2011 - Club refurbished old bike sheds at Nowra High and dedicated the bus shelter to past president Geoff Walker who passed away from cancer. Club Hosted the District Conference and raised $7,500 for Fred Hollows Eye Foundation of which Gabby Hollows was the guest speaker. Later the Heritage Farm Machinery Project was in the pipeline, where it eventually located at Kangaroo Pioneer Farm Museum

2015 - Julie Ludlow, almost singlehanded, ran the Shoalhaven Raffle Calendar Project raising around $32,000 distributed between 11 different Charities within the Shoalhaven Region. Hopefully this project will soon to be re visited. The concept of Dream Cricket for school kids with disabilities started with Nowra Club still supporting. BBQ’s were and still are a major fundraiser, especially the 3 day Huskisson Triathlon. The Pride of Workmanship night was a regular vocational service event that works well for the club and award winners.

2015-16 - Club members built the fence for Home Economics garden at Nowra High School. Past President, Penny Pickup organised the 80-year Anniversary for the Club. It was a night to dress up in our finest attire. Phil Presgrave is the key organiser on the Emergency Services Community Awards, which receives good public recognition.

2017 - South Nowra and Nowra Rotary merged.

For the Historical Record, Mick Ludlow (Public Relations Officer) adds these comments.

Just prior to the merger RC Nowra started developing its new website that was designed to market and promote Rotary to Non-Rotarians as apposed to just being a tool for Rotarians to communicate with other Rotarians. The new website was called "Rotary Nowra"

The reasoning behind this title was being a Rotarian is the principle focus and where the Rotarian is in the world is secondary. It was also considered that rremoving the word Club from the title removed the perception, to potential members, that Rotary is a unique and closed group of people. Rotary Nowra also better aligned with its parent organisations Rotary District 9710 (now 9705) and Rotary International.

Whilst our Public Relations name is "Rotary Nowra" our official name, for legal reasons, is "The Rotary Club of Nowra Inc." Rotary International rules are when two Rotary Clubs merge the name of the first club chartered is automatically retained. 

2019 - Our club made significant donations to help drought affected farmers in the Forbes District and some members went there as well. They were impressed by NFP Organisation Nell’s Pantry who gave food and essentials to struggling farmers. A major part of the donations the next year went to Shoalhaven Mayor's Bushfire Appeal after the worst fires in history. Jason Cox, current President joined a Rotary Team to climb to Everest base camp, raising funds for Polio Eradication. Safe Shelter Shoalhaven has been adopted for Rotary Nowra's support.

2020 - Our Club had its first Zoom meeting due to the COVID Pandemic. Saxon Perry Rotary Exchange Student was in Denmark during the COVID Pandemic

Rotary’s official motto is “Service Above Self” and Rotary Nowra has aimed to live up to this motto.


At the end of their presentations the Anniversary cake was cut by the senior Rotarian speakers that have a combined 177 years of Rotary service.

Other Nowra Rotarians that deserve a special mention in our 86 year history are:

RC Nowra Presidents, the late Frank Moorhouse, Tom Tait and Ken Boyd served as District Governors. Their long, higher order and distinguished Rotary service is detailed in the back of Arthur King's "The First Seventy-five Years of the Rotary Club of Nowra - 1935-2010 book.


The late Colton Lamond, who served 20 consecutive years as Club Secretary (1987 - 2007) and championed the Solomon Islands student program for forty years.

The late Lin Fowler, who served 21 consecutive years as the Club Bulletin Editor (1988 - 2009) and Musical Director.

Colton and Lin's many roles and achievements in Rotary at Club and District level, along with those of our other long serving members. Arthur Moorhouse, Norm Tucker and the late Rob Monaghan are also detailed in their profiles in the back of Arthur's book.


In closing the night, AG Adam de Totth gave tribute to those who have inspired him as a Rotarian and presented President Jason with a certificate of Appreciation.

Time did not permit the showing of some unseen footage of events and projects of the club that Arthur M had found in the archives and Jason had converted to digital format. These will be shown at a future club meeting.

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