Rotary Eltham 2022-2023

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Yes, We always have space for new members!

2022 - 2023

Co Presidents

The Rotary Club of Eltham 2022-2023 Board

Rob Kilcullen

Mike Englefield

Treasurer Lou Bolzonello

Past President Sally Squires

Secretary Denese Billings

Membership Lisa Kirton

Public Image Kevin Hadingham Festival

Community Service Kelvin Spiller

Program & Club Service Gary Williams

Rotary Foundation Sally Squires

Club Admin / Pres. Elect Ian Toohill

Youth Service

Rob Kilcullen

Brett Linsell

International Service Clayton Hedger

Environment & Sustainability Con Proussalis


After the previous testing 3 years, 2022/23 saw a marked uplift in the mood and enjoyment experienced by members….most appropriate as we celebrated the Club’s 50thAnniversary since charter on 19 April 1973. Thank you to Jill Ramsay and Committee for organising an outstanding night of reminiscing, fellowship and kicking up our heels.

Directors and their Committees have done an enormous job this year. Secretary extraordinaire Denese Billings kept administration matters and PI Rob / P2 Mike under control. Treasurer Lou Bolzonello, in his 30th year as a Club member, continued to provide his invaluable financial expertise and counsel. Our ever inventive resilient Program Director Gary Williams gave us an eclectic range of informative and entertaining events. Dale Atkins continued to provide his indispensable and “nothing is too hard” IT expertise. Kelvin Spiller’s Committee addressed and assisted a myriad of needy, worthy local causes. In International, Clayton Hedger took our support to Cambodia in our funding of the construction of clean water/sanitary facilities and the continued support of the Nepal remote school project. Brett Linsell manfully managed the Youth portfolio culminating in a most gratifying and encouraging Youth Night club meeting. Sally Squires successfully encouraged members to financially support Foundation. Meanwhile Kevin Hadingham (Public Image) and Lisa Kirton (Membership) and their committees, markedly broadened the exposure and growth of the Club. In Environment & Sustainabilty, Con Proussalis continued to champion implementation of the Queens Jubilee tree planting program.

Club members came to the fore for our three large manpower commitments. Howard Turner and Dennis Booth ensured the success of the weekly BBQ. Brenda Ibels and the Art Show Committee brought together the successful inaugural “Eltham Art Show”. Rob Kilcullen’s “Eltham Festival” committee amazingly turned a cancelled November 2022 event into a highly acclaimed March 2023 Festival. All the while, other members strengthened the fabric of the Club with their input organising Duty Team and BBQ Rosters, the Footy Tipping Competition and attending to Member Welfare.

Unfortunately 2023 saw the passing of ever popular and passionate 32 year member, Gordon Birch PP,PHF and the retirement of extremely valued and contributing 28 year member Graeme Hardiman PP,PHF. We also welcomed new members Marlene Coomer, Caroline Knaggs, Julieanne, Joe Kurczycki and Rob Scoberg . Thank you to all members for your support and a Rotary Year full of commitment, productive projects, fellowship and most of all fun !!

Rob Kilcullen (P1) Mike Englefield(P2) Co-Presidents, Rotary Club of Eltham, 2022-2023

The Rotary Club of Eltham is an active and inclusive service Club committed to supporting those in need. Our men with a broad spectrum of backgrounds,

on many projects to support our local community, support young people and make a difference locally and internationally in disadvantaged areas of the world. In doing so, we have formed strong friendships and networks characterised by a sense of fun and enthusiasm.

This report outlines the many initiatives and varied projects we have undertaken in 2022-23 with the Rotary International theme of “Imagine Rotary ”. These results have been achieved through the efforts of every one of the members featured on the front cover – a true team effort.

This year our fundraising and hands-on service opportunities have resulted in $82,000 of support to a range of local and international projects. Local Community, Youth and Environment programs represent 62% ($50,700) of the total allocations.

Rotary Club of Eltham P.O. Box 134, Eltham, 3095 ABN 79 714 185 712
Community Projects and Programs International
Development and Disaster Relief
Education & Development Programs
& Sustainability Rotary Foundation for Local & Global Programs

Imagine our support for our Community

In addition to the many other programs outlined in this report, the Rotary Club of Eltham provided $31,000 to the following projects in our community:

Araluen - support for adults with intellectual disabilities

Australian LIONS Hearing Dogs program

Australian Rotary Health – Lift the Lid on Mental Health

Big Group Hug –supporting vulnerable children &families

Bushfire Resilience – recovery support

CFA Eltham – support vehicle appeal

CFA Research – support vehicle appeal

Edendale Community Environment Farm

Eltham Mens’ Shed

Fight Parkinson’s for research, education and support

Mental Health Support

Healthability – support services

LinC Hampers for Allwood House


Nillumbik - Christmas hampers

Lower Eltham Park – family picnic tables and seating

Montmorency Eltham RSL – veteran welfare and support

Movember campaign for Men’s Mental Health

Nillumbik SES support to volunteers


Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, WEHI

World WOD games sponsorship of DV Crossfit athlete

High rates of inflation and the rising cost-of-living, financial stresses due to interest rate rises, and the shortage and affordability of housing are significant factors impacting on Mental Health across the community. Donations were made to the Movember campaign in support of men’s mental health and a sponsored walk along the Aqueduct Trail raised funds for the “Lift the Lid on Mental Health“ campaign for mental health awareness and research through the Australian Rotary Health Foundation

Sausage Sizzles at Lower Eltham Park

Our weekly sausage sizzle adjacent to the Diamond Valley Railway at the Lower Eltham Park provides an affordable food option for families enjoying the park, the railway and the Butterfly playground. It also generates the funds which are so essential for our community projects (including the BBQ shelters, Butterfly Cubby House, seating and tables in the Lower Eltham Park). Rotarians are rostered 3 or 4 times a year. We enjoy providing this community service, while at the same time seeing the fruits of our labour in the surrounding parkland

Rotary Community Organisations Guide

The diverse recreation, sports and community groups in our community come together like a big jigsaw picture of our wonderful vibrant community. We have compiled a comprehensive listing of community organisations which is updated frequently and provides a digital reference to look for a wide range of family, neighbourhood and community groups. The listing is very popular with newcomers to the area as well as existing residents looking for new activities to explore. Download your copy from

Christmas Teddy Bears

In keeping with our annual tradition, a great collection of teddy bears came to our Christmas Dinner. They were packed and sent on their way to Berry Street, Odyssey House and other local charities for adoption by good homes in time for Christmas!

Victoria Police Leadership Mentoring Program

During the year, two of our members have mentored police officers participating in the Victoria Police/Rotary mentoring program With Rotarian support regarding project planning and community engagement, they have developed innovative and practical programs – one understanding and supporting family issues in migrant communities and another improving police understanding and relationships with indigenous youth The mentoring program has increased mutual awareness between Rotary and VicPol as well as delivering personal development learnings for the officers and, most importantly, effective community outcomes.

In February, Eltham and Preston Rotarians provided a BBQ for a local aboriginal community day at Dardi Munwurro, Preston, a meeting place for aboriginal groups. The initiative arose from a project being undertaken by Senior Sergeant Mark Van Rooyen, Reservoir Police station under the Victorian Police/Rotary Mentoring Program.

The police provided an information session across various topics including family violence, intervention orders and other police related matters. About 40 attended from the aboriginal community. There was a spirited Q and A session designed to build confidence, trust and relationships. Follow-up and help was offered by the police.

The day was very successful We were privileged to hear first-hand the local aboriginal concerns at the grass roots level. The day was a positive community experience for us all and it was felt that the Rotary presence in support of the police and the aboriginal community helped in the process of breaking down barriers and building trust.

Picnic Facilities at Lower Eltham Park

The Lower Eltham Park is a popular weekend destination for families from Nillumbik and beyond. They are attracted by the sports grounds, off-lead dog areas, equestrian facilities, children’s playground, miniature train, walking and cycling trails and picnic facilities. The Rotary Club of Eltham has been active for several years in the development of the park, particularly in and around the Butterfly children’s playground. This year we have provided additional table seating which will also benefit customers of our sausage sizzles!

Table and seating at Edendale Farm

Edendale Community Education Farm is developing a vegetable growing area to host activities to engage with youth and also for public education programs. The Rotary Club of Eltham is supporting this initiative by provision of an adjacent table and seating for participants.

Anzac Day Dawn Service

The 2023 ANZAC Day dawn service attracted even more public support this year with a sea of people paying their respect to Australian and New Zealand defence personnel past and present, their service in so many parts of the world, and particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The Rotary Club of Eltham was honoured to work with the Montmorency Eltham RSL to facilitate this important community event. The program included extensive participation by local primary and secondary students which bodes well for the ongoing intergenerational recognition of the significance of ANZAC day. Lest we forget

Rotary Can Food Drive

Many families in our community are struggling due to the impacts of Covid, inflation and housing stress. In all areas of emergency relief there has been exponential increase in demand. In the past 12 months there has been a 36% increase in new clients seeking support from the Diamond Valley Community Support Food Collective. Eltham Rotarians each conducted a can food drive in their streets in June 2023 and received very generous donations from their neighbours. Every donation counted and the cumulative effect was a very significant delivery to the Food Collective.

CFA Eltham and Research

Donations were made to the CFA Eltham and CFA Research crews in support of their appeals for funds toward purchase of 4WD operations support vehicles, funding for which is not covered by Government Grants but must be raised by the individual branches. Rotary support was warmly appreciated.

Imagine improving our Environment

Queens Jubilee Tree Planting along Diamond Creek Corridor

Nillumbik residents value our natural environment, our flora and fauna. We recognise the loss and degradation of that environment due to the impacts of urban development, particularly the loss of habitat, canopy loss and the breaks in wildlife corridors such as the Diamond Creek.

The grant to the Rotary Club of Eltham from the Australian Government’s “Planting Trees for the Queen’s Jubilee” program will enable us to target these deficiencies and enhance the environment by in-fill planting in specific areas in the Diamond Creek corridor in Eltham North.

A Project Launch and Ceremonial Planting event was held on onsite in October 2022 with Kate Thwaites MP, Member for Jagajaga, Keith Wolahan MP, Member for Menzies and Cr Frances Eyre, Mayor of Nillumbik Shire Council participating. They spoke briefly on the significance of the program and the importance of the Diamond Creek project, before the planting of commemorative trees and unveiling of a plaque The Rotary Club of Eltham will engage many community groups for the Autumn-Winter 2023 mass plantings.

National Tree Day Community planting at Challenger St, Diamond Creek

National Tree Day 2022 was celebrated in Nillumbik with a mass community planting event in the Challenger Street wetlands, Diamond Creek. The Rotary Club of Eltham joined with the Shire and Planet Ark in the organisation of the event which attracted many families to the site. It was significant that some senior family members were able to tell the younger ones that they had planted “those established trees over there” in a similar event 20 years ago!

Tree Planting Montmorency Secondary College

The project, a combined effort between the College’s Interact Club and the Student Representative Council was overseen by teachers Vicki Bucher and Claire. The 30 enthusiastic students beavered away digging holes (in reclaimed housing rubble), planting, watering and mulching in a grassy area. The area includes a plaque in recognition of it being planted out under the Queen’s Jubilee Planting program and it already has strongly growing trees, planted some months earlier. If the new plants mature as well as those previously planted, the area (the size of three housing blocks) will provide a shady retreat for students and be a lasting leafy commemorative legacy.


– the art heritage of Nillumbik

The Rotary Club of Eltham was very honoured to be able to host its inaugural Eltham Art Show during the first week of September 2022. The Show invited artists exclusively associated with the Nillumbik Shire. The art heritage of the Nillumbik Shire reaches into the associations of the 20 Melbourne Painters Society and the Victorian Artists Association. Both of whom were represented strongly in the show along with respected local artists. The show was held in the Eltham Community and Reception Centre. It was professionally curated by eminent Melbourne Art Consultant Brenda Innes.

After 3 years on the drawing board the show was launched and incorporated submissions of 511 pieces covering the mediums of paintings, sculpture, glass, ceramics, photography and printmaking. 450 works were selected for exhibition with an excellent result of over 21% being sold to discerning investors. A more interesting statistic was that sales by artists represented over 50% of the total value of the exhibition.

Strong support from local sponsors and the Nillumbik council enabled an attractive Prize pool total of $13,200. The proceeds from the show enabled the Rotary Club of Eltham to distribute significant additional grants to local community projects and programs

Following the success of the 2022 show, several initiatives are being integrated into the 2023 event. There will be tutorials, group tours, artist’s gatherings, new categories, new prizes and more community integration. We have forged an association with Montsalvat to exhibit the 3D works. Montsalvat’s history incorporates 3D expertise in Sculpture, Glass, Ceramics and Jewellery.

Rotary Eltham is proud to be associated with the Artists of Nillumbik and associated groups. We are proud of the standard presented and will strive to continue our support for all the artists who put their hearts and efforts into believing in the importance of this wonderful industry.

….and the Winner is!!!

Great Clubnights! ………………..Keeping Us….

Informed, Entertained and Challenged!

Imagine how we help people overseas

Nepal – supplies for remote schools

In recent years the Rotary Club of Eltham participated with Global Action Nepal (GAN), Aussie Action Abroad (AAA) and the Rotary Club of Mahaboudda in the construction of a teacher training facility in Lalitpur, south of Kathmandu. That facility is now operational and today we continue to support the children in remote areas of Nepal with teaching resources and much needed educational supplies

Cambodia - clean water and toilets program

We have sponsored sets of a permanent toilet, washroom and well to 6 families in remote Cambodian villages The simple construction method provides a very cost-effective contribution to sanitation and good health.

Support for Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis

Support from our club to Aquabox U.K. has contributed to the provision of water filters and humanitarian goods for the large numbers of people displaced by the destruction of infrastructure and flooding in war torn Ukraine. In December 2022 a shipment of 450 Aquaboxes, provided filtration capacity to produce a total of 234 megalitres of safe drinking water.

Response to the Turkiye/Syria Earthquake

Devastating earthquake and aftershocks struck southern and central Turkey and northern and western Syria in February 2023.

The club responded to the Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS)appeal for funding for urgently needed humanitarian goods, emergency shelter, water and food for the thousands of people displaced from damaged homes.

Wheelchairs for Kids

The Rotary Club of Eltham were pleased to support “Wheelchairs for Kids” which was nominated by District 9790 Governor David McPherson for his partner project during his term as governor. The Rotary Club of Scarborough in Western Australia founded this project in 1998. The wheelchairs are designed to World Health Organisation guidelines and they are fully adjustable to allow for a child’s growth. They are made to handle roughterrain and pot-holed tracks with solid puncture-proof tyres and a single front wheel. Each chair comes with a seatbelt, postural separators and a tool kit. A knee rug and soft toy are also included in the pack.

The chairs are manufactured in The Wheelchairs for Kids factory in Wangara, Perth. Up to 800 people, ranging in age from 55 to 90, currently volunteer and manufacture 300 chairs a month

The wheelchairs are packed and dispatched to a network of 65 agencies around the world, who then deliver and assemble the chairs. Just watching the delight on the faces of these disadvantaged, disabled kids, getting into their chairs is so uplifting.

Lemur Project – Madagascar

Our donations to the Lemur project, initiated by the Rotary Club of Southern Mitchell, will assist Primary School children and their teachers in Ambovombe, Androy Madagascar with food, clean drinking water, medicine and school equipment This will help parents keep their children fed and stay at schools The area has suffered 4 years of successive drought in addition to the Covid-19 pandemic which is forcing families in rural communities to resort to desperate measures to survive.

Positive Aid Kenya

Eltham resident Jess Young founded Positive Aid in 2008, in response to the significant needs she identified while volunteering in remote Kenya. She last spoke to our club in 2009. This year we were privileged to hear of the progress achieved over the past decade, particularly in the support and effective treatment of AIDS patients, positive community attitudes and management of maternal and child health. The club was motivated to support Jess’s passion and commitment to the Kenyan people and the effective community based health care model underpinning the programs of Positive Aid.

The Rotary Foundation and Polio Plus

The Rotary Foundation, established in 1917, is an endowment fund dedicated to “doing good in the world” Due to the generosity of Rotarians and individuals around the world, it has become one of the world’s leading humanitarian foundations. The Rotary Foundation provides “District” grants for projects within a country, “Global” grants for International Rotary projects undertaken in partnership by an in- Rotary Club and an overseas partner club, and direct funding to international programs such as the End Polio campaign.

As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary has reduced polio cases by 99.9% since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but it is crucial to keep working to keep other countries polio-free.

Each year the Rotary Club of Eltham provides targeted funds towards the eradication work conducted by Polio Plus The Club has donated $10,000 this year to Foundation.

The Rotary Foundation has held a 4 star rating by Charity Navigator for the past 15 years, recognising that 92% of its funds go directly into humanitarian projects. With this endorsement we confidently recommend donations to the Rotary Foundation as a sound avenue for corporate, club and individual donors to support effective and sustainable humanitarian projects locally and worldwide.

Imagine….Celebrating 50 years of Service!

In 1973 THE Rotary Club of Eltham was chartered with a culture of Fun and Fellowship in Service which has only got stronger over the past half-century. The 50th Anniversary Dinner was a time to celebrate and reflect on our history. Charter member Norm Williams set the scene of Eltham in the 70’s, Co Presidents Mike Englefield and Rob Kilcullen outlined the key events and achievements of the first and second 25 years respectively. Assistant Governor Judy Sharp brought greetings from R.I. and the Governor of District 9790 as well as 30 year recognition for Treasurer Lou Bolzonello. Many messages of goodwill, but none-so-colourful as the floral bouquet from the Rotary Club of Amakusa in Japan. Formalities over, the rest of the evening was filled in true Eltham style with good food, good wine, much laughter, shared memories and lots of dancing 70’s style. The compilation of the 50 year history of the club is continuing from disparate sources and will be reported in 2023-24.

Imagine a bright future for our Youth

Interact (14-18yrs)

The Interact Club at Montmorency Secondary College and the Interact Club of St Helena Secondary College have been active with several projects this year under the guidance of teachers who are Eltham Rotarians.

 Rotary Eltham Festival – the Interact Clubs combined to operate a pedalpowered slushy (drink) machine and selling their product to the public

 ANZAC Day – representatives from both clubs laid a wreath at the Dawn Service with their participation being publicly acknowledged

 Queen’s Jubilee tree planting

 Shave for a Cure held at Montmorency Secondary College Many staff and parents were co-opted by the Interactors to participate in the 2023 “Shave for a Cure” to support blood cancer patients and research for a cure.

 The Interact Club took a lead role in the planning and running of the Nepalese themed fundraising Dinner evening in aid of the Nepal project. The Dinner and associated auction and raffles raised a total of $20,000 ?

 Interactors also successfully raised over $500 for their club by operating the Rotary BBQ at Eltham Lower Park one weekend

CAVE Scholarships

The Rotary Club of Eltham continued its support of the Primary school scholarship program managed by the Citizens and Volunteers of Eltham (CAVE) to assist families with the additional expenses associated with the transition of students from primary to secondary education.

WEHI PhD Scholarship

The club continues to partner with the McFarlane family with continuation of the David McFarlane Memorial 3-year PhD scholarship at WEHI (Walter & Eliza Hall Institute) of Medical Research

ARH Indigenous Scholarship

The Rotary Club of Eltham is one of 5 clubs partnering to fund an Australian Rotary Health (ARH) Indigenous scholarship The 2022 recipient Nathan Hawke addressed the club on his education pathway, his passion to make a difference and his progress with the Paramedics course at Monash University.

Outdoor Chess Board St Helena SC

The Rotary Club of Eltham sponsored the construction of an outdoor chessboard and chess pieces at St Helena SC. This has been a very popular initiative with students vying for games at recess and lunchtimes.

First Nations Mural St Helena SC

The club has partnered with the Montmorency Secondary College to commission the painting of a wall mural depicting the indigenous history of the area. The work will be completed in early 2023/24 and be a tangible step in the reconciliation pathway.

VCE VM - Vocational Major Awards

The Rotary Club of Eltham has initiated Awards for students undertaking the VCE Vocational Major applied learning program at local Secondary colleges. The recipients will receive vouchers for the purchase equipment necessary for their vocation.

Youth Night

The Annual Youth Night celebrates the successes of the participants in the various programs in our Youth portfolio. This year we heard presentations by 2 past attendees at the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) and representatives from our 2 Interact Clubs- Montmorency Secondary College and St Helena Secondary College. The meeting also heard from the Deputy Mayor of the Nillumbik Youth Council

Real Industry Job Interviews (RIJI)

The Banyule Nillumbik Local Learning and Employment Network (BNLLEN) coordinates a program of “Real Industry Job Interviews” for Year 9 students at local schools using volunteer employers and actual job advertisements. The experience of job application and realistic interview prepares the students for the realities of the workplace. Some Eltham Rotarians played the role of employers and used their experience to conduct interviews. They were very impressed by the generally high standard of preparation by the students

Rotary Youth Exchange to Japan

Historic Catch- Up!

One of the first initiatives of the newly formed Rotary Club of Eltham in 1974/75 was to join the District 979 Youth Exchange Program, sponsoring a student to Japan. Several exchanges of 6 or 12 months duration were sponsored to various countries in the early years of the club. It was an historic event when we contacted 1977 Exchange student Dianne Collins and subsequently met with her host father and 3 members of the Yachiyo Rotary Club who were attending the Rotary International Convention in Melbourne in June 2023

32 years partnership with Hondo City Rotary Club

In 1990 the club negotiated a partnership with the Rotary Club of Hondo City (now Rotary Club of Amakusa), Japan to exchange students for short term stays of 6 to 12 weeks duration RC of Amakusa Exchange Program ambassadors Johnny and Mamiko Akiyama visited Eltham in 2022 celebrating 50 years of participation in Rotary Youth Exchange programs, 32 years of which have been partnered with the Rotary Club of Eltham and Montmorency Secondary College.

Fundraising, Family and Fellowship

It’s not all hard work! Like any family, the “family” of the Rotary Club of Eltham likes a work-life balance. We enjoy working together on our many service projects as well as enjoying plenty of fun and fellowship through social and fundraising events. We have a reputation for putting the FUN into FUNdraising! We are family and there’s always a helping hand for each other.

In 2022-23 we enjoyed:

 Christmas Dinner Dance

 Footy Tipping Competition

 Barefoot Bowls & BBQ

 Lift the Lid fundraising walk

 Poets and Lyrics Night

 Coffee gatherings

 Bastille Day

 Social Dinners

 Club social weekend at Deniliquin

 50th Anniversary celebration dinner dance


Rotary is a global network of over 1.2 million volunteers who share common interests in helping to create sustainable change- across the globe and within our communities. We have 61 members in the Rotary Club of Eltham and we always welcome new members.

Join Us – We Help People!

We Connect, We Transform, We Inspire, We Empower, We have a huge amount of Fun!

We’re looking for….

 Community minded people

 Passionate & fun people

 Practical & resourceful people

 Helpful people

It you are one of these people, then contact us to see how you can change the world starting in your very own community.

Opportunities for YOUR BUSINESS: ……….Become a Corporate Sponsor/Partner!

There are so many opportunities for your business to work on projects with the Rotary Club of Eltham. Together we can achieve great things. Many businesses identify social responsibility in their corporate objectives, and are exploring ways to ‘give back’ to the community. We can help. Opportunities might include:

 Donations of products directly to a project or for fundraising by re-sale or raffles;

 Donations of superseded product or equipment suitable for re-use or re-purposing

 Tax-effective financial donations

 Provision of in-house services to a project

 Staff participation in a “hands-on” project event

When you partner with Rotary, our 1.2 million members amplify your impact, elevate your brand, advance important causes, improve communities, and gain access to global connections.

for YOU: ………………………Become a Rotarian!
Let’s have the conversation…. Contact us…

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