Rotary District 9500

23rd March 2016 

Matters of Interest 

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:36): I rise today to speak about the Rotary District 9500 conference which was held in the latter part of last week and last weekend. This conference was held at the Barossa Arts and Convention Centre, which is part of the Faith Lutheran College at Tanunda. 

District 9500 in Rotary International consists of around about 50 Rotary clubs and some Rotaract clubs as well. It basically takes up the area of Adelaide north of the Torrens River as well as the north and western regional areas of South Australia and Kangaroo Island, and also the southern region of the Northern Territory. 

I was not able to attend the mayoral reception in Tanunda on 17 March, but I understand that Mayor Bob Sloane put on a very good reception there at the Barossa Regional Gallery, and the feature of that event was the playing of the wonderful, restored Hill & Son organ, which originally came from the Adelaide Town Hall, by the renowned organist Mr Steven Kaesler. 

On Friday, I was pleased to be at the conference to witness the welcome to the conference by District Governor Doug Layng. Following that, the conference was officially opened by His Excellency Hieu Van Le AO, the Governor of South Australia. The Governor spoke very well about the role of service organisations, including Rotary, within the community. 

Other features of the conference included a very interesting presentation by Maggie Beer AM on the topic of creating an appetite for life. The representative of the Rotary International president, past district governor Connie Beltran from the Philippines, presented on three occasions at the conference, but certainly on that first afternoon gave a very interesting presentation. 

On Saturday, the highlights included a presentation by Keith Conlon OAM which was around this year’s Rotary theme of ‘a gift to the world’. His presentation was about the Barossa being a gift to the world, and he delivered some terrific history, particularly about the German heritage and the names, many of which were changed during World War I, etc. I was very interested in a presentation by Bridgett Leopold, who came from Wirrabara and went on a Rotary exchange in 1999, about how Rotary changed her life path, and in a fascinating presentation by Glenn Cooper AM about the 153- year history of Coopers, South Australia’s family brewery icon. 

Another feature of the conference included the focus on the work Rotary does in its youth leadership programs with the development of Rotaract clubs for younger people; its renowned exchange student programs, of which my daughter Leah was a participant some 21 years ago; and also of course the group study exchange program, which has been very successful over many years. 

There were a number of visiting professionals who were at the conference from overseas and who were passing on their messages, particularly about the horticultural industry in the Northern Hemisphere as it related to the Barossa Valley. I congratulate all involved with the conference, particularly District Governor Doug Layng and Mr Arch Boonen, who was the chairman of the conference committee.