Club History

The club was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Mundingburra and chartered on 24 June 1990.

In the pre-charter days, membership hovered between 20 to 25 members.

The Sunrise Club held its first Annual Hand-Over Dinner on Saturday, 1 June 1991, at the Rugby Club, Hugh Street and was chaired by Mr Paul Brown. Out-going President was Mr John Finter handing over to Clinton Cheyne.

Inaugural Dinner meetings were convened at the Raintree Motel with a door prize being introduced. The Sunrise Club continues with meetings held on Friday mornings, 6.30am for a 7am start. During the 2005/06 year, the club moved its meeting venue from Jupiter’s after a fourteen year custom, to the Townsville RSL.

From the first report:

  • There were 31 charter members;
  • Membership stood at 50 for this Hand-Over dinner;
  • Community Service had an identity issue with establishing key objectives of the social needs of the community, differentiating itself from organisations such as Salvation Army and St Vincents;
  • International Service had a very busy first year, especially without any formal training, background nor history/experience.  Being a host club to an International Exchange student from the USA, Ray Hall (90/91). With their second exchange student arriving from Germany in one Sylvia Thone (91/92);
  • Started to be involved in JAB scheme, CRA (National Science Summer School selection), RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) and RYPEN (Rotary Youth Programme for Enrichment);
  • The club is thriving on enthusiasm, being contagious, comradeship, and being spontaneous. To compensate for morning meetings, many socials such as a French Night, Sporting afternoon, Christmas Function, combined club Barbeque, Aussie Night. Together with Show Ground car park, Spring Ball, Goat Track establishment, service activities; and,
  • Classification talks (people talking about their careers) were held, as well as discussions on workplace dilemmas.


The club supports Rotary Foundation, Youth Assistance Panel, Youth Exchange Programme, Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Rotaract, Interact, Rotary Health Foundation and Research Fund, Rotary Australia World Community Services, IPAC, FAIM and Japanese Homestay programmes. As well as Queensland Ambulance Service, Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, Show Society, Extensions Youth Dance Company, Dance North, Townsville Area Street Kids, OCD Support Group, SIDS research, Make a Wish Foundation, JCU Library, Gisella Clayton Fund, Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland, Townsville Coast Guard, Good Shepherd Nursing Home, Alzheimer’s Association, PCYC Aitkenvale, Camp Quality, Children’s Diabetes, Interact, Red Shield Appeal, RSPCA, Endeavour Foundation, Jobs Pathway Programme, Livewire, Flag Pole at the University Road roundabout, Guide Dogs Australia, Para/Quadriplegic Association Queensland, Children’s Cancer Institute, Variety Club, Blue Care, Food Bank Townsville, Fred Hollows Foundation, Australia/New Zealand Matched Programme (a school students exchange to each country for a long weekend)

The club has a long and proud history of having very distinguished and honourable Guest Speakers.

It enjoys many international and domestic Rotarians visitors to its meetings. Many return numerous times, and often as guest speakers.

The club has continuous involvement with in-kind donations to our Pacific and Indian Ocean neighbours, as well as members volunteering to construct internationally based projects (especially in PNG and East Timor) such as; water wells, hospitals, orphanages and schools.

Has a sister city relationship with Kanonji East, Japan.

An early project for a number of years was the Childrens Film Festival which relied on the generosity of businesses. It is aimed at providing enjoyment to less fortunate children in the community. In the 1998/99 year, the club executed a 5 x 5 year contract with Internationals Entertainment (Aust) P/L, such was deemed the benefit the programme offered to the disadvantaged children in North Queensland.

In the 1992/93 year,

  • The club received the Presidential Citation for achieving a well-balanced programme in all Four Avenues of Rotary Service.
  • It also saw the start in 1993 of the club’s involvement in a regular weekly roster on the Meals-on-Wheels.
  • The inaugural Vocational Service Award with first the recipient being Mr Ted Kuchar to recognise his involvement with the Townsville Music Festival. The Vocational Service Award continues to be presented to any worthy citizen to recognise their contribution to society.

For many years, the club conducted working bees at ‘The Station’ on Harvey Range Road, which is a retreat for street kids. With an aim to improve and grow the premises, as well as conducting bonding with the clientele. This eventually was absorbed into State Government Youth system and administration.

During 1993 Mr John Gough became District Chair for the Youth Exchange Programme. In 94/95 was elected as Chair of the Group Study Envoy visit to Argentina. And in 2000, becomes the District Governor.

In the 93/94 year the club started and continues today:-

  • Plants trees along the city’s southern approach as part of its Preserve Planet Earth contribution;
  • The Kirwan SHS Interact Club was formed;
  • Its Annual participation in Clean-Up Australia in the South Townsville area;
  • Another first for the club and the district in this year was the hosting of a Alexander Hornostai, a tourist operator from Ukraine to promote tourism between North Queensland and Eastern Europe;
  • The Annual Christmas Lights Tour.

In the 1996/97 year, the Rotary International President, Luis Vicente Giay presented the club with the extremely prestigious award, Presidential Citation. ”In recognition of outstanding leadership within the four avenues of service.” In this year, a sister club was formed with the Rotary Club of Hutt Valley, New Zealand.

After a number of years, a project at the heart of this young club is the Latvia Project. Aimed at bringing to James Cook University, a person for a six month English course. Not until April 1997 did Rotary International give its assent to the project and a first for this club of dealing with a Rotary Club in the former Russia. In July 1997 the project had its recipient (Leiga Albreche) commence the course.

The club did conduct an Annual Sons and Daughters Breakfast for the benefit of Members’ children.

The club in 1997 starts its involvement in the Young Achievement of Australia programme. YA dissolved their programme Australia wide.

Started our connection with Ronald McDonald house in June 1997. A connection which continues.

 In November 1997 the club’s renowned Art Union Car Raffle concept was mooted and commenced April the following year. This has raised a lot of money for donation to local worthwhile causes.

In 1998 John Munro appointed District Advisor for Rotary Volunteers Abroad.

In the 1998/99 year, the concept of having a Rotary Children’s Playground with Disable Access on The Strand was mooted. The club became the major funder for this worthwhile project. In late August 1999, the 8 week project commenced. It was renamed the Sister Kenny Townsville Sunrise Rotary Playground. As we recall, The Strand foreshore was devastated in January 1998. This project was delayed while the Strand Foreshore Development was brought to its conclusion.

In the 1999/2000 year, the club among the many assisted, provided financial assistance to Australian Cricketer, Mitchell Johnson, to start him on his path.

2001/02 at the 2001 District Conference two very prestigious awards was presented. To Meryl Roderick, the Late Heather Kincross and to husband Dave Roderick, was presented the Service Above Self Award. Also in this year, the club commenced its Pride of Workmanship Award; nominations from employers nominating an outstanding employee. It also saw the club sponsor the creation of a Rotary Club on Magnetic Island.

At the Australia Day awards January 2002, John Gough, Dave Roderick and John Orr were recognised for services rendered.

At the 2002 District Conference, Kay Munro received the Late Heather Kinross Award.

One of the most unusual projects we undertook was the Rotary Runner Wheelchair Aid Project to construct numerous wheelchairs for exporting to underprivileged and disabled children.

In 2003 the club commenced operations of a Food Stall at the then Dairy Farmers Stadium (with name changes since). This continued for a number of years until the State Government agency changed operations at all stadiums. Also in this timeslot, an Interact club was formed at St Margaret Mary’s College.

In 2005 Bruce Nicholls was the District Chair for the Group Study Exchange programme.

Also in 2005 Allan Church was given the leadership role for the GSE team to Orlando, USA. In the 2009/2010 year, he became District Governor.

The club started its connection with the Ewan Races in the 2006/07 year, with running of a food stall.

At the instigation of Greg Hamblin in the 2009/2010 year, an Annual 20/20 cricket format game on Australia Day is held against the Indian community. We have been fortunate that all elected people from all levels of Government have joined in the promotion of acceptance, friendship and goodwill.

 Due to the club continuous attitude, it wins numerous District, Australian and International Awards. Such as The

  • James Foot Best Club Programme
  • Maitland Low Vocational Service trophy
  • Charles Butler International Service trophy
  • McKellar Family Web Page trophy
  • Perc Liviesley Attendance Banner
  • Rockie Crust Attendance Wheel
  • Stan Strange Memorial Rotary Foundation trophy AND to:-

Service Above Self and Four Avenues of Service to a select few for our club recipients are Dave Roderick, Alan Church, Bryan Dobson and John Gough.


Thank you for providing information on Rotary .

Jodie Darley