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CARINGBAH ROTARY ….. our proud past ... THE FIRST 50 YEARS (1962-2012)
Each Rotary Club is autonomous and is required as a member of Rotary International to raise funds and use its collective management skills to satisfy identified community needs locally and internationally.
This is a brief summary covering the past 50 years activities of our club, created by the efforts of over 250 past and present members of our club.
The involvement of club members in community activities generates good fellowship amongst members and increased support from the community in the generation of funds needed for community projects.
Our club charter was presented to Gordon Swift our first president on 4th May 1962.
President Gordon was the first Australian recipient of a Paul Harris Fellow Award from Rotary International.
Peter Lewis is the only founding member remaining in our club.
The theme of our charter year was “Kindle the spark from within.”  Most appropriate for our club which included a number of bright sparks ready and willing to establish a bright future for our club.
In our charter year of 1962, the major fund raising project was a guessing competition which involved a car filled with tennis balls. This project was considered brilliant, until the time came to count the balls, and then check through all the tickets for the winner.  The actual count was 5,278.
Also a carnival was held, and a giant balloon was imported from Japan at a cost of £140, and £100 of helium gas was required to fill the balloon. 
The balloon was intended to float over the carnival for one week displaying advertising signage.  When launched, a strong wind lifted the balloon and hurled it against limbs of several trees, and it fell punctured and beyond repair.  These activities did not deter our members, with the club raising £750.
£250 was given to the hospital to start a medical reference library, £200 for handicapped children, £130 to the Rotary Foundation to make our club a 100% contributor.
The lateral thinking of club members during this early development period established a good foundation for growth of our club.
In the next few years there was a focus on fellowship, research of community needs, and implementation of Rotary International Objectives.
In this period several innovative raffles were introduced to raise funds, including a fishing boat filled with sporting goods, a monster Christmas stocking, and many household items.  This was trailed around the district.  The introduction of locally manufactured Rotary Ties was also a good fund raiser.
Many community activities were supported, including the construction of the Y.M.C.A. building, Caringbah, The Sutherland Hospital equipment, and a bus for the Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Association.  Our cub retained its position as a major contributor to the Rotary Foundation.
In 1987 funds raised exceeded $30,000.  Increased support was given to Rotary Foundation, ARHRF, NSW Crippled Children and the Red Cross Boys Home.
In the Bicentennial year of 1988 a major project for the Sutherland Shire was to refurbish the route to Kurnell.  Combined Sutherland Shire Rotary Clubs undertook the planting of trees and the construction of a mangrove Boardwalk at Woolooware Bay.  Our club provided $20,000, and organised working groups for the construction of the boardwalk and observation tower. 
In this year $15,000 was donated to the Life Education Project, $9,000 to Sutherland Hospital equipment, $6,000 to ARHRF.  $10,000 was contributed to Polio Plus.
By 1990 funds raised reached $60,000.  As well as our continued support of our regular projects, $10,000 was provided for the construction of a senses garden at the Camellia Gardens.
Although we had already supported world community service with the supply of books and chemist products, as well as providing matched donations for water supply units in developing countries, this year our first FAIM (Fourth Avenue In Motion) team was sent to Papua New Guinea.
More teams were sent in 1990/1991 (3 Teams), for construction of ablution facilities at Marionville High School, Port Moresby.
In 1993-1995, several teams were sent to Rabaul for the upgrading and extension of school facilities.  These teams made great use of the many trades people in our club.
In the following years our fund raising continued to grow and in 1994 we were able to commit $50,000 to the Rotary wing at the new Children’s Hospital, Westmead, in addition to our continued support of the Rotary Foundation, ARHRF, and others.
A fund raising night of entertainment to support the 1994 Bushfire Appeal was organised by our club and raised $35,000.  These funds were donated to the Shire S.E.S. and local bushfire brigades for purchase of much needed equipment.
In 1995 we celebrated Rotary’s 90th Birthday inviting district Rotary Clubs to a function at the Sutherland Entertainment Centre.  Our Guest of Honour was Governor Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair.
During 1996 cyclone proofing four houses in Fiji was also provided.
Many members enjoyed a trip to visit the Rotary Club of Matsuyama West, Japan in 1996 for the signing of a Sister Club Charter.  This was the beginning of a long and enjoyable association.
In 1996/1997 our fund raising had enabled donations of $90,000 to many various community projects, as well as to the Rotary Foundation and ARHRF.  A $50,000 donation was made to the St George Cancer Care Lodge.
A major project undertaken was the relocation and restoration of the heritage listed St Stephens Church from Old Taren Point Road to the grounds of Taren Point Primary School. 
This church was heritage listed, had been vandalized, and was quarantining a valuable land site.  The transfer enabled the land to be sold in excess of $1,000,000 for church funds.  The relocated church became the Arts and Crafts teaching facility for the school, and remains in continuous use.
This project required minimum funds, however, a major hands-on involvement of club members provided good fellowship.  Significant acknowledgement of Rotary in action was achieved.
A group travelled from Matsuyama West, Japan in 1999 to attend the opening of the Japanese Gardens at the NihongoTaken Centre at Kirrawee High School.  This centre provides an authentic and stimulating environment for students in Kindergarten to Year 12 to study Japanese. 
In 1999/2000 our Car Market was launched and soon after began to show a return on our investment.  Since then this project has added considerably to our funds raised, and provided a well needed community facility.  These markets were closed in 2012.