Grafton Midday Rotary secretary Greg Butcher with the baton that will be used for the 100 Years of Rotary Relay starting in Grafton this Saturday and arriving at Tweed Heads 100 days later.
Grafton Midday Rotary secretary Greg Butcher with the baton that will be used for the 100 Years of Rotary Relay starting in Grafton this Saturday and arriving at Tweed Heads 100 days later.

Baton relay to celebrate 100 years of Rotary

Grafton will host the launch of a baton relay as part of Rotary International’s celebrations of 100 years of service in Australia and New Zealand.

The Rotary 100 Baton Relay will run for 100 days across all 57 clubs in Rotary District 9640, which encompasses Northern NSW and South East Queensland from Grafton to Coomera, inland to Goondiwindi.

Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons will start the relay with a walk from Memorial Park in Grafton at 10am this Friday (February 5), ending on May 15 at the Rotary International District Conference in Twin Towns Services Club in Tweed Heads.

The relay is aimed to connect all Rotary clubs across Australia and New Zealand with their communities, promoting the theme “Rotary says No to Domestic Violence”.

“This baton relay demonstrates Rotary’s unity and diversity,” district governor Andy Rajapakse said.

“It’s a relay with a cause Australia connects with. So let’s make an impact and join our communities to promote safe families in Australia.”

The general public are invited to join local Rotary club members, school captains and the mayor at Memorial Park from 9.15am. The ceremonial baton passing from Mr Rajapakse to Cr Simmons will take place at 9.40am followed by a mayoral speech and the start of the relay, which will proceed across the two Grafton bridges and return to Memorial Park.

An early barbecue lunch will be provided from 10.45am while Kyle’s Coffee Van will also be in attendance throughout the morning, and 103.1 Loving Life FM will be doing live cross interviews.

D9640 NSW Clubs Baton Relay schedule:

  • Friday, Feb 5 - Grafton: Ceremonial handover of baton by District Governor Andy Rajapakse to Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons. Combined walk with the two Grafton Rotary clubs and Maclean Rotary Club over the two bridges in Grafton and back to Memorial Park for BBQ lunch.
  • Sunday, Feb 7: Assistant Governor Anne Farrell to take baton to the Foundation Training Day at Casino on February 7.
  • Friday, Feb 19: Yamba
  • Saturday, Feb 20: Iluka Woombah
  • Saturday, Feb 27: Evans Head
  • Friday, Mar 5: Casino
  • Saturday, Mar 6: Kyogle
  • Friday, Mar 19: Lismore
  • Saturday, Mar 20: Alstonville
  • Saturday, Mar 27: Ballina
  • Sunday, Mar 28: Byron Bay
  • Saturday, Apr 17l: Murwillumbah
  • Friday, Apr 23: Mullumbimby
  • Saturday, May 1: Kingscliff
  • Friday, May 7: Banora Tweed
  • Saturday, May 15: At 7am Banora Tweed Rotary president will ceremonially handover baton to Currumbin Coolangatta Tweed Rotary president at Tweed Heads Bowls Club. At 9am Currumbin Coolangatta Tweed Rotary president will bring the baton to District Conference opening at Twin Towns Services Club and ceremonially handover to District Governor.

The first Rotary clubs in Australia were formed in Melbourne in April 1921 and Sydney in May 1921. Today Australia has over 1000 Rotary clubs in every major city and town connecting 25,000 members who come together from different cultures, backgrounds, professions, and corners of the country to create a common legacy.

With 1300 members, Rotary District 9640 is the fastest growing Rotary geographic area in Australia. In the past 200 days it has attracted 200 new members to its 57 clubs.

The district has the highest percentage of female (36%) Rotary members in Australia, and the highest percentage of young people under 40 (8%).

“The centenary celebration is a time to reflect on Rotary’s impact and an opportunity to engage every Rotary member in a time a friendship and a time to regenerate,” Mr Rajapakse said.

“Rotarians think big, take on nation building projects and are the champions in bringing communities together.”



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