Club History

The history of “The Coves”

We began as an official club on 23rd June 1988. We were born of the establishment of a new club from Rotarians originally from the Rotary Club of Sydney.

Fifty prospective members were identified and after a couple of interest meetings, the second of which was held on board the John Cadman 2, prospective charter members voted overwhelmingly to accept Trevor Haworth’s invitation to hold regular meetings on the vessel. The third interest meeting was held ‘on board’ on 17 June 1988.

1989 – 90 President Graham Lightfoot

Graham Lightfoot saw his role as one of consolidating the Club’s establishment, whilst maintaining momentum. The Club became involved in many community projects including Clean Up Australia, and the establishment of an exercise area in The Rocks. Members joined with the family of a charter member who had died in a car crash driving home on a Friday evening, having attended the club’s meeting that morning, in the placing of a memorial stone at Millers Point. A sister club relationship was established with Pt Nicholson NZ. The Club was on the organising committee of the Rotary District Conference, sponsored and hosted its first Exchange students, organised a Harbour Cruise for kids from the Far West Children’s Homes and made a financial commitment to Camp Quality for Kids with Cancer.

Notably, in this second year, as a result of a unanimous decision by members the first female member was inducted in August 1989. (The writer suspects this might well have beaten the Rotary International decision to allow lady members, and made the club the first to do so in Australia and perhaps first in the Rotary World.) There were 70 members at the end of the second year.

1990 – 91 President Peter Lanham

Immediate Past President Graham Lightfoot became a hostage in The Gulf. The Club remembered him at the start of each meeting. The first honorary members were inducted: His Excellency Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair A0, Governor of New South Wales, and Past President Peter Golding of Sydney Rotary Club.

Assistance was given in the establishment of ‘The Station’ a centre for homeless Youth. Funds were provided for the restoration of a church in Fiji following cyclone damage. The club was heavily involved in arranging for Rotary to provide marshalling and fundraising activities at the opening of the Cross Harbour Tunnel; the official opening was in David Scarlett’s year, with 65 club members involved. The club was incorporated.

1991 – 92 President Robert Opiat

A van was presented to Sydney City Mission. A shade house was constructed at Fort St Primary School. Assistance was given with the financing of an ‘all terrain wheel chair’.

1992 – 93 President David Scarlett

The Club joined with other clubs to sell tickets and to marshal crowds for the Cross Harbour Tunnel opening. Club representatives attended the Rotary International Convention in Melbourne. The All Terrain Wheelchair that had been funded previously won first prize in an Australian Inventors’ Association contest.

The second lot of trees were set up for a survival shadehouse in Glenmore Public School. The Club established The Rocks Christmas Party and became involved in Wheel Chair Tennis.

The Club convinced the Governor of NSW to allow the public to ‘play in his backyard’ and organised the first ‘Jazz in the Garden’ fund raising function. The major beneficiary was the Fred Hollow’s Foundation.

1993 – 94 Daniel Gauchat

The Club’s Benevolent Fund was initiated. Jazz in the Gardens was continued. Marshals were provided for the International Wheel Chair Race in The Rocks and the Wheel Chair Tennis tournament at White City.

Artist Ken Done was made an Honorary Member of the club.

1994 – 95 Bryce Wauchope

This was a year of consolidation. The Benevolent Fund was finalised.

1995 – 96 David Brawn

The Club funded Mobility 2,000’s research on an ‘Intelligent Caliper’. It became involved with a Red Cross hospital in Honiara and with a $5,000 club donation plus a member’s personal donation and a matching grant from Rotary provided $20,000 to re-equip that hospital; in addition two staff members were brought to the Spastic Centre Sydney for training.

The business plan for a sponsored yacht race run on Auckland Harbour was borrowed and the club held its first regatta, supporting the Rotary Tri District fund for a Rotary wing at the Children’s Hospital Westmead. $75,000 was raised, and a four bed ward was named ‘The Rotary Club of Sydney Cove Ward’.

The Club ran what was to become the last ‘Jazz in the Gardens’ event at Government House, with 700+ people in attendance. As the newly appointed Governor of NSW was not going to ‘live in’ and the building and grounds were to be generally open to the public the event was not continued.

The Club sent its first FAIM team overseas to work on the Kokoda Memorial Hospital in PNG. Five club members plus two tradesmen volunteers travelled to Kokoda and built a section of the hospital.

The Club was heavily involved in Youth Exchange sending three students abroad, and hosting three students from overseas. It won the best bulletin award for District 9750, and was awarded its first Presidential Citation.

1996 – 97 President John Westmacott

The first Golf Day fundraiser was held. The Club assisted in the charter of Rotary Club of Sydney CBD.

1997 – 98 President Guy Glenny

The first working day took place at Stepping Stone House, a residence for homeless teenagers who through no fault of their own find themselves unable to live at home.
Alastair Gray lead a FAIM trip to the Solomon Islands. The team undertook maintenance work at Auki Hospital. The club also provided equipment to the Auki Hospital and clothing for villagers after a major fire.

Sail training for disadvantaged youth was organised aboard the sailing ship Svanen.

The Club established the Rotary Club of Sydney Darling Harbour.

1998 – 99 President Ane Fletcher-Nicolls

Club involvement with hospitals in the Solomon Islands continued.

1999 – 00 President Paul Ward-Harvey

A new business plan was drawn up for the Regatta. The Club Bulletin went digital. A full container of equipment was sent to the Solomon Islands.

The involvement of club members at the district level increased.

2000 – 01 Michael Maher

Membership increased to just under 100.

A very ambitious FAIM project at Ngarione Choiseul Islands was undertaken, involving 15 persons, nine of whom were Rotarians. This involved finishing works of a medical clinic in an isolated community.

The first BootUp Internet Café was installed.

2001 – 02 President Greg Prowse

Involvement in district activities increased, with 15 members on various committees.

2002 – 03 President John McKernan

A team constructed an ablution block for women at Gizo Hospital, Solomon Islands.

2003 – 04 President Rob Taggart

Medical supplies were sent to Gizo Hospital. Scientific calculators were sent to Malawi. The club received another Presidential Citation.

2004 – 05 President Geoff Appleton.

A male ablution block was built at Gizo Hospital.

2005 – 06 President Susan Campbell

Through the initiative of Andy Buttfield, a school was given to the Baniyala aboriginal community in the Northern Territory. A mentoring program was set up in the Solomon Islands. Support for the Gizo projects continued.

Membership increased to 104.

2006 – 07 President Fiona Lavan

The Baniyala project was officially opened by Northern Territory Administrator Ted Egan. The Indigenous Benevolent Fund was established.

Rotary International President Bill Boyd visited the club. He presented Andy Buttfield with a ‘Service Above Self Award’, one of the highest awards in Rotary.

2007 – 08 President Simon Knight

Further support was given to Baniyala, and to Vil Hospital in Vanuatu. A BootUp Café was established in Fiji.
Assistance was given to establish Street Soccer in Sydney.

2008 – 09 President Tom Gervay – Community, Youth and International service
2009 – 10 President Gary Price – Health and International
2010 – 11 President Robert Lee – Education and Youth
2011 – 12 President Deb Homewood – Mentoring the unemployed
2012 – 13 President Maurice York – Club governance
2013 – 14 President Jeremy Wright – Membership and Sydney International Convention
2014 – 15 President Michael Austin – Community, Youth and International service
2015 – 16 President Andrew Wawn – Membership, New Ventures
2016 – 17 President Jackie Charlton – Social Services
2017 – 18 President – Edei Ledet – Poverty Alleviation
2018 – 19 President – Alana Clark
2019 – 20 President – John King