Club History

What have we been doing?

Well here’s some of what we have done:


Chartered with 26 members on 23 August, 1986: sponsored by the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour Inc.


Our first out-bound Rotary Exchange Student, James Bloomfield, sent to West Germany and our first in-bound Exchange Student, Joy Sato, arrived from the Philippines. Numerous exchange students have followed.

Our Club commenced its participation in such Rotary events as:

RYPEN (Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment)

RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award)

Group Study Exchange

Summer Science School

National Youth Science Forum

GSE (Group Study Exchange)

Rotary Health Research Fund

Polio Plus

Bowel Cancer Screening

Our first Paul Harris Fellow, Mayor Bernie Malouf.  Numerous Fellowships have followed.

District 9650 Trophy for the Best Bulletin of the year won by our Club for the first time. More wins have followed.


Ground work done for the Club’s inaugural Buskers Festival held from 27/09/89 to 07/10/89; then known as the Buttercup Buskers Festival; with the inaugural Wine and Food Frolic to be held on 07/10/89; conducted annually until put on hold in 93/94. 

Coffs Harbour City Council subsequently revived these events under different names.

Ozanam Villa Hostel annual indoor bowls challenge launched.  The elderly residents continue to prove too good for us at their game.


The Club received a Sonny Award for the Buskers Festival.

The Club’s inaugural National Cartoon Awards were held in September 89 drawing some 950 Australian entries. These awards which quickly became an international event continue.

The Club’s inaugural Primary Schools Chess Competition was held in October/November 89. This competition which continues produced Zong-Yuan Zhao, who on 01/02/08 at the age of 21 years became Australia’s youngest Chess Grand Master.

The Club’s inaugural High Schools Public Speaking Competition was held in April/May 90. This competition continues at a Rotary District level which commenced in 92/93.

Participation in such events as The Salvation Army’s local Red Shield Appeal; and publically organised rubbish clean ups has been ongoing.


Our Club was a driving force in Commencement in April 91, and execution over several years to follow, of the Coffs Creek, Coffs Foreshores Pathways/Cycleways projects; completed in 1995/1996.

The inaugural annual Coffs Harbour City Rotary Club TAFE Encouragement Award was made. Other frequent Vocational and Community Service Awards have been developed and continue.

The Clubs participation in the Rotary Model United Nations Assembly and Rotary Friendship Exchange commenced.

The Rotary Foundation Trophy was awarded to the Club.


The inaugural annual Rotary Youth Business Seminar (RYBS) held. RYBS was suspended in 98/99.

Annual Senior Housebound Citizens and their carer’s day excursion commenced and continues.

Distribution of large print books to local nursing homes commenced.


The inaugural annual Jim Bloomfield Scholarship awarded.

The Club won its first PDG Dal Fayl Trophy for the best annual report; more wins followed.

The inaugural annual matched N.Z. Exchange for year 9 students commenced for our Club.

Inaugural participation in the Annual Youth Achievement Australia program.

Furbishment of the Guthrie Cottage at the Waratah Centre and development of an associated sensory walkway commenced; completed in 95/96.


Participation in the Annual Rotary Youth in Agriculture (RYAG) programme commenced.

The Club won the Community Service Award and another 3 Rotary District Trophies.

The Club also received the 1993, 9th Silver Stanley Award for its contribution to Black and White Art.

First permanent Cartoon exhibition established at the Big Banana.


The first of several annual concerts by the Royal Military College Duntroon Band held at the Coffs Harbour International Sports Stadium.

Renovation and refurbishment of the Cartoon Bunker Gallery commenced; completed 95/96.

In collaboration with other organisations our Club achieved $6m worth of employment in a month-long jobs drive.

First Farmers Breakfast Drought Appeal; others specific purpose breakfasts followed including one for the Coffs Harbour Police Citizens Youth Club.

Fully equipped medical van for use in El Salvador provided under a matching grant project with North Conway, New Hampshire Rotary Club, USA and Rotary Club of San Salvador Sur (the co-ordinator).


Fountain at entrance of the Regional Botanic Gardens and the Sensory Gardens at St. Augustine’s Nursing Home completed.

Under F.A.I.M. (Fourth Avenue In Motion) Programme builder David Hogan on behalf of the Club made a major contribution to the Kokoda Memorial Project – a new hospital in Popondetta PNG.


Bunker Cartoon Gallery officially opened on 24th August 96.

Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour City Citizenship and Junior Surf Awareness Award initiated and continues.


Hope for the Children initiated to help families nurture their young. The Club’s direct financial commitment ceased in 01/02.


Commencement of the annual USA People to People Student Ambassadors home stays.


Inaugural Coffs Coast Marine Expo; Father’s Day Raffle; and Rotary Wine Enjoyment held.

The Clubs involvement in the Expo ceased in 03/04 and the Raffle was last held in 99/00.

PNG Nurse Training. The Club hosted a theatre nurse who trained at the local hospitals for 3 weeks.

Jetty Memorial Theatre – contribution to heritage listing, redevelopment and refurbishment.

“Wallaby” Training Camps; establishment of community liaison team.


‘Overpass’ and ‘Health Campus’ Balls held.


Botanic Gardens People Mover and a 2 cart garage for its housing commissioned.

Emergency Medical Information Booklets distributed.


Coffs Harbour Food and Wine Festival – organisational and management assistance. This annual event is follow-on from the Club’s Wine and Food Frolic which commenced in 88/89.


The Club inaugural Mental Health Forum.

Rotary District 9650 Annual Conference at Coffs Harbour; among other things, the Club provided audio, visual and time keeping.


Artwork provided for Patient and Carers Lodge at the Health Campus.


ROMAC (Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children). Development and conducting the Clubs annual ROMAC “Ride for a Smile’, 500 klms in 24 hours fundraiser.

Mental Health Forum hosted in conjunction with Beyondblue.

RAWCS (Rotary Australia World Community Service) supported by, among other things, providing assistance with the water supply to Lenakel Hospital, Tanna Is., Vanuatu, and through the Vanuatu Literacy Project; 24 kits provided for 240 children, and by providing special mosquito nets to stop the spread of Malaria in PNG and the Solomon Islands.

Creation of Charity Coffs Coast and development and execution of the Project House. Partnering with On Track Community Programs Inc. to provide assistance to families where one or both parents have a mental illness.

Creation of the Ava for America Foundation to, among other things, provide funding for a child with a rare medical condition.


Mental Health Art Exhibition at the Bunker Cartoon Gallery.

Charity Coffs Coast Inc., Roselands Drive Project House completed and sold. Profits went to ‘Coffs Kids Care’ (subsequently renamed ‘Northern Kids Care’).

Bunker Cartoon Gallery and, conditionally, the Cartoon Collection (were passed into the control of Coffs Harbour City Council.


Inaugural ‘Battle of the Bulge’, a community project, held.

Overhead lifter for young disabled child installed as a joint project with Rotary Club of Sawtell.

Charity Coffs Coast Inc., in Co-operation with the Council and Bonville Golf Resort held “Live on the Lawn”, a concert to raise funds for ‘Caring for Kids’ which is a wellbeing program to help kids with complex needs to achieve better futures; not to be confused with ‘Northern Kids Care’.


Mental Health Forum – focusing on depression. A national record in attendance.

Inaugural Ron Lawrence Encouragement Award.


Development and implementation of the Club’s first formal strategic plan.

Inaugural Charity Golf Day at Bonville International Resort.

Planning and facilitating the BCU Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge, a community ride offering several categories of ride, with the successful inaugural Event held on 19th September 2010.


Our First Aid Mental Health Workshops commenced with three being successfully held to the great appreciation of about 50 attendees.

Following the very pleasing result of the inaugural Charity Golf Day this was successfully continued.

So to, were the Club’s many other annual activities including the International Cartoon Awards and the Rotary Wine Appreciation afternoon at Pacific Bay Resort.

From its fund raising activities during this year the Club donated approximately $60,000 of which not less than 75% went to Rotary Charities on the Coffs Coast and with the main external recipient being ROMAC.


The second BCU Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge was held on 7th August and attracted 397 entrants (202 in 2010). It is shaping up to likely become a ‘signature event’ for the Coffs Coast. This year each participant in the main categories of ride received a specially struck Event Medal depicting the Event and it’s Rotary heritage.

There are now over 16,000 cartoons in the International Cartoon Collection at the Bunker Cartoon Gallery with the latest additions being added following the 23rd Annual Rotary Cartoon Awards on 23rd July 2011.

The 13th Rotary Wine Enjoyment took place at Pacific Bay and the 4th Charity Golf Day at Bonville Golf Resort raising about $16,000 for our charities.

The Club celebrated its 25th year and continues to be very active and successful in raising money for its annually chosen charities and being otherwise supportive of its members and its community as it enthusiastically moves forward into its next 25 years. It is also very mindful of the need to attract and retain new members by being relevant to their changing needs and wishes.


The Cycle Challenge became the NAB Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge which is now firmly locked in to the first Sunday in August each year. 460 entrants cycled in perfect weather.  After paying numerous volunteer non-profit organisations for their help some $22,000 was distributed to our Charities.

Rotary Wine Enjoyment and the Charity Golf Day again raised about $18,000 for Charity.

Moves are underway by the Club, Council and the Australian Cartoonists’ Association to try and make the Bunker Cartoon Gallery financially viable. The Cartoon Collection now stands at 17,500 as the Club prepares for the 25th Rotary Cartoon Awards in late 2013.


The 2013 NAB Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge held on 04 August attracted a record 731 entrants.

A special well attended dinner was held to mark the 25th Rotary Cartoon Awards which were another great success.

Our Charity Golf Day at the magnificent Bonville Gold Resort attracted a capacity field and raised significant funds for pre-nominated charities.

A move of the Rotary Wine Enjoyment event from the marquee into the main function room at Novotel Pacific Bay Resort coupled with the introduction of boutique beers proved to be a real winner with more attendees and more funds being raised for needy causes. It is now the Wine, Beer & Food Enjoyment event.


Another record line up of 852 in the NAB Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge on 03 August. Also as an additional category of the Challenge we conducted the inaugural C4 Hill Climb at Coramba on 02 August and this holds much promise as the course is regarded by some as one of the best in Australia.

The Rotary Cartoon Awards were confined to Australian Cartoonists this year with over 600 entries submitted. The judges had a difficult job in choosing the winners who were announced at a gala presentation on 20 September.

1994 Video Clips arranged by Mike Rabey in Bernard Dowling’s Presidential Year now on Youtube. They include Tina-Jimmy, Music Man, Kimbies & Stubbie Holder skits. Please remember it was a while back and we did all look younger & slimmer. Enjoy!