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  Welcome to Surfers Sunrise Rotary!
Surfers Sunrise

A great way to start the day

We meet In Person
Wednesdays at 7:15 AM
Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club
Esplanade (Cnr Hanlan Street)
Surfers Paradise, QLD 4217
Home Page Stories
Back in July, our construction team traveled to Pentecost Island to erect the X-Ray and Pathology Annexe, which had been pre-manufactured at our project shed, on site at the Mauna Health Centre. The team includes our members Mitch Brown, Al Sirovs, Rotaractors Kristen 'KJ' Jewson, Matt Hayward, Dan Snart, Al Sirov's grandson Hudson and (hopefully) John Groves, the builder.
In a moment, I'll run the risk of violating the Rotary principle of being non-political... But let me start off by quoting from a message by Past Rotary International President Bill Boyd, all the way back from 2007:
“Without literacy, all the written words we encounter every day – not just in books and newspapers, but in maps, labels, street signs, and billboards – are mysteries and roadblocks to full integration into society. For me, teaching someone to read is one of the most rewarding acts of service imaginable. All it costs is patience and time, and the rewards are incalculable. Like nothing else, literacy is a stepping stone away from poverty. It is a gift of self-reliance, one that can be freely passed on from generation to generation. Once there’s literacy in a family, it’s almost always there to stay, as literate parents raise literate children. Literate parents are also more likely to raise healthier children, whose horizons will stretch far beyond their own homes and villages. Literacy, quite literally, opens up a new world.” 
Back to the present: Try googling the terms “Adult literacy Australia”. I wish you luck to find anything more recent than an Inquiry commissioned by the Federal Government dated March 2022 titled “Don’t take it read”. It refers to a “corrigendum” tabled in Federal Parliament. Delving deeper into it, it mostly refers to data going back 10 years, to 2011-12… One suspects that the report found a comfortable place resting in somebody's filing cabinet and web server, and that the situation today is much the same: “One in five adult Australians have low literacy and/or numeracy”. This means that around three million adults do not have the skills to meet the demands of work and life.”
So, where do we come in as Rotarians, as members of the community? Quite simple:
  • volunteer to assist somebody who needs help
  • personally help somebody who needs help
  • refer somebody who needs help to a provider
Where to to go to? In Queensland, there are several bodies; here are just two of them:
Happy reading!
Two of our most popular youth programs happen shortly after New Year, so now is the time to be on the lookout for suitable candidates. Over the years, Surfers Sunrise has fielded participants to jsut about everyone of these camps. And if the sheer enthusiasm of their reports are anything to go by, it was worth every dollar! Do you know anyone who qualifies? Now is the time to apply. Click on the links for details.
When | Tuesday, 9 January 2024 to Sunday, 14 January 2024
Where | Bornhoffen PCYC, 3510 Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd, Natural Bridge  QLD  4211
Who | Year 11-12 Students or Ages 17-18
Cost | $725 (fully subsidised by the club for qualifying applicants)
RYLA - Rotary Youth Leadership Award:
When | Tuesday, 23 January 2024 - Sunday, 28 January 2024
Where | Bornhoffen PCYC, 3510 Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd, Natural Bridge  QLD  4211
Who | Ages 19-29
Cost | $725 application fee + $50 deposit (cost to the applicant $100, the club subsidises the balance)
“We need to get a number of visitors together to form a Rotary Group” was the brief given by (then District Public Image coordinator) PDG Andy Rapajakse. The idea was to form a new Rotary Club based on corporate, rather than individual membership. That was in 2018 (incidentally, the same year our club, Surfers Sunrise, introduced corporate membership into our bylaws – we claim to have “invented” the concept… ☺). The result was a new club named Gold Coast Corporate Rotary, chartered in 2020.  Today, the club counts 38 members. At the District 2022 District Conference, her club received the award for the Highest Membership growth in District 9640).
“It started off with door knocking,” she said, in other words: the ages-old method of aiming for personal contact. But her club works differently to conventional Rotary clubs: they meet just once a month on the 3rd Wednesday at 5:30 pm. The meeting usually takes place at one of the members’ boardroom, or perhaps at a café, for cheese and crackers. “We are looking for businesses rather than just individuals (but, of course, individual members are most welcome too, just as any other club does). Corporate members can nominate up to 8 people who can attend meetings in rotation. An annual fee of $900 entitles a business to have up to 5 voting members. The club runs various projects, including a mentorship program. Interestingly, this also involves online courses available from Rotary’s very own Learning Centre, on the Rotary International website www.rotary.org.  For example, to visit the section of Personal Development, Click here (you'll need to login).  Thank you, Vanessa, for a very instructive presentation!
A copy of Vanessa’s PowerPoint presentation (in PDF format) has been uploaded to our Download Files section on the right. Photo: Vanessa Jansen with Paul Seymour, our meeting Chairman.
This year's Surfers Sunrise Golf Day will be held on Monday, 30th October 2023, at the usual location, the Surfers Paradise Golf Club. It will be a 'Shotgun Start' at 12:00 pm (registration from 11:00 am). Several options:
  • Corporate Hole Sponsor (includes 4 players, signage and advertising)
  • 4-player Team
  • Single individual player
Chief organizers Doug Lipp and Charles Thomasson are looking both for players, helpers as well as Raffle Prizes. Invite your friends, associates, customers, suppliers and make up a 4-player team or two!  Tickets are strictly limited. Bookings close on 23rd October, or when all tickets have been sold.
Secure online booking site is now open. Click on this link, or scan the QR Code: 
Last week, the project shed sent off the 11,015th wheelchair. Just on 3 years since we celebrated the 10,000th wheelchair in September 2013. The Photo on the right is our regular project shed worker Al Sirovs pointing out the number on the world map. The photo above shows some of the regulars, taken this morning. The wheelchair displayed is not exactly the 11,000th (that one is already on the way), but nobody needs to know... Third from left is Des La Rance OAM, who invented the concept and delivered the first 10 to Fiji in August 1997, 20 years ago! - See report in the Download Section on the right.
An awful lot of people, including the front-line professionals (e.g. police, ambulance officers, psychiatric health workers) would swear that this is so. “The human head consists of approximately 80% water and 20% solids. So wouldn't it make sense that the moon, which moves the tide, could have an effect on the brain?” our guest speaker, Acting Chief Superintendent Dr Geoff Sheldon, asked.
But…  there is not a skerrick of evidence. And he would know: not only has he served in the police force (predominantly as a detective) for over 40 years, but he earned himself a doctorate, the thesis of which was just that. He meticulously analysed over 900,000 police jobs stretching over a period of eight years. Each job was analysed over 30 items of data, that is over 27 Million pieces of data. And the conclusion: Not so! Not across the board, nor on specific areas such as crime or traffic accidents. “I felt like a small kid who has been told that there is no Santa Claus” he said.
Dr Geoff kindly allowed us to upload his PowerPoint presentation (in PDF format) – check it out in the Download Section on the right.
Photo: Dr Geoff Sheldon (right) with Ian Mayberry [who, as a former racing driver and Supercars Clerk of the Course, would possibly have had the odd discussion with the Boys in Blue before. And presenting a bottle of wine might not always have fixed the issue… ☺
Many of you would remember Richard Smith, who, together with his charming wife Sue transferred from Toowoomba to the Gold Coast in 2016 and joined our club. Richard was for many years in charge of Vocational Services and organised the annual Pride of Workmanship Awards. A couple of years ago, he was unable to continue his active membership due to ill health.
Richard passed away last week. Our heartfelt condolences go to Sue and the Smith family.
A very special night yesterday Wednesday for two tireless workers of our project shed: John Hall (picture left) and Bryan Tuesley (picture right) were recognised by the Federal Member for Moncrieff, Angie Bell MP, for their work and dedication to our project.

Congratulations to both of you, and thank you and all your fellow volunteers for your ongoing work and dedication! Your efforts provide mobility to thousands of disabled children and adults in developing countries.
Congratulations! Mia Watson is the Lutzy Award winner for 2023!
At yesterday's Surfers Sunrise breakfast meeting, we presented the 'Lutzy Award' to Mia., in the form of a specially inscribed surf ski. The award is in honour of our former member Keith Lutz, who was a true leader in both our club as well as in the Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club. A committee of the SLSC nominates the winner, selected not necessarily because of his/her surfing skills (but that is certainly no detriment!)
, but for their leadership qualities. This was the 8th year the award was presented. And just in case you are interested: of the eight winners, six were female!
Picture (from left): Jan Lutz, David Orchard, President Doug Lipp, the winner Mia Watson and her father Rob Watson. Second picture: Jan Lutz, Mia and last year's winner Pieta Jackson.
At Sunday's Changeover Luncheon (see brief article below), outgoing President Mitch Brown presented the club's awards. Starting with two recognitions awarded by District Governor Karen Thomas, who regrettably was unable to attend due to ill health, Mitch selected Rotaractor Matt Hayward as the representative of the X-Ray Unit for Vanuatu team, in recognition of the huge amount of work he contributed, not just physically at the shed, but also, in cooperation with Kristen 'KJ' Jewson, in developing the websites and Facebook pages. The second was for Best Club Communication, collected by yours truly.
Then followed the four premier club awards:
The Doug Waller Trophy 'for outstanding service to Rotary and our club' went to Mario Fairlie, in recognition of his ongoing commitment to our club, particularly the X-Ray Unit for Pentecost Island.
The Quiet Achiever Award went to our Youth Service Director Ashleigh Symes, in recognition of her very active promotion of our youth programs. Ashleigh was unable to attend, with an excellent reason: she had only very recently given birth to their daughter Ruby (see artricle below). Charles Thomasson collected the cup on her behalf.
The Fellowship Pokal went to Larry Murray, in recognition of his tireless work to re-shape our project shed and managing the volunteer workforce there.
Finally, the big moment: the Rotarian of the Year award, which is voted on by the members. This year, Ross Augustine was a clear winner, in recognition of his very successful efforts to get funds into our bank accounts. Ross also had substantial input into organising with Angie Bell MP a $20,000 Federal Government grant towards the purchase of a Ute for our project shed.
Congratulations to all!
On Sunday 25th June, we gathered at the Braeside Estate in Merrimac for our annual Changeover Luncheon. Perfectly organised by Graeme and Ann Isaacson, we enjoyed casual and convivial fellowship, as well as some profoundly thoughtful and serious moments, as would be appropriate for such an important event.
Larry Murray served in his naturally ebullient manner as Master of Ceremonies, outgoing President Mitch Brown gave an Acknowledgment of the Country, Peter Morgan proposed a toast to Australia. Then “our” PDG Darrell Brown proposed a toast to Rotary International. In his brief speech, Darrell outlined the huge difference our organisation makes in the world, as an example citing a Solar Energy project to provide electricity for a village of 280 people in Goa, which so far was completely off the grid. This came together because of Rotary, because of the “connections” involving an Australian Past Rotary International President… (Sorry, you should have been there!)
PDG Prof Graham Jones AM replied to the toast. One can’t help being motivated by Graham’s almost evangelical enthusiasm. After acknowledging our club’s contribution to District personnel, Graham briefly touched on the major Rotary projects worldwide: $17 Million war relief for Ukraine, Polio Plus, a program started in 1985 when the world had some 350,000 recorded cases of Polio, now down to just 6 (5 in Afghanistan, 1 in Pakistan). Graham also brought the huge impact the Peace Scholarships would have. Again, he acknowledged our club’s provision of District personnel: Ray Higgs was a former District Chair of this committee.
Outgoing President Mitch Brown, with characteristic Surfers Sunrise brevity, outlined his year, referring to the Changeover Report (now in the Download Section on the right) for details, “rather than regurgitating what others have already said”... With slight wistfulness, Mitch lamented our club missing out on a DG’s Citation, simply because of logistic problems (caused by extreme storms) to get the shipping container in time in place on Pentecost Island, Vanuatu. The project should now be completed in August.  Mitch then proceeded to present the club awards for 2022-23 (see separate report above).
After the changing of the President’s collar, our incoming President Doug Lipp briefly addressed the congregation, thanking the various speakers, guests and of course the members, then introduced his new board for 2023-24. 
As always, a most enjoyable function. How could you not be proud to be a member of this organisation?
(See more photos in the Photo Album section on the right)
As per President Mitch's message above, these photos were sent to to Bryan Tuesley, our wheelchair "foreman", from PNG, where they were deployed by Del Cole ('Someone Who Cares' Gold Coast based charity). Good to see that our work is doing good. Give yourselves a pat on the back!
Photo by Mark Urquhart (from left): Cr Darren Taylor, Greg Bowler, Assistant Governor Sheila Ponting, Mario Fairlie, District Governor Karen Thomas, Sam O'Connor MP, John Paul Langbroek MP, Des La Rance OAM,  Dr Graham Sivyer, Cr Ryan Baildon-Lumsden, President Burleigh Heads Rotaract Club Dan Snart, President Surfers Sunrise Rotary Club Mitch Brown.
Last Wednesday, the three Rotary clubs, Surfers Sunrise, Broadbeach and Gold Coast celebrated the official hand-over of the X-Ray and Pathology Unit, destined for Pentecost Island, Vanuatu. The building was constructed, then dismantled and flat-packed into a container at our project shed in Arundel. Mid-February, the containers were on the way to be shipped to their destination. Some 60 attendees enjoyed a hearty breakfast at Catalina Cafe on Broadwater Parklands, honoured by the presence of several dignitaries, including our District Governor Karen Thomas and Assistant Governor Sheila Ponting, local MPs John Paul Langbroek and Sam O'Connor, Councillors Ryan Baildon-Lumsden and Darren Taylor, the President of the Gold Coast Medical Association, Professor Philip Morris, just to name a few. Regrettably, the dignitaries expected from Vanuatu were unable to join us, due to the massive devastation that was caused by the two cyclones that recently struck their country.
Master of Ceremonies Trent Belling, a third generation Rotarian as he proudly introduced himself, led the proceedings with aplomb. Mario Fairlie and Dr Graham Sivyer, who together with Greg Bowler were the project's leaders, provided a brief outline of its history. They had visited Vanuatu twice, both the destination at Pentecost Island as well as for meetings with authorities in the capital Port Vila. This should ensure a smooth transfer once the containers have arrived at Port Vila. Well deserved, they also gave the "inventor" and leader of the building concept, Des La Rance OAM due credit. "There would have been a thousand people involved all up," Mario emphasised, "from the helpers on the ground to the individual donors of both finances and materials. Equally important is that we recognise the Global Grant from The Rotary Foundation and not least the young Rotaractors. Young people are essential to have around, not just for young ideas, but for physically demanding work". 
Local member for Surfers Paradise, John Paul Langbroek briefly outlined how important the ongoing work with South Pacific countries, at all levels of Government as well as at basic population basis is. "JPL", a diminutive he is fondly referred to by his friends and colleagues, has had extensive experience with Trade Missions into these countries, including PNG and Vanuatu. JPL also acknowledged our achievement of some 11,000 wheelchairs that have been despatched to all corners of the world.
District Governor Karen Thomas referred to the "ROSE" award (Recognition of Significant Effort) which she recently presented to the three clubs at the District Conference in Yamba. This was in recognition of our three clubs successfully working together on this massive project.
The two containers are now at sea. On-site re-erection of the building and the commissioning of the X-Ray and Pathology equipment is expected to take place in June. Watch this spot!
(Also, check the Download files on the right for a slideshow and press release. There is also a photo album by photographer Mark Urquhart online - click here)
"We were woken up at 4.30 am to the sound of our camp leaders screaming various commands, including to rush outside and do a wall sit... in our pyjamas! It then went on to challenge both our physical and mental strength for the next TWO HOURS." Uttered by a teenager, you might think that sounds like a complaint... You are sooo wrong!
Chelsea and Zahra had only 5 minutes before having to rush off to school, but they certainly made good use of the time to relate their experiences of attending the recent RYTS (Rotary Youth Transition Seminar) camp, sponsored by our club. This is the very essence of Rotary Youth Service. The girls have given me permission to upload their speech to our website - see Download Files on the right. 
Wow! Two ROSE (Recognition Of Significant Effort) awards were presented to our club at the District Conference. This is a new award designed (I assume) by District Governor Karen Thomas, presented this morning. I admit I wasn't even aware of the awards, not to mention their presentation.
One is for the monumental joint effort with the Rotary Clubs of Broadbeach and Gold Coast in building the Mauna Health Centre (recently packed up and on the way to Vanuatu), the other for 'Improving the Club Public Image' by frequent posts to our website and Facebook pages.
Well, fellow members, associates, Rotaractors and helpers and the project shed: give yourself a pat on the back! You are permitted an extra biscuit or piece of cake next Wednesday morning! 🙂
In view of the Wheelchair Trust Deed's fairly strict limitations (money donated can only be spent on materials for wheelchairs and nothing else, not even for the shipment to their destination), we have registered an alternative account for Containers for Change.  If you deposit your empties directly, and wish to donate the proceeds to the Surfers Sunrise Rotary Club - General Account, please use this account code: 
(The account for the Wheelchair Trust is also still active: use C10199443 instead).
So, keep your soft drink bottles, stubby bottles, aluminium cans, milk cartons etc.  As a general rule, most drink containers between 150ml and 3L can be returned for a refund under Queensland's container deposit scheme. Containers should be empty, unbroken, the lid removed and display a 10-cent refund marking on the label. Something like the image (right), but many others are simply marked as suitable for recycling. Note: they must NOT be crushed. See image above what is and what is not accepted. For details of what can / cannot be returned for cash, and where the locations are, click on this link
In the olden days, for a new member to join a Rotary club the unofficial rule was, expressed in simple terms, he should be "somebody who is in a position to hire and fire". Yes, 'he'. Thankfully, around 1987, the 'he' was expanded to also include the fairer sex. There were lots of other rules too, for example, weekly attendance at our meetings was considered to be just about essential.  
These days, the rules are very simple and straightforward.  Here is an extract from the Membership section of our Club Consitution of 2019 (1):
Section 1 — General Qualifications.
This club shall be composed of adult persons who demonstrate good character, integrity, and leadership; possess a good reputation within their business, profession, and/or community; and are willing to serve in their community and/or around the world.
That should be simple enough. In other words, the majority of people in your circle of friends, in business, your suppliers, your customers qualify. Rotary is absolutely non-denominational, absolutely gender-neutral. All we ask for is of good character, has integrity, and a good reputation.  Start making a list and invite them to come to one of our meetings.
(1) Members can download the Club Constitution from our website: (you need to login to the Member Area, top right of home page), then select Organisation, Documents and search for Constitution.
What a superb morning last Saturday at our Project Shed, where we celebrated the 10,000th Wheelchair manufactured. For any of our readers who are not familiar with the concept: parts from recycled bicycles, marine plywood, solid rubber BMX wheels and... LOTS OF VOLUNTEER HOURS equal a wheelchair which can be manufactured for $100! Give yourself a pat on the back, but particular recognition must go to the principal movers and shakers who started and carried this project through: Des La Rance, Daryl Sanderson and the late Keith Lutz and Bob Harrison. Jan Lutz was there, but regrettably, Gloria Harrison was unable to join us, but for a good reason: her grandson debuted on that same day, playing Grade 1 Cricket in the Queensland Premier League. Howzat! Bob would be proud on both accounts.
We had the bulk of our members and volunteers present from an early hour, setting up the various marquees, putting the last touch to the refurbished bikes we had for sale, setting up the stage, the videos...  The Rotaractors from Burleigh Heads were there in force, the Rotary Club of Parkwood ran a sausage sizzle and the Rotary Club of Broadbeach ran a raffle, our soon to be inducted new corporate members Adam  and Tash from Invincable had a stand and so did the Pimpama State School with their version of the wheelchair design.  We were honoured by visits from District Governor Andy Rajapakse, State MPs Rob Molhoek and Sam O'Connor (he has done a nice write up on his Facebook page too) as well as Councillors Ryan Bayldon-Lumsden and Brooke Patterson.  
President Charles Thomasson opened the formal part of the celebrations welcoming our dignitaries, which was followed by a brief address by DG Andy Rajapakse, in which he referred to his own efforts of taking well over 500 wheelchairs for distribution in his country of origin, Sri Lanka. Following our DG, the inventor of the wheelchairs from bicycles, Des La Rance, outlined the project from early times in the mid 1990's, the breakthrough when Ray Martin's A Current Affair broadcast the delivery of the first 10 wheelchairs to Fiji in 1997, the building of schools for the tsunami affected regions of Thailand and Samoa, the House of Hope in Apia, leading to the current project of the X-Ray Unit for Vanuatu. 
But of course, the culmination of the morning was the presentation of a commemorative collage to Des La Rance (see picture). This was designed and made by Neil Thurlow and his graphic wizards of Accent Print and Copy.
Photo shows (from left) Jan La Rance, Daryl Sanderson, Des La Rance, Jan Lutz. More photos are in the Photo Album, videos coming up shortly.
Our super generous printer, Neil Thurlow and his very talented design artists at Accent Print & Copy have created a new flyer for our wheelchairs project.  He has also provided some 2000 printed copies, which will be sent out by Apple Marketing to their mailing list of previous donors.  It is uploaded to our Download Section (see right side), where you can download it and send it on to anyone whom you consider could be interested.
Thank you, Neil and your team!
I've uploaded a video which beautifully outlines what Rotary is all about. Go on, have a look at it. It's only a bit over 2 minutes, but very well done. Go to this link to view it:
August is Membership Development and Extentions Month. Can you remember when you were inducted into Rotary?  Have you considered why you were proposed by your sponsor? What made you to decide to join?  Did you feel a sense of pride, of achievement, to be invited to join an organization of the highest international repute?  Did you feel that your sponsor did “The right thing” by considering you to be potentially a good Rotarian ? Did you feel a little bit overwhelmed, sort of “am I really up to this?” You did? 
“The more hands Rotary has, the better and more effectively the ideal of service will be achieved.  Hence the importance of membership.”  These words, spoken by one of Japans foremost Rotarians, Kanejiro Matsumoto put the point very straight.   I put it even straighter: If we are to spread the workload of running this club, if we are to achieve our aims on the local scene (Youth Service, Vocational Service, Community Service), if we are to pull our weight on the International cart, we have an obligation to not only maintain, but increase membership. Whom have you asked lately to come along to one of our meetings?
Club Executives & Directors
Immediate Past President
Vice President
Executive Secretary
Director - Club Administration
Director - Service Projects
Director - Membership
Director - Public Relations
Director -The Rotary Foundation
Joint Director - Youth Services
Joint Director - Youth Services
Joint Director - Fundraising
Joint Director - Fundraising
YEP Club Protection Officer
Chair - Wheelchairs Trust
Coordinator Golf Day
Fellowship and Social Program
Liaison - Wheelchair Trust
Program Manager-Guest Speakers
Vanuatu Program
Webmaster & Bulletin Ed
Club Insurance Officer