Harvey Chesterfield-Evans Charter Member Past President  Paul Harris Fellow Honorary Member 2003


Early in 1964, twenty-eight gentlemen in a wide variety of disciplines were extended the compliment of being invited to become Charter Members of a new Rotary Club, The Rotary Club of West Wollongong.

On the night of 23.3.64, at the Grand Hotel, the only suitable venue in those days, we became Rotarians. Our mentor that night was Jack David of the Rotary Club of Wollongong. Our first President, Elwyn Mackay, was wisely chosen, for, as one wag put it as a Primary School Headmaster, he was the only one to best tell Rotarians to sit down shut up, and listen!

A custom in those days was to sing at some stage of the meeting from the Rotary Song Book of American melodies. It soon became evident there were no Pavarotti’s in our group and fruitless interruption to affable conversation was created so the songbooks became safely stored.

Another custom then prevailing was that no alcoholic drinks be brought to the table. Early enquiry from Charles Jackson, an approaching D.G., ascertained that there was no rule to that effect, much to everyone’s relief, and the avoidance of many fines.

Early in our first year we learned that a small building adjacent to Cram House for Crippled Children needed to be converted into a schoolroom. This entailed wiring, carpentry, plumbing and painting. It was accomplished one very busy weekend, affording all of us Rotary new chums great satisfaction and enthusiasm for future projects, and a powerful thirst.

The night of its Charter the Club saw the beginning of many lasting friendships as we came to know more about what each other did and thus the philosophy of strong fellowship began. This still remains a notable characteristic of our club, though many members have come and gone. When Rotary International changed the rule a few years ago we were able to admit women as members. This move has made our Club even better.

Now in its 40th year the Rotary Club of West Wollongong remains as vibrant as ever.

Avenues of fund raising have naturally varied over time but those involved could never forget the many “Hillview” years. Donations on Change over Nights remain widespread, significant and purposeful as our Club continues to best serve our fellow humans. 

Harvey Chesterfield-Evans