Ian Yarker OAM

Ian Yarker OAM


e-Club members Ian & Heather Yarker

Rotary brings people together who would not normally meet, to do things for others including many they may never meet. To voluntarily serve is to enrich everyone involved. Rotary membership does this.

Ian attributes this honour to all the people he has met and voluntarily worked with on so many projects in so many parts of the world. They have shared, they have joined in and they have respected the call to volunteer. But he says his greatest support and inspiration comes from his wife Heather (OAM). Without the support, drive and attitude of Heather a lot of the achievements may not have had the same outcome. We are a team supporting each other, complimenting each other’s dreams, visions, desires and challenges. 

Treating Rotary as a priority Service interest for over 40 years could not be done while involved in a family business without the respect, support and understanding, not only between Heather and Ian, but also by the family and staff, so they are a vital part of this amazing award.

Actually Ian attributes his Service attitude to his parents. When he was 3 years old they started a Kindergarten so he could attend. Later they started a community hall with a youth club and then support with sporting club involvement. Whilst at Agriculture College Ian met Heather. LikewiseHeather’s parents were quite involved with CWA and local community groups. After marrying in 1966 Ian was invited to join Apex Service Club and they both joined Young Farmers and the local tennis club. This later led to membership of Jaycees and ultimately Ian’s Rotary Club Membership in 1975.

One of the many great moments came in 1990 when both Ian and Heather were able to join the same Rotary Club, Ashmore and finally they could both be Rotarians. This launched ‘Team Yarker’ as they became widely known and they volunteered, created and responded to opportunities and possibilities. Locally they introduced many Rotary programs including some which directly benefit the greater Gold Coast community including Model United Nations Assembly and the Gold Coast City Junior Council. Both have been Club President and Governor of their Rotary District of 54 Clubs. They have convened many Rotary youth programs and inspired and facilitated the formation of several Rotary Clubs.

Ian also took Rotarians Against Malaria to the National and then the International level through the organisational structure of Rotary. He then repeated this process with the Food Plant Solutions program initiating the Rotarian Action Group. He was Coordinator for Literacy Task Force for the Asia Pacific Region. Ian acted as publisher for a monthly Rotary worldwide newsletter supporting Heather’s 3 year term as General Coordinator for Health and Hunger Resource Group. Overseas physical projects have been carried out in most of the South Pacific Island Nations as well as PNG, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal and India.  

After many most fulfilling years bringing inspiration to Rotarians, Clubs and supporting people which included roles at many International Conventions and District conferences sometimes representing the President of Rotary International, Ian returned his focus to Australia. He took part in the formation of the Rotary e-Club of NextGen, the second Rotary e-Club established in Australia.

He says it is the same as any other club except it meets on the internet, has members in many regions, can have guest speakers anywhere on internet, and it encourages members to run their own project. This enabled Ian, with Heather, to adopt the Royal Flying Doctor Service as a focus project having asked a simple but powerful question... What may we be able to do for you? Calls for volunteers were put out to Rotarians and interested friends enabling the renovation of 6 Flying Doctor houses at Mt Isa, catering at the Birdsville Races, landscaping new hanger facilities, connecting Rotary Clubs to Flying Doctor Service needs and encouraging 4 Tag Along Caravan Tour groups to parts of Australia to support the RFDS, especially the Queensland Section, and more recently Australian Rotary Health Mental Health Awareness.

Typically Ian has had several major projects in progress at the same time which has led to very rich life experiences. He attributes his core Rotary values to Sir Clem Renouf, Past President of Rotary International and mastermind to Rotary’s world Polio Eradication program.

Ian says this award is humbly accepted in recognition of the inspiration of his wife Heather, their Family and so many wonderful people in so many places over so many years. People that may not have met. Outcomes that may not have been achieved, had it not been for Ian’s membership of several Service organisations, especially Rotary Clubs of Rotary International. 

Service to the community is an important aspect of a meaningful life. Everyone needs purpose and everyone can play a part in serving Local, National and International Communities as we strive to make a difference and inspire others.


Ian Yarker  OAM, DLD, ACIV Rtd, D Agr Sci.