The Rotary Club of Yass held its 70th Changeover Dinner on the evening of Wednesday, the 28th of June at the Ewe’N’Me Restaurant in Yass. The Changeover, as others in previous years, involved the installation of a new president and board members for the Rotary year, as well as the introduction of new members joining, accompanied by speeches and thanks from members. The Yass Valley Times attended the Changeover, along with notable community members including Yass Valley Mayor Allan McGrath and District Governor Desmond Woods and Area Governor Leigh Robinson. 


As described by Rotarian Kim Turner during his toast to the club;


 “Rotary is a global network of some one and a half million neighbours, friends, leaders and problem solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves. Solving real problems takes real commitment and vision. For more than 110 years Rotary’s people of action have used their passion, energy and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects, from literacy and peace to water and health. We are always working to better our world and we stay committed to the end”. 


The evening began with general reception and fellowship from 6:30 pm to 7 pm, followed by a call to order from the evening’s MC Michele Whitters. Among the introductions made, a speech was delivered by Terry Butler regarding Rotary’s Four Way Test, a guiding principle and code for Rotarians;


“Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOODWILL? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

Following was a welcome to guests and apologies for those absent, with a response guest speech delivered by Allan McGrath.


“Rotary has contributed in a wonderful way to the Yass community and hopefully continues to for the next 70 years. I really feel a part of the Rotary family. Rotary is always there to help those who need assistance, Rotarians will always speak up when they see something that is wrong. Rotary is a forward-looking organisation, it is focused on the good that it can do for our communities”, said Allan


Allan’s response was followed by an eloquent speech from Rotarian Kim Turner, describing Rotary’s range, international involvement and history, quoting Rotary’s founder Paul Harris in a speech from a 1940 meeting;


“Rotary stands; though the tempest rage about – Rotary still stands. Why and how? Because it is grounded not on fear, rivalry, and suspicion, but on the eternal and indestructible rocks of friendliness, tolerance, and usefulness”.


District Governor Desmond Woods responded, describing Rotary’s international efforts as “The world is our community” before speeches temporarily ceased to allow for dinner with music, performed by Rotarian Jeff Brown. 

After dinner, the Rotary Club of Yass welcomed its newest members Ros Whiteley and Jessica Martin, along with a presentation of pins, followed by dessert and music performed by Rotarian Steve Carter. 

Outgoing President Sam Bucknell and incoming Paul Twohill – Photo Mandy Carter

The evening’s penultimate speech was delivered by Sam Bucknell, featuring an annual President’s report for the 2022-2023 period, with highlights including a resurgence of the club coming out of covid, $10,000 raised for the Shelterbox program, hosting of the Men’s Health Educational Rural Van, support for students, support for families through the Rae Burgess Centre, the Million$Meal, Berinba public’s 50th-anniversary celebration BBQ, the Australia Day free breakfast, and raffle support from Yass Woolworths. Former President Sam Bucknell thanked the club for his time as President, crediting the club members’ excellence. 


“I thank everyone here for giving me the opportunity to be your president for this last year. It was a brilliant year and I enjoyed it, said Sam,


 “A long time ago I found that if I wanted to be successful in any way I had to surround myself with vibrant, helpful people who wanted to be achievers. I found my place here in the Rotary Club of Yass.” 


The evening concluded with the installation of new President Paul Twohill, as well as new board members Mick Newling, Simon Bernhard, Sam Bucknell, Melina Waters, Mark Mcrae, Mandy Carter, Ian Wearing, John Brassil, and Michele Whitters for the 2023-2024 period. 

Looking to the future, new President Paul Twohill looked forward to the collaboration with members, and continuing to help the Yass Valley. 


“I want to build on this team we have and garner some great ideas from the club as to what we can do in the Yass Valley. Now what all that is, we don’t know, but great ideas come from a group rather than just me, so I’m all ears.” 

Griffin Palen