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June 2020 Issue 




President's Message

Well, what a journey these past two years have been and participating in the zoom meeting where Frank spoke so appreciatively of Lachie’s life was a highlight of my two year term.

It feels like I’ve just worked out how to be a President and now the next meeting will be Jama’s changeover.

My gratitude goes to:

- the board for their ongoing support.

- Ian Aida for his consistent encouragement and support.

- all the members who have attended regular meetings and those who have persevered to attend the zoom meetings.

-the Rotarians who have shown up for fund raising and for community events.

Being on Zoom with Frank, I was touched to feel the warm friendships, respect and appreciation shared between Footscray Rotarians and their families.

I wish Jama a wonderful year as President and look forward to supporting him on his adventure.


Getting to know President Elect - Jama Farah

Growing up on a pastoral farming plot in the Somali Region of Ethiopia, I learnt from an early age what it meant to be part of a tight-knit community. Community was everything. Community was the joy of a shared culture with infinite stories that would keep you entertained during times of idleness. It was the shared responsibility that would watch over you even when you managed to temporarily escape your parent’s vigilant gaze during times of mischief. Community was also the warm helping hand that you could rely on to get you back on your feet during times of crisis.

My family and I were forced to leave our home under unfortunate circumstances, however we never lost those values that were instilled into us from our community and we were determined to make the best of the situation we were in and build ourselves back up stronger and better. After some detours and temporary periods of respite, I arrived in Australia with a vision of peace and prosperity and genuine hope in my heart.

I opened a small business in the western suburbs of Melbourne and watched it slowly but surely become a well-known and respected establishment, particularly among the African diaspora. I worked in this diligent and focused manner for many years, gaining valuable experience in discipline, planning, and accountability. During that time, I also formed many close professional and personal relationships, particularly those within the African diaspora who sought assistance and mentoring in developing business hopes and ideas.

The desire to give back to my community always burned within me so when I discovered my friend Des was a Rotarian, I was interested to learn more about it. It seemed like the very thing I was hoping for, a way to give back and build something new, to plant the seeds of hope and joy, not only locally but globally. That was about 11 years ago, and I have not looked back since.

During my time as a Rotarian, I have served as the Director of Community and the Director of International Service for the Rotary Club of Footscray District 9800. I have also been involved with and contributed to The Maribyrnong City Council CALD Plan Advisory Committee and the Victorian Multicultural Business Advisory Council.

My efforts have been recognised and I have been proud and honoured to receive the Certificate Of Appreciation by Consumer Affairs Victoria in 2012, the African Australian Business of the Year Award in 2014, and the United Nations International Peace Day Power Of Peace Award in 2016.

If you were to ask me now what I think it is that has allowed to continue to cherish this organisation the way I still do after so many years, I would have to say that it would the many lifelong friendships I have made along the way, not only with people in my local club but with the countless Rotarians I have met from around the world. This organisation offers a unique platform for ordinary people to work together to achieve extraordinary things through invaluable experience and bountiful generosity.

It is my desire to continue to achieve the amazing results we have become accustomed to achieving and even reach a little higher and a little further. We are facing a difficult period ahead of us as a local community, as a nation, and as a global community. I believe that now more than ever, the world needs our leadership and guidance. We can make a real difference to many lives affected by the current crisis. I know from personal experience that a little help can go a long way in improving the lives of those facing even the most difficult of circumstances. The world is waiting for us to act and lead. I am sincerely grateful that I have been given this opportunity to do my part, and I have no doubt that we can do great things together.


The Changeover ceremony will be held on 9th July 2020. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, unfortunately this will be a limited seating function. 

Details and invitations are being finalised. 



A Tribute to Lach Wright

Members of the Rotary Club of Footscray were deeply saddened early in April to learn of the death of long-standing member, John Frederick Lauchlan Wright, affectionately known to all as Lauchie. Inducted into the Club in November, 1953 he continued to attend meetings almost up to the end of 2019, a truly remarkable effort of sixty-seven years.

Born on 18th July 1927, his secondary education was at Melbourne Grammar and upon leaving there he joined the workforce in the timber industry, following in the footsteps of his great grandfather who was engaged in a similar vocation in Scotland prior to migrating to Australia in the 1850’s.

In his late teens, Lauchie travelled overseas to further his knowledge of an industry to which he would be dedicated for the whole of his lifetime.

On his return to Melbourne he accepted a position with CSIRO, Forestry Division before joining the family business located in South Melbourne, which had been formed by his great grandfather.

In November 1954, Lauchie and Marie Jordan were married and of their three sons, Ashley and Nigel are the next generation in the family timber business and Warwick is an orthopaedic surgeon.

On relocation to Blackshaws Road, Altona North new enterprises were established in Colac sourcing the softwood plantations.

Lauchie was always keen to streamline the milling processes and sourced technologies to enable that, travelling overseas to learn from the timber industries in Canada, USA and Scandinavia. 

Throughout his life he was actively involved in rowing, basketball, athletics, cross country running with St Stephens Harriers and Old Melbournians clubs both as a competitor and involved club member. In 1956, he was a volunteer athletics official and ran a leg of the torch relay for the Olympic Games in Melbourne.

On top of all this, he found time to be an unwavering member of our Rotary Club.

It had to be something of importance for him to miss a meeting or event.

In particular he, together with Marie, were always notable for their presence and support of all projects and activities promoted by the Club.

Despite being asked many times over the years to accept the presidency, he graciously declined, as he believed the nature of his family business structure would not allow him to devote the time and intensity he considered such office demanded. He certainly made up for it one hundred fold. Over the years, he served on most of the Club’s committees and in many instances was chairman. He ticked all the boxes and beyond that are required by our organisation. Many of our past and present members will vouch for that.

Lauchie was twice acknowledged with Paul Harris awards which he accepted with his customary modesty. He was never one to seek accolades. About five or so years ago, he was honoured as a Legend of the club. After sixty-seven years of faithful service it may now be time to upgrade that title to:- TREASURE OF THE CLUB.

This is a thumbnail overview only of Lauchie’s life and it is possible family and/or Club members may have contributions to offer so as to preserve in our Club’s archives a comprehensive tribute to our longest serving and respected member.


A Project Of District 9800 Rotary Club Of Footscray Inc.

Somali Regional State Of Ethiopia Jigjigs Health Center

The Rotary Club of Footscray successfully shipped off a container with 66 hospital beds and mattresses, two transfer trollies, 25 sets of crutches, 12 dialysis machines, 25 cartons of medical books, two cartons of medical bloodlines and two cartons of medical central venous to the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia Jigjiga Health Centre. 

The arrival of the container prompted a press conference and was reported by the local TV news channel.

This project was initiated by our incoming President, Jama Farah who was assisted by Laurie Fisher and Bob Glindeman at Donations in Kind (DIK)

The majority of supplies went to Jigajiga where the key people were Mayor, Abdifataf Ibrahim Ismail, Aden Hirsi and Hikam Muhumed Omer.

Four of the dialysis machines went to the Harari Regional State and a certificate of appreciation has been received from the Head of the Harari Health Bureau and President of the Harari Regional State. Jama has received a phone call of appreciation form the State President.

This is a wonderful outreach.  Congratulations to Jama for his initiative in setting up the program and identifying specific areas of need.







As we begin a new way of presenting club news via our website we must give a huge vote of thanks to Diane McGrath for her dedication in producing the Bulletin over the last 18 years.

Diane can’t remember who she replaced but after her first 8 years had 12 months of respite when Carol Castano took on the role after her year as President (2009-10) Carol was unable to continue, so Diane recommenced her role as editor and has done so until 2020. True “Service above Self”.

Diane estimates that each weekly Bulletin, took an average of 6 or 7 hours of her time, sourcing information and formatting the document.  

Most of the information was obtained by browsing the internet and any story considered interesting would be included. However, it usually wasn't just a matter of 'copy and paste' because different formats could make adding a particular story a time consuming chore.

The best moment of preparing a Bulletin was the satisfaction of a completed edition, knowing that she had provided an interesting, entertaining and a newsworthy edition.

Conversely, being behind schedule, meant she was up until after midnight in order to finish on time, but fortunately this did not happen often.

Her Bulletin efforts were recognised with a District Award on one occasion.

On reflection Diane is extremely glad she had the role as Bulletin editor by getting positive satisfaction from creating, designing and providing newsy items for our members.

Thank you Diane for your dedication to producing the Bulletin which has always been appreciated by members and friends of the Rotary Club of Footscray.


Advance Notice For 2021 Convention

Feel the Energy in Taipei

Don't miss the 2021 Rotary International Convention, 12-16 June, in Taipei, Taiwan. Explore the city where the old meets the new, from ancient architecture and traditions to modern art and culture. No matter who you are or where you're from, the city's energy is certain to invigorate you.

The convention is the perfect place to connect with the Rotary family to discover new opportunities for service and friendship, collaborate, learn, and find ways to make a lasting impact in communities around the world.

The last chance to take advantage of the special rate of $315 is tomorrow, 26 June, at 23:59 Chicago time (UTC-5), so register and pay today for the largest savings!

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New Editor On The Block 

Pragya Kapil is the new Editor for the Club bulletin. Pragya has volunteered with the Club at several occasions and will be volunteering her time to edit, create and publish the monthly bulletin. 

Pragya was introduced to Rotary Footscray by another enthusiastic young leader, Sophie Webb and attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA 2018), Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment (RYPEN) training and the Victorian Tasmanian Rotaract Club 2019 training. While undertaking her undergraduate degree in India, she discovered the social contributions Rotary International makes and quickly raised her hand to volunteer with the Rotaract Club of Chandigarh, RID 3080. She went on to volunteer with the club for three years and acknowledges her passion for public speaking, event management and community work to have been a direct result of her work as a Rotaractor. 

Pragya enjoys American sitcomes Friends, The Office and Sienfeld in her spare time. She has lived most of her Australian life in Footscray and absolutely loves the cultural diversity. 

She is looking forward to putting her creative skills to work in this role and is welcome to receiving new ideas on member engagement via this platform. There will be period of trail and error as we experiement with the new format. We thank you for your patience and support. Feel free to share your ideas via email at