Our guest speaker today was Graham Hornbook our Club's Charter President. Graham was the first speaker of our Past Presidents who will give talks throughout the year to remind us, and enlighten our newer members, of our interesting history.
The idea for these talks was put forward by PP David Benn and was enthusiastically received by our new President.
You can read Graham's full talk below.
Basil McMullen was in the chair of the South Wagga Rotary club when senior active member, Noel Barnes , moved that South Wagga Rotary form a lunch time club to cater for many not prepared to be out at night and/or have other commitments stopping their membership of Rotary.
The motion was accepted by the club, encouraging Noel Barnes to bring a working group together, to approach potential members and establish the first meeting of  prospective members on 15th February, 1978.  My role in all this was to keep South Wagga members informed as I was their current bulletin editor.  I had only two years of Rotary membership at that stage, consequently without any board experience. I agreed to move to the new club as I had a young family which liked me home at night. I knew I would miss my friends in the South Wagga Rotary club but I had the challenge of making many new ones brought together in the new club.
The first exploratory meeting meeting at the Commercial club was well attended. This led on to the acceptance of the formal meeting time, 12.30 to 1.30 pm each Tuesday .  At the next meeting an interim management committee was formed comprising myself, Gordon Braid, Graeme Burmeister, Graeme Maher, Greg Walker and Tony Youngman. This committee kept club members active , working towards our charter night on the 1st July, 1978.
 I was voted in as Club President,  John Skeers as vice president and Club Service,  Graeme Maher as Secretary, Colin White  as treasurer,  Milton Breust as Community Service,  Clyde Rankin as International Service and Gordon Braid as Vocational Service.    A Gala dinner was organized. Ken White was district Governor up until our charter night.  Basil Gagin, the incoming DG presented me with the Charter for safe keeping during my term as president then to be handed on to all subsequent elected presidents.
The Club was founded with thirty members who appeared eager to participate in the foundation of a new Rotary Club for the region. The name, the Rotary Club of Wollundry- Wagga Wagga,  was put forward by Rex Lucas.  It was accepted by all members but not readily accepted by those ladies belonging to the exclusive Wollundry Club. They wrote letters and  had a number of meetings with me in an effort to change the name of our club. Thomas a’Beckett, from Lockhart way,  made numerous calls on me at the ABC office where I worked. Hiliary, his wife, was a trustee of the ladies’ group and no doubt she stirred her husband to action. I pointed out that the Rotary Club of Wollundry-Wagga Wagga was the full title of our club , an all male domain. In no way could it be mistaken for a Country Ladies’ exclusive club.
My committee was very good to me in accepting my lack of experience in Rotary and organizing committee meetings.  Many of them were haphazard affairs held at the bar of the Commercial club.  I never expected to make any money for charity, however, the first activity yielded an encouraging amount by having a book sale. We advertised members would collect unwanted books from front steps anywhere in Wagga Wagga. Thankfully, this was before the sprawl of the city. In all we had an extensive showing of generally quality books which attracted a buying public. I cannot recall what we made, however, it was a great encouragement to the fledgling club.
It was Leon Flegg, who with John Skeers and their wives,  visited the Canberra Sunday markets.  They returned to our club very enthusiastic for our ability to start such a market here. Leon’s enthusiasm was overflowing and taken up by all members. A working committee saw to gaining approval for site and council approval. Some ill will was engendered with Apexians who had a small monthly fair. A weekly market was soon well accepted in our community and the money rolled in despite a number who would break our fence to gain entry.
By the first change-over when I handed on the reigns to John Skeers, the club had donated to numerous charities the goodly sum of $ 4595.00. For interest sake, charities benefited $19, 229.00 in John’s year.  You all know the history of our money-making and donating up to this point from that humble beginning of $4595 in 1978/9.
With 30 enthusiastic members at the beginning of my year, we picked up two new members and the then mayor, Bruce Heddich, as an honorary member. 
Club Fees were $20.00 for nomination and $7.00 membership to changeover.  Fine sessions cost wrong doers a 20c  donation.  Burmo had a few of those to pay when sighted parked at  night with a female in his car. “ Only my sister,” was his retort.
The most continuous serving 100 percenter, David Byfield, was inducted at the changeover dinner from my presidency to John Skeers. John Skeers was credited with forming a very strong and thorough committee meeting which probably exists still today.
I very much enjoyed Rotary, what it stood for and the friendships resulting from the time spent in service together. Up until the day I retired from Rotary, I had introduced the greatest number of fellows to become club members, I even had a woman lined up for membership but her husband thought she would be out of place in such an organization. When Rotary International advised worldwide clubs that women, if nominated, must be welcomed into club membership, Tony Elphick was in the chair, I  was his International Officer. A female Agriculture lecturer , I considered, would have made an ideal member. I proposed her and her nomination was accepted.  To keep harmony in her home she declined at the last moment. That might also have maintained harmony here.
My wife, Betty, and I have enjoyed our association with student exchanges. Within the last 12 months, three exchangees have visited Wagga Wagga with whom we had close association.  So lovely to be updated personally. We still get Christmas cards from others.  I led a Group Study Exchange to India, experiencing for six weeks the beauty and horror of massed humanity and fine international hospitality.  Shortly afterwards I was chosen to accompany a Rotary tour to China.  This was an eye opener and a place where I felt very safe to be. (I still had that feeling on a tour there two years ago).
Betty and I have enjoyed staying with Rotarians in South Africa, Canada and New York State on Rotary Friendship Exchanges,  also having their return visit to us in our home.
I was humbled to receive a Paul Harris Fellowship and at a later date the Sapphire pin.
District Governor, Ken White, at an early meeting of our club before chartering, stated his theme for the year was “ Enjoy Rotary”.  I took that to heart and I certainly did.  But there is a time  for everything. Though I was saddened to resign from “My Little Club” as pp Ron Bragg always referred to it, I still enjoy the weekly bulletin, occasional lunchtime visit and meeting up with a few remaining old members of the Rotary Club of Wollundry-Wagga Wagga. Thank You  President, James, and members for this time tripping down memory lane.               
Graham Hornibrook  7/7/2020