The Club was originally chartered with 20 members on 15th April 1972 as the Rotary Club of Ashgrove.
The Club’s activities extended to incorporate the developing suburb of The Gap, and on 14th March 1990, the club’s name was changed to “Rotary Club of Ashgrove / The Gap.
Os Smith was a charter member of the club in 1972, and continued to be a very active club member until his death in 2019. Several other club members have over 20 years continuous membership.
The Club has been actively involved in all avenues of Rotary service since its inception. In most years, we have sponsored both inbound and outbound Exchange Students.
For a period of 10 years from 1979, the main event on the Club’s calendar was the Westside Cultural Festival run in conjunction with the local Red Cross. It was an excellent fundraising activity for the Club incorporating an art show (with a preview wine and cheese night on the Friday). Continuing on Saturday & Sunday, ethnic & cultural groups and the Club provided stalls with plenty of food, goods for sale, entertainment and competitions for all ages.
A major project since 1992 has been the G.R.I.P.P.S Music Camp (The Gap Regional Instrumental Primary Performers School) which provides professional tuition for primary school children who are chosen on their musical talent to have a week of concentrated coaching. This program has been exceedingly well supported not only by the schools in our area but also by the local community and business people. About 160 children now attend each year.
In 1993, Ashgrove / The Gap Rotary Club became the first Club to arrange and conduct a Citizenship Ceremony as an alternative to the large and somewhat impersonal ceremonies at City Hall. This activity presents a unique opportunity for ‘new Australians’ to experience a real ‘Aussie Breakfast’, be entertained by a Bush Band and actually become Australian Citizens at a personal and memorable ceremony in a relaxed and peaceful environment with their families and friends in their own community. The entire Club supports this annual event and over 200 people are catered for. Other clubs have since adopted this project in their own suburbs.
In 1994, in conjunction with the Brisbane City Council, the Club developed Wilcannia Park (on Waterworks Road), erected a pergola and fencing, installed an electric barbecue as well as tables with bench seating and planted trees and gardens. The Park is often used by members of the community and by other service organisations. Wilcannia Park was the venue for the Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony for many years.
In 1996, our club took over the Santa Sleigh project, a tradition in The Gap that was initiated by Apex in 1976. Over nine nights, the Santa Sleigh cruises through all the streets in The Gap, playing Christmas music. Each night one of our members dons Santa’s costume and together with fifteen ‘Santa’s helpers’, distribute sweets to the children, extend greetings to the residents , and seek donations.
The Club has been honoured by providing four District Governors – PDG Jack Stephenson (decd.), PDG Russ O’Malley, PDG Dai Mason and PDG John Lane. The Club is very proud of their respective achievements in their year of office.
The Club is a very strong contributor to Rotary District 9600. Over the years we have provided several Vocational Exchange Team leaders, and several club members often serve at District level.
Whilst the Club has consistently demonstrated “service before self” for almost 50 years, there has also been a lot of fellowship and enjoyment!