An organisation rich in history 

The history of Rotary dates back to 1905 when the organisation was founded by Paul P. Harris, a Chicago attorney, along with three of his friends - Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram Shorey. Harris envisioned an organization that would bring together professionals from different vocations to foster friendship and serve their communities, ultimately promoting ethical practices and goodwill.

The name "Rotary" was inspired by the early practice of rotating meetings among the founding members' offices, which contributed to the formation of strong bonds among the participants. The first official Rotary Club meeting was held on February 23, 1905, in downtown Chicago. Initially, the club focused on networking and fellowship, but Harris soon recognised the potential for Rotary to make a difference through service.

The idea of expanding Rotary beyond the original club gained momentum, and in 1910, the National Association of Rotary Clubs was formed. This marked the beginning of the organisation's growth, with clubs being established in other cities across the United States.

In 1912, Rotary's international expansion began with the establishment of the first club outside the United States in Winnipeg, Canada. The organisation continued to spread globally, reaching Europe, Asia, and South America. In 1922, Rotary's name officially changed to Rotary International, reflecting its international scope.

One of Rotary's most significant contributions to humanity is its commitment to humanitarian service. In 1917, during World War I, the Rotary Club of San Francisco initiated the "Endowment Fund," which later evolved into The Rotary Foundation. The Foundation has since become a crucial funding source for Rotary's humanitarian projects worldwide.

In 1985, Rotary launched its most ambitious project to date - the PolioPlus program. Partnering with other organisations and governments, Rotary took a leading role in the global effort to eradicate polio. The initiative has made tremendous progress, with polio cases reduced by over 99%, and Rotary's dedication to the cause continues until polio is eradicated entirely.

Over the years, Rotary has established a set of guiding principles known as the "Object of Rotary," emphasising service, fellowship, high ethical standards, and the advancement of international understanding and peace.

Today, Rotary International is a global network of over 35,000 clubs and approximately 1.2 million members in nearly every country, making it one of the largest and most influential service organisations in the world. Rotary's impact can be seen in countless community projects, humanitarian efforts, and the significant strides made towards a polio-free world, all of which continue to exemplify the organization's enduring commitment to "Service Above Self."

Hiram E. Shorey as a young man. 
The first four Rotarians. From left: Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, Hiram E. Shorey, Paul P. Harris.
Silvester Schiele. Before December 1945.

Our club history

The Rotary Club of Dunedin Central has a rich history of community service and fellowship that dates back to its founding in Dunedin, New Zealand. The club was officially chartered on 8th March 1980 becoming a part of Rotary International's vast network of service-oriented clubs.

Since its inception, the Rotary Club of Dunedin Central has been at the forefront of making a positive impact in the local community. The club's early years were marked by a strong focus on fostering fellowship and networking among its members, as well as engaging in various community projects and charitable endeavours.

Throughout the years, the club has continuously evolved and adapted to address the changing needs of the community. It has played an essential role in supporting local initiatives related to education, healthcare, environmental conservation, youth development, and more. By adhering to the principles of Rotary International and its "7 Areas of Focus," the Rotary Club of Dunedin Central has remained committed to making a difference both locally and globally.

The club has been actively involved in international projects and collaborations, further extending its impact beyond Dunedin's borders. This global perspective has allowed the club to contribute to humanitarian efforts and partner with Rotary clubs from other countries, fostering goodwill and promoting understanding between cultures.

Over the years, the Rotary Club of Dunedin Central has gained a reputation for its dedication to service, its strong camaraderie among members, and its commitment to ethical leadership. The club's initiatives and projects have touched the lives of numerous individuals and made a lasting positive impact on the community.

As the Rotary Club of Dunedin Central continues to grow and thrive, its legacy of service and fellowship remains a cornerstone of its identity. By embodying the core values of Rotary International, the club continues to inspire positive change, build meaningful relationships, and create a better future for those it serves.