Rotary's Adopt-A-Town

  Supporting our communities in need ...


As you visit towns, please send us your stories and photos to

We will then post these stories so other Rotary Clubs can get some ideas!

view:  full / summary

Turramurra Rotary visits Muswellbrook & Merriwa

Posted on January 20, 2020 at 11:30 PM

On Thursday the 12th and Friday the 13th of December Ian Salmon, Parry Monckton and Tim Shea visited Muswellbrook in the upper Hunter Valley.



We joined the Muswellbrook Club for dinner on Thursday night and met the President, John Hobden and other key members of the Club. The Club has about 25 members. We met about 10 members. They were very welcoming to all of us and also introduced us to members eg their member who is head of the Chamber of Commerce in the town. They are very keen for us to adopt them.



The Club has been involved in the distribution of hay for farmers in 2018/2019 and has raised $50,000 for this. This is especially in badly affected areas in a hundred kilometre or so radius. They distributed a lot of hay by club members personally, but had some issues with a few who were not worthy. In view of this and now a severe lack of actual stock on farms, having been sold, they have preferred to concentrate on giving out Voucher cards for spending only in local businesses as the preferred option to help. Those businesses are very much affected by the drought as well as farmers, as local farmers have no money to support those businesses. The distribution of these cards can also be tightly controlled by local members of the other surrounding Rotary clubs and other organisations who are themselves “in the know” who is most needy . This helps local businesses as well as the recipients.



There are many ways in which we can partner with the Muswellbrook Rotary Club in helping them do this in fund raising activities or events, hands on, and building fellowship. We explored some of their activities for the future such as just one example: a STEM camp run by the University of Newcastle for year 11 and 12 students from local area high schools in June running for 3 days. The cost is about $ 300 each but where we might help them on those days to help run the events. .



On Friday, John and Garry spent all day driving us to surrounding towns Merriwa and Murrurundi. It was an opportunity to see just first hand how pitifully dry and desolate the whole landscape of the Upper Hunter is. There is no grass, just dust and dirt, trees dying everywhere and no stock to be found in hundreds of kilometres. It is truly heart breaking! Very difficult to describe how awful it really is.



At Merriwa we had morning tea with members of the Rotary Club of Merriwa, and in particular John Sparrow, the President. These people were nearly all local farmers as well as members of Rotary Merriwa. Again the reception and friendliness was wonderful.



They distribute vouchers in conjunction with the Muswellbrook Rotary Club. These vouchers are often targeted at particular businesses. For example, chemists. In one case we were told of a husband and wife who were each requiring medication. Because of their circumstances, only one could afford the medication so the other had to go without. The Club managed to organise vouchers with the chemist so that both the husband and wife could afford the medication. They have also been involved in hay distribution. The feeling was, that at this stage of the drought hay distribution was wasn't really going to be of much benefit as most farmers would have run down their stock to low or zero levels.



Along the way, we discovered the Merriwa Club does a bicycle event similar to our Bobbo in the Merriwa hills. The next one will be on the 8th March 2020. Perhaps our club would help support that event and then they could support ours too!



We also met Maria Cameron. She works as a Land Services Officer - Regional Drought Support for the New South Wales Government but is an absolute gem! She not only lives on the land herself locally but visits every single property ( 4000!) in the area as part of her job. She knows first hand and keeps a very confidential list of those that can mostly be helped in the whole area. We discussed amongst other things mental health issues, suicides, and how the farmers women and men and school kids can best be helped. Maria has been organising trade courses for farmers ( who are not able to do much on their land at the moment with no stock and bare barren hillsides, to acquire skills eg welding etc and which also has a separate agenda in helping those farmers ( especially men) just getting together to have fun and learn providing psychological support at the same time in the form of courses and social get togethers. Our clubs could get together and go and help at one of these workshops and have dinner with all of them. ( there is a wonderful local venue for this Brindley Park!!!)



One possibility is for Turramurra Rotary to just go to Merriwa to support the community and businesses. Maybe on a weekend. Just get a bus together or go up and go shopping! And hand out the cards! Or just buy stuff to support the town businesses There is quite good accommodation available.



We then went to Murrurundi.


This town is on level 6 water restrictions and has been since July 2018.


We visited Justine Cooper and her team of volunteers. It is truly awe inspiring what they do!!



Justine runs an operation called the Pop-Up Pantry in a little local old weatherboard church ( part of the museum). Supplies and money are donated from all over NSW including individuals or charities or schools or small groups charities , scout groups and from everywhere including Sydney. The volunteers help sort those supplies and then stack and sort onto the shelves for the local Murrurundi farmers and most needy people to simply come and shop for free, two days a week. They come from far away flung locations in the Upper Hunter not just the local town. When they don’t have something donated ( they don’t keep perishables at all) they give cards or direct then to the one local supermarket. Justine simply buys from the local supermarket to stock items in short supply if they don’t have it and is bought for needy farm families. This can be a sensitive operation as farm families are often embarrassed about receiving help. Originally the family would come and collect groceries from the Pop-Up Pantry only at night. This is now a bit more relaxed and they can now feel comfortable to come during the day. Demand for groceries and supplies is ever increasing. Justine told us that farmers will feed 1 their stock, 2 their dogs, 3 their kids, and 4 themselves!



But the worst problem is literally no water! The Pop-Up Pantry also buys and supplies water to needy farmers who have literally no water and reliant only on their bone dry, water tanks and dams . They have no money to put down bores for each try ( about $10000 and not necessarily successful!) .



Justine and her volunteers just hand out 10 liter containers of drinking water on a Saturday morning to those needy who pull up and they put it in their vehicle. The next three weeks is earmarked for mostly doing just this.



Justine spends in each case, $400 for 30 kilolitres of potable water to be carted by a local business to put into rain water tanks. . There is no charge to families who are in need and these volunteers know who is needy. They don’t ask questions they just do it and Justine’s phone never stops ringing. She isn’t even eligible for government donated money! ( which can only be accessed for mental health programs!)



In the short term we could give money, write a cheque, go shopping for groceries put them in a trailer and drive up there. Or shop in the town and give it to the pantry. Or buy water!

Rotary Liverpool West in Narromine and Trangie

Posted on January 15, 2020 at 6:05 PM


In December 2019, our Club visited Narromine and Trangie providing support for these communities - this will continue in 2020

Please visit the link below for more detail" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://

Sydney Cove Rotary supporting Lightening Ridge

Posted on September 12, 2019 at 2:50 AM

Rotary Club of Sydney Cove has been undertaking a support program for farmers in the Lightening Ridge area over the past three years. Initially it involved a team of RCSC members going to Lightening Ridge and assisting farmers who were 'doing it tough’ undertake renovations and providing amenities in their homes to allow them to live in better circumstances - there was also a social dimension to this activity beyond the physical home improvement activities.

As the drought has worsened, however, the RCSC has teamed with Rotary Club of Lightening Ridge to deliver relief to families in difficult circumstances. Over the past year the club has sent a total of $18,000 through RCLR, including a District Grant of $9,000.  The funds were used to purchase food and other necessities in Lightening Ridge to distribute as care packages to needy families. The funds were matched by those of the Rotary Club of Lightening Ridge, who with the assistance of Michael and Gunilla Austin (who until recently was the Rural Champion on our Community Service Committee) distributed the packages to needy families in the area.

Michael Austin, who recently moved to the NSW North Coast was our Rural Champion on our Community Service Committee, and travelled to Lightening Ridge in May to assist the RCLR distribute relief to those who needed it.

The Darlings support Young

Posted on July 27, 2019 at 2:50 AM

On Friday 16th November 2018 a few of the Darlings zipped down to Young to $pending an enjoyable weekend in Young NSW.    We had a quick meeting with the principal of Young High School to plan a Work Experience week for some of the Year 10 students, in 2019.  The we had dinner with a group of the Young Rotarians at a local pub.  On Saturday we toured and were entertained with an historical tour led by Rotarian John Hamblin.  We did some retail therapy in some of the shops in  town and visited the Hilltops Winery and relieved them of some of their stock!

We had a delicious dinner on Saturday night with the troops at the Terracotta Restaurant in nearby Harden, which proved to be delicious!

On Sunday morning we helped out with BBQ at the Cherry Chase and Colour Run. We were also fortunate enough to have a personalised tour of the Chinese Tribute Garden where Rotary was a key player in its development. Rotary Darling Harbour managed to inject funds into the Young economy through accommodation, food and drink, clothing, wine and of course ��. We had a great time!

We had a wonderful weekend “adopting” Young. Thank you to the Rotary Club of Young NSW for their hospitality.

Rotary Liverpool West goes to Lake Cargelligo

Posted on July 27, 2019 at 2:35 AM

During April 2019 a team of ten (10) members from the Rotary Club of Liverpool West worked with the Rotary Club of Lake Cargelligo and the Rotary Club of Corrimal on a “Help the Farmers” project.

Over a period of three days the group distributed nearly 600 Easter Eggs to children in seven schools in and around Lake Cargelligo in the central west of NSW.

A breakfast BBQ was arranged for Saturday (13 April 19) in support of the local Farmers who have experienced severe drought conditions and are in need of support.

The Club is providing financial assistance to those in need with the provision of $50 vouchers, totalling up to $10,000, which can be redeemed at local business establishments.

The issue of the vouchers is being co-ordinated on our behalf by Lower Lachlan Community Services.

Caringbah Rotary Visits Blayney

Posted on December 15, 2018 at 10:35 PM

A group of Rotarians and their partners visited the central western town of Blayney recently as part of the Rotary Adopt-A-Town Project. The aim was threefold:

1. Spend money in small businesses within a country town

2. Make a connection with the local Rotary Club to identify future projects

3. Bring some cheer to local farmers and businesses and show that we care

What a successful visit we had! We stayed in hotels, we ate in restaurants and we shopped till we dropped!

On the Saturday afternoon we visited a local farm where we were taken on a tour to explain the current situation in the area. There had been some recent rain and the fields all looked quite green, but it was explained to us that this is quite deceptive, as it is just surface grass. The subsoil is still very dry and this grass (and weeds) will burn off very quickly. Unless they receive more substantial rain in the next two months the land will be dry and barren again very quickly.

We had a casual afternoon with many local Rotarians and then visited a beautiful local nursery that will be devastated if there is not further rain. We then enjoyed a wonderful dinner at one of the Rotarian’s home where 30 people enjoyed wonderful country hospitality.

On the Sunday morning we helped out at the local Blayney Farmer’s Market, providing bacon and egg rolls and sausage and onion rolls FREEE of charge to everyone! This was greatly appreciated! We also had kid’s care packs to hand out to the children that we had purchased through Care4Kids Sutherland Shire. The look on the faces of the children when they realised that we were giving them a gift and they didn’t need to pay for them was priceless!

Many locals also came up and spoke to us about how they were handling the drought. Typical of many country people, most of the people said that they were OK and that others were doing much worse than them! However, when you start talking to them a few things came out:

1. Many people are not able to access government and community funds that are available as they either have a small income that excludes them, or they find the paperwork too difficult!

2. A lot of breeding stock has been sold off so there are many more problems to come as it takes 3-5 years to rebuilt breeding stock

3. The cost of petrol, hay and other farming necessities has risen enormously

4. The recent rain has bought many weeds and they can’t afford the weed kill

5. If there is not more substantial rain before January things will be dire by June 2019

On the Monday morning we met with a local vet to see what help could be offered through the Sutherland Dog Club. Enquiries will be made further west through her contacts to see if either medical treatment or food would be best to be offered to farm dog owners.

Care packs were distributed via Blayney Rotary to small outlying schools with much delight from the children.

We have invited Blayney Rotary to visit our club and be home hosted in February so they can attend our market too!

We will return to Blayney in Easter 2019 to hand out easter eggs and FREE hot cross buns at their market! It will also be a great opportunity to review the current situation to see what other help we can provide.

This is just the beginning!

Pambula Rotary Off to Help Trundle

Posted on November 27, 2018 at 11:50 AM

Pambula Rotary members are ready to embark on a special life changing trip to Trundle – a small drought affected town near Dubbo.

This Thursday, November 22, Rotary members will be travelling to Trundle to meet with the locals, paint their child care centre, help run school activities, hand out gifts to children and establish what will be a long term connection with the town.

Youth director Liz Bellette-Stubbs said the trip is about reaching out to the Trundle community and establishing a “sister town relationship”.

“Children have been watching their parents go through this severe level of drought for some time, kids were having to shower at school because they had absolutely no water on their properties,” Ms Bellette-Stubbs said.

“They are still in that dire situation out there, so we are going to support them and show them that people do think about them.”

Trundle has a similar population size to Pambula and is also a rural farming community.

Pambula Rotary members will be out talking with the locals and seeing first hand the devastation this drought has caused not only financially but also physically and mentally.

Ms Bellette-Stubbs hopes Pambula Rotary can create a strong relationship with the town and provide ongoing support.

“There are signs out there that kids are exposed to prolonged distress, anything that we have here on the coast can be of benefit to the families of Trundle,” Ms Bellette-Stubbs said.

In the future, Rotary hope to invite those from Trundle who are able to take a holiday, to the Bega Valley Shire to enjoy a break and reduce the stress they presently find themselves in.

“We will be finding out when we go up there whether they would like to take a break to one of our seaside towns and how Rotary can support them,” Ms Bellette-Stubbs said.

If you would like to donate funds to assist with this venture please feel free to deposit into the clubs project account with Bendigo Bank BSB 633-000 account 136809944.

Should you want to assist with this and many other worthwhile causes Rotary International does around the world, please contact

Giant Breakfast organised with Blayney Rotary

Posted on October 21, 2018 at 1:45 AM

On Sunday 18 November a free BBQ Breakfast is being arranged by Blayney Rotary with Caringbah Rotary at their Farmers'Market.

There will be a Jumping Castle, Sample Bags for the kids and free Face Painting!

Caringbah Rotary chooses Blayney

Posted on September 25, 2018 at 12:05 AM

Caringbah Rotary is very excited to have started talking to Blayney Rotary about visiting their town on 17-19 November.

Leading up to this the public will be asked to donate items at their monthly market to create kid's backpacks to take on our first visit to hand out at Blayney's Farmer's Market on Sunday 18 November.

Members will visit Blayney and stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, put on a free BBQ for the town at the Farmer's Market and visit local farms.

This is just the beginning!