Club News

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Grants towards our Mental Health Programme at Kiama High School

We are delighted to report that last week our Club received a Stockland Care Grant towards our Kiama High School Teen Mental Health. This week our Club has been awarded an IMB Bank Community Foundation Grant for $5000 which is for the same program.
Trevor Phillis and Mal Bracken attended the presentation on Monday of last week.

Special congratulations to Trevor who was recognised as a Community Hero. Through these awards, the IMB seeks to honour people who work tirelessly in the local community to support others.



Kiama Rotary Club earns Shelter Box Award

Dear Rotary Club of Kiama, 

Congratulations on being a ShelterBox Bronze Champion for 2017-2018.  Out of over 1100 clubs in Australia you are among an elite group that are dedicated to ensuring families in disaster have shelter in their time of need.

I hope by now you have received your award certificate or our local ShelterBox representative is arranging to present you with this. Attached to this email is your ShelterBox Champion digital logo that you can use to showcase your dedication to disaster relief on your website, social media and newsletters.  

We would encourage you to include this logo on your home page to promote the great work you are doing in disaster relief.

I have included some information below if you would like to include this in your communication channels.

ShelterBox is proud to be Rotary International’s Project Partner in disaster relief, further strengthening a global circle of friendship. 

This year ShelterBox has launched the ShelterBox Champion Awards to formally acknowledge the amazing support that Rotary provides in supporting families that are left without shelter.

Natural and other disasters are inevitable and frequent, and the need is continuous. In 2018, with global Rotary support, ShelterBox provided shelter and life-saving items for 42,000 families robbed of their homes by disaster and conflict. That is 210,000 people helped on the road to rebuilding and recovery. 

ShelterBox Champions are made up of an elite group of Rotary clubs that have identified the continuing need to prepare for and immediately respond to the worst day ever. We would like to congratulate ShelterBox Champions who have made a lasting impact in worldwide disaster response by supporting ShelterBox annually for three consecutive years.

Once again we would like to thank you and congratulate you on your efforts for being one of a handful of ShelterBox Champions in 2017-2018.

We look forward to continue working with you to ensure families receive the emergency aid they need following a disaster. 

Kieryn Deutrom
Volunteer Program Manager
ShelterBox Australia


The Rotary Club of Kiama is very active in the Kiama Community hosting key fundraising events: Antiques and Retro Fair; the Festival of Choirs; the Apple Drive, the Auto Expo and monthly BBQs at the Kiama Seaside Markets.  Rotary is structured so that every dollar raised goes directly to projects. Over $60,000 of funds raised were distributed to community service projects in the last financial year.

There is more to Rotary then meets the eye. As a Rotarian you are automatically a member of a global network of likeminded people who want to make a difference in the world. Rotarians are welcome to attend any Rotary meeting anywhere in the world.  Kiama Rotary Club has hosted visitors from England, Scotland, South Africa and Padstow in the last couple of months.

A delegation of Rotarians including President Elect, Barry Wilson, are currently on tour in India as part of the, Rotary initiated, End Polio Now program.  Local Rotarians led by Trevor Phillis are planning a visit to Madang in Papua New Guinea to install a recycled kitchen in the hospital in early March.

Rotary offers many avenues of community service. Another example is “Let’s Talk – Mental Health and Suicide in our Community” a Rotary event to raise awareness of and lead the conversation of mental health and suicide. The objective is to determine how we can work together in our communities to build resilience. Dr Andrew Rochford will be the MC for this event which will feature speakers such as legendary Rugby League player and commentator Wally Lewis, and Rev. Keith Garner AM, President of Sydney Rotary Club and CEO of Wesley Mission. On Saturday 23 February 2019 at 10:00am at the Wesley Conference Centre, Sydney.

If you would like to find out more about Rotary in Kiama you can contact us via the Rotary Club of Kiama Facebook page, email us at or join us at any one of our regular weekly meeting on Monday nights at the Kiama Leagues Club from 6.30 pm for 7pm dinner. Contact John Kenny on 0434 989 253 to attend a meeting.


Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment

The Rotary Club of Kiama is once again supporting local youth to engage in development opportunities. We are currently looking for nominations of young people to participate in RYPEN (Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment). This program is for young people aged from 14 to 16 years and caters for teenagers who have exhibited the qualities of decency, courage, persistence, sincerity, and application in everyday life, which deserve further development.

RYPEN uses the common bonds of learning, co-operation, and friendship to design activities which facilitate trust and self-esteem. RYPEN seeks to broaden each participant’s horizons culturally, socially, and academically, providing the inner foundations for a strong future.

The camp will run on the weekend of in 5-7 April at Teen Ranch, Cobbity. Transport can be provided by Rotarians who are authorised for working with children.

Application forms need to be downloaded from the District website:

If you are aware of a young person who has the potential to benefit from this experience please contact Heather Morton via email

or Mal Bracken   mobile: 0414 905 616.


What did we do in 2018?

During the Rotary Club of Kiama’s AGM on Monday December the 3rd we took the opportunity to reflect on the club’s fundraising efforts throughout the year and the disbursement of those funds.  The outgoing Treasurer, Trevor Phillis, led us through the key financials for the year to July 1, 2018.

The Rotary Club of Kiama’s major fundraising activities are the Antique Fair on 19-20 January in 2019, the Festival of Choirs in October, Auto Expo in November (a joint initiative with Gerringong Rotary) and an annual apple drive in May. Regular BBQs at the Kiama Seaside Market each month compliment the major events. Community support for all off these events is greatly valued and makes it possible for Rotary to support local and international programs.

A summary of how the funds raised in the 2017-2018 year were dispersed:

  • $21,600 Local Youth Programs (mental health at Kiama High School, RYLA, RYPEN, Science Forum, Youth Centre and a literacy program for disadvantaged pre-schoolers)
  • $11,000 Melanoma Research (ground breaking research into treatment of Melanoma)
  • $8000 PNG Madang Project (supporting hospital and education for over 30 years)
  • $4600 ROMAC (Rotary Oceania Medical for Children – providing lifesaving and dignity restoring surgery to children from the Pacific Region)
  • $4000 Rotary Foundation (donations in recognition of guest speakers forwarded to Rotary’s global charity)
  • $2000 Polio Plus (a global Rotary program to eradicate Polio)
  • $2000 Shelterbox (providing life necessities to homeless victims of natural disasters and conflict)
  • $1,500 Invictus Games
  • $1,000 Kiama Dementia Friendly program
  • $1000 Kiama Surf Club
  • $1000 Kiama Pipe Band
  • $1000 Bushfire Floods Drought Funds
  • $1000 RAWCS (Rotary Australia World Community Service a registered Australian Charity funding and co-ordinating volunteers for Rotary projects)
  • $500 BlueHaven Retirement Village

You can be confident your financial support for Rotary is effective. In January 2018, for the 10th consecutive year, The Rotary Foundation received four stars, the highest rating from Charity Navigator demonstrating both strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.

In addition to the financial contributions Rotary Volunteers make a difference in the community through volunteer efforts on programs such as mental health first aid, free skin cancer screening, youth development programs, community service award and emergency services training.

Melanoma Research

Following the outstanding success of the Kiama Auto Expo the Rotary Clubs of Gerringong and Kiama came together for a joint meeting to hear from the PhD student jointly sponsored by the clubs.

Sheena Daignault presented to our meeting on her Rotary Health PhD Research into potential novel therapies for Melanoma. 

Medical practice today can only treat Melanoma successfully if it is detected in the very early stages of development and the entire tumour can be excised. Melanoma remains the most dangerous skin cancer, and impacts more young Australians under 39 years of age than any other cancer.

Sheena shared with the us the fact that exposure to sun is the biggest risk factor, as around 90% of melanomas are UV induced. She also explained that serious skin damage occurs with only 4 minutes of sun exposure, and this could give rise to precursor Melanoma cells. The characteristics of Melanoma that make it particularly challenging to treat is the speed with which it spreads and the fact that it thrives in hostile environments with limited nutrients and oxygen. Like many cancers the biggest obstacle to treatment is by causing a mutation of the body’s own cells the immune system does not identify the cancer as a pathogen or foreign object and does not mount a full immune response.

Sheena’s ground-breaking research involves removing melanoma cells from the body and killing them with a drug that is known to kill Melanoma cells. By killing the cells and exposing internal compartments that the body doesn’t recognise, she hopes to trick the immune system into identifying the cells as foreign invaders so the immune system can respond. Importantly, this drug is already registered with the FDA approval in another cancer type.

When Sheena uses a mouse model to reintroduce the dead mouse Melanoma cells back into the mouse the immune system recognises them as a pathogen and works to arrack the living Melanoma.  Research to date has shown promising results. Sheena expects to finish this research in the next 18 months.

Free Skin Cancer Screening Clinics

In the meantime, early detection is critical to saving lives particularly of young people. We continue on the local initiative of the Gerringong and Kiama Rotary clubs running free screening programs with the support of local volunteer practitioners.  During the Auto Expo we screened 90 participants. Around 28% were referred for further investigation. A couple of the lesions were likely to be Melanomas and a handful of Basal Cell Carcinomas.

We are working with local SLSCs to run screenings in December and January but encourage you to take the opportunity for you and your loved ones to be screened by your GP on a regular basis.