DISTRICT 9510 GEOGRAPHICALLY
District 9510 embraces most of South Australia, portions of New South Wales, the Victorian Sunraysia area including Robinvale-Euston and half of the Northern Territory. It covers 1,800,000 square kilometres and stretches from the Southern Ocean, Kangaroo Island and Adelaide in the south to beyond Alice Springs in the north, extending to the Western Australia/South Australia border in the west.
District 9510 areas have a population of approximately 1.7 million. Currently, there are approximately 2250 Rotarians in 93 Clubs. Most of the population live in a narrow coastal belt including near the Capital city, Adelaide (population 1.3 million). The economy of South Australia is centred on industry, commerce, sheep, wheat, cattle, wine, fruit, fishing and tourism. The southern half of the Northern Territory relies on tourism and cattle. Victoria and New South Wales have varied industries including agriculture, horticulture, mining and tourism.
The District is predominantly semi-arid or arid with spectacular scenery – Ayers Rock (Uluru), wild flowers in profusion after rains, an abundance of native animals and birds, and extensive saltbush grazing lands. The population is sparse and tourism is important to the District’s economy.
District 9510 is the home of the longest straight section of rail line in the world (478 km) and contains the largest lead smelter in the world. The opal fields of Coober Pedy produce some of the world’s best opals. The great white shark roams South Australia’s waters and the tuna and lobster industries are an important export commodity.
DEVELOPMENT OF OUR ROTARY DISTRICT
Rotary began in Chicago (USA) in 1905, when founder Paul Harris met with three other businessmen, and gradually spread nationally; and then internationally from 1910. The intervention of World War 1 delayed the spread of Rotary to many parts of the world, including Australia.
Rotary in South Australia started with the formation of the Rotary Club of Adelaide on 4 February, 1924.
Australia’s first Rotary Clubs were formed in 1921 (Melbourne in April & Sydney in May). By 1927 there were 17 Rotary Clubs across Australia: Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle, Adelaide, Hobart, Launceston, Bendigo, Geelong, Ballarat, Rockhampton, Parramatta, Mackay, Townsville, Perth, Wollongong and Albury.
In September 1927, these 17 Clubs were deemed sufficient to form Australia’s first Rotary District – District 65 “for all Australia” – enabling the appointment of Australia’s first District Governor, and the beginning of annual District Conferences. Today there are nearly 1,100 Clubs in 21 Rotary Districts across Australia.
A Rotary District is regarded as a manageable administrative unit for both Rotary International and the District Governor; so as the number of Rotary Clubs in Australia grew, so did the number of Rotary Districts. By 1930, the growing number of Clubs in New South Wales and Queensland was deemed sufficient for them to detach from District 65 to form their own District 76.
Following this detachment in 1930 our District 65 was then officially described as: “that portion of Australia including South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory, the City of Broken Hill and that part of New South Wales south of the Murrumbidgee River.”
As further Rotary Clubs were formed across Australia, and new Districts detached from our District, the enormous geographic area of our District gradually reduced.
By October 1946, there were 116 Rotary Clubs in Australia, enabling Clubs in Western Victoria (west of Ballarat), South Australia and Western Australia to separate from District 65 to form a new District 64 – beginning with 22 Clubs and 880 Rotarians.
In 1949, District 64 was re-numbered District 33, and began July 1949 with 30 Clubs and 1218 Rotarians across Western Victoria, South and Western Australia.
On 1 October, 1951, our direct connection with the Western Australian Clubs was finally severed, with the detachment of Western Australia’s 12 Clubs and 471 Rotarians from District 33 to create a new District 34 for Western Australia.
In 1957 a further re-numbering of Rotary Districts took place, with District 33 being re-numbered District 250. By 1958 District 250 had 38 Clubs, with 1622 Rotarians.
The early years of District 250 saw rapid expansion, even after the Northern Territory detached in 1961 to join District 255, and Clubs in Western Victoria (excluding Sunraysia) and the South-Eastern corner of South Australia detached in 1965 to create new District 278.
From 1965, the significantly-reduced District 250 continued its steady growth, rebuilding to 44 Clubs in 1967 and 52 Clubs in 1971. By 1977, District 250 had grown to 65 Clubs with 2,829 Rotarians; prompting a further division of the District.
At the same time, Rotary Districts world-wide were being re-numbered (with a ‘9’ replacing the ‘2’ in the prefix) so, in 1977, District 250 split to become Districts 950 and 952, giving us the geographic boundaries that have remained unchanged until the present.
Rotary Districts 9520 and 9500
This division of former District 250 attempted to “ensure a more equitable distribution of the existing industrial and residential areas, and city and country Clubs, of former District 250.”
New District 952 began 1977 with 34 Clubs (16 city & 18 country) with 1387 Rotarians; while District 950 retained 31 Clubs (18 city & 13 country) with 1442 Rotarians.
Since then, the geographic area of these two Districts has remained unchanged; only the District numbers were changed from three to four digits in 1991 with the addition of a ‘zero’.
At the present time (May 2020), Districts 9520 and 9500 are two of 21 Rotary Districts in Australia – quite a change from the one Rotary District for the whole of Australia in 1927!