A history of the Rotary Club of Sale

Sale Rotary Club was formed in 1928 when the population of the Town of Sale was about 4000. It was in the decade of the so-called “Roaring Twenties” of the “Jazz Age”, a time of shallow optimism following the slaughter of the Great War.

Already there were predictions of an economic slump but few listened.

From early aerial photographs, residential Sale in 1928 was mainly confined to the blocks bounded by Foster and Raglan streets on the one hand, and Thompson St. and Guthridge Parade on the other, apart from a wedge to the west being former Village Settlement. Fifteen houses, nearly all weatherboard, were being built in Sale in 1928, the year of Rotary’s birth in Sale.

Even so, this activity did little to fill in the large empty spaces so characteristic of country towns of the time.

The most notable changes to the streetscape of Sale of the late 1920’s were the building of the Palais Theatre and the Prince Regent Theatre (both commenced in 1926) the Catholic Primary School and convent, Pearson Street (commenced 1927), Lazzaro’s two-storey brick shop and billiard room together with the AMP Society’s premises (both commenced in 1929).

In 1928, Sale Steamboat Company which had run the SS Omeo and SS Dargo since 1880, was on its last legs, its deadly assailants being the motor car, lorry and motor bike.

A road count taken at Wurruk on Christmas morning 1928 numbered 255 motorists with 46 motorcyclists interspersed, none presumably sparing a thought for the steamboats once, not so long before, the centre of main attraction for holidaymakers.

The decision to form a Rotary Club in Sale was made on July 12th, 1928. No doubt the prestige of Bishop Cranswick, the second Bishop of Gippsland, and the enthusiastic support of members of Melbourne Rotary Club, were crucial factors in ensuring a successful launch.

The inaugural dinner meeting of the club was held at the Club Hotel on August 24, 1928, at which Bishop Cranswick presided. It was on this occasion that Mr Mitchell of Melbourne Club, presented Sale with an inscribed brass gong, still in use today.

Although yet to receive its charter, the Sale Club settled into a weekly luncheon meeting, with members and local notables obliging as guest speakers, giving , in the main, talks about their professions. The granting of the charter from Rotary International, Chicago – the home of the International Rotary movement – meant, among other things, that the Sale club was now permitted to increase its membership.

Rotary was at this time represented in 44 countries.

Charter Members – 1928

Office Bearers  President: Rt. Rev G.H. Cranswick; Vice President: R.M. Rolland;                                          Treasurer: F.W. Chalmer; Secretary: L.P Jensen; Sergeant at Arms: Lt.Col. T.J. Daley

Members – S .J. Overend; T.V. Trood; G.S. Walker; H.C Gardiner; W.C Leslie; G.A. Hagenauer;                                   G.M. Davis; Dr A. H. McDonald; J.J. Breheny; R Harrison