Lions Clubs were first formed in 1917 and since then clubs have been established around the world. Here is a link to our history http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/about-lions/mission-and-history/our-history/index.php
Below are some details of past officers and past history of our district.
Past International Officers (Members of our District)
|2013-14||201N5||International President Barry Palmer AM|
|2012-13||201N5||International 1st Vice President Barry Palmer AM|
|2011-12||201N5||International 2nd Vice President Barry Palmer AM|
|1958-60||Australia||International Director James Richardson BEM (*)|
|1960-62||201B||William (Bill) Berge Phillips OBE (*)|
|1980-82||201G||Ken Lentfer OAM|
|2000-02||201N5||Barry Palmer AM|
Past District Governors and Convention Host Clubs
|Year||District||District Governor||Convention Host|
|2014-15||201N5||Dr Anthony Cheung||Sydney Chinese|
|2013-14||201N5||Warren Latham||Epping Eastwood|
|2011-12||201N5||Steve Coleman||Clubs of Norfolk Island|
|2006-07||201N5||Peter Mendl||District Committee|
|2005-06||201N5||Jim Ede||District Committee|
|2004-05||201N5||Nigel Jeny||Zone 10 Convention Committee|
|2003-04||201N5||Allen Fraser||Clubs of Zone 15|
|2002-03||201N5||Patrick McAppion||District Committee|
|2001-02||201N5||Lance Murchison||Clubs of Norfolk Island|
|2000-01||201N5||John Sim||Clubs of the Eastern Suburbs|
|1997-98||201N5||John Fullarton||Combined Lioness Clubs of N5|
|1996-97||201N5||Barry Palmer||Castle Hill|
|1994-95||201N5||Geoff Cossart||Baulkham Hills|
|1992-93||201N5||Lindsay Payne (*)||Kings Langley|
|1991-92||201N5||Colin Bland||Norfolk Island|
|1990-91||201N2||Jim Zorbas (Resigned)||Beverly Hills Roselands|
|201N5||John Booth||Colyton-St Clair|
|210N5||Tony Bradshaw (*)||Hornsby|
|1986-87||201N2||Roger Sherrington||Kings Cross|
|201N5||Bede Long OAM||Norfolk Island|
|1985-86||201N2||Nick Bible||Camden Macarthur|
|201N5||Peter McManamey (*)||Baulkham Hills|
|1983-84||201N2||Tony Rannard (*)||Ingleburn|
|201N5||Brian Daniels||Frenchs Forest|
|1982-83||201N2||Arthur Stone (*)||Yagoona|
|201N5||Ray Lalchere (*)||St. Marys|
|1980-81||201N2||Dennis Lane (*)||Cabramatta|
|201N5||Reg Prudames (*)||Castle Hill|
|1979-80||201N2||Gary Cooper (*)||Sydney Cosmopolitan|
|201N5||David Tuckerman OAM||Norfolk Island|
|1978-79||201N2||Keith Small (*)||Rockdale|
|201N5||Don Furnass (*)||Richmond|
|1976-77||201B||Ken Willard (*)||Kings Cross|
|201G||Neil Williams OAM (*)||Pittwater|
|201G||David Rogalsky (*)||Parramatta|
|1974-75||201B||Walt Edel (*)||Auburn|
|201G||Ken Lentfer OAM||Riverstone|
|1973-74||201B||Bob Lowe (Resigned)||Greenacre|
|201G||Athol Angel (*)||Norfolk Island|
|201G||John Plunkett (*)||Chatswood|
|201G||Frank Ralph (*)||Manly|
|1970-71||201B||Chic Wilson OAM||Sydney|
|201G||Graham Poole (Resigned)||Katoomba|
|1969-70||201B||Jim Ledingham (*)||Wollongong|
|201G||Ted Horwood (*)||Balgowlah|
|1968-69||201B||Harry Watkins (Resigned)||Kogarah|
|201G||David Bull (*)||Blacktown|
|1967-68||201B||Eric Blain (Resigned)||Paddington|
|201G||Rex Turner (Resigned)||Avalon|
|1966-67||201B||Ron Rofe (*)||Kings Cross|
|201G||Allan Waters (*)||Lane Cove|
|1965-66||201B||Phil Lusher (*)||Bankstown|
|201G||Joe Granger (*)||Lithgow|
|1964-65||201B||Harry Brown (*)||Wollongong|
|201G||Bill Frost BEM (*)||Narrabeen|
|1963-64||201B||Lyle Harvey (*)||Kings Cross|
|1962-63||201B||Ken Bunn MBE (*)||Manly|
|1961-62||201B||Harry Wakeham (*)||Katoomba|
|1960-61||201B||Roy Gerathy (*)||Randwick|
|1959-60||201B||Ernest Ireland (*)||Kogarah|
|1958-59||201B||Jack Manning (*)||Hurstville|
|1957-58||201B||William (Bill) Berge Phillips OBE (*)||Sydney|
|1956-57||201||James Richardson BEM (*)||Lismore|
|1955-56||201||Sydney Packham (*)||Brisbane|
|1954-55||201||Conrad Weickhardt (Resigned)|
|1953-54||201||Claude Hill (*)|
|1947-53||201||William (Bill) Tresise (*)|
Following the formation of Australia’s first Lions club at Lismore on 1st July 1947 some five and a half years went by before the first Lions club was formed in Sydney. The history of District 201N5 may be said to have commenced when Sydney’s first Lions club was formed in December 1952. The formation followed lengthy investigation by Bill Berge Phillips, a Sydney lawyer and Charles Copeland who had heard about ‘Lionism’ from Bill Tresise of Lismore. Tresise had sent Phillips pamphlets.
Phillips and Copeland, who were booked to travel abroad, studied the pamphlets and planned to carry out their own individual investigations into Lions and their activities whilst overseas.
Bill Berge Phillips, a noted Australian swimmer and polo player, was travelling to the Helsinki Olympic Games where he officiated as member of the Jury of Appeal and Chief Judge of Appeal.
Bill Copeland was travelling to the United States. Whilst in Chicago he arranged to visit the Lions International headquarters and meet with Melvin Jones.
Bill and Charles returned to Australia in September 1952 and decided to start a Lions club in Sydney.
A Canadian Lion, Gordon Smith came to Australia, as the ‘International Delegate’, from Chicago in October 1952.
With the assistance of Gordon Smith, Bill and Charles arranged for the first meeting in Sydney to be held on 2nd December 1952 and at this meeting the decision to form a Lions club in Sydney was confirmed.
Organising this first club was difficult as no one in Sydney, apart from Berge Phillips and Copeland had ever heard of Lions International. It is said that people, upon sighting Bill’s Lions badge, would ask if it were a ‘Liars Club’.
Bill and Charles were so enthusiastic that they drove, with their wives, to Surfers Paradise for the Charter Night of the Southport Lions Club. Until then they hadn’t met any other Lions in Australia apart from Bill Tresise and Gordon Smith. Although at that time there were eleven clubs in Australia with all except two being located in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland.
The Lions of Sydney was the 12th Lions Club formed in Australia. Some 30 Charter Members accompanied by 150 friends and guests attended the Charter Night at ‘Windsor Gardens’, Chatswood on 6th March 1953. Officer bearers were Charter President Charles Copeland, First Vice President Bill Berge Phillips, Second Vice President Ken Watson (also secretary of the Australian Surf Life Saving Association) and Third Vice President Terry Fairburn.
When Gordon Smith returned to Chicago in 1953, Terry Fairburn became the permanent representative of Lions International in Australia working, as had Gordon Smith, from his home in Sydney and travelling extensively in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
William (Bill) Berge Phillips went on to serve as District Governor of District 201B in 1957-58, Council Chairman in 1958-59 and as an International Director in 1960-62.
During the following six months the pace of formation of Australian Lions clubs stepped up with new clubs being formed at Geelong, Victoria (16th March), Essendon, Victoria (18th March), Cessnock, NSW (21st April), Coffs Harbour, NSW (27th April), Sunshine, Victoria (12th May), Narromine, NSW (5th June) and Hurstville, NSW (19th June).
International Delegate Gordon Smith made the first move to establish a Lions club in Hurstville. In May 1953 he met with John Dickson, Peter Clisdell and Rodney Simpson in the Board Room of Hunt’s Motors, Hurstville and it was decided to form a new club to meet at lunchtime on Fridays.
There were twelve people present at the first luncheon meeting. Peter Clisdell brought Syd Packham to the second meeting. Membership then grew rapidly. When District Governor Claude Hill travelled from Lismore to present the Charter to the Hurstville Lions Club at a function in the St George Club on 19th September 1953 there were 25 Charter Members. Amongst the Charter Members were Rod Simpson, Peter Clisdell, Syd Packham, Jack Manning and Frank Wolstenholme.
Peter Clisdell served as secretary in 1953-54, President in 1956-57 and Zone Chairman in 1967-68.
Syd Packham served as a Director in 1953-54 and then as both President of Hurstville Lions Club and Deputy District Governor of Lions in Australia in1954-55. The following year, 1955-56, Syd served as District Governor for the whole of Australia.
Jack Manning served as President in 1955-56, Zone Chairman in 1956-57, Deputy District Governor in 1957-58 and District Governor of District 201B in 1958-59.
District 201 had been divided into two districts in 1957-58 when Bill Berge Phillips served as the first District Governor of District 201B. At that time District 201B covered most of New South Wales from Armidale to Cobar, to Queanbeyan and Wollongong and included 27 clubs in the Sydney area.
The third Sydney Club was formed when Hurstville Lions Club sponsored a new Club at Kogarah. The Kogarah Club was formed on 20th October 1953, only one month after its sponsoring Club had been chartered. At the Charter night on 5th February 1954 there were 32 Charter Members and the Charter President was Ralph Wolstonholme who had been a Charter Member of the Hurstville Club.
Charter Member, Ern Ireland served as President in 1955-56 and as District Governor in 1959-60, by which time District 201 had been further sub-divided into four districts. In recognition of Ern’s outstanding contribution to Lionism, Kogarah Lions Club erected the Tourist Information Centre and Memorial Fountain in Blakehurst.
The fourth Club in the Sydney area was formed at Ku-ring-gai on 12th January 1954. Ku-ring-gai Lions Club met at Gordon Bowling Club on alternate Friday evenings. In 1954 Sydney, Hurstville and Kogarah Clubs were all luncheon clubs and Ku-ring-gai was the first evening Lions Club in the Sydney region.
EARLY AUSTRALIAN CONVENTIONS
Eleven Lions clubs were represented at the first Australian Convention held at the Coolangatta Country Women’s Association hall, Coolangatta, Queensland in April 1953. The hall was a small fibro building furnished with long wooden forms.
The second Australian Convention was held at the Sherbrooke Lounge, Double Bay, N.S.W., in April, 1954. Bill Tresise, the Founder of Lions in Australia, nominated Conrad Weikhardt, a member of Melbourne Lions Club, as District Governor, and Conrad was elected. However, he did not anticipate the work involved in carrying out the duties of District Governor, for, on July 1, 1954, District 201 comprised three clubs in Queensland, one (Coolangatta Tweed Heads) on the Queensland-New South Wales border, 20 in New South Wales and seven in Victoria. Although twelve new clubs had been established in 1953-54, with Claude Hill as District Governor, only six new clubs were formed in 1954-55 and Conrad resigned from Lions shortly after completing his term as District Governor.
The fifth club to be formed in the Sydney area was organised by Terry Fairbairn at a meeting held at Sherbrooke Lounge, Double Bay on 18th March, 1954. Woollahra Lions Club received its Charter on 14th May, 1954 when Charter President, Lionel Watson was one of 46 Charter members.
Many Lions Club have sponsored new Clubs, however, Woollahra Lions Club was the first Australian Club to sponsor a new Club in another country when it organised the formation of a new Club in Auckland, New Zealand on 3rd March, 1955.
THIRD AUSTRALIAN CONVENTION
After Conrad Weikhardt had been elected District Governor, no further Lions Clubs were formed in the Sydney area until after the rising of the Third Australian Convention in Melbourne in April, 1955.
At this Melbourne Convention, Sydney Packham, President of Hurstville Lions Club and Deputy District Governor was elected as District Governor of District 201 (the whole of Australia) for 1955-56 and a period of rapid growth ensued with the number of clubs in Australian doubling within the next twelve months.
The Mosman Lions Club was formed by Jack Richards, a former member of Sydney Lions Club. The first meeting was held in his home at Richmond Avenue Cremorne, on 12th April, 1955 and was attended by Bill Berge-Phillips and Charles Copeland, of Sydney lions Club, and a number of prospective members.
Mosman Lions Club received its Charter on 1st July 1955 at a dinner held at “Linden”, Cranebrook Avenue, Cremorne. Jack Richards was the Charter President and there were 17 Charter members, four of whom resigned in the first twelve months only to be replaced by 14 new members bringing the membership to 27 at as 1st June 1956.
The second President was Aubrey Bowen and the membership reached 50 during his term of office.
At the Lismore Convention in May 1957, Mosman Lions Club was the recipient of the District Governor’s Award for the premier Lions Club in the District, which then embraced the whole of Australia. During the period 1956-58, Mosman Club sponsored five new Clubs at Strathfield, Crows Nest, Ashfield, Chatswood and Wagga Wagga.
Manly Lions Club was formed on 14th December, 1955 and Charter President, Neville Bracey, served until June 1957.
INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT VISITS SYDNEY
The first International President to officially visit Sydney was Humberto Valenzuela who was borne in Santiago, Chile on 2nd December, 1896. He received the Degree of Doctor of Law and Political Science in 1918 and worked for the Bank of Chile in Santiago, becoming President in 1938. He was also a Director of many important companies in Chile. Humberto Valenzuela was the founder of the first Lions Club in Chile in 1948 and was the first District Governor in Chile. In his year as District Governor, 40 new clubs were formed. He personally introduced Lionism into four countries – Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay. At the South American Convention in Lima in May 1950, he was elected as International Director and two years later was elected as Third Vice President at the International Convention in Mexico City. In June, 1955 he was elected President of Lions International.
He visited Sydney on 2nd, 3rd and 4th February, 1956. Broadcasts were made by Humberto over the ABC network and on Eric Baume’s 15 Minutes program. He attended the District Governor’s Cabinet meeting on the morning of Thursday, 3rd February, and this was followed by a Civic Reception afforded him by the then Lord Mayor of Sydney, Alderman J.J. (Pat) Hills. Humberto then addressed a special luncheon meeting of Sydney Lions Club to which all Australian Lions had been invited. That evening an Official Welcome Dinner was held at the Wentworth Hotel with representatives of the Chilean legation present. On Friday, 4th he attended a meeting of the District Cabinet where he was informed of the requirements of the District. He later gave a press conference and in company with District Governor, Syd Packham was received by His Excellency Sir John Northcott, Governor of New South Wales and later by His Eminence Cardinal Gilroy at his private residence in Manly.
Randwick Lions Club, sponsored by Sydney Lions Club was the eighth club to be formed in the Sydney area. The Club was formed by John Page who had served as President of Sydney Lions Club in 1956-57. The first meeting was held on 12th March, 1956 and the Charter night held at Sherbrooke Lounge, Double Bay on 7th July, 1956. The first President was Eric Sonter and the first Vice-President, Lionel Bowen who was member for Randwick in the NSW Parliament from 1962 to1969 and member for Kingsford Smith in the Australian Parliament from 1969 to 1990. He served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1983 to 1990. The second Vice-President was Harry Jensen who later served for nine years as Lord Mayor of Sydney and who assisted in the expansion of Lions into South Australia in 1961. The Treasurer was Moss Ellis who served as President of Randwick Lions Club the following year. Another charter member of Randwick Lions Club was Jack Dillon who in 1993 completed 37 years membership of the Club and who also served as Mayor of Randwick.
The formation of Bankstown Lions Club was initiated by Ken Bowie of Kogarah Lions Club who contacted as a prospective member Harry Toohey. The first meeting was held at the Chapel Cafe, Chapel Road, Bankstown on the 3rd March 1956. Harry Toohey was the first President and the Charter Night was held at Bankstown Golf Club on 19th June, 1956. The club’s first project was raising funds to donate a “bath iron lung” to the Bankstown Hospital.
With the formation of Lane Cove Lions Club on 5th April, 1956, ten Lions Clubs had been formed in the Sydney area in three years and five months. However, the next ten clubs were established in the Sydney area in just 14 months.
Rockdale Lions Club had its first meeting on 1st May, 1956 and was sponsored by Hurstville Lions Club. Jack Manning and Sydney Packham took a very personal interest in the new club. The Charter President was George Barton whose son Ron had been a member of Hurstville Lions Club. Other Charter Members were Len Sharpe and Ken Gordon.
FOURTH AUSTRALIAN CONVENTION
The fourth Australian Convention was held in the Legislative Council Chamber, Parliament House, Brisbane on the 3rd, 4th and 5th May, 1956. Although, at that time some 59 Lions clubs had been chartered in Australia, District 201 covered the whole country. Nine of the Clubs were located in the Sydney area. The District Governor was Sydney Packham, Immediate Past President of Hurstville Lions Club.
Syd introduced the Hon. J.E. Duggan, Deputy Premier of Queensland who opened the conference. In thanking the Deputy Premier, District Governor Syd commented that there were now 2,000 Lions in Australia and throughout the world there was a membership of 540,000 in 73 countries.
After conducting Necrology Service, District Governor Syd Packham presented his report.
He stated that his term of office had commenced on 1st July 1955 with 37 clubs in the District and that at present there were 59 clubs. He referred to the work of the “International Delegate”, Terry Fairbairn who had organised the formation of the 22 new clubs. Terry had attended the organisational meeting of most of these new clubs and got them off to a good start. Syd said that a central office was necessary if the district was to continue growing as it had during the past 10 months.
On the second morning of the convention, Terry Fairbairn gave his report and paid tribute to Lions Jack Manning and Ron Barton from Hurstville club and Ken Bowie from Kogarah Club, each of whom had assisted in the formation of three Lions clubs in the last ten months. Deputy District Governor Charles Copeland and Lions Harry Wakeham, Bill Phillips, Naville Bracey, Frank Ball and Jack Richards from Sydney Lions Club had all helped considerably in the formation of new clubs. And also George Naher from Sydney who had been responsible for the organisation of Wangaratta Lions Club in Victoria.
Terry also reported that Lion at Large, Jack Begg from Glen Innes Lions Club had formed Fairfield Lions Club with 54 Charter members in April, 1956. Referring to the proposal by District Governor Syd Packham for Lions in Australia to have a central office, Terry stated that Lions International did not like to establish a central officer in a country until that country has at least 100 clubs. Terry did his own typing and when he returned from a trip of three weeks there were 50 letters waiting for him from the Clubs. He then reported that between 1947 and 1956 Lions International had spent a large sum of money in establishing and continuing Lionism in Australia. Terry believed that Australia should be self supporting as soon as possible. The only way to do that is to have plenty of new Clubs. He then stated that Syd Packham and he wanted Australia divided into two Districts but that Lions International would not permit this at present. This will mean a very hard year for the incoming District Governor and his cabinet with the District stretching over the States of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and with Clubs practically ready to be formed in South Australia and Tasmania.
During the discussion following the report by Terry Fairbairn, a question was asked as to the minimum number of clubs that Lions International would require before agreeing the division of Australia into two Districts. Syd Packham replied that there was not set number in the Constitution but that he understood the number was 75.
DISTRICT GOVERNOR JAMES D RICHARDSON ELECTED
There were three nominations for the position of District Governor for 1956-57, Jim Richardson (Hotel Keeper) of Brunswick-Mullumbimby Lions Club, Ernie Ireland (Cake Manufacturer) of Kogarah Lions Club and Ern Davison (Music Shop Proprietor) of Footscray Lions Club. A ballot was held and Jim Richardson was elected. Jim was Charter President of Brunswick-Mullumbimby Club and was President for two years and served the following year as Zone Chairman. In 1956 he was President of Brunswick Heads R.S.L. Sub-Branch and R.S.L. Club, President of Brunswick Heads Progress Association, President of Brunswick Heads Football Association, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the Byron Football League and committeeman of the Northern Rivers Racing Association. In 1958 he was the first Australian to be elected as an International Director of Lions and he served for two years on the International Board of Governors.
There were also three nominations for Host Club for the 1957 Convention. A Ballot was held to decide between Maitland, Lismore and Sydney and Lismore was chosen.
Bill Tresise (the founder of Lions in Australia) representing Melbourne Lions Club, reported on his work as the member representing Australia on the Lions Board of International Relations. He commented that he had approached the District Governor of the Philippines with the object of selecting three Philippine Lions to come to Australia, as our guests. He proposed that every Lions Club in Australia be visited by one or more of the Philippine Lions and the following year three Australian Lions would be selected to go and visit the 45 clubs in the Philippine Islands.
Lion Jim Richardson asked “Was there any organised finance for International Relations?” Bill Tresise replied that you get nothing at all for what you put into it. If you spend money for airmail letters it is your responsibility. Your reward is what you may have done for your country.
Lions Vic Jacobs said that as Chairman of the Projects Committee of Sydney Clubs, he had organised a manufacturer and two printers in Sydney to produce envelopes with the Lions emblem and a message about Lionism on the back. This would publicise Lionism and, at the same time, raise funds.
On the last morning of the Convention the District Governor Syd Packham stated that all three applications from cities to host the 1957 Convention were out of order. It was resolved that the Convention accept the nominations from Lismore, Maitland and Sydney Clubs to host the 1957 Convention. It was also resolved that the programme for the next Convention allow at least 16 hours for discussion of business.
At the 1955 Convention it had been agreed that every Lions Club in Australia would assist in a Lions Olympic Hospitality Centre in Melbourne during the period of the Olympic Games. At the 1956 Convention, Bill Berge Phillips seconded the motion that the sum of $10 be levied from each Club as a bank if required to assist with a Lions Hospitality room in Melbourne during the Olympic Games.
INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT HUMBERTO VALENZUELA VISITS SYDNEY
AND AUSTRALIA BECOMES A MULTIPLE DISTRICT
While International President Humberto Valenzuela was in Sydney, it was decided that when the number of Clubs was great enough, Australia would be divided into two Districts with a line that went from Gosford roughly north west to Collarenebri and from there to a spot just east of the Queensland South Australian border, and from there directly west in a straight line across the Australian continent.
There was much discussion at the convention in relating to whether Australia should be divided into two or three districts. The District Governor read the Constitution which said, “Division of districts for the purpose of election of district governors shall be made in the following manner: “the division proposed shall be submitted to the delegates of an Annual Convention of the district and, if approved by them, shall be submitted to the International Board of Directors for approval.” The District Governor suggested that Australia apply to divide into three districts and a motion to this effect was passed.
The twelfth Lions Club to be formed in Sydney Area was Bondi Lions Club. Bondi was also the 62nd Lions Club to be formed in Australia and the 12,304th Club affiliated by Lions Club International. The official date of formation was July 19, 1956. The sponsoring Club was Sydney Lions Club. The Charter night was held at the Rex Hotel Bondi on November 3, 1956. Jack Brandon was the Charter Chairman and Fred Workman the Charter President.