About us – Rotary Club of Darwin

About the Rotary Club of Darwin

Rotary Club of Darwin – The First Rotary Club chartered in the Northern Territory.

When the Rotary Club of Darwin was chartered on 8 September 1958, Robert Menzies was Australia’s Prime Minister; Bill Lawry was playing cricket for Australia; the America’s Cup was not even a gleam in Australian yachtsmen’s eyes; TV had only been in Australia for two years; Darwin had no TV stations and only two radio stations; legal tender was still pounds, shillings and pence; Cyclone Tracy was still sixteen years into the future; the Northern Territory was still twenty years away from having self government; fax machines and personal computers were not known; Darwin was certainly not on the beaten tourist track and in fact the grand total of Darwin’s population was 9,500.

Darwin Rotary Club - The first Northern Territory Rotarians

The first Northern Territory Rotarians

The 25 inaugural members of the Rotary Club of Darwin. pictured here with the World President of Rotary International for 1958-59, Cliff Randall and his wife Renate (seated third and fourth from left)

Changes for Darwin Rotary

Things have changed! Today politicians wear ties and even suits; bank managers wouldn’t be seen dead in tailored shorts any more during working hours; crocodiles are protected; locking the front and back doors is a necessity, not an option; dollars and cents are the legal tender; Darwin not only has sixteen commercial TV stations, but also a cable service and a large, diverse and rapidly growing number of radio stations; the Territory has its own twenty five member parliament; Darwin’s tallest building is thirty three stories high: computers and the internet seem to increasingly rule our lives; hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the city each year; we actually have a growing band of retirees electing to call the city home; and the population of the Darwin/Palmerston area is approximately 120,000.

Community Involvement for Darwin Rotary

Yet despite all these changes, one striking constant over the years has been the Rotary Club of Darwin’s involvement in the community. Members and projects have certainly come and gone, but the club’s commitment to the ideals of Rotary International and its contribution to the ongoing viability and health of our community remains the same.

Only two Australian Clubs have had their charters
personally presented to them by a President of Rotary International
Darwin Rotary was the first, and almost 50 years later, on 30 June 2008,
Gosford South became the second.

Some members of Darwin Rotary today

Some of us today



Rotary Club of Darwin normal club meetings are held each Thursday night at the Novotel Atrium Hotel on the Esplanade in Darwin, 6.00 for 6.30pm.

Occasionally we have ‘away’ functions and these will be notified in advance on our website.



Paspaley Shirt Award – Darwin Rotary

Darwin Rotary Club Paspaley Shirt Award

Paspaley Shirt Award

At each club meeting (if the Sergeant remembers) the fines session ends with the ‘Paspaley Shirt Award’.  The

hapless recipient of this award is the member (and sometimes a guest) who is judged to have the most garish shirt of the evening.

Nick Paspaley, who was a charter member of the club and eventually, a world expert on pearls and pearl culture, was a very strong long term club member who had a penchant for wearing the loudest shirt he could find to a meeting.

Current club members often go out of their way when interstate or overseas to choose the most tasteless shirt they can find.

Click to Read about the History of the Rotary Club of Darwin


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