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Rotary International

About Rotary

Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 32,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.


In 1905, Paul P. Harris, an attorney from Chicago held a meeting that would go on to influence the lives of millions of people throughout the world, he held the first meeting for the Rotary Club of Chicago, the first service club in the world.

Since then, Rotary has grown to have over 1.2 million members worldwide and has over 34, 000 clubs in almost every country in the world.

Click here to find out more about Rotary International

To help organize all these clubs, Rotary International is broken up into Districts. There are over 500 districts worldwide, 22 of them in Australia. The District that covers much of metropolitan Melbourne, including North Balwyn, also stretches all the way up to Echuca-Moama and is known as District 9800.

5 Avenues of Service

Rotary is underpinned by 5 areas through which service can be provided, known as the 5 Avenues of Service:

  • Club Service recognizes that strong clubs are in the best position to provide service to the community, so focuses on fellowship and effective club functioning
  • Vocational Service encourages members be more effective and ethical through their careers and to use their professional experience in service projects
  • Community Service helps to strengthen and improve the local community through various projects both large and small
  • International Service looks beyond the local community to the global level so that assistance may be given to communities throughout the world
  • New Generations Service acknowledges that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow and that investing in them is an investment in the future

Rotary Membership

Members of a Rotary club are part of a diverse group of professional leaders working to address various community and international service needs and to promote peace and understanding throughout the world. If you would like to be considered for membership by a local Rotary club, complete a Prospective Member Contact Form. RI will forward your information to clubs in your area.