The Rotary Club of Bendigo is proud to have had established a number of major Club Projects that are held on an annual basis and enjoyed by both residents and visitors to our community. Our major Club projects include the Bendigo Rotary Easter Art Show, Carols by Candlelight (held in Rosiland Park), our Annual Night Golf Event. Some of these events have been running very successfully for over 50 years.
In addition, our Club is a major supporter of other local annual community events such as the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show, The Bendigo Swap Meet and more recently the MS 24 Hour Mega Swim.
You can read more about our Club Projects below:
Rotary Youth Exchange Program
A twelve-month School and Cultural exchange for students in Years 9 to 11. Our club sponsors a student out in January and hosts a student in Bendigo who arrives late July. Applications close in April. I
Bendigo Rotary Easter Art Show
For over 50 years the Rotary Club of Bendigo have held its annual Easter Art Show with more than 800 paintings on show and for sale.
Held in the beautiful Bendigo Town Hall visitors to the Easter Fair are able to browse through the displays and watch the resident artist at work each day.
Artists enter from all around Victoria and as far away as Queensland. Works are of a very high standard and winners are judged in a variety of categories by art experts from the region. An overall "Best In Show" painting is awarded each year and it is a highly contested prize worth $2,500.
It is the major fund raiser for the local club with all the funds raised going to help local charities, volunteer groups, schools and special community projects.
Carols by Candlelight
The Rotary Club of Bendigo has been conducting the Carols by Candlelight program in Bendigo prior to Christmas since 1970.
The program is presented annually in Rosalind Park Bendigo, with the exception of some years when it has been transferred to other sites due to City of Greater Bendigo carry out infrastructure works within the Park or rain has prevented the event being held outdoors in which case the event has transferred to the exhibition hall at the Prince of Wales Showgrounds.
The Rotary Club of Bendigo predominately presents the program as a community service for the citizens of Bendigo.
If there is any small profit from the program this is allocated to a nominated Bendigo community or charity organisation that is decided on a year to year basis.
Life on the Land - Drought Relief Appeal
Terry Jarvis is one of Australia’s most exceptional water colour artists and with his partner Michelle Kent they wondered what they could do to help during one of the toughest droughts in Australia’s drought riddled history. So, they stuck to what they knew and generated the ‘Life on the Land – Our Farming Heroes’ painting exhibition at the Bendigo Town Hall in November 2019, which raised over $40,000.
This total included a major donation from Gulf Horizons Foundations, in conjunction with Flashmarket and EyeCandy Motorsports, along with the support of other local donors including Fosterville Gold Mine and the City of Greater Bendigo.
Strathfieldsaye Primary School students held their own fund raising event and donated all funds to the Life on the Land appeal. In order to stage the exhibition and organise the distribution of the funds.
Terry contacted Brian Figg from the Rotary Club of Bendigo Easter Art Exhibition, where he had helped over many years. Terry and Rotary members worked together during the exhibition and organised distribution of the available funds.
The largest distribution, so far, of $20,000 went to the Rotary Club of Cobar and saw a B-double truck load of hay distributed to farmers in the Central NSW area. With this funding the RC of Cobar was able to secure further funds from Rotary Australia World Community Service and a second truckload of hay was organised. Funds also went to Rotary Clubs in Mildura where food vouchers were provided to farming families in the Millewa region and hygiene products to school children at Werrimul, including a voucher for new shoes.
The East Loddon Foodshare program, produced grocery hampers, with groceries purchased locally, from funds provided by the project. Importantly the hampers were distributed to local CFA brigades and Salvos for distribution to families they identified in need.
Following the success of these distributions a further $30,000 was donated by the Gulf Horizons Foundation and some personal donations from individuals were gladly received.
The Rotary Club of Bendigo continues to review further distribution opportunities including funding to community groups like East Loddon Foodshare, Drought Angels, Star Thrower and Hive Aid. A pallet of cosmetics was made available and distribution with hampers and vouchers is being organised.
The Rotary Club of Bendigo acknowledges the foresight of Terry Jarvis and Michelle Kent in generating the “Life on the Land – Drought Relief Appeal” exhibition and thanks the generous donors for their generosity. Further donations to the appeal are welcomed. https://donations.rawcs.com.au/36-2019-20
Bendigo Swap Meet
Each your the Bendigo Rotary Club, along with other Rotary Clubs in our area and volunteers, support the smooth running of the Bendigo Swam Meet.
Operating for over 40 years, the event has over 1700 sites and draws huge crowds from all over Australia.
Our club is responsible for the food preparation areas and food/drink sales to visitors. This event generates valuable funds that we use to distribute to organisations and projects within our community.
Annual Operation Cleft Fundraiser
Every team entered into Rotary Club Bendigo's Annual Event will provide a life changing cleft operation for an underprivileged child in poverty stricken Bangladesh.
Since 2009 we have raised over $100,000 by hosting an annual competition in February. Be it Golf or Bowls get a team together and it'll cost you just $300 to play or for $400 you can also sponsor a hole. BBQ dinner provided before tea off.
Operation Cleft has changed the life of over 10,000 children and by doing that has also changed the life of their family members who often felt ostracised by their communities. You can provide this free cleft lip and palate repair surgery for underprivileged children in Bangladesh and all you need to do is get some mates together and play a round of golf.
Bendigo Sheep & Wool Show
Each July, Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Bendigo spend more than a week working at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show.
Our major task is overseeing occupational health and safety issues from bump-in to bump-out. Working at the show provides a great opportunity for interaction with members of the farming community.
The show, which is the largest sheep and wool show in the world, is organised by the Bendigo based, Australian Sheep Breeders Association. Over three days, more than 30,000 people came through the gate, to see almost 3,000 sheep together with a multitude of stalls and farm equipment displays.
Exhibitors in the wool section are encouraged to donate their fleeces to a nominated charity. The charity in 2021 was MND Victoria. At the conclusion of the show, club members helped Landmark staff with the classing and pressing of donated wool. Landmark will sell the wool at auction in Melbourne and a cheque for the proceeds was presented to MND and portion of the funds also funded an agricultural scholarship for a Bendigo student.
MS 24 Hour Mega Swim
In August 2019, the Rotary Club of Bendigo hosted the inaugural Bendigo MS 24 Hour Mega Swim at Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre.
It was an exciting event with 9 teams competing, but also working together, with the aim of raising $20,000 to assist people living with multiple sclerosis in the Bendigo region. The event was a huge success raising over $30,000 and enjoyed by all who participated.
Money raised from the MS MegaSwim and other events fund MS Go for Gold Scholarships who are awarded to people living with multiple sclerosis, who wish to follow a dream. For all participants, the scholarships provide the opportunity to significantly change lives.
Due to the huge success of the event, it is planned that we will support and facilitate this event on a bi-annual basis. So watch this space, and…. just keep swimming, just keep swimming…