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DISTRICT 9500 GEOGRAPHICALLY

District 9500 embraces most of South Australia and half of the Northern Territory. It covers 1,700,000 square kilometres and stretches from the Southern Ocean, Kangaroo Island and Adelaide in the south to beyond Alice Springs in the north, extending to the Western Australia/South Australia border in the west.

South Australia's population is 1.3 million, of which 800,000 live in the area covered by District 9500. Currently there are about 1600 Rotarians in 53 Clubs. Most of the population live in a narrow coastal belt including near the Capital city, Adelaide (population 1,000,000). The other part of South Australia is largely covered by our neighbouring District, District 9520. The economy of South Australia is centred on industry, commerce, sheep, wheat, cattle, wine, fruit, fishing and tourism. The southern half of the Northern Territory relies on tourism and cattle.

The District is predominantly semi-arid or arid with spectacular scenery - Ayers Rock (Uluru), wild flowers in profusion after rains, an abundance of native animals and birds, and extensive saltbush grazing lands. The population is sparse and tourism is important to the District's economy.

District 9500 is the home of the longest straight line of railway in the world (478 km) and contains the largest lead smelter in the world. The opal fields of Coober Pedy produce some of the world's best opals. The great white shark roams South Australia's waters and the tuna and lobster industries are an important export commodity.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DISTRICT

Rotary in South Australia started with the formation of the Rotary Club of Adelaide on the 24th August, 1923. At this time there were only four other Clubs in Australia - Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Newcastle.

Two commissioners were appointed. One, Professor Osborne of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, to look after the Southern States of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia, and the other, Sir Henry Braddon of the Rotary Club of Sydney for New South Wales and Queensland. The main role of both Commissioners was to foster the extension of Rotary.

Although there were 'unofficial' Conferences held for the Clubs in 1926 and 1927 there was no District in Australia until the 15th September, 1927, when one District 65 was formed for the whole of Australia. The first District Governor was Fred Birks (Drugs Retailing) of the Rotary Club of Sydney and he served for two years.

Over the years new Districts have been formed from the original District 65 as the number of Clubs increased. As far as District 9500 is concerned there have been Districts 64, 33, 250 and 950 in its formation.

Early South Australian Clubs were Mount Gambier - 1928, Unley - 1935, Port Adelaide - 1946, Victor Harbor - 1947 and Port Lincoln - 1949.

It was on the 1st July, 1977 that District 250 was divided into Districts 950 and 952. with District 950 occupying the Western half of South Australia and Alice Springs/Yulara, whilst District 952 the Eastern half of South Australia, the Riverland and Mildura.

The late Jack Turner, from the Rotary Club of Adelaide West, became the first District Governor of District 950 when there were 32 Clubs and 1505 members. A re-numbering brought about the present District 9500 on the 1st July, 1991.

At present there are 53 Clubs in the District with approximately 1600 members. In recent times two Rotary Clubs, Makin EDGE Tea Tree Gully and Roxby District have been Chartered, as well as the Rotaract Club for Global Peace at the ThebartonSeniorCollege.

PP. Colin Brideson - Historian.