ESC students met with Gary Frank, 2021 President of Eaglehawk Rotary, to find out about Gary and the role of Rotary in the Eaglehawk community.

Note: this article was written for the previous issue when Gary was president, and has been carried over to this issue due to unforeseen circumstances.

Gary joined Rotary in 2017, “after being involved with the Bendigo Easter Festival for fifteen years, I decided I needed to move onto another community organisation, and I was attracted to Rotary”.

The presidency lasts for one year, and provides leadership through weekly
meetings with members.  Currently, Rotary has about twenty members although, they would like to have more, particularly some younger members.

Rotary is a worldwide organisation that operates locally and internationally.  At a local level, fundraising is undertaken to contribute back to the community.  Over the years, Eaglehawk Rotary has been involved with many things such as the Dahlia and Arts Festival and the
Eaglehawk Golf Club.  Rotary built one of the toilet blocks, the stage, and the
fountain in Canterbury Park.  

Many people may be unaware that for every dollar that Rotary donates, Bill
Gates matches it by donating $2. An example is the film night that was recently held in Bendigo where $1,200 was raised. With Bill Gates’ contribution, the total raised was close to $5,000. And Bill Gates does this for Rotary right across the world.

“I find that Eaglehawk people are passionate about Eaglehawk.
I’ve never found that anywhere else that I’ve lived”.

Rotary Clubs across Australia cooperate with each other in providing financial assistance when and where it is needed.  Cobar, a town in the middle of New South Wales had no water for a long time. Gary remembers a family there that had twelve kids and they didn’t have any water.
Eaglehawk Rotary helped Cobar Rotary Club to give a simple but basic thing that was essential. In Gary’s eyes, this is something that Rotary does well. Similarly, the Rotary clubs assisted with the recent floods in New South Wales contributing around $2,000 to the Lismore community.

We asked Gary about current projects that the club was considering.  “One of our members has a vision for Lightning Hill.  At the top is the lookout that was built in the early 1960s.  We want to revamp that lookout to have a view over Eaglehawk and be a hub for a bike track, but that’s probably a ten year project”.  There is also a second hand bookshop in Eaglehawk that is run by Rotary which sells donated books, open between 10am and
12 midday on Saturdays.

“I think Eaglehawk has a special spirit”.

In the future, Gary hopes to see more people in the club, particularly Eaglehawk people. 

“If you look at the members that are in the club, not a lot of them are from Eaglehawk.  I think Eaglehawk has a special spirit. The future is not
in the hands of my generation, it’s in the hands of the younger generation”.

“The future of Eaglehawk is in the hands of the younger generation”.

“The passion for the future is not with older people, it rests with younger people. Many younger people haven’t found their passion yet.  But one day
somebody will inspire you and you will give back to your community. Community is good. It’s about give and take”.

Gary’s message for the youth of Eaglehawk:

To have no fear.

“I wish I had no fear. Because the future is going to happen. And if you have no fear, then you’ve got confidence. And if you’ve got confidence, you can do anything. And confidence comes from yourself”.

“To have confidence means you can do anything”.

“You can be anything you want, but you’ve got to believe in yourself. And to do that you’ve got to have no fear”.


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