How fortunate are we, the current members of the Rotary Club of Balwyn, to have inherited the incredible legacy of the Rotary Camberwell Sunday Market? At the July club Board meeting in 1976 the vote to start a Sunday market at Camberwell junction was tied, six for six against. Charter members, President Jim Hopper and President Elect Fred Gibbs were on the Board. Jim Hopper cast the deciding vote in favour.
The first market on 29/08/1976 was a car boot sale in the Market Pl. car park. Those early days required the club members to start at 5am and finish mid-afternoon. In the forty-five years of trading every Sunday, except for Covid lockdowns, over $20 million has been raised. The ripple effect of our many projects and the projects of other Rotary clubs and community organisations we have supported is enormous.
Paul Coghlan, recently retired supreme court judge and Sunday market tragic, recently regaled us with stories of his thirty-six years of almost weekly attendance. Wearing his faded, once orange cap, a diet coke in hand he followed the same three-hour path starting at the bottom gate with a gold coin donation. The only thing that has changed for Paul is now he has a sit-down coffee with friends and a much quicker walk due to the changing mix of stalls. According to Paul it is the people, stall holders, patrons and Rotarians, that make the market special.
At a recent Board meeting, two Balwyn Centenary Grants were approved (funded from the net proceeds of the Camberwell Sunday Market and the most recent example what the Market supports):
• $25,000 together with existing funds will enable the Inner Melbourne Emergency Relief Network to purchase a van to be used to pick up donated goods and to deliver need goods to those in need. Having their own vehicle will make them much more agile, able to source more quality stock donations and therefore support more people in need in the inner Melbourne municipalities that we service.
• $24,000 to the Rotary Clubs of Central and South Launceston towards their water bore project inTanzania. Note: Funding to be used to install two bores including hydrology survey, drilling hole, testing water quality and volume, casing hole, capping hole and installing hand pump. Installation of 10-20 water bores with hand/manual pumps to provide drinking water for villages of 2,000 –5,000 population in Tarime District of Northern Tanzania, that currently do not have easy access to drinking water. For most of the year women and schoolgirls spend a large part of their day walking up to 10 kilometres per trip to collect water from ephemeral streams and small dams.
President, Rotary Club of Balwyn
(adapted from the Club Newsletter)