Graeme's Message, 27 November 2014

Dear Rotarians and friends

Last Thursday in partnership with Western Health and Western Health Foundation, we held our fundraising dinner for our “Support Diabetes Project”.

In his wonderful presentation, Rotarian Prof Martin Silink told how Rotary contacts at the UN were influential in achieving the General Assembly Resolution on Diabetes.

I took the opportunity during my presentation to highlight the contributions Rotarians have made to Footscray Hospital which is now part of Western Health. These contributions go back to the beginning 60 years ago. No fewer than 12 Rotarians have served on the Board. Here are a few highlights of the contributions these men made as Board members.

The original Board President Roy Parsons served from 1953- 73 and was President from 1953-72. He had been instrumental in fund raising and advocating for a new hospital having been involved in the Footscray and District Outpatients Welfare Centre from 1942-51 serving the community prior to the opening of the hospital. Roy was also on the President of the Board of Footscray Technical College for 14 years. Further he was on the University of Melbourne Council and was the second President of our club 1938-39.

Lawrence Atley served on the Board from 1974-89 and as President 1986-89. Using his professional skills as an architect he chaired the Building and Development Committee. It was appropriate that Lawrence and Margaret were able to attend the dinner.

Eugene Spangaro was on the Board 1976-87 and chaired the Paediatric Review Committee recommending the separation of Women’s and Children’s services leading to the development of the Sunshine Campus.

Frank Brown was Treasurer 1976 -85. Although there was a fulltime hospital accountant, Frank held the fiscal responsibility for the hospital. He averaged 14hours/week on hospital work - all voluntary.

In addition, Ted France, hospital Secretary 1954-76 and Allan Wallace, Deputy Manager and the Executive Director 1976-82 were also Rotarians

George Thoms, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, was a Rotarian for a brief time.

Another link with Rotary was through PP Frank Green. His wife, Mavis Mitchell was the original matron and held that post from 1953 -72.

Times have changed and Board members are now ministerial appointments and the direct involvement of community leaders has diminished. However this project and our award for “Aged Care” during Research Week are important links that our club currently has with the local health service. The CEO of Western Health, Alex Cockram has acknowledged the value of the links and a desire to continue an association.