A brief History of Townsville Mt Stuart Lions Club
The Mt Stuart Lions Club was formed on the 19th January 1967 with 20 members from all walks of life. The new club was chartered at the Great Northern Hotel on the 1st April 1967 with 25 members, sponsored by the Lions Club of Townsville – Host.
In the early years after chartering one of the members changed the lyrics of the song “Lilli Marlene” a popular World War song and now this song and lyrics is used as the Mt Stuart Club song and is sung at special meetings and functions.
The first fundraising venture was collecting funds for the victims of the Tasmanian Bushfire in 1967. This was the brainchild of Keith Marsh who was the mine host of the Great Northern Hotel. The collecting was done by a bucket brigade throughout the hotels in Townsville and the amount raised was $8,000.00.
One of the clubs major early manual projects was building a rock retaining wall in the Sub-normal Children’s Playground in early 1970’s. The project took many weekends of hard labour to complete and was a great source of fellowship for the Lions members and the officials of the then Sub-normal Children’s Association.
The Club enjoyed a close working relationship with the Bush Children’s Health Scheme, which provided for needy children of the outback. The Home was closed in 1994, but our club has fond memories of many wine stalls organized for the Bush Children’s Fete and the Steam Locomotive provided for the Bush Children. The Locomotive was restored, brightly painted and located at the entrance to the home in Rowes Bay. It provided entertainment for the children who visited the home and was donated by the Giru Sugar Mill. It had seen many years of hauling cane and had seen service during the building of the Suez Canal in Egypt.
For many years the Club donated a new car to the Blue Nurses every two years when funds permitted.. Another major source of income in the past 23 years was the club’s Food Van, built collectively by Club members. It was for many years used extensively for catering at local Drag Car racing events as well as the annual Motor Bike Show. The Food Van serviced many community events.
One of the best continuous fundraisers, has been the sale of Lions Mints and at times the Club had between 100 – 120 outlets. Another continuous Club fund raising venture is the sale of Christmas Cakes. The Club also collects spectacles to send to third world countries whose people cannot afford new ones and these are greatly appreciated by the recipients.
Every Christmas, Fathers Day and Mothers Day for many years the Club has presented gifts to the patients in the Townsville Nursing Home in Palmerston Street Currajong, as well as providing the staff and patients with facilities to make their lives more enjoyable.
Other achievements of the Mt Stuart Lions Club include the sponsoring of two new Lions Clubs. Mt Stuart Lion’s members made many trips to Giru, which eventuated in the Giru Lions Club being chartered in the 1970’s. Giru Lions Club has continued to be a good club with an active membership. In 1975, Mt Stuart Lions Club was successful in sponsoring the Lions Club of Townsville – Ross Valley. It has been a very successful club and continues to enjoy a high member retention rate.
In 1988, Australia’s Bicentennial Year, a large playground and picnic area called the People’s Place was completed. Mt Stuart Lions Club was highly involved in this project along with numerous other service slubs. Peoples Place is located at Rowes Bay on the approach to Cape Pallarenda and covers an area of almost 2.5 acres. This entertainment area took almost 2 years to complete.
Another great achievement of the club was the establishment of the Anton Breinl Centre at the Townsville General Hospital. This laboratory was refurbished with modern technology in conjunction with James Cook University. Research at this centre was the study of some Tropical Diseases. Anton Breinl, after whom the laboratory was named, was a Doctor who specialised in Tropical Diseases in North Queensland in the early 1930’s. The funding for this project was made by many liberal donations by local business people.
The Club was also involved in the Club Twinning program. The first twinning was with the Tokoroa Club in New Zealand. We participated in many youth exchanges, some being the family offspring of members from each club. We also twinned with a club in India and had a lot of interaction with the members. These were very successful projects.
Lions Multiple District and District conventions are held annually and are very well attended by members of Mt Stuart Lions.
In 1991 it was resolved to open membership to women. This has proven to be a very successful move with women comprising about half of the Club’s membership. They actively participate in both the administration of the Club and its many activities. Prior to that the wives and partners of members actively supported Club activities as well as social events as Lions Ladies Auxiliary members.
The Club was also the managing Club of the Red Cross Mobile Blood Collection Unit project and has just completed the task of coordinating fund raising within this District.
Mt Stuart Club is also involved in the National Lions Youth of the Year Quest. On one occasion our finalist reached the final at Multiple District Convention and was placed second. This was a fine achievement for our club. Mt Stuart Lions Club has conducted several Youth of the Year Zone finals.
Over the last eleven years the Mt Stuart Lions Club has been involved with the annual CCIA Townsville to Cairns Bike Ride, which has successfully raised over $2,000,000 for research into Children’s Cancer.
Due to increasing operating and maintenance costs the Food Van has been downgraded to a portable Barbeque for Sausage Sizzles, which is now utilized at various locations and currently forms one of the main fundraisers for the Club.
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