Zonta in Australia
The Zonta Club of Dunsborough is part of Area 3, which is part of District 23
Zonta first started in Australia in 1929 with the establishment of a club in Sydney, one of the first to come into existence outside the United States and Canada, but by 1935 this club had disappeared and it was not until 1965 that Dorothy Thompson was asked to re-introduce Zonta in Australia and New Zealand. New clubs were formed in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland. Between 1965 and 1971, this remarkable woman organised clubs in all the capital cities in Australia, and in five cities in New Zealand.
Today, what was originally District 16, covering Australia and New Zealand is now divided into four districts – District 16 – New Zealand, District 24 – New South Wales and ACT, District 22 – Queensland, and District 23, covering South Australia and the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania.
Three Australians have held the highest office as International Presidents, Leneen Forde (1990-92), Val Sarah (1998-2000) and Mary Magee (2000-2002).
A brief history of the Zonta Club of Dunsborough Inc. District 23, Area 3. Club 1319
The Zonta Club of Dunsborough Chartered on 29th April 1991
Jean Oldham and her Mentoring Committee from the Zonta Club of Perth approached Claire Guinness of Dunsborough with the suggestion that a Zonta Club be formed in the area which covers from Capel to Augusta. The first meeting of this committee and women from the area was held at the Dunsborough Hotel on September 21, 1990.
A Committee was elected and on April 29, 1991, and the Zonta Club of Dunsborough Area was accepted as an official member of Zonta International. 30 Members were inducted by the District 23 Governor Elizabeth Harris at the Charter Dinner on June 15, 1991. This was a gala event for 120 Area 3 Zontians and local residents. At the time our officers were:
Charter President: Linley Scott, Vice President: Claire Guinness; Secretary: Julie Cary.
Our regular meetings are held on the 2nd Monday of each month, except January. Many meetings include a guest speaker. Meeting venues have included Dunsborough Hotel, Yungarra Lodge, Café Ibis, Teddy Maxwell’s, Assisi Ristorante, Radisson Resort and Caves House Hotel, which is our regular “home” now.
Club Board and Committees:
For most of its history, the Board of the club has comprised: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and four Directors. The Board generally meets on the 4th Monday of the month. The structure of committees has varied over time varying from two to four. Our committees currently number three:
- Fundraising & Finance
- Public Relations and Membership
Committees meet on the 3rd Monday of the month. The chairman of each committee is appointed by the President. In addition, there is a nominating committee, a club parliamentarian and a club archivist-historian.
They meet on the 3rd Monday of the month at one of the member’s homes, over wine & nibbles. The chairman of each committee is appointed by the President. In addition, there is a nominating committee, a club parliamentarian and a club archivist-historian.
Member numbers reached 35 in 2005 and fell to 20 in 2012. At 20 June 2017, the club membership stands at 24 members.
Many breakfasts have been held on International Women’s Day advocating improved health, education and status of women. They are currently used as an opportunity to present awards.
We hold twice-yearly “busy bees” to produce breast care cushions and birthing kits. The Zonta Breast Care cushions provide comfort to women (and men) in the post-operative phase of breast surgery. Cushions are supplied to area & Perth hospitals.
In the past we have also provided comfort bags comprising emergency toiletries are supplied to Bunbury Refuge. Respite holidays have been provided for women recommended by Zonta House refuge in Perth. A Zonta Rose Garden was established by members in Dunsborough town centre in 2001.
The main fund-raiser is a Melbourne Cup Lunch which has been held at private properties and catered for by members or at local wineries. White Elephant stalls, Bridge Days and Film Nights have been held on a regular basis. The most novel events were the Bottle Yacht Races with yachts made from wine bottles, complete with sails, floating across a dam with spirited sponsorship and betting from the shore.
Recipients have included Bunbury and Busselton Women’s Refuges, MATES (a men’s support group addressing domestic violence), Nurture Works, Busselton Hospice, Val Lishman Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, Silver Chain, New Hope Leprosy Trust, St John Ambulance training for new mothers and many, many more.
A Scholarship of Excellence is awarded to a local girl in her second year at University. Outstanding Young Women of the Year Awards are given to Year 11 girls at each of the five local High Schools. Periodically Young Women in Public Affairs Awardees are selected. A Community Service Award is presented to a long-standing volunteer who is an unsung heroine and quiet achiever.
Two events are held each year which are purely for fellowship and involve no fundraising. One is a Christmas party and the other is generally a “Winter Warmer”. These have included French meals, Shed Parties, Curry Parties and Progressive Dinners. Husbands and partners are included and often past members are invited.
The club has hosted Area 3 Workshops in 1997, 2005 and 2012 and Area 3 Founders’ Day Dinners in 2002 and 2010. We are pleased to be hosting the Area 3 Workshop in 2018.
The club has supported District 23 Birthing Kit and Breast Cushion projects since their inception. It also supported the Yarri Wada project in 2009.
Zonta International Foundation:
Each year club has contributes one-third of funds raised to Zonta International Foundation. Members elect which ZIF fund is to be supported. Traditionally these have been ZISVAW and International Service Projects.