This is not the full history — though that’s available for those who are interested — but a quick overview.

Charter announcementThe Club was chartered (founded) in May 1935 with an inaugural dinner at the Mechanics Hall. The foundation Board of Directors comprised of Charter President Dr J.L. Thompson (of the Thompsons Foundry family), A.D. Freeman, L. Hartnett, J.S.R. Barker, J. Cameron and C.M. Rathbone.

Castlemaine was then a town of 5,500 people.

There wasn’t much activity apart from regular monthly meetings, and not many visitors, leading up to the Second World War years, but the club discovered a new raison d'etre fundraising for the war effort and doing community service work.

Following the war, the club struggled. Membership numbers were down and members’ subscriptions were the only income.

In the early 1950s, the business and professional climate improved and the club gained renewed enthusiasm with new members attracted to the Rotary ideals.

1954 saw the club raise funds to completely furnish the then-new Baby Health Centre.

The death of President Vic Wilkinson in 1955 prompted the establishment of the perpetual Vic Wilkinson Memorial Scholarship, awarded to pupils attending Castlemaine Technical School (later merged with Castlemaine High School). In 1994, the scholarships became known as the Rotary Club of Castlemaine Scholarships.

By the club’s Silver Anniversary in 1960, membership had grown to 41, and the club began involvement with international student exchanges in 1963 by hosting a student from the Phillipines.

By 1969, the club had developed the tradition of delivering Easter eggs and apples to local hospitals — a tradition maintained to the present day — and in 1970 was instrumental in the formation of Little Athletics in Castlemaine.

Around this time, the club’s Garden Working Bees tamed the wild northern end of the Castlemaine Botanic Gardens, Castlemaine Rotoract Club was chartered and the club assisted in furnishing the South Kindergarten.

Airshow program    

In 1975, Castlemaine Rotarians installed electric BBQs in the refurbished northern end of the Botanic Gardens.

For the club’s 44th year — 1979 — the first of two Airshows was conducted, based at the Guildford airfield (see program above).

Fountain restorationReturning to the Botanic Gardens in the early 1980s, the club played a major role in restoring the fountain near the main gate.

By the late 80s, the club inherited the Castlemaine Truck Show (which celebrated its 34th year in 2022). A Tourist Information Centre in Duke St was a major 50th Anniversary project in collaboration with The Castlemaine and District Development Committee, opening in November 1988. The club raised $20,000 for this project and also provided a second electric BBQ in the gardens, near the Pipe Band Hall.

To mark its 60th Anniversary, the club replaced the original Rotunda in the gardens with an exact replica. A time capsule buried at the site is due to be disinterred in 2035.

A $10,000 contribution from the club enabled construction of netball courts at Camp reserve in 1993.










In 2010, a sculptuGreat Meeting commemorationre commemorating the 1851 Great Meeting of Diggers was gifted to the community in recognition of Castlemaine Rotary's 75th Anniversary. The sculpture stands beside the Pyrenees Highway in Chewton.


From the mid-90s, the club’s major fundraising efforts have focused on the Castlemaine Rotary Truck Show and the Castlemaine Rotary Art Show. These annual events underwrite the contributions the club makes each year to local community groups and projects.