A letter was sent out through the
suburb of Bellbowrie to most residents inviting the
men of the area to attend a meeting to discuss the possibility of commencing a
Lions Club in the area. The meeting was to be held at Karana Downs Golf and
Country Club on the 29th May, 1979. The local owner of the I.G. Supermarket in Bellbowrie, Ray Crompton, wrote the letter. Ray, as you
will see during various facets of our club over many years became the backbone
of this club, particularly in the early years. At the meeting on the 29th
May, some 25 men from the surrounding areas who knew very little about Lions heard
from various Directors in the Brisbane Lions district all about the
Association, its District, the work done by clubs and about this huge world
wide organization known as the
‘International Association of Lions Clubs’. At that meeting we had the then
District Governor Phil Mitchell, the District Governor Elect Owen Brown, PDG
Brian McGrath, the President of Toowong Lions Club
and numerous other important Lions from the District 201Q3. Following questions
from the attendees it was put to a motion that a Lions Club be formed and it be known as The Lions Club of Moggill.
The sponsoring club was the Toowong Lions
Club and a member from that club, Brian Biggs, was to be what is known as our
‘Guiding Lion’. It was an interesting meeting as it all went very quickly and
suddenly we were forming a Lions Club. Unbeknown to us, it was more an
important occasion for the then District Governor as he and the District 201Q3
were in the race to obtain one of the highest honours
a District Governor can achieve, that of Chartering the most new clubs in the
world. D.G. Phil went on to gain this award with many new clubs formed in 201Q3
by 30th June that year. A great achievement.
Ray Crompton was elected as the Charter President, with Dick Austin as the
Charter Secretary. Some 21 men on that evening committed themselves to the
initial club membership. The regular meeting dates and times were decided that
night and have not changed to this day. We had to have what was known as a
Charter Night, which was to be our official launch as a Club with most clubs in
our district being invited, along with local dignitaries etc. This was set to
be one of the first and most important tasks. The date was set for the 21st
July and was to be held at the Albert Axon Hall at the
a club that will grow
a financially sound club
have solid community projects
a sound program of activity
a family orientated club
To this day our club still abides by
these five original aims. It was then time for dancing which we the new lions
did well after midnight when all other guests had left. We decided to pay for
an extra hour for the band to continue and that, along with many other
extraordinary expenses started our club off slightly in the ‘red’. However
other clubs in the District saw our plight and donations flowed in to rectify
the problem. We the members soon realized that this Lions organization was
something to belong to! Two of our original Charter Members, Keith Mathiesen and Lindsay Stewart are still members of this
club. During the following months we got down to the serious business of being
Lions with projects and fund raising beginning to take shape. Our first major
undertaking came from one of our members who came up with the idea of a
Working Bee at Bellbowrie Lions Park-1980
Another major project that was inniated that year and probably the biggest ever undertaken by our Club to this day was the Leukemia House project near the Royal Children’s Hospital. We were approached to see what we could do in refurbishing an old Queenslander style house for the Children’s Leukemia Society. They had just purchased the house near the Children’s Hospital for the purpose of accommodating parents of country kids who were undertaking radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment at the RCH.
Opening of Leukemia House-1982
Lions Jack Watson, Jack Straughan and Ed Gibson
Opening of Leukemia House-1982 Lion Jack Watson
The house had exhausted all the funds of the Leukemia Society and thus leaving them unable to make the house livable. On inspection it was a bad buy as it had numerous problems, including borers. The idea was for us to convert the house to make it livable for two families at a time. We initially thought $7500 would see this through and a few months work on various weekends by our members. Again with vision from one of our members, Jack Watson, he came up with an ambitious plan to raise the house up on new pillars, dig out underneath and enclose the entire lower half with bricks. This would double the accommodation capacity with up to five families staying at any one time. A new roof would be required and major repairs and replacements to be carried out. A total repaint and new fitout of furniture would finish the job. After some two years of work carried out by this club mostly on weekends and $50,000 the house was completed to our wishes. An interesting part of this project was the ability for it to be continually used by the parents of patients during our work. This particular project was through the dedication of 3 of our members at the time, Jack Watson, Jack Straughan and Ed Gibson; all who met through Lions and continue their friendship today.
Our actual first project ever undertaken was the building of a concrete Cricket pitch at the Pullenvale state school. This was completed in one weekend and as an 'official opening and christening' we had a cricket match against the Bremer River Lions Club with a BBQ lunch. This then became a yearly match for many years to follow.
During this first year many projects
were undertaken including the following. We sponsored a young 14-year-old
teenage boy from a low-income family at Charleville
and gave him the opportunity to come to
Our club made its first entry in the Lions Youth of the Year contest with Keith Mathiesen being the chairman of this project, which he did for a number of years to follow.
One particular unique but fun project we undertook was on Christmas eve that year with the help of a local resident(a barrister) who had a couple beautiful restored sulkies and trotting hacks. In the early evening we slowly cantered around the streets of Bellbowrie in the two sulky carts with two of our members dressed as Santas, one in each sulky, giving out lollies to the young kids. It was great with residents coming out into the street to wish us well and their kids receiving a little treat. Ray Crompton was one of the Santas and when the two carts met in their travels, Ray had a huge brass school bell which he had been ringing. At that point in our travels Ray decided to give a great shake of the bell; on the other cart was one of our Lions members who did not know what was about to strike him. His horse, being an ex racing trotter, immediately thought he was on the racetrack and took the bell as the last lap bell and bolted!! After doing one complete block of Bellbowrie in the fastest lap time ever, our poor Lion member returned well worn for the worse and quite physically shaken. The local barrister was not impressed either with our horsemanship although he did front up over the next few years to do the same thing again for the local children but bells were not allowed. On the social side we had a number of get togethers to make sure we all became aquainted with each other. A wine and cheese night was held at Keith and June's place, which was the first of many. We commenced our car picnics, had a snooker night and a number of BBQ's.
Our club adhered to the administration rules of Lions with extensive minutes of both Board and Dinner meetings taken.
In hindsight it was a busy year, especially for a new Lions Club, but we enjoyed the spirit of Lionism and we had a lot of fun.
We also had a few setbacks. We chartered with some 35 members and because of the rush to form a club, some members did not see Lions as their interest so during the year we lost about half of our charter members. We also gained almost as many and our final membership, which was quite stable by the end of the year, was 28 members. For a new Lions club this was considered very good.
Our charter 'Guiding Lion' Brian Biggs from the Toowong Lions was a tremendous help throughout the year. He attended every Dinner and Board meeting, every project we had and really became a part of our club. He was a true 'Guiding Lion' who without his help our club may have never survived. Sadly, Brian suffered a heart attack in the April of our first year and passed away. It was a sudden shock to all of us to lose such a friend. In Memory of Brian our club instigated the 'Brian Biggs Memorial Jug' a water urn made of silver which each year is awarded by the President to an outstanding Lion in our club.