Parramatta Toastmasters Club

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Future programs:

See the programs for future meetings and notes from the Vice-President Education.

Minutes:

See the minutes of the last meeting.

Newsletter:

See the current issue of the Club newsletter, the "Parra-Natta".

See archive of older issues.

Assignment Guide:

See our online guide to
the performance of meeting assignments
.

Club Blog:

To have an item posted to our Club Blog, send an email to the

Next Meeting

 

See Meeting Dates and Themes for this term.

The History of the Club

The inaugural meeting of Parramatta Toastmasters Club was held at Grace Bros. Restaurant on February 28, 1966. It was organised by the President of Toastmasters of Australia, Russ Walkington who was a prominent radio personality. A strong organising committee was formed and a charter was applied for in May 1966. This was granted in June and was presented to the Club at a special presentation night at the Masonic Club in Parramatta, on September 15, 1966.

The Club experimented with weekly meetings for a while, before changing in January 1967 to fortnightly dinner meetings held at the Parramatta Leagues Club. The Club has continued to meet fortnightly ever since.

In late 1973, meetings were transferred to the Masonic Club while the Leagues Club was rebuilt, but the Club then returned to improved accommodation at the Leagues Club in 1974. The change in venue had disrupted membership, but a rebuilding program in 1975, took the membership over 40 for the first time. 

In 1990, the Leagues Club closed for renovation again, and the Club then decided to transfer to the central business district of Parramatta (the geographic centre of the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area). Between 1990 and 1994, Parramatta Toastmasters Club met in local restaurants - Courtney's Brasserie at first, then Berlini's. When Berlini's closed in February 1995, the Club moved to the Parramatta RSL Club in Macquarie Street. Then at the beginning of 1999 the Club moved to The Parramatta Club in Hunter Street, before moving back to the Parramatta RSL Club in March 2003.

In October 2004 the Club held its 1000th meeting, a very large event attended by members and past members who had been helped by the Club and who had in turn helped the Club achieve and maintain a 38 year standard of excellence. Another large celebration was held in September 2006 on the 40th anniversary of the charter presentation.

When the club celebrated its 45th anniversary in September 2011, Gary Wilson gave a speech highlighting how, despite the recent rebranding of Toastmasters, this club had for 45 years been the place where leaders have been made. See the text of the speech here.

In 2015 District 70 was reformed into 2 new Districts, with the Parramatta River the dividing border. Parramatta Club became part of the new District 90, being the State of NSW north of the boundary.

Membership

When Parramatta Toastmasters Club was formed, Toastmasters was an all-male organisation. While mixed clubs began to be formed in the late 1970s and other clubs gradually admitted women, Parramatta remained all male with its Leagues Club base. The fact that the membership since 1966 had generally remained in the 35-45 range also tended to keep the arrangement and club stable.

The change of location in 1990 caused the Club to re-appraise its target membership market. Recognising that its target market would be the Parramatta business community, the Club voted to admit women in the middle of 1990. After this change the membership increased quickly and since 1992 has remained over 40.

Recognition

From the time the Club was first formed, Parramatta Toastmasters Club's leaders have recognised the value of the various Toastmasters Club management plans. These are an excellent planning tool and the results provide a qualitative measure of a club's performance in meeting the needs of its members. Since all clubs can be similarly rated, the plans have also been used by Toastmasters International to rate the relative performance of individual Toastmasters clubs in the world. In addition, the plans have been used as part of a Club Championship in Districts in Australia.

Parramatta has consistently been a top-rated club, as demonstrated by the fine collection of ribbons on our banners. Ribbons are awarded by Toastmasters International to mark significant achievements in the history of Clubs. A summary of the ribbons currently pinned to our banners can be seen here.

Parramatta Toastmasters Club was recognised as the top club in Australia in 1969, 1970 and 1971. In 1971, with the rapid expansion of Toastmasters Clubs, Australia was divided into two new Districts called 69 and 70. In 1973 a third District, 73, was created from parts of District 70.

Parramatta Club falls within District 70 (which now encompasses most of NSW and the ACT). Parramatta Toastmasters Club was acknowledged as District 70 "Distinguished Club" champions in the years 1972, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997, while being very highly placed in most other years.

Despite the fact there were more than 8000 Toastmasters Clubs in the world, Parramatta Toastmasters Club set a goal for itself in the 1990s of being one of the Top 10 Toastmasters Clubs in the world. This was  achieved. The Club was ranked 5th in the World in 1993/94, 6th in 1994/95 and 8th in 1995/96, while maintaining a membership of around 60 throughout. In 1996/97, the Club achieved its highest rank in its history - it was ranked FOURTH among all Toastmasters Clubs in the world.

In 1999, Toastmasters International modified the Distinguished Club Program. Clubs are no longer rated on an absolute basis so that the International Top 5 and District Club Championships have been abolished. Clubs now are required to meet certain benchmarks each year in order to gain recognition. Under the new scheme, Parramatta Club is committed to meeting all benchmarks each year in order to achieve the highest possible rating of being a President's Distinguished Club. Indeed since 2000 the Club has aimed to achieve all 10 goals in the Distinguished Club Plan each year, a challenge that has been successfully met.

District support

A highlight in 1972 was the first Conference held for the newly formed District 70. This was organised and hosted by Parramatta Club and was held during May at the Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains. The Convention was a social, educational and financial success. Since then Parramatta Club has hosted many events for District 70, including Semi-Annual Conferences at the Gazebo Hotel, Parramatta in November 1997 and the Novotel Hotel, Homebush in November 2004. When District 70 was reformed into 2 Districts, the new District 90 turned to Parramatta Club to organise its first conference in 2016 at Rooty hill

Members of Parramatta Club have also been prominent in District 70. The Club has provided 41 Area Governors, 15 Division Governors, 3 District Treasurers/Finance Managers, 3 District Secretaries/Administration Managers, 2 District Public Relations Officers/Managers and 5 District Governors/Directors and has presented more than 20 Educational Sessions at District Conferences. The club has also had 2 members serve on the International Board of Directors.

Hall of Fame

Our Hall of Fame contains two tables