Lions Club of Manning River Inc

District 201N1, New South Wales, Australia

History of the Manning River Lions Club

While a relatively small club most of its life, Manning River Lions Inc. has made a substantial mark within the community.

The very first service scheme (1978) was to assist Valley Industries (Sheltered Workshop) to clean up the grounds and fence lines following their occupancy of the factory site at that time.

Some major events organised in the 80's were the Beerfests and Cabbage Patch Days at the Taree Race Course that entertained thousands and raised many dollars for various projects. During those years the club also catered for many family and school reunions, anniversaries and even a wedding at the same location.

Taree, Chatham and St Clares High are each recipients of a yearly scholarship in memory of our former charter member and PDG Stuart Willis. Another memorial scholarship is made each year to Taree Eisteddfod for a young performer in honour of late Charter member Kevin Dodd.

Much of the work performed by the Club over the years is unknown to the public. Assistance to fire victims, the installation of home aids ramps and yard maintenance for the elderly. The provision of a rather expensive special bed to handicapped child are just some examples of our work.

With the establishment of the Presidents Foundation we were able to hold several camps at Pappinbarra for especially chosen children of primary school age who had little opportunity to spend such time away. We also took children with sight handicaps on outings to Peppermint Park in Port Macquarie.

We provided a computer enhanced reader to a student from Taree High to assist in her HC studies and another for a sight impaired person in 2011.

Mothers Day cakes (using Lions Cakes decorated by the Taree Cake Decorators Club) each year are presented to Legacy widows, Nursing Home and Hostel residents and Meals on Wheels clients.

Our Christmas trailer raffle proved a popular event with Club and the public over several years. The shopfront Christmas Santas have been on the Taree scene for a number of years providing valuable income to the club.

More recently our involvement with Group 3 Football and the Taree Bulls has seen the Club manning the gates each season. Other activities include Taree Driver reviver, Driver Training Days, Special appeal days etc as well as Youth Exchange some years ago and the Youth of the Year each year involving students from Chatham and St Clares High.

Other recipients of help and funds include Red Cross Calling, Red Shield Appeal, Hearing Dogs, Lions Health Care Foundation, Taree Volunteer Rescue, Diabetes Group, Dialysis Unit and Ronald Macdonald House.

In recent years the Club has been active in fundraising for Victorian Fires Queensland Floods and Asian Tsunami Appeals collecting many thousands of dollars.

Eight years ago, Manning River Lions acquired the operating rights from the Kidney Association of the Hub Markets following government funding for the Dialysis Unit. The Markets was run by the Club at the Racecourse before moving to Taree Show ground in March 2008.

In 2012 the Club accepted the responsibility to organise Camp Memories - an annual camp for families with children who have special needs. Camp Memories was initiated and organised by May & Kevin Sharp for the previous 11 years. The first Camp Memories conducted by the Club was held at the Tinonee property of Rod & Jill Illidge over the weekend of 9-11 November 2012.

In January 2013, The Manning River Lions Club received the 'Community Organisation of the Year' Award from the Greater Taree City Council in recognition of its service to the community over 36 years.

Past Presidents

1978-1979 Ken HOY
1979-1980 Ken HOY
1980-1981 Bernie SWEENEY
1981-1982 Ron GOSBELL
1982-1983 Peter CARSON /
1983-1984 Don MACINNIS
1984-1985 Brian FORSTER
1985-1986 George BEGG
1986-1987 Peter NICHOLSON
1987-1988 John McLEAN
1988-1989 Paul FOWLER
1989-1990 Ken MINTO
1990-1991 John DOIG
1991-1992 Peter BAKER
1992-1993 David CLARK
1993-1994 Doug FERRIS
1994-1995 Les SAXBY
1995-1996 David CLARK
1996-1997 Peter BAKER
1997-1998 Alan FAIRHURST
1998-1999 Kevin NICHOLSON
1999-2000 Tony MATTHEWS
2000-2001 Robert SCOTT
2001-2002 Tony MATTHEWS
2002-2003 Alan FAIRHURST
2003-2004 Don PATERSON
2004-2005 David CLARK
2005-2006 Peter BAKER
2006-2007 Kevin NICHOLSON
2007-2008 Greg HARTIG
2008-2009 Ross KNEIPP /
2009-2010 Dan HENDRIE
2010-2011 Hans ROOIMANS
2011-2012 Bill COLQUHOUN
2012-2013 Greg HARTIG
2013-2014 David DRAKE
2014-2015 Kevin NICHOLSON
2015-2016 Brian BOURKE
2016-2017 Kevin NICHOLSON
2017-2018 Steve SWAN
2018-2019 Steve SWAN
2019-2020 George BEGG



The following Awards and Honours have been granted by the Club:

Life Membership
Life membership is granted to members who have given long and distinguished service to the Club and the local community.
Alan FAIRHURST (2009)
Don MACINNIS (2009)
George BEGG (2015)
David CLARK (2015)
Kevin NICHOLSON (2017)


Melvin Jones Fellowship
Melvin Jones Fellowship is named for the founder of Lions Clubs International, Melvin Jones. The fellowship is LCIF’s highest honour and is given in recognition of a commitment to humanitarian work. This honour is presented by the Club to members who, through their service with Lions, demonstrate qualities such as generosity, compassion and concern for others.
Progressive Melvin Jones Fellows
Alan FAIRHURST (2005, 2016)

Don MACINNIS (2005, 2017)

Brian BOURKE (2010, 2019)
Melvin Jones Fellows
George BEGG (2006)
Les SAXBY (2008)
David CLARK (2010)
Kevin NICHOLSON (2010)
Bill COLQUHOUN (2011)
Peter BAKER (2012)
Greg HARTIG (2016)
James D Richardson Honour Award
This Award is named after James D Richardson, who in 1958 was the first Australian to serve as a Director on the International Board of Directors. The "James D Richardson Honour Award" is granted to honour members who have provided outstanding service.
Hans ROOIMANS (2015)
David DRAKE (2016)
Noel DEATH (2017)
Community Service Award
The Community Service Award is presented by the Club to Lions, Non-Lions and organisations in recognition of their services to Lions and/or the community.
Laurie & Sharon Howell (2013)
Bushland Tavern (2013)
Mark Ryan - Taree Eye Wear (2013)
Rod & Jill Illidge (2014)
David Walker - Taree Hire (2015)
Taree Orthodontics (2015)
Tony Thompson (2016)
Andrew Diessel (2017)

Last updated: 22nd August 2019