About Us - About Rotary

Rotary - an international fellowship for community service

When Paul Harris founded Rotary in 1905, he conceived of community leaders with different and varied responsibilities coming together frequently to share their views.

By gathering those of different professions, the individuals, their businesses and the community benefited from the balanced discussions that took place. His stated concept was to create an intimate professional organization in which professionals could share "mutual cooperation and informal friendship such as all had once known in our villages."

From that humble beginning, Rotary has grown to not only help us become more aware of our community, but of our nation and of the world.

We have also become participants in the process by proclaiming the motto “Service Above Self” and learning to serve the world we used to just observe.

A key component was the fact that each member of Paul Harris’ original group was from a different business, providing well rounded input. As the group grew, the members learned it was important to also include educators, key members of the government, both political and professional, clergy and those professionally involved in community service. By doing so, the organization, or club, met the original test of bringing in those who saw the community from a different viewpoint to provide excellent interaction and balanced discussion.

As Rotary continued to grow to over a million members many members began to realize that they shared more than they thought despite their different backgrounds and different approaches. Although they operated very different businesses Rotarians shared a common believe in the inherent good of their fellow men and women and ran their enterprises in an ethical fashion.

Past Rotary International President (and past club president and PDG) Herbert Taylor realized this commonality of business ethics and in 1932 created the “4 Way Test of the Things We Think, Say and Do”, expressing how the lives of so many in our communities are intertwined as they try to do things well for the betterment of all. It has, for many, become a concise guide to ethical behaviour.

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

The Paul Harris Fellowship was formed to recognise people of all walks of life who have made achievements toward mutual understanding amongst people thus fostering World peace.


Stephen Brown
RCW President 2009-2010