My induction evening, to say the least, had a somewhat disastrous beginning. Vin Hanrahan, another local, and I arrived at the Lake Bolac pub where the local Lions club had their dinner meetings, only to find an empty dining room. The publican was “in the dark”, so to speak, on where the members were. A few minutes later, Jim Hinton, a Lion from Skipton arrived. Jim, the Regional Chairman, was visiting that night to induct both Vin and yours truly into Lions.
Salvation arrived in the shape of David McKay. David true to form, was somewhat tardy with his arrival times at Lions meetings and this night wasn’t very different than any in the past. Why he decided to call into the pub that night and not drive on to the meeting place for that evening, we will never know, but he did. He also knew that the dinner that night was at the Maroona pub.
The four of us set off on the road for Maroona, only to arrive thirty minutes late. Oh well! All was sorted out and after many apologies from the secretary, the evening went off with much celebration, for the club had reached double membership numbers, a whole ten of us.
I had only been at the club for a couple of months, when we had the annual DG’s visit. I was to find out what a DG was in the guise of Lion Colin Kennett, the District Governor in the 1994/95 year. I remember Colin congratulating the club on increasing its membership by twenty percent, a huge increase percentage wise. While only two members in actual numbers, it was nevertheless quite an upward movement in membership. In the ten years I spent in the Lake Bolac Club we increased our numbers to a lofty seventeen, just three shy of our Charter number in 1975. Not bad really, when you consider that the town’s population had declined to only one hundred and twenty-five adults. Just under fourteen percent of the adult population were Lions. I don’t think many clubs could boast of being above that figure!!!!
All Lions in the club had a position and my first was, Social Director. I had to organize dinner meetings, invite the guest speakers, as well as organize any other social events that came the club’s way.
One of the fun events we participated in was the “Cream Can”. This involved visitations to other clubs in Zones eight, nine and ten. The general theme was that whichever club had the Can, would make a visitation to one of the other clubs within the three Zones, leaving the Can with that club. They would also “pinch” a piece of that club’s memorabilia, usually the Gong, to be ransomed. This meant a visitation to the thieving club’s next dinner meeting with a sum of money to buy back the object that had mysteriously walked!! This was all in jest and was taken as “par for the course”. Getting back to the Can, for each week that a club had the Can in their possession, they had to insert money through the slot in its lid. If I remember correctly, it was five dollars, but I can’t be too sure about the amount.
In our Lions Zone, we had six Clubs - Ararat, Lake Bolac and District, Mortlake, Skipton and Stawell. We held annual inter zone games nights for many years, with the winning club having the honour of holding the “Lion” [a stuffed Lion], for the next twelve months.
The games were made up of such demanding pursuits as, darts, putting golf balls, hooky, bobs and anything else that could wile away the evening. Points were awarded on club size and the winner took home the “Lion”.
Each club took it in turns to supply the evening meal, which usually consisted of a BBQ and accompanying food - nothing out of the ordinary for a Lions club. However, I do remember that once my club, “Bolac”, decided to put on a “you beaut” meal catered for by “Fabulous Feasts”, a company that supplied spit roast meals. This caused a little consternation from the other clubs, for it had raised the bar somewhat and had set the standard for any future events.
This situation was short lived, however, for before the next year’s competition was held, the Lion was incinerated.
With Willaura being the winning team, the “Lion” was given to Lion Nico, “The Laughing Dutchman”, for safe keeping. Unfortunately, Nico’s house was burnt to the ground, with the “Lion” incinerated inside.
Rather sadly, it was ordained that this would be the end of the inter zone games night. Such a pity, because it was such a great event to bring all the Lions and their Lions Ladies in the surrounding clubs together.
Before I close, I must make mention of our Lions Ladies, who supplied all those lovely lunches and dinners we enjoyed over such a long period of time. Without their input there would have been a lot of hungry Lions prowling around the area. Not a good thought, as it’s often said that you don’t get between a hungry lion and his meal!!!