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Lions Club of Yarra

District 201V5, Victoria, Australia

Fact Sheet 1 - The Lions Organisation

June 7, 1917, Chicago USA

Lions Club International is the world's largest, most active service clubs organisation, with 1.5 million members in more than 180 countries. Lions members are caring people, men and women who enjoy working together and making things happen. They provide help and assistance to the youth, the elderly, the disabled and the disadvantaged to the community.

The International Association of Lions Clubs was born in Chicago on June 7, 1917 when Melvin Jones, a young US Insurance agent, inspired a meeting of representatives of several existing business groups with his vision of service. Lions Club grew rapidly, first through the US and then around the world

September 29, 1947, Lismore Australia

The first Lions Club in Australia was formed in the northern NSW City of Lismore on July 1st, 1947, largely through the efforts of William R. Tresise, a hardware merchant in the town. Tresise, who had been a national president of the Apex movement, had been empowered by Melvin Jones to bring Lions to Australia. The official Charter was presented to the new club on September 29 in the same year.

A club in nearby Murwillumbah followed in 1948, then in 1952 the first capital city clubs were formed, first in Melbourne and then in Sydney. This is signalled the beginning of the subsequent rapid expansion of Lions throughout Australia. We in turn have introduced Lions to New Zealand, PNG, Indonesia, and the Pacific Islands. Today, 50 years later, there are 30,000 members in more than 1400 clubs in Australia.

The Lions Organisation

The Association's headquarters remains in Chicago, close to the 1917 formation venue. It is managed by an elected Board of 34 members, representing all parts of the globe. Australia and its neighbours have been continuously represented on the Board since the election of our first International Director, James D. Richardson BEM in 1958. Major policy matters are determined by delegates to the annual International convention, the largest such gathering in the world.

Lions Clubs, the basic unit of the Association, are grouped into geographical Districts which, in turn, are grouped into Multiple Districts. The Districts Governors of the 21 Districts in Australia and Papua New Guinea form an administrative body known as Multiple District 201 Council. Each year delegates from 1400 Clubs come together at a National Convention to debate policy, to learn and to enjoy fellowship.

Lions Clubs -We Serve

The voluntary service performed by Lions takes many forms, from major institutions and far reaching programs to simple acts of support to those in need.

The motto of every Lions Club is We Serve. Whether helping the sight or hearing impaired, conducting drug or diabetes awareness campaigns, providing community recreation facilities or support for the disabled or disadvantaged, giving opportunities to the young or aid to the elderly, or raising funds to make it all possible - Service always comes first for Lions Clubs and their members.