This article was written by club member Robin Hawkins for inclusion in "The Last One in the Book - The Story of Rotary in District 9980" by Peter Muller,  published in 2005 by District 9980 to commemorate the Centennial of Rotary. ISBN 0-476-01374-7    The article covers the period from the Club's establishment in 1927 to 2004.
On 29 September 1927, at a meeting presided over by District Governor Charles Rhodes, the Rotary Club of Timaru was founded with a charter membership of 25. Eighteen members of the sponsoring club of Christchurch attended and presented the president's bell. Two months later the club was elected to membership of Rotary International and in February 1928 was presented with its charter, No 2705.
The club has helped to extend Rotary in the district by sponsoring the Ashburton Club in 1937, the Waimate club in 1947, the Temuka Club in 1948, Timaru South in 1967, Timaru North in 1969 and the Rotaract Club of Timaru in 1971.
In its 75 years of existence the club has had the honour of providing four district governors. The first was William Thomas in 1936, followed by Bertrand Blodorn in 1948, Frank Howe in 1977, and Ron White in 1993. (*) District conferences were held in Timaru during the terms of the district governors apart from 1993 when the conference was held at Mt Cook.
Two Rotary International presidents have visited Timaru, Joseph Abbey in 1962 and Royce Abbey in 1988.
In 1934 Rotary's founder, Paul Harris, passed through Timaru. A deputation of members met him at the railway station and he noticed that President F I Washbourne was not wearing a lapel pin and presented him with his. Paul Harris's badge now holds pride of place on the club's presidential chain of office.
The club's first community service a few months after its formation took the form of assistance to the local Boy Scouts and the orphanages.
A committee was set up to help establish a branch of the Institute for the Blind and funds were raised for a chair of obstetrics at the University of Otago.
During the depression years of the thirties the club helped needy families and initiated the Bristol Scheme to secure work for the unemployed.
In 1936 following a New Zealand Rotary Conference held in Timaru, the New Zealand Crippled Children Society was established. A South Canterbury branch of the society was formed and the club has been actively involved in providing assistance. In 1954 members worked for many months raising money to purchase and furnish a house for a headquarters and workshop.
In 1937 funds were raised for a permanent Health Camp. During this period the club sponsored and assisted in the formation of Heritage, Birthright and the Solo Parents Association and organized an Outward Bound type of camp for underprivileged children.
A long list of community projects has included extensive tree planting on highways and in Pioneer and Centennial parks, and working bees at the Presbyterian Children's Home and Glenwood Home.
A wishing well was installed on the Bay Hill and a direction indicator at Timaru Airport.
Assistance was given with the planning and building of the roller skating rink and a stained glass window for the nurses chapel at Timaru Hospital was financed.
In 1978 a fountain was built on the city's new library site as a 50th Jubilee project and a putting green established at Margaret Wilson retirement home.
A major project in 1982 was the construction of a maze on Caroline Bay, which in the ensuing 20 years has contributed over $100,000 for community projects. (The maze was subsequently removed during the upgrade of Caroline Bay.)
In 1988 a leisure show was held at Caroline Bay, which raised $20,300 for the Rotary International Polio Plus campaign.
Three thousand trees were planted in Centennial Park and a hobbies and craft fair raised $8,500. Four thousand dollars was given towards the purchase of books for all babies born in Timaru and $5,000 to the Child Health Research Foundation. The club has also sponsored and promoted the Kiwi Can programme of life skills to enhance student learning and increase achievement amongst young people.
A number of overseas projects have been undertaken, including the supply of medical equipment to the Helene Goldie Hospital in the Solomon Islands and hospital beds to Papua New Guinea. A matching grant programme was initiated for funds for the Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia and an international project undertaken with the Rotary Club of Shaheen in Pakistan.
The club has taken an active role in Rotary Youth Exchange and Group Study Exchange teams from the district have included members nominated by the club. A number of Rotary scholars have been selected to study overseas.
Two of our past members have set up charitable trusts to assist the club with funding to enable requests from community-based oganizations for funds, Eric Hall in 1987 and Robert Moyes in 1992.
The club has been well served by its officers, no more so than the service contributed by two long-serving secretaries, Percy Lamb 1941-54 and Paul Hunter 1964-83.
We were fortunate in having the services of Barry and Leithen Leathem as caterers for 37 years.
In 1991 the club inducted its first female member, Meg Parkin, who was elected President in 1999.
In the club's history 17 members and five non-members have been bestowed with Paul Harris Fellowships.
Fellowship in the club has not been overlooked with many social events taking place. Some of the more memorable were when club members provided the entertainment with skits of popular shows.
During the performance of one based on "It Ain't Half Hot," one of the performers, while miming a song, lost his upper denture. It shot out and ended up in the first row of the audience who laughed, assuming it was part of the show. The quick thinking member retrieved his denture and, like a true professional, carried on with the show.
An active tramping group was established in 1985 with 25 members and partners walking the Milford Track; In ensuing years the group walked most of the well-known tracks in the South Island including a trip to Stewart Island.
Over the past 75 years the Rotary Club of Timaru has fulfilled the true purpose of its founders and has every reason for pride in its many achievements.
(*)  Note that susbequent to the writing of this article, Lionel Wilson was District Governor in 2009-10.