Camberwell Rotary members undertake a wide range of projects in the community, such as helping the sick, the underprivileged, the elderly, and youth programs.

Each year the Rotary Club of Camberwell raises over $150,000 through these events and projects. One such project is the Camberwell Art Show, the longest running and biggest art show in the Southern Hemisphere.

First held in 1966 at Camberwell Grammar School, one of the principal objectives was the acquisition of artworks as a basis for a collection for the City of Camberwell (now City of Boroondara) and its citizens.

The show eventually moved to the new Camberwell Town Hall, and by 1990, over 50 artworks had been donated to the City of Camberwell, and the Rotary Club of Camberwell was awarded Rotary International’s District ‘Significant Achievement Award’ for its running of the show.

Camberwell Rotary Art Show Chair, Jonathan Oppy, has been in the Rotary for 44 years and has seen the show change considerably during that time.

‘I think the show has been successful because we have always moved with the times and the way artists have developed, particularly expanding beyond traditional mediums,’ he explains.

‘In the early days, there would be an opening night with black tie and a dinner. Opening nights are now a little less formal, but still, with excellent food and drinks, it’s a really great night.’

In 2013 the Art Show moved to the Swinburne University Advanced Technologies Centre in Hawthorn. With its impressive glass facade, it’s the
perfect setting for a partnership between art and science, and Swinburne has been proud to host the show for the past ten years.

‘The university made this very easy. The building is magnificent, it completely lends itself to the art show, so it’s been a very good move,’ says Jonathan.

Since its inception, the show has raised over $3 million to support local, national, and international humanitarian projects. Beyond the prize money, every cent raised goes to charity.

‘Thanks to the generosity of Swinburne, hosting the show was not costing us anything. So when we were looking for a new major sponsor in 2020, we sat down together and agreed to strengthen our relationship,’ says Jonathan.

‘Swinburne became our major sponsor, and we were pleased to be able to provide funding from the Art Show to support four annual scholarships.’

The scholarships are for first-year Vocational Education or Higher Education Swinburne students experiencing financial hardship.

In keeping with Rotary’s culture of community support, the four scholarships are awarded to students who, despite their own difficulties, are
committed to giving back by supporting others through activities like volunteering, sports coaching, or helping with local community organisations.

The scholarships of $5,000 each assist students in their first year of study, helping them achieve their full potential.

The scholarships are just one example of the long-standing connection between Swinburne and Rotary, with George Swinburne being a member of the first Rotary Club in Australia, founded in 1921.

Over the years, Rotary and Swinburne have supported a shared desire to make a difference in the world through education and empowerment.

In recent years, Swinburne and Rotary clubs around Melbourne have collaborated on many initiatives. These include student projects, mentoring, cultural exchanges, work experience, volunteering,
and fundraising.

These mutually beneficial initiatives aim to amplify our impact on our shared local communities. This includes over 250 hours of volunteering by
Swinburne students at Rotary events and initiatives such as Rotary Op Shops, book stalls, event management, on-the-day support, design work,
translation services, and social media support.

Students gain vital real-world experience in their chosen and extended areas of education, something that continues to connect the two organisations in collaborative ways, as Jonathan points out.

'One of Swinburne’s research students came to our club to share her project. She asked for members to participate in her research and got a lot of feedback from our members, which helped her with her project.’

‘Swinburne is a great partner. We’re so pleased to be able to work with them.’

Donate to Swinburne

Your donation will give students the support they need in the times that matter.

Donate now