Remembering the Inner Wheel Australia Conference – Canberra 2018

‘Friendship is Golden’ 50th Annual Conference, 19-20 October 2018

Photography by Judith Banks, IWC Liverpool Combined

Click on the images to view in a larger size.


Prior to the Conference there was a special ceremony at the Canberra Nara Peace Park, during which Michael Rabey from the Rotary Club of Canberra Burley Griffin invited International Inner Wheel President, Chris Kirby and Inner Wheel Australia President, June Muller and members to ring the Peace Bell to celebrate our 50th Anniversary  Conference.

Click here to read the post about the Peace Bell Ceremony, and to view photographs.

The location of a World Peace Bell within the Canberra Nara Peace Park provides a destination point within the park and allows an expression of good will and peace between the people of Canberra, Australia and the rest of the World.  Developed within Lennox Gardens, the Canberra Nara Peace Park symbolizes the close friendship between Canberra and its sister City, Nara, in Japan.

19 October

Prior to the Opening Ceremony and Gala Dinner the IWA Executive hosted the annual get-together for past IWA Executive.

Attending the Conference this year were 353 delegates and partners. The theme for the conference was “Friendship is Golden” to celebrate our  50th Conference. The Opening Ceremony and Gala Dinner were held at the Hellenic Club which was beautifully decorated with gold touches by the members of the Canberra-Belconnen Inner Wheel Club.  Many members wore gold themed outfits. It was wonderful that so many Past IWA Presidents also attended.

Inner Wheel Australia Vice President and Conference Coordinator, Robyn Gillespie, was MC.  Margueritte Sheppard,President of  IWC Canberra-Belconnen,  lit the Flame of Friendship.

The District Chairmen proudly presented their District Banners to IWA President June Muller and IIW President Chris Kirby.  All Inner Wheel members present received a wonderful memento of a Gold Rose Brooch with the Inner Wheel emblem and ’50’ on it. Our International Inner Wheel President Chris Kirby toasted International Inner Wheel and delivered an “empowering” address saying that despite Inner Wheel being unheralded it makes a big difference, with over 108,000 members in all the countries it exists around the world.  Women’s words and works are alive and powerful.

Three grants of $65,000 each were presented to research scientists doing Cord Blood Research. To date, 48 Grants have been awarded by IWA for Cord Blood  Research. The recipients this year were Associate Professor Michael Doran from the Stem Cell Therapies Laboratory at the Princess Alexander Hospital Brisbane, Dr Alla Dolnikov, Sydney Children’s Hospital and Dr Ashalyn Watt, Hudson Institute of Medical Research Facility, Clayton, Victoria.  Unfortunatley Dr Dolnikov was unable to attend the dinner.

Click here to view the full list of grant recipients as of October 2018.

The Opening Ceremony and Gala Dinner was a fabulous night, with entertainment by ‘Hit Parade’ encouraging many members on to the dance floor.

20 October

The Annual General Meeting and Business Session were held at The Hellenic Club of Canberra.  IWA President June Muller opened the meeting and welcomed all delegates. In her report she advised that $43,000 (this has since increased considerably) had been raised for the President’s Appeal “Buy A Bale” for Drought Relief in stricken areas.

Susan Chisholm, Media Administrator, gave a very touching power point presentation of our members who  have passed away during the last 12 months in “Moments of Remembrance”. This is a very moving ceremony in which members place a red rose in a vase, in memory of their late club member.

IIW President Chris Kirby gave her address stating, “It is definitely in our interest to continue to work hard to ensure that Inner Wheel blossoms and reaches more women, more communities. A turtle has to stick its neck out in order to move forward and so it is for Inner Wheel.  Our job is to Empower members to stick their necks out like the turtle to ensure Inner Wheel advances.  You are working together from right across Australia, use your position to work with District Executives, encourage Clubs and Districts to mix with other Clubs and exchange ideas, build interest, work together, beyond your Club and don’t be a stranger, be a supportive friend and encourage others to follow suit.  Make Inner Wheel fun – Live this year’s  International theme –  Empower and Evolve”.  

IIW President Chris then presented IWA President June with her banner for the year. President June then  presented IIW President Chris with a gift from all the members of Inner Wheel Australia.  The Convention Committee for the IIW Convention held in Melbourne earlier in the year – IWA Past Presidents Val Corva, Margaret Sansom, Anne McGill, Lorraine Hyde, Pam Watkins and Marilyn Armstrong were presented with Honoured Active Badges by National  Representative  Karen  Winters, on behalf of all IWA members, in recognition of their commitment and dedication to the success of the Convention.

The meeting closed with A40 Council Member Robyn Metcalfe extinguishing the Flame of Friendship.


The Friendship Dinner at the Hellenic Club on Saturday Night was a great opportunity to mingle with old and new friends.  Wandering around the crowd creating mystery,  Majura the Magician entertained us with his magic tricks.