Thirty years and still talking | Gallery

HISTORY and photography were the topics of the night when Queanbeyan Toastmasters Club celebrated its 30th anniversary on Monday night at the Karabar Community Centre. It was a special occasion with long time members coming out of the woodwork to share this special evening.

The old and the new made for a lively cocktail with new member and president Michael Chan and long time member Anna Boots delivering entertaining speeches. Anna, a multiple contest winner spoke about the history of Queanbeyan Toastmasters from its first meeting at Burns Mill in 1984 when Leonie Allerton was the first president. Former Eden-Monaro member Jim Snow was a foundation member and always a speaker worth listening to remaining with the club until moving to the south coast recently.

Foundation members include: Jim Snow, Leonie Allerton, Barry Wright, Russell Phillips, Tom Baker, Rob Woodrow, Rachael Nikolic, Michael Thorley and Carolyn Clancy. The late Grant Keedle who passed away not long ago was remembered fondly as a dedicated and enthusiastic member of the Queanbeyan Toastmasters Club.

Anna finished in a reflective mood asking people “What have you gained from Toastmasters?” Many members would agree that self-confidence, communication and leadership skills have helped to enhance their lives and careers.

 Anna estimated that thousands of people have been helped by the encouragement and support that is found at Queanbeyan Toastmasters. She remembered one gentleman who joined only because he had to make a speech at his daughter’s wedding...”and that’s OK,” said outgoing president Dan Holliday as he ‘handed the gavel’ to Michael Chan, “most members come for a special reason. Some stay, but everyone benefits from what Toastmasters has to offer.”

The only remaining foundation member, Barry Wright was regrettably absent sending his apologies the week before but when Ken Croft ran the  in the table topics, a regular section of impromptu speaking, with the theme of “1984”, long time member Gary Harb stood up and spoke with humour and wit about the political scene ‘in the day’. Some of the younger members weren’t around then but nevertheless joined the dots between the past and the present.

The mid meeting break was extended to accommodate the occasion and guests enjoyed a historic portfolio Anna Boots had compiled with photos from the early days showing not just past members but the clothing and hair styles of the day. Grieving over the change in his own hair Dan Holliday reluctantly called the meeting back to order to finish with good evaluations of the speeches, some matters of club business and thoughts for the next thirty years in Queanbeyan Toastmasters.

To enquire about Toastmasters, go to to find a club in your area.

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide