The Club was formed in June 1995 with the amalgamation of two existing Rotary Clubs, the Bentleigh (chartered Jan 1974) and Moorabbin Central (chartered June 1990) clubs. The new club of Bentleigh Moorabbin Central adopted the charter of the old Bentleigh Club.
A detailed recollection of the events of this period, prepared by Past President John Mason can be found below.

Past Presidents:
Helen Nodrum
Geoff Gledhill
Geoff Gledhill 2019-20
Ian Ballantine 2018-19
Peter O’Brien 2017-18
Greg O’Shea 2016-17
Richard Wright 2015-16
Richard Wright 2014-15
Karin Soster 2013-14
Alan Kempton 2012-13
Jo Beilby 2011-12
Peter O’Brien 2010-11
Rob Hilliar 2009-10
Zilla Roth 2008-09
Geoff Gartly 2007-08
Margaret Mason 2006-07
Tim Lynch 2005-06
Ian Ballantine 2004-05
Chris Mara 2003-04
Barry Neve 2002-03
Grant Perry 2001-02
Linda O’Brien 2000-01
Alan Kempton 1999-2000
Larry Green 1998-99
Glenda Oram 1997-98
Ron Brownlees 1996-97
Charles Rener 1995-96
Recollections of The Merger.
by John Mason.
I was fifth President of RC Moorabbin Central in the ’94 - ’95 year. The Club had a good fellowship, but had not had much luck in developing a fund raising project. At that time there was an informal group, self styled as the ‘Bayside President’s Group’, that met monthly, semi socially with partners in each others houses.. There I met the president Karl Haak of RC Moorabbin (our sponsor club), and we discussed the possibility of merging. But as Moorabbin was a dinner club and we were breakfast, neither side wanted to change meeting time; so that didn’t progress further.
A member of our club suggested to me that we should ‘take over’ Bentleigh who ran the Sunday Market and were struggling a bit to staff it. I discussed this with the then Bentleigh Pres Merv Ritter at the next Bayside Presidents meeting. We both thought it sounded like a good idea and agreed to explore further. I rang and spoke to DG Max Buchanan who was horrified, and said he wanted to increase the number of clubs, not merge them, and anyway, he said, there is no such thing as a merger in Rotary! I then rang the guru at Parramatta, Harley Tarrant of the Australia Pacific Zone office. He suggested one club could return its charter and the members could join the continuing club, and we could perpetrate the fiction of merger if we chose.
So Merv and I agreed to take that idea to our Boards and Club members. The MC Board agreed, providing that 70% of the members agreed, so after explaining the idea to the members we had a ‘plebiscite’. The proposal was adopted by one vote over the 70%, but two members, one being our founding President Geoffrey Shapiro, resigned as they could not see themselves doing ‘market duty’ in the merged club. Bentleigh had a similar process and each club appointed three members to a committee to sort out the details. (John Mason, Ron Brownlees and Glenda Oram from MC, and Merv Ritter, Charles Rener and Peter Lewis from Bentleigh). The committee met twice in my lounge room, and exchanged spirited correspondence.
The main issues were ....
  • who should be president, as each club had a president elect;
  • where we should meet,
  • when to start the ‘merged’ club, and
  • what name the club should have.
Both Presidents elect expressed the desire to be first president of the new club so we ‘drew lots’. Charles Rener of Bentleigh became first president, and Ron Brownlees of MC became second president. Bentleigh had been meeting at Bentleigh Club, and MC at the Sandbelt Hotel. A new independent venue was preferred so it was decided to go to the new restaurant at the Edmund Barton Centre at Barton Tafe Institute which was just opened and we became the first regular booking. Barton Tafe Institute changed its names through Barton, to Chisholm then Holmesglen; and the restaurant became known as ‘Hemisphere’. (We were to meet there until 2016 when the hotel closed and the building became a hospital).
The name “Bentleigh Moorabbin Central” was adopted as it was descriptive, although cumbersome. The “Territory” adopted was the former City of Moorabbin boundaries. It was also agreed to have a joint change over/ inauguration ceremony and start the new club on July 1st 1995. The MC Charter was duly surrendered, and the Bentleigh charter returned to be re issued in the new name. It was agreed to refer to the process as a merger even though a different process had to be followed. For some time the members were thought of as ‘ex Bentleigh’ or ‘ex MC’, but that distinction has disappeared over time as we all became BMC.
Rotary Club of Bentleigh Moorabbin Central
Sunday, 13 November 2016
Webmaster's note: This account of the origins of our Club are, as described, the recollections of one member, John Mason.
It has been prepared in good faith and does not purport to be a definitive account of exactly what happened at the time, but merely his recollection. Thank you John for your contribution.