Thursday, June 13, 2024

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HomeIssue 9Lack of manpower stops Henley on Todd

Lack of manpower stops Henley on Todd


The dry river regatta Henley on Todd, due to celebrate its 60th anniversary this year, has been cancelled because Rotary could not raise the extra manpower which Covid plans require.

The boat race has been cancelled only twice: Last year because of the pandemic, and in 1993 – believe it or not – because the Todd River flowed.

Rotary has also cancelled the annual Bangtail Muster.

Asked how come the Rotary events, unlike the Finke Desert Race, the Wide Open Space festival and a string of other events could not be revived this year, organiser Eli Melky says it’s a cry for help from the three service clubs: “Our numbers are dwindling. We need people to join us. Rotary is taken for granted. People are sitting on the sidelines throwing rocks at us and bitching on Facebook. It’s take, take, take.

“The community needs people who give. Idle self-gratification just won’t do.”

Mr Melky says the event needs 200 people – all volunteers – on the day and a sizeable team all year ‘round.

It costs more than $100,000 to stage.

Mr Melky says Rotary hopes bringing back the long-time tourist attraction next year.

PHOTO: The spectacular boat battle.


  1. The Camel Cup is cancelled too, and I understand the Old Timers Fete is a thing of the past.
    It’s not just the service clubs that are suffering from lack of members and volunteers, the same problem applies across a variety of organisations that rely heavily on volunteers.
    Very much the nature of our time.

  2. To become a volunteer in this age is not as easy as it was not so long ago: the forms and paper work are incredible, including the insurance clauses for liability and the ochre card.
    Few weeks back I filled one of them, and one of the questions that still make me laugh: “Have you ever slept in the same room as a child?”
    I raised four children, was an housemistress in a boarding school hence obviously I should have said yes.
    But I said no because there was no room for an explanation and I wanted my card because I wanted to volunteer.
    Who designs the forms?

  3. Service clubs are seen as old and fuddy duddy. I wouldn’t know anyone under the age of 40 even close to membership.
    Meanwhile sporting clubs are booming. Perhaps it is time the netball or football clubs could support some events.


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