Rotary commenced in Australia with the formation of the Rotary Club of Melbourne in 1921.
The first President, Professor Osborne, was appointed a Special Commissioner for Rotary with the task of introducing Rotary to Western Australia, South Australia, other parts of Melbourne and Tasmania.
Professor Osborne, along with Mr WA Drummond Secretary of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, sailed to Tasmania on the Nairana and landed in Launceston on February 13, 1924.
A meeting was held at the Brisbane Hotel on February 18 to discuss the formation of the club, and a motion "that the Rotary Club of Launceston be now formed" was passed.
Dr John Ramsay, the Superintendent of the Launceston General Hospital, was elected president and RL Parker, vice president. There were 25 charter members.
Professor Osborne and Mr Drummond attended the first meeting of the Rotary Club of Launceston, a luncheon at the Brisbane Hotel on February 27, 1924.
This was the first meeting of a Rotary club in Tasmania.
Sir Henry Jones sent a telegram to the meeting congratulating the Rotary Club of Launceston on being the first Rotary Club in Tasmania but noting that Launceston had stolen Hobart's birthright.
Launceston and Hobart were the fifth and sixth Rotary Clubs to be formed in Australia and 96 years later, the clubs are still operating.
Launceston's claim to be the first Rotary Club in Tasmania received a setback when the Charter Certificates for the two clubs were received from Rotary headquarters in August 1924.
The Rotary Club of Hobart received Charter Certificate number 1802, and the Launceston Club was awarded Charter Certificate number 1803.
Which club was first established? It depends on whether it is the first club to meet, or the first club to be chartered.
The platypus was adopted as the centrepiece of the Rotary emblem of the Rotary Club of Launceston, a move proscribed by Rotary International, but the platypus banner is still proudly displayed at the club's weekly meetings.
In March 1935 Rotary Founder Paul Harris visited Tasmania and planted friendship trees in Launceston and Hobart.
The Launceston tree, a Himalayan cedar tree, is a magnificent specimen near the Cenotaph in Royal Park.
From the Rotary Club of Launceston, a network of clubs has sprung up around Northern Tasmania with the Rotary Clubs of Devonport, Burnie, Beaconsfield (now West Tamar) and South Launceston able to trace their origins back through the Rotary Club of Launceston to the Rotary Club of Melbourne.
In 1929, following the disastrous Launceston floods, the Rotary Club of Launceston was appointed to organise and collect clothing for flood victims. This massive task was the first of many major contributions by the club to the Launceston community in nearly a century of service.