History of the Lions club of Mooloolaba

We are a part of an international non political service organisation established just over 100 years ago.

The first Australian club was chartered in 1947. The Lions Club of Mooloolaba was sponsored by the Lions Club of Buderim and chartered in 1975. Hence we share a significant portion of the history of this global group with a common focus on service to the community.

Today our elected men and women leaders come from all over the world. There are currently 1.4 million Lions members in over 200 countries.

The club’s inaugural president was Frank Brinkley. He served in the role for two terms. “Back in the day” Lions was an exclusive men’s group. From the outset the club attracted members keen to share in the variety of localised community projects. Records indicate that 40 plus members was the norm for decades.

The Sunshine Coast was much more an insular tight knit parochial community during the early years of the club. Local festivals, social functions and events were common. The club played a lead role in the dynamics of the community’s social fabric.
“The Festival of the Sea” along the Mooloolaba spit of the early 80’s was often mentioned in the archives. The club provided rides on a “nut mobile” and later hayrides for the younger family members. Please seek an explanation of a nut mobile elsewhere.

Organising trade shows and later boat shows linked the club to service support for the local businesses. Raffles was the main fund raiser where seafood trays were peddled in a car park on Brisbane Road during busy shopping hours.

Charles Clark Park in the heart of Mooloolaba was the centre of many club activities and the source of considerable enhancement by the club. Parkland working bees preceded the request to simply send us a cheque for your contribution to community infrastructure.

Bus trips were a common social outing. Visits to the races with “refreshments” on board was a common venue. Boat races in homebuilt crafts on the Maroochy Rive near Bli Bli was an annual in-club competition. Winning was very much secondary to attempted sabotage of opposition boats. Badgering was commonplace. Club ethics apparently slipped a bit on these days. The essential ingredient was shared fun and stories to be enhanced over a drink later.

One key youth program for many years was the “Blue Light” disco. Hundreds of adolescents were bussed in and carefully escorted into a local hall (to avoid escaping onto the streets of Mooloolaba for the evening.) I think the aim was to keep the teenagers on the “straight and narrow”.

Club members did often facilitate and volunteer their time on “school -to-work” programs. Tree planting in parks was a common project. Blue cards, Leos, Youth of the Year and “Writing Challenges” came later.

Bingo was big. If you thought this had been franchised out to one the mainstream churches, you would be mistaken. The club played a significant role running bingo for the local ambulance. This was a time when local fund raising was necessary to sustain the ambulance service.

An early venture into running a community market is noteworthy. This occurred in the carpark of a “u” shaped shopping hub in Maroochydore. For many decades since this has been the home of the “Big Top”. The 21 year history of our current market is another story.

The club has changed along with the communities near and far that is serves. The essence of selfless service to the community in a spirit of comradery has been the common thread across the years.