An Overview of District 17 History
The history of our District divides into two major periods, which are separated at June 30/July 1, 2011 when WA Toastmasters split off from District 73 and became District 17.
The incoming District Governor, Mark Richards DTM, appointed as joint Historians Judith Allen DTM and David Nicholas DTM. Our role is to set up a process for gathering records of our past, to arrange them systematically and make them available on the District Website to all those interested.
The District 73 period
This subdivides into two periods.
Early days - approximately 1968 to 1985
Western Division - 1985 onwards
The first Toastmaster Club in WA was City of Perth in 1968. The club functioned successfully for just on four years, but then collapsed. This information was supplied by one of the original members, Doug Fortescue, a neighbour of David Nicholas.
WA’s growth in Toastmasters began in the early 1970’s when a small group of enthusiasts started a number of clubs. Peter McDonnell, a founding member of Banyandah, recalls an Advanced Club being started. However it, and one or two others, failed to reach Charter strength.
When the provisional District 73 was formed in 1976, Banyandah, which had chartered in August 1974, and two newly chartered clubs, Sandgroper in April 1976 and Talkabout in December 1976, were three of the 22 clubs from Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia making up the new District. These 3 clubs are still functioning as at July 2015.
For seven years these three were the only clubs in WA. However, seven new clubs were chartered between 1983 and 1989.
The 1990’s were definitely the boom years with 20 clubs added to WA’s numbers – a steady growth of three or four each year and 15 of them still going.
This momentum carried through into the 2000’s with another 35 clubs chartered, including a phenomenal 12 clubs during Mike Helm’s reign as District Governor in 2007/2008. Mike was the first West Australian to become the District 73 Governor. We then chartered six clubs the following year, and a further 11 in the next two years. In 2006/2007 a second Division was formed in WA - Perth Division - and 2 years later in 2008/2009 a third Division was added -Innercity Division - as WA grew to it's target of 60 clubs to form a new District.
District 17 is Born!
At last, the dream of a Western Australian District was becoming more of a reality. In 2009 a Reformation committee was set up. It was chaired by David Nicholas with members Mike Helm, Michael Malone & Mark Richards. Our sights were set on a separate District in WA in 2011.
District 17 came into being on Saturday 21st May 2011 at the Swan Song on the Swan Convention in Perth. During the Toastmasters District 73 West District Council Meeting, the first District 17 Officers were elected and Western Australia ended its association with District 73.
Historically, this year, 2011-12 is one of the most important for Toastmasters in Western Australia.
The new District 17 began to operate on 1st July 2011, led by our first District Governor, Mark Richards DTM and his executive team.
This Toastmasters year was one of consolidation and steady growth. Every achievement was a first for our new District 17 and sets the standard for years to come.
District 17’s first year 2011-2012 was an outstanding success led by District Governor, Mark Richards DTM with the District achieving Select Distinguished Status in the old ranking system on a points base where only the top 6 Districts could achieve Presidents Distinguished and the next 6 Districts, Select Distinguished. The rest of the Districts could only achieve Distinguished status. District 17 was ranked 11th in the world out of 88 Districts. There were four new clubs chartered, Applecross, CPA, Gourmet Guns N Roses and Healthy Toasters, with the loss of 1 club which is a 5% growth. 36 out of 60 clubs achieved Distinguished status or better which is 60%, 19 of them achieving Presidents Distinguished. Membership payments went from 2282 to 2512 which is a 10.08% growth. Two of the three Divisions achieved President’s Distinguished status, 12 of the 13 Areas achieved Distinguished or better with 3 of them Presidents Distinguished. The foundation was a solid one for the District to grow upon.
The 2012-2013 Toastmasters’ year was one of strong growth in new members and new clubs under the guidance of District Governor, Ross Wilkinson DTM. Six new clubs chartered; ToastiES, Madison, Northern Gourmet, Willetton, Curtin GSB Sundowner and DTM Pathway which is a 9.52% growth. 42 out of 63 clubs achieved Distinguished status or better which is 66.67 %, 17 of them achieving Presidents Distinguished. Membership payments went from 2512 to 2990 which is a 19.03% growth. All three Divisions achieved President’s Distinguished status, 8 of the 13 Areas achieved Distinguished or better with 6 of them Presidents Distinguished. With a new District performance system in place that year, the District reached Presidents Distinguished for the first time with a world ranking of 10th out of 88 Districts. (World rankings are sorted by percentage of Distinguished clubs)
Our District also saw Mike Helm DTM installed as the International Director for our Region, Region 12 at the Toastmasters International Convention in Orlando in 2012. This is the first time a West Australian has been elected to this position. We are extremely proud of Mike’s achievement.
The 2013-2014 year saw our District achieve President’s Distinguished District status once again lead by District Governor, Pascale Amberville-Colby DTM.
We chartered seven clubs; 235 Toastmasters, Deloitte, ToastEY, Risky Toast, Currambine, WASM & Karratha, with the loss of 1 club which is a 8.7% growth. A record number of 45 of our 69 clubs attained Distinguished or better which is 65.22%, with 23 of these achieving President’s Distinguished. Membership payments went from 3007 to 3275 which is a 8.91% growth. All three Divisions achieved Presidents Distinguished status, 11 of the 13 Areas achieved Distinguished or better with 5 of them Presidents Distinguished. District 17 was ranked 14th in the world this year out of 91 Districts. In this year's realignment we added 3 more Areas to begin the following year. Past District Governor Ross Wilkinson ran for International Director this year for Region 12 but was unsuccessful against Kaylene Ledger - Canberra and eventual winner Charlie Starrett from Queensland.
The 2014-2015 year saw our District achieve President’s Distinguished District status for the 3rd year running, lead by our first female District Governor, Robyn Richards DTM.
We chartered eight new clubs; Shell, Kwinana, PwC, Jacobs, Bechtel WA, Sunday Sundowners, Golden Gourmet & Masters at UWA with the loss of 1 club which is a 9.33% growth. 44 out of 75 clubs achieved Distinguished status or better which is 58.67%, 23 of them achieving Presidents Distinguished. Membership payments went from 3277 to 3698 which is a 12.85% growth. All three Divisions achieved Presidents Distinguished status, 11 of the 16 Areas achieved Distinguished or better with 6 of them Presidents Distinguished. District 17 was ranked 20th in the world this year out of 96 Districts (District 73 ranked 21st in the world and Presidents Distinguished). In this year's realignment we added 1 more Division (Eastern) and 3 more Areas (19 Areas now) to begin the following year.
The 2015-2016 year saw our District take a little set back with the decline in the WA economy and we did not achieve Distinguished District this year.
Ian Pickens DTM was our first District Director and during this year we chartered 2 new clubs; NAB and Competitive Speakers with the loss of 2 clubs Margaret River and PWC which is a 0% growth. Membership payments went from 3707 to 3529 which is a -4.8% loss. 40 out of 82 clubs achieved Distinguished status or better which is 48.78% , 26 of them achieving Presidents Distinguished. One out of four Divisions achieved President's Distinguished and 9 of the 19 Areas achieved Distinguished or better with 1 achieving President's Distinguished Area. District 17 was ranked 69th in the world this year out of 98 Districts. Past District Governor Mark Richards ran for International Director this year for Region 12 but was unsuccessful against Dennis McCord - New Zealand, Tracy Green - Victoria and eventual winner David Fisher from New South Wales.
The 2016-2017 year saw a huge growth in clubs for our District adding 8 new clubs and losing none. Unfortunately our membership renewals were low and therefore the District did not reach Distinguished.
Leonor Ragan DTM lead our District to 37th in the World out of 102 Districts, by our high amount of Distinguished clubs, 50 out of 82 clubs, which is 60.98%, 18 of them achieving Presidents Distinguished. All four Divisions achieved President's Distinguished and 14 of the 19 Areas achieved Distinguished or better with 5 achieving President's Distinguished Area. We added 8 new clubs, being, Stanley College, b Toasty, Curtin, Verbivores, Butler, UWA College Row, Co Burners and Fremantle Quaynote. Membership payments went from 3554 to 3525 which is a -0.82% loss and was the telling factor why we did not reach Distinguished District.
The 2017-2018 year saw our District have a very consolidated year adding 3 new clubs and losing 3. Our membership saw a slight growth and our Distinguished clubs were over 50%. We did not achieve Distinguished status this year.
Sue Fallon DTM lead our District to 35th in the world out of 105 Districts worldwide. We added 3 new clubs being Persuasive Speakers, Energy Club and CIL Toastmasters and lost Netmasters, Co-Burners and NAB Perth. 46 of our 90 clubs achieved Distinguished status which is 51.11% with a record 28 of them achieving Presidents Distinguished. Two out of the Four Divisions achieved Select Distinguished and there were 7 Distinguished Areas and 3 Presidents Distinguished Areas. Our membership payments grew slightly from 3551 to 3592 a 1.15% growth.
Patricia D’Cruze DTM lead our District to 50th in the world out of 116 Districts worldwide. We added 3 new clubs this year being, ABU, Toastwest and Toastminers but we lost 4 clubs, taking our club tally to 92 clubs. 47 of our 92 clubs achieved Distinguished status which is 51.09% with a new high record of 32 of them achieving Presidents Distinguished. Two out of the Four Divisions achieved Distinguished and there were 7 Distinguished Areas, 3 Select Distinguished and 1 Presidents Distinguished Area. Our membership payments dropped slightly from 3615 to 3438 a drop of 4.9%.
The 2019-2020 year saw our District and the world take a huge drop in clubs and membership payments due to the COVID 19 effect worldwide. This also had an effect on our Distinguished clubs, so we did not reach Distinguished status again. Our District expanded our Divisions from 4 to 6 trying to keep our Areas to a maximum of 4 clubs per Area.
Kevin Sansome lead our District to 112th in the world out of 119 Districts worldwide. We added just 1 new Club, Piara Waters and lost 6 clubs, taking our club tally to 87 clubs. There were only 26 clubs at Distinguished status with 22 of them Presidents Distinguished. None of our Divisions reached Distinguished with 3 of our Areas Distinguished and 2 at Select Distinguished. Our membership payments crashed from 3443 to 3110 a drop of 9.67%. Most of our clubs were unable to meet face to face, so Zoom became the preferred way to run meetings. The District made the tough decision to cancel the annual conference, along with the District speech contests. A very tough year for our District and a huge congratulations to our Trio for seeing us through this bump in the road.
The 2020-2021 year saw our District struggle again, to take a huge drop in clubs and membership payments due to the COVID 19 effect worldwide. It also had an effect on our Distinguished clubs status, so we did not reach Distinguished District status again.
Henry Yau lead our District through trying times to 80th in the world out of 122 Districts worldwide. We added 2 new clubs being Melville and Byford but lost 9 clubs taking our club tally to 80 clubs. There were 27 clubs at Distinguished status with 15 of them Presidents Distinguished. None of our Divisions reached Distinguished with 3 of our Areas Distinguished and 1 at Presidents Distinguished. Our membership payments fell from 3118 to 2767 a drop of 11.26%. The District held it's first online Conference over 2 weekends with most of our clubs returning to face to face meetings by October. Another huge pat on the back to our District leaders for a tough year.