Some History on how the club got started

Connie Receives her 40 year membership recognition

On September 15th 2009 the club celebrated its 40th birthday with a  grand lunch meeting at Rosco’s upstairs function room. Current and many past members attended and indeed spoke. Whereas some older members may well remember, most of the club’s records were swallowed up by the Johnstone River after Cyclone Larry. Current Toastmasters have been researching the remaining minutes and have found that the club was strictly for men in the beginning with their wives allowed to “yak in the breezeways” so long as they cooked and served refreshments. The first president was Ralph Harland but since Toastmasters elect a new president every year, the position has been held by many men and later women because the fairer sex was eventually let in, in the mid 70’s with Alma Smith, Norma Stewart and Connie Riera being the first three. Mrs Riera remains an active member, still able to inspire and mentor newcomers. Some presidents believed in doing everything themselves and one is recorded to have said that “all that is needed is an executive committee of two where one does not turn up”. Other presidents have taken the view that he should do nothing and numerous committees should run the club. It is also interesting to note that neckties had to be worn to meetings until finally it was considered excusable not to in the summer months.

Meetings were originally held at the Queen’s Hotel with dinners incorporated. There are motions passed, according to old records, as a consequence of the excessive cost of the meals which were $1.50 at the time. It was thought $1.20 ought to be enough.


So What Can We Talk About At Toastmasters?

Members often hear from other Toastmasters that speeches concerning politics, religion and sex are forbidden by Toastmasters International because “such controversial subjects are not appropriate.”

This is not true. Toastmasters International does not prohibit any speech topic, content or language.

Toastmasters International recognizes that club members may learn much about the world around them from listening to others’ speeches on a variety of subjects. This variety can add interest to club meetings and stimulate thoughts and ideas. For these reasons, Toastmasters International does not place restrictions on topics, content or language of any speeches. TI also recognizes that a club is comprised of a diverse group of people and recommends members be sensitive to this diversity and use good taste and responsibility when selecting speech topics, content and language.

While Toastmasters International has no organizational restrictions along these lines, each individual club does have the right to limit speech subjects, content and/or language, with the consensus of its members. Club leaders should guide their members on how to observe good taste and sensitivity in the context of that particular club. To accomplish this, it’s a good idea for clubs to use their Web sites to advise members and guests of any policies that have been decided. Presenting this information on a club Web site will help to maintain consistency as leadership changes. Additionally, it allows transparency and clarity for club members so they can periodically review the established practices of their club.


I hope that will help stem some of the discussions on that subject and clarify the recommendations