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Probus Clubs are formed by Rotary Clubs. The Probus Club of Frenchs Forest Inc was created through the assistance of the Frenchs Forest Rotary Club which was a tower of strength to the club in its early years. The Probus movement arrived here in Australia in 1976 and the Frenchs Forest club was formed in June 1980.

Our Probus Club was one of the first in the Manly Warringah area and its members have seen the Probus Movement grow to the size it is today.

Initially a men only club there were 22 foundation members of whom Syd Longhurst - President, Ken Clutton – Vice President, Murray Fairlie – Secretary and Ted Clifton – Treasurer formed the committee. In January 1981 an additional member was elected as an Entertainments, Outings and Speakers Organiser.

The Club entrance fee was fixed at $2.00 with an annual subscription of $3.00 per member.

Over the next 20 years the membership increased and stabilised to an average of 80 members – there was no ceiling on membership as the committee believed that everyone wishing to join Probus should have the opportunity of doing so. During the following 5 years though, membership started to decline until finally it was decided that instead of just allowing wives of members to join the meeting after morning tea to listen to the Speaker and on outings, that they should be invited to join the club as members and that the club should become a mixed one. In November 2005 the first female members joined the club and by the end of 2006 made up 40% of the membership which had now increased to 98 members.

For the first 29 years the club met at the Forestville RSL for a nominal fee but when the club announced an increase of 230%, with the promise of further increases each year, the decision was made to look for another venue in which to hold our meetings. We thus moved to the Belrose Bowling Club who allowed us free use of the premises for the next 9 years. When the club underwent renovations, we were forced to find an alternative venue for our meetings and after a year of uncertainty have settled at the Forestville Rugby Club.

Significant dates:

1980 – Club was formed with just 6 members turning up for the first meeting. At the September meeting it was decided that the 22 members attending become the ‘foundation’ members of the club. Meetings were held at the Forestville RSL without any fees being charged.

1981 – Membership had increased to 34. It was decided that: - The Probus Prayer be read at each meeting; each member should be encouraged to do a 10 -20 minute This is My Life’ talk; a monthly bulletin be produced for members; an archive be commenced to maintain a history of the club.

1983 – Date of the AGM changed from June to March, but the change-over lunch was still in June and office bearers did not take over until July. Annual membership fees increased to $10.

1985 – Syd Longhurst proposed ‘A Regional Association of Probus Clubs’ be formed – after a meeting attended by 41 delegates from 14 local clubs it was decided that the formation of a ‘Regional Association’ was not required, however the ‘Probus Association Sydney North’ was formed with Syd as its president.

1987 – Officers elected at the March AGM to now take over immediately

1988 – Interest groups were formed within the club: Bowling, Gardening, Golf, Indoor bowls, Travel & Dining and Walking. Unfortunately, membership of these clubs dwindled over the years until they were all disbanded. Today members follow their interests belonging to a variety of other clubs/groups.

1989 – Club now incorporated – new title ‘The Probus Club of Frenchs Forest Inc.’

The Probus Association Sydney North’ disbanded

1990 – Syd Longhurst was presented with Honorary Life Membership at the 10th Anniversary Lunch.

1991 – AGM still in March but once again new office bearers do not take over until June!! Membership now up to 69.

1993 – Membership increased to 84 – annual fees increased to $12.00

1996 – Meetings still held at the Forestville RSL, but the club introduced an accommodation fee and certain other conditions.

2000 – Inaugural President and great stalwart of the club Syd Longhurst passed away. He was a worthy recipient of ‘Life Membership’

2002 – Committee now take up their roles following the AGM the ‘change-over lunch’ takes place in March after the meeting and the June change-over lunch now becomes the ‘mid-year lunch’.

2005 – Club makes the decision to become a Combined Club and welcomed its first intake of female members. It was also decided that after a ‘settling in period’ that the role of president should alternate between the male and female members when possible.

2008 – First Female President elected – Sue Clement.

2009 – Change meeting venue from Forestville RSL to Belrose Bowling Club.

2010 – Celebrate 30 anniversary of ‘The Probus Club of Frenchs Forest Inc.’

2018 – Move venue for meetings to the Youth Club Hall where we are unable to meet during school holidays.

2019 – Move to the Forestville Rugby Club premises.

2020 – Co-vid 19 Pandemic - March AGM cancelled as nationwide lockdowns put into effect in an attempt to control the spread of Covid-19.

Note: 2 archival books have been produced

  • A Short History – The First 20 Years’ in 2000

  • Our First 30 Years’ in 2010

These are available for any of the members to look through should they wish to do so.


The following comments were made by Gordon Dutton on the 30th anniversary of the club who was a member of the club for 29 of those years serving on the committee as Secretary for 3 years.

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of our club, I would like to express to past

and present members, and also to the Probus Movement itself, my thanks for the

enjoyment that I have had as a member for the past 29 plus years.


The step from active secular life to that of a ‘retiree’ can sometimes be difficult. In

my case, having completed 43 years’ service as an employee of the Royal Insurance

Group (my one and only job), it was not easy to replace the mental challenge of the

workplace and the companionships formed over the years for that of a ‘retiree’.


However, as a member of Probus, I found a way to keep my mind active and indeed

expanded, as I have listened to and enjoyed some 200 plus guest speakers. I have also

had the opportunity to visit many places of interest in and around our City in the

company of many newfound friends.


It has been my pleasure to observe every President and other Office Bearers since the

Club’s inception, and as I look over the long list, each name brings some particular

Memory and appreciation for their dedication in directing and keeping the club strong.


I consider its success is shown in the fact that the format has been relatively

unchanged over such a long time, perhaps the one exception being the dropping of the

This is My Life’ segment which, I believe, was a meeting highlight in the early years.*


The change to a Combined Club four years ago, thus including Ladies as full

members, has added variety, particularly with their willingness to accept leadership

roles in the club.


The long journey has brought me pleasure and satisfaction. Congratulations to the

Club for having fulfilled its objectives to keep our minds active, expand our interests,

And help us gain new and lasting friendships.





*Note -this segment has been reinstated.