Members of the South Burnett Toastmasters Club gather for a group photo at their special Toastmasters centenary celebration

July 8, 2024

Club members and invited guests gathered in Kingaroy on Thursday night to celebrate a watershed* moment for Toastmasters International … 100 years since the start of the movement.

The special dinner meeting was held in the Anzac Room at the Kingaroy RSL Club, and was designed to give guests a taste of what a  regular Toastmasters meeting is like.

President Arlene Byrne welcomed the guests, saying a night of fun, laughter and learning was ahead.

Public speaking isn’t usually considered “fun” but Toastmasters work hard to dispel that thought, working within tried-and-tested rules to keep the evening flowing smoothly.

There were impromptu three-minute speeches – and yes, the guests were not spared – as well as impromptu speeches on a topic (thankfully, only club members were called on for this).

Toastmasters International traces its history to Santa Ana in California in 1924 when Ralph C. Smedley started the first club.

Smedley, who worked for the YMCA, decided the young men in his charge needed guidance in public-speaking skills to get ahead in life.

In 1973, women were officially admitted as members.

These days, Toastmasters is the major public-speaking organisation in the world.

It aims to provide a warm, non-judgmental environment for speakers of all standards to develop their skills – and possibly become the leaders of tomorrow.

There are now more than 270,000 members in 148 countries; and more than 140 active clubs in Queensland.

A number of Queensland organisations have in-house Toastmasters clubs, including Brisbane City Council, Energy Queensland, Powerlink, RACQ  and the University of the Sunshine Coast, which they use as a staff development tool.

South Burnett Toastmasters isn’t quite 100 years old, but still has a proud local history to celebrate.

The local club held its first meeting 34 years ago at the Club Hotel in Kingaroy.

These days they meet on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursday of every month from 7:00pm at the Kingaroy RSL Club.

* “Watershed” was the “word of the night” at the meeting which was supposed to be worked into every talk from the podium. As we said, Toastmasters like to have fun …  

Toastmasters like to have fun at their meetings … club member Judith Rowarth made the most of the birthday cake-cutting ceremony
Distinguished Toastmaster Marietta Wetzig shared information about the history of Toastmasters and picked the victims (oops, speakers) for the Table Topics  section
South Burnett Toastmasters president Arlene Byrne welcomed members and guests to the 100th birthday celebration
Rod Morgan was Toastmaster for the evening
Area 28 Director Cassie McMullen was a special guest
Cr Deb Dennien was one of the guests called on for an impromptu three-minute speech
Club member Anitta Stallwood was picked to do an impromptu “Table Topics” talk
Guests and club members filled the Kingaroy RSL Club’s Anzac Room for the 100th birthday meeting


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.