Toot Toot! Many locals waved to the 100 Rotarians, local school children and dignitaries aboard Puffing Billy on Saturday 22 May 2021, as we commemorated Rotary’s century of service in Australia and New Zealand in 2021. 
Leaving Belgrave station at 11.00am, the Puffing Billy celebration train adorned with Rotary flags, meandered along its route through the picturesque Dandenong Ranges, stopping at Menzies Creek station at 11.23am and arriving in Emerald at 12.10pm.
People enjoyed music, static displays and information showcasing Rotary’s proud history of providing humanitarian services, building goodwill and working for peace.  At each station, a special baton of service passed from one Rotary dignitary to another, signifying a commitment to another 100 years of service to the people of Australia.
The celebration was organised by the Rotary Club of Emerald & District and Rotary Club of Belgrave, two of 1,100 Rotary clubs operating throughout Australia, with the support of Puffing Billy Railway.
President of the Rotary Club of Emerald & District Vicki van den Bergen said Rotary has a strong record of active service in the Hills area.
“Since our club’s establishment in 1980, our passionate members have worked together to create positive change in the wellbeing of our community and beyond,” Vicki said. “From supporting victims of the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires to our work today assisting those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, our club has been at the forefront of helping people of all ages who may be struggling through no fault of their own.
“We also support many international campaigns such as End Polio Now and run several major community events that raise much-needed funds for worthy causes. Our Kids Fun Run with Thomas event, for example, has raised more than $670,000 since it began in 2002, with 100 per cent of proceeds donated to local organisations that support children.”
Joint presidents of the Rotary Club of Belgrave Helen McKenzie and Rosie Vulling believe it’s a privilege to serve and help those in need through Rotary. 
“Since 1954 our club has supported many local programs such as the Dandenong Emergency Relief service, and since the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve helped Pay it Forward by providing casseroles for people in need,” said Helen.
“We’ve also sent containers of medical and sporting equipment overseas and with the help of a District grant this year, we will be running a youth mental health program for local secondary school children.”
“It’s full steam ahead for our club as we are committed to continuing our active service in support of the local community and international groups for many years to come,” Rosie added.
We made the local papers!!