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Our History

On Tuesday March 20th 1979, CBC Toastmasters was chartered in Sydney, following a number of phone calls between, among others, Wal Lussick, Leon Payne and Margaret Standaloft.

Ensuing bank mergers meant that CBC Bank was swallowed up into the National Banking Group. The Club underwent a name change to accommodate the fluctuating fortunes of the banking industry and became National Toastmasters.

Today, National Toastmasters Club is a community club, open to any members of the public who would like to improve their confidence, public speaking and leadership skills. The club is no longer associated with National Bank Australia or any commercial organizations.

Our club has a rich tradition and still maintains and updates today its compendium of Club history, award winners, office holders, and Standing Orders, a tribute to those who worked so diligently to establish those important documents and lists. One of the most prominent of these was Geoff Kirkwood, who served not only the National Club but all levels of District 70.

Over the years, National Toastmasters Club has provided several Area Governors, including David Hire, John Dwyer, Ruth Rinot and Steve Howard Geoff Kirkwood, a former member and President progressed through the ranks of Area Governor and Division Governor to become District 70 Governor in 1984/85. National has also provided several District Officers, including Margaret Standaloft, Norma Parker and Ruth Rinot.

In terms of contest champions, National has been prolific:

  • In the International Speech Contest, Steve Howard has represented Australia twice (1997 & 1998), was District 70 runner-up in 2000, 3rd placegetter in 2002 and finalist in 1996 and 2005. National has provided a finalist on 2 other occasions - Helen Lynch (1983) and Vanessa Gorman (2004).
  • In the District 70 Evaluation Contest, National has provided 3 winners - Geoff Kirkwood (1986), Ruth Rinot (1995) and Gina Collins (2000), as well as a runner-up - Gina Collins (1997), and a finalist - Steve Howard (1996).
  • In the District 70 Humorous Speech Contest, National has provided a finalist 4 times - Steve Howard (1992) and Ross Clennett (1995 & 1996) and David Waters (2017).
  • In the District 70 Table Topics Contest, which attained District status only in 1999, National provided a winner in 2001 – Vanessa Gorman, only the 3rd winner of the contest at this ultimate level. National has also provided another finalist - Steve Howard in 2003.

There have also been many finalists in various Central Division contests, including a Central Division champion in the Table Topics Contest - Gina Collins (1997) – the highest level attainable at the time.

Steve Howard has served as President 3 times (1995/96, 1998/99 and 2002/03). Four others have served as President over 2 terms – Geoff Kirkwood (1981 & 1988), Noel Hucker (1992 & 1992/93), Ross Clennett (1994/5 & 1996/7) and David Hire (1984 and 2000/01). Geoff now resides in Brisbane and Noel and Ross are now residing in Melbourne.

National has conducted several Speechcraft courses/programs, all with outstanding success. Some club members like Gina Collins and Andrew Garven were introduced to Toastmasters through Speechcraft, emphasising what an important role it can play in the life of a club. Both served the Club executive well over many years, including terms as Club President.

National has been a champion Club since 1979 and will continue to be a flagship for District 70 and for Toastmasters International whilever it continues to generate a spirit of continuous and never-ending improvement.


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