Since a Zonta Club was first founded in Australia in the 1960s, Clubs have spread in keeping with the growth of Zonta around the world.
Australia is home now to three Zonta International Districts.
Together they represent around 2300 members in over 100 Zonta Clubs spread across all States and Territories.
We also have the privilege of being supported by many thousands of people – friends, family, and work colleagues who are a very broad cross section of the community. This wider network of support injects pro bono expertise and goods, assists with fundraising and donations, and works alongside members on activities to support the service provided by our Clubs.
The first Zonta Club in Australia was established in 1929 in Sydney and included Australian poet, Dorothea Mackellar, among its members.
The Club disbanded in 1935. However, in 1965, an energetic, inspiring Canadian Zontian, Dorothy Thompson, reintroduced Zonta International to Australia and New Zealand, with the organisation of twelve Clubs, one in each Australian capital city and five in New Zealand. These Clubs became District 16 of Zonta International. District 16 came into being formally on 20 July 1974 at the Zonta International Convention in Boston.
At the Zonta International Convention in Dallas in 1990, District 16 was divided into three separate Districts: District 16 (New Zealand), District 23 (Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory), and District 24 (Queensland, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory).
Further growth in clubs and membership led to a decision at the 2008 Zonta International Convention in Rotterdam to divide District 24 into two Districts: District 22 (Queensland and the Northern Rivers of New South Wales) and District 24 (the remainder of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory).
GROWING AUSTRALIAN INVOLVEMENT
Three Australians have been elected to the highest office in Zonta International, that of International President: Leneen Forde AC, who later became Governor of Queensland, was the first and she served for the 1990-1992 biennium; Val Sarah, from Ballarat, Victoria, served for the 1998-2000 biennium; and Queenslander Mary Magee OAM for the 2000-2002 biennium.
In 1984, Sydney played host to the biennial Zonta International Convention, and the 2006 Zonta International Convention was held in Melbourne.
The current District 24 now has more than 450 active and engaged members across 26 clubs, from Armidale and Coffs Harbour in the north and Orange and Gunnedah in the west, to Berry on the south coast and Canberra and Canberra Breakfast in the ACT.
The most recent club, the Zonta Club of Goulburn, was chartered in 2016.
Other useful sites
- Zonta International
- Zonta International District 22 – Queensland
- Zonta International District 23 – Victoria, SA, NT, Tasmania, WA
- Zonta International District 16 – New Zealand