Sydney History the Beginnings
Following the formation of Australia’s first Lions club at Lismore on 1st July 1947 some five and a half years went by before the first Lions club was formed in Sydney. The history of District 201N5 may be said to have commenced when Sydney’s first Lions club was formed in December 1952.
The formation followed lengthy investigation by Bill Berge Phillips, a Sydney lawyer and Charles Copeland who had heard about ‘Lionism’ from Bill Tresise of Lismore. Tresise had sent Phillips pamphlets.
Phillips and Copeland, who were booked to travel abroad, studied the pamphlets and planned to carry out their own individual investigations into Lions and their activities whilst overseas. Bill Berge Phillips, a noted Australian swimmer and polo player, was travelling to the Helsinki Olympic Games where he officiated as member of the Jury of Appeal and Chief Judge of Appeal. Bill Copeland was travelling to the United States.
Whilst in Chicago he arranged to visit the Lions International headquarters and meet with Melvin Jones. Bill and Charles returned to Australia in September 1952 and decided to start a Lions club in Sydney.
A Canadian Lion, Gordon Smith came to Australia, as the ‘International Delegate’, from Chicago in October 1952.With the assistance of Gordon Smith, Bill and Charles arranged for the first meeting in Sydney to be held on 2nd December 1952 and at this meeting the decision to form a Lions club in Sydney was confirmed.
Although at that time there were eleven clubs in Australia with all except two being located in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland.
The Lions of Sydney was the 12th Lions Club formed in Australia