✦ Wauchope APEX has been Building Better Communities for 64 Years in the Hastings Valley.
We spoke with James Wallis, Service Director of Wauchope Apex, to learn about the philosophy behind Apex, its history in Australia and the Wauchope Club’s activities in the local community.
James told us Apex is a volunteer community service organisation. Historically for young people over the age of 18, the Club offers active Australians an opportunity to learn more about themselves, gain new skills, make new friends and help those in need.
Apex members work in local clubs across urban, regional and rural Australia to raise awareness about social justice issues, assist the needy in a practical way and contribute resources to causes as varied as cancer research or youth public speaking.
The Apex story starts in March 1931 when three young architects, looking to make a contribution to their local community of Geelong Victoria, decided to create Apex.
By Christmas that year, clubs in Albury, Ballarat, Camperdown and Warrnambool had been established.
Over the past seven decades, Apex has chartered more than 1,000 local groups and more than 200,000 younger Australians have learnt key skills whilst making a practical contribution to the common good. Apex's three founders, Ewan Laird, Langham Proud and John Buchan were motivated by a simple creed: citizenship, fellowship and service.
Apex has always shown a preparedness to tackle today's problems without forgetting those issues and social problems that fail to achieve high level publicity or fashionable celebrity support. Looking back in time, we see some remarkable and noteworthy campaigns:
Truck and radio equipment to help the Royal Flying Doctors Service, the introduction of free milk to Australian schoolchildren pioneered by Apex's 1937 national service scheme and postnatal medical services championed.
More than 60% of Apex's members serve during the war, succeeded in a compulsory tuberculosis X-Ray testing scheme virtually eradicating the disease in Australia and promoting international volunteer cooperation.
Supported a civilian widows network, recognised indigenous needs, sponsored postwar migrant community integration and established the first Guide Dogs for the Blind training centre.
Apexians walked around Australia to raise awareness and funds for Autism, made talking books and other media available to the blind, more than 11,000 new blood donors found and new collection centres established.
Apex established Foundation 41 at the Royal Womens Hospital Sydney, supported MS education, built the Magic Castle in the Snowy Mountains and established the Robert Stolz Scholarship to the Vienna Conservatorium of Music.
Supported the creation of the SIDS foundation, funded craniofacial surgery, promoted CPR training and helped raise more than $4 million for Life Education efforts in primary schools regarding substance abuse.
Major sponsor of Kids Helpline, took the model of Clean Up Australia to a world audience of more than 6 million volunteers and identified the positive role model of sporting coaches in the Australian community.
Handed over more than $1 million to the Westmead Children's Hospital, engaged in multimedia promotion of volunteerism across Australia and forged links with the Surf Life Saving movement on youth education issues.
Opened the Apex Copper Coast Retreat, for families living with cancer, took the Apex Teenage Fashion Awards national, forged closer links with our neighbours through extended Student Bursary schemes in Philippines and Indonesia. Reignited Apex Global and expanded to Indonesia.
"It was post-Depression. We felt we had jobs, albeit minor ones, and here was an opportunity to do something for young [people] by bringing them together in some form of fellowship and service."
- Sir John Buchan (Apex Founder, award-winning architect and civic leader)
APEX in Australia are celebrating 90 years - how has it lasted so long?
Starting out as an organisation for men between the age of 18 and 40, the age limit was raised to 45 as membership started to decline, then women were inducted to help bolster clubs. Now clubs can vote to raise or remove the upper limit of their own club if they desire.
People are led to help and better their community wherever they can. As a part of a larger organisation, you have access to larger pools of money and people power to get things done.
James encourages others to join. “Being a part of any community organisation allows you to better your community any way possible. Wauchope Apex wants and needs new members. Anyone interested in joining is welcomed with open arms.”
Some of James’s fondest Apex memories are Interclub visits to Port Macquarie, Camden Haven and Gloucester to catch up with other clubs and friends he has made over the years via his Apex activities.
He told us, “Camden Haven Apex Club’s Train that we used at the Bain Park and Andrews Park Christmas Celebrations in Wauchope, we also took to Gloucester for their street carnival one year, which was a really fulfilling community activity. The kids absolutely loved riding the mini train.”
Wauchope Apex contribute in many ways to their local community
The club runs fundraising activities throughout the year and helps out other community organisations when asked. “We are involved with the Beechwood community with the running of the Beechwood Billycart Classic for many years," James told us. "It’s a fun, family event held annually that sees the small country town come to life. It’s a fantastic community event with not only the billy cart races, but market stalls, kiddie rides and fundraising activities.”
Further activities sees the club running public speaking competitions involving the local schools, every month the club holds what is called 'cash for cans'. This is a great initiative, the community can bring their crushed or uncrushed aluminum cans to the Apex collection site at the Wauchope Showground and they are paid per kilo for the cans.
At Christmas time they usually join in with the Chamber of Commerce Christmas Celebrations in Bain park and run a ham raffle. Funds raised by the club’s activities have seen many needed items purchased for the Wauchope Hospital, schools and sporting clubs.
Membership of Apex is open to anyone over the age of 18. Join an Apex Club near you, or support them through your business to help make a difference in the community.
“First you need to attend a few meetings to see what Apex is about. If you decide Apex is for you then we are happy to induct you,” James told us. “We meet on the second and fourth Monday of each month at various locations.”
Wauchope Apex Club
Ph. 0428 851 334
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