Some of the Projects that the Cromwell Lions Club has carried out in the past and is continuing to perform.

Collections for the Blind have been an annual project for the club since its formation. Recently the Red Puppy Appeal for provision and training of guide dogs has also been undertaken.


World Clean-up Day in October of each year is another ongoing project. We have co-operated with Cromwell Rotary around the Cromwell area and once with Wanaka Lions for a clean-up of the main highway between the two towns.


Cromwell Race Days. For many years the Lions Club has manned the gates and catered in the tearooms and with our caravans at the Cromwell races. At one stage we actually had the running of the gymkhana meeting at Christmas time, manning the equalisator and secretary's office. The programme included a stockman's race and one year there were four entries, two thoroughbreds, one quarter horse and one genuine station hack. To add to the confusion the handicapper was a member of the trotting fraternity.


Cromwell Lions Club members catering at the Cromwell Races


A section of the Crowd at the Cromwell Races.  Catering caravan providing chips and hot dogs. A member of the Cromwell Lake Dunstan Lions is assisting.

Cromwell Speedway. Manning of the gates and catering from our caravans has also raised considerable money for project funds since at least 1991­92. A large increase in the number of their meetings each year has made heavy demands on our members time.


Cromwell Lions Club catering facilities at the Cromwell Speedway. Two chip / hot dog caravans, a barbeque trailer and a drinks caravan manned by the Cromwell Lake Dunstan Lions.

Firewood has been a continuing activity of the club for many years. Sales have been a major contributor to project funds, while much has been distributed free to the needy.


Lions at the wood yard cutting rings and splitting, ready for distribution. Note a young exchangee from Italy assisting.

Half Marathon. For this popular event, held initially through the Cromwell Gorge and more recently around Cromwell, we have manned drink stations along the course.


Fireworks. From 2000 to 2003 a bonfire and fireworks display was held at the Cromwell racecourse area in November. This was a very popular event and attracted large crowds each year. Proceeds of a collection in 2002 were donated to the Child Cancer Society.


Golden Golf Charity Classic. This is a long-standing annual project run in co-operation with the Cromwell Golf club. A two-day tournament, it has been extremely well supported over the years and enabled the Lions Club to make donations of $2000 to $9000 to various charities such as the Fire Brigade and St. John Ambulance.


Youth Outreach.

Our club has a proud record of ongoing support for the youth of Cromwell.

Many youths have been sponsored to adventure courses at Outward Bound, Borland Lodge, the ship "Spirit of Adventure" and Raleigh International. Teams and individuals have been assisted to participate in karate, netball, pony club and cycling events. A number of these young people have showed their appreciation by working with Lions at the firewood yard and so gained an insight into community service.

The club has been active in promoting the Lions/Quest "Skills for Adolescence" and "Skills for Living" programmes and has funded the training of several teachers in these schemes.

Dux awards have been provided at Cromwell College since at least 1995.

Youth workers Brendan McCrae and later Vic Coster have had strong support from Cromwell Lions. In 2006-07 Golden Golf proceeds of $9000 were given to the Cromwell Youth Workers Trust for furnishing of the new Youth Centre - The Hut.

Youth Exchange has been well supported. Cromwell students have gone to Australia, Japan and USA, while we have hosted exchangees from these areas and South America. Lions have been generous in offering their homes and time for this project. To mention only one couple, Henry and Helen Smith have already hosted twelve exchange students from overseas.


Our Senior Citizens.

At least since 1986, and probably longer, the Lions club has provided a free bus to transport elderly Cromwell residents to the Alexandra Blossom Festival, with afternoon tea provided on return to Cromwell.

A very popular annual fixture has been the Christmas free luncheon for senior citizens. The maximum number of one hundred has been regularly reached and the meal and entertainment enjoyed by all those attending.


Lions preparing the vegtetables for the Christmas Dinner. Front of house and club President greet the Senior Citizens as they arrive.


Lions and partners cutting the ham and the turkey. Waiters line up to get the plates filled


Around 100 Senior Citizens attend the Christmas Dinner each year. Santa arrives and helps entertain, distributing gifts, and assisted by wives and children of Lions.

The Ladies - God Bless Them.

Members' wives gave a tremendous amount of support in the early days of the Cromwell Lions Club. Their activities were promoted and fellowship fostered when a Women's Auxiliary was formed in 1977. Some programmes included providing transport for elderly citizens to hospital and doctors' surgery; an employment bureau; and collection of unused spectacles for distribution in India.


Lions wives / partners assisting in a catering project at the Cromwell Races (left) and creating delights for the senior citizens Christmas Dinner (right)

The next step was the chartering of the Cromwell Lioness Club in October 1982 with 34 charter members. Charter President was Margaret Jolly and Secretary Sue Pickersgill.

Forward to 1992-93 when Lions International pressed for Lioness clubs to become Lions clubs. In line with this policy Cromwell Lioness Club re-chartered as the Cromwell Lake Dunstan Lions Club.


Notable Projects.


The Lions' Den.

In 1986 the lease on a shed used to house Lions' equipment terminated in favour of Old Cromwell Inc. A new ambulance station in Barry Avenue meant the old building in Erris Street was no longer required. This building was originally the Alexandra ambulance station and was transferred to Cromwell in the early 1970's. The Lions Club negotiated with the Government for its purchase. Alan Johnsen and Jeff Connelly were involved, Jeff's expertise ensuring purchase of the building at a very reasonable price. With the agreement of the Cromwell Scout and Guide Association relocation to the present site was achieved in 1987-88. Our loose tenure of the site has since been formalised with the Central Otago District Council.


Smurf Train / Thomas the Tank Engine.

The Smurf Train was bought in Dunedin in 1986-87. Jeff Connelly was again to the fore, organising two independent valuations and so ensuring the train was bought for less than the amount authorised. Fitted out and painted at Blackwood's Garage it was in operation by the end of 1987. Ongoing repair expenses meant the train was almost offered for sale in1992. However it was decided to rejuvenate and as Thomas the Tank Engine (from 1995-96) continues to this day. While Smurf Train / TTE has never been a money spinner it has proved immensely popular at many venues and brought enjoyment to hordes of children.

Lion Jeff Connelly  (with brother Ian) in front of the Smurf Train in 1987.  (Margaret Connelly, photo)


Input to Old Cromwell.

Cromwell Lions took a major part in demolishing two historic buildings in the old main street for re-erection in the Old Cromwell precinct. Later, a mud brick building at Poolburn was pulled down and the bricks brought to Old Cromwell for use.


Mall Notice Board.

The Club approached the Council in 1986-87 with a proposal to erect a notice board in the Mall. This was done and the notice board maintained by Lions till 1991-92 when it was upgraded and handed over to the Council.


Ripponburn Van.

In 1990-91 a project was begun to provide a van for Ripponburn Home which could transport wheelchairs as well as residents. This would also be available to other citizens as required. Fundraising started immediately and the two-year project successfully completed. The van, modified and fully equipped, was handed over in November 1992. Total receipts were $18,817-00.



To assist patrons having difficulty getting into the Cromwell Public Swimming Pool a Hydrolift was purchased and installed in1995-96 for an outlay of $3495.


Old Cemetery.

The old cemetery in Litany Street had many unmarked and untended graves. A major project was to tidy up the area. A Lions member, Jason Barton, in 1997 obtained old cemetery maps from a publication sponsored by Dunedin Monumental Masons and continuing Project Convenors worked on many ideas. When George Clearwater became 2nd VP and Project Convenor in 2002 the committee obtained grants of $10,000 from Central Lakes Trust and $5,000 from the Central Otago District Council to erect during 2003-04 a granite plaque bearing the names of all people interred in the cemetery.

The memorial was officially dedicated by Prime Minister Helen Clark in November 2004. Lion George continued with this project until another plaque bearing the family names of those graves in the old cemetery was in place at the new cemetery in January 2009.

Cromwell Lions Club members constructing the plinth for the directory at the Litany Street Cemetery in Cromwell.


Prime Minister Helen Clark opening cemetery directory.      Lion George Clearwater and PM Helen Clark with the newly opened granite directory for the Litany Street Cemetery in Cromwell

Alpha Street Barbeque

A free gas barbeque was created by the Cromwell Lions in a recreation area near Lake Dunstan. The facility is well used during summer and autumn.


The free public barbeque, built by Cromwell Lions Club members on the shores of Lake Dunstan in Cromwell.


Cromwell Lions Cub, with the co-operation of the Cromwell Lioness Club and its successor Cromwell Lake Dunstan Lions Club, hosted two very successful District 202F Conventions. Rising Waters in 1988 and Golden Harvest in 2001. Following on the 2001 convention we were approached to host a multi-district convention but felt the timing, in June, would present too many difficulties.

In 1991 a twenty-eight strong party of Cromwell Lions and partners travelled to the World Convention in Brisbane. Lion Lloyd Carlile arranged billets with his former club of Beaudesert and many friendships were made.


Looking Ahead.

The Cromwell Lions Club is in very good heart as we enter the next decade. We are most grateful for the support of other clubs and the community at large, without which our efforts would be much less rewarding. We re-dedicate ourselves with renewed enthusiasm to the Lions motto "We Serve".

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