Probus is an association of active retirees who join together in clubs, the basic
purpose of which is to provide regular opportunities for them to keep their minds
active, expand their interests and to enjoy the fellowship of new friends.
Membership is open to anyone of good character who has had some measure of
responsibility or achievement in any field of worthy endeavour.
They are non-profit making and have no fund raising activities. All Probus Clubs
are sponsored by Rotary Clubs, but on formation, are totally autonomous.
Probus began in England when two Rotarians, independently and without knowledge
of each other’s activities, persuaded their respective Rotary Clubs to establish local
groups or clubs which would provide fellowship and intellectual stimulation for
retired business and professional men.
The first, formed in 1965 by Fred Carnhill of the Rotary Club of Welwyn Gardens,
Hertfordshire, was called the Campus Club. The second, founded in 1966 by Harold
Blanchard, Commmunity Service Director of the Rotary Club of Caterham, Surrey,
was named the Probus Club – for the “PRO” in “profession” and “BUS” in “business” –
which also made up the Latin word for “honesty, integrity, virtue”.
The latter name was adopted, and “Probus” was recommended to Rotary Clubs by
the Council of Rotary International in Britain as a valuable community service project.
Probus was introduced into New Zealand in 1974, and to Australia in 1976. The
promotion through Rotary Clubs was very rapid; so much so that its membership
is now far larger in size than that of Rotary Clubs in Australia and New Zealand.
Today, Probus in Australia and New Zealand is by far the largest integrated body of
Probus Clubs in the world. At present, there is no affiliation between the Australian
and New Zealand Clubs with other Clubs known to exist in the UK and other European
countries, USA, Canada, Malaysia, India, Brazil, South Africa, Japan and possibly
elsewhere. So we have no idea what the total world membership of Probus may be.
We do know that there are about 100 Clubs in the UK which are loosely related, but
are not bonded together as we are by the Probus South Pacific Ltd.