Phillip Island & Kota Kinabalu Sisterhood

Posted by International Inner Wheel | Jul 18, 2018 |

In early 2013, my husband and I were returning for a holiday in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (that’s Malaysian Borneo) for a holiday so I sent an email to International Inner Wheel to ask if there was an IWC in Kota Kinabalu. I very quickly received back the details for their Club Secretary Gillian Lee, so I wrote and asked if I would be able to attend a meeting whilst there. The response was so positive - they arranged to pick me up for the meeting and for a couple of their partners to collect Ian later to take us out to dinner. It was a wonderfully friendly evening and from here the relationship blossomed. 

 During our visit we were taken to one of their projects up in the mountains. It was a great day. I kept in contact between visits and then when Gillian Lee and I were Presidents of our respective clubs the following year, we talked about it and put it to both clubs. They were keen to develop this relationship so it was decided to become Sister Clubs.   

Jan and Graeme Hudson decided to come with us for the ceremony held on 24th May 2014. It was an amazing experience for us all. And so the Sisterhood began and continued to blossom, with us taking children’s books, puzzles and other educational equipment to give when we went out on projects with the KK club. 

The Inner Wheel Club of Kota Kinabalu celebrated its 60th Birthday the following year and our club was invited to attend. Jan and Graeme Hudson, Bev and Don Nicoll and Ian and I travelled to Sabah to represent our club at the Dinner. We were included in the celebrations and featured heavily in their published book: 

The Inner Wheel Club of Kota Kinabalu

“Celebrating 60 years of Service and Friendship


Gillian and I continued working towards a visit to Phillip Island, and finally with the Melbourne Convention to happen in 2018, I began the planning. I visited their Club to keep them up to date with the Convention itself, Val Corva sent me the promotional video to show them and I planned an itinerary for them to visit us after it.  

Finally, late Saturday after the Closing Ceremony, we gathered together at the Convention Centre and waved off on the mini bus our 9 KK sisters and 2 ladies from the IWC of Singapore. We then drove back to Phillip Island to meet them. That night was spent with the host families.

On Sunday morning we held a joint meeting between the clubs, with the 3 Presidents sharing their projects. It was a lovely morning spent getting to know each other and finding that we already had projects in common. Our Club has supported for several years the Rainbow of Hope School in KK and so does the IWC Kinabalu Rafflesia; we also support the Mother of Divine Grace Hostel in Kota Belud as does the IWC Kota Kinabalu.  

Following this we held a “Friendship Luncheon” and “Signing of Friendship Agreements between the IWC of Kota Kinabalu and the newly Chartered IWC of Kinabalu Rafflesia”. My husband and I had been lucky enough to travel to KK for the Charter Dinner of the IWC of Kinabalu Rafflesia in January. Amongst the 34 who attended were the National Representative for Malaysia and Singapore, and from District A62 Executive, the District Chairman, Vice Chairman, Junior Vice Chairman, Secretary, International and Editor: District 331 Secretary, and Past District Chairman, a Past IIW Board Director, Past IWA Secretary, Past IWA Council Member, and Past A62 Historian, as well as many Presidents and Past Presidents from Australia, Sabah, Singapore and New Zealand. Four countries, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand & Australia, and 9 IW clubs (Kota Kinabalu, Kinabalu Rafflesia, Singapore, South Wairarapa, New Zealand, Bayside, Nepean, Cranbourne, Latrobe and Phillip Island) were represented - a truly International event. Many banners and gifts were exchanged and there was much laughter and happy chatter all afternoon.  

We had a wonderful 3 nights and two days together, we home hosted the ladies, visited the islands’ attractions and held a BBQ for them at our home on their last night. They left to fly home, very tired and happy (as we were too) at 6am Tuesday morning.

 This has truly been an amazing journey for our clubs, and has given us the opportunity to really live up to the Objects of Inner Wheel:  

# to promote true friendship,

# to promote the ideals of personal service and

# to foster international understanding.




Dianne Barlow

A62 District