3. The Consolidation Years in NSW and the ACT, 1976 - 1980
The period from 1976 to 1980 was one of consolidation for the new District 70. Now that the District boundaries were confined to NSW and ACT, the District administration became more cohesive and effective. District officers were becoming more visible and the District Governor and Educational and Administrative Lt. Governors were able to attend Area Councils, Division Speech Contests and Training Sessions.
District Speechcraft was commenced in 1977 and this provided the District with a source of income additional to that received from Toastmasters International out of membership fees. These extra funds were used to establish the District Supplies Office and to send the District Governor to the International Convention. The Supplies Office, which was taken over by Ray Toyer in 1978, also became a source of funds for District 70. Prior to this, Clubs had to order supplies from the United States and endure long delays and customs problems.
Among the many goals set by the District Executive was that of achieving the status of Distinguished District. Clubs were also encouraged to use the Distinguished Club Plan that later became the Club Management Plan.
One early obstacle in the achievement of Distinguished District was that many Clubs were late in paying their Semi-Annual dues direct to Toastmasters International. Much time was spent chasing wayward Clubs.
The problem of late payment of dues was solved by the introduction of local collection that was carried out initially by the District Secretary. A Staff Officer was appointed later which enabled the District to closely monitor this aspect.
The next obstacle in reaching Distinguished District level was in achieving the required goal in the number of Able Toastmasters and so demonstrating that District 70 Clubs were effective in providing advanced speaking opportunities. This required greater awareness and promotion of the whole Toastmasters education program.
Educational sessions were introduced at Semi-Annual Conferences and the District Executive took over the organisation and presentation of the sessions at Annual Conferences. This facilitated the communication of the whole Toastmasters program at all levels of the organisation, as well as helping to identify and encourage the keener members of Clubs, Areas and Divisions for future District involvement.
During this period the Australia Day Public Speaking Contest was commenced. This was a public relations venture undertaken in conjunction with District 73. It was launched in District 70 in 1979 and ran for five years. Each year nearly 100 people entered both the Youth and Adult sections.
District 70 came close to achieving Distinguished District level in 1979/80 when it fell short by 3 Able Toastmaster awards. In the 1980/81 District year under District Governor Geoff Henson, District 70 finally achieved Distinguished District status, becoming the first District outside North America to achieve this.
In 1981 District 70 consisted of 61 Clubs in 3 Divisions and 13 Areas and the District was poised for a period of great growth.