7. Growth Resumes, 2005 - 2013
The first sign of a turnaround in performance occurred in 2003 when the percentage of clubs at 20+ (as of 30 June) rose back over 50% for the first time since 1997. This was the only year, in those 8 years of not being Distinguished, that the District achieved its per capita membership goal.
The next year saw a further slight improvement in clubs and membership. Then in 2004/05 District 70 once again became a Distinguished District with Reg Stewart as District Governor. Club numbers recovered to the previous high of 227.
It was also the 25th successive year in which the District had met its educational goals.
A highlight of the year was a visit by the Immediate Past International President, Ted Corcoran of Ireland, who attended the Annual Conference in Canberra.
The 2005/06 year was a rather dramatic one for the District. The previous year the District had started enrolling participants of District Speechcraft courses into Clubs around the District in order to make the speechcrafters members of Toastmasters. This was queried in 2006 and the procedures used to do this were found to be contrary to Toastmasters policy. As a result the District was disqualified from the Distinguished District Program due to the violation of the program rules in relation to membership of the organisation. This was a dramatic action, especially when the performance of the District, even without the enrolment of speechcrafters would have been enough to make the District Select Distinguished.
The District did start a spurt of real net growth in that year though, something that was to continue over the next 2 years such that the District grew from 227 clubs in 2005 to 249 clubs in 2008.
The culmination of this saw the District become Distinguished again in 2007/08 with Sue Haynes as District Governor.
The Annual Conference in April 2008 also featured a Presidential visit by International President Chris Ford.
At this Conference, President Ford announced that Elizabeth Wilson had been appointed as The Host District Chairman for the Toastmasters International Convention to be held in Sydney in 2010.
This was to be the first Toastmasters Convention ever to be held outside North America. Elizabeth assembled a strong team, including representatives from the other Australian Districts and they organised a promotion for Sydney at the 2008 Convention in Calgary.
Thus it was a major disappointment when, in late 2008, Toastmasters International cancelled Sydney as the Convention site for 2010, reverting to the long-standing practice of having Conventions only in North America.
The following 4 years saw continued growth within the District, with the District being Distinguished for the 5 years from 2007 to 2012. As a result the District received the Excellence in Leadership Award for being Distinguished for 3 consecutive years for the last 3 of those terms.
In 2011 two new Divisions in Oxley and Lachlan were introduced. The split of Northern into Northern and Oxley was intended to make the Areas in the far north more manageable and the introduction of Lachlan was necessary because of the great growth in Central (especially in the CBD) and Phillip Divisions. In 2012/13 there was again good club growth but the District missed its membership target. However, by this time the District had grown to 301 clubs.