Inner Wheel in Austria


On 23 January 1984 the first Inner Wheel Club (IWC), Wien-West, is founded in Austria under founding president Caroline Sunley.

Only ten days later follows the founding of IWC Wien-Nordost under founding president Hinke Sundermann. The Clubs develop very well. In June 1988 the founding of IWC Wien follows, under President Renee Nebehay. In 1997 IWC Innsbruck is established under President Erni Maria Dierich.

Thus there are now four Clubs in Austria, enough to establish a District.

Another Club is created in 1999, IWC Graz, under President Barbara Bauer-Pelz.

First attempts are then made towards founding a district in Austria. Several meetings take place in Vienna to promote this idea, but there is no interest in such a step among  the members.

A 6th Club is founded in 2007, IWC Salzburg, under President Gudrun Sweilem.

In the meantime, at an international IW event in Turin/Italy in 2006, the then National Representative Luisa Vinciguerra, organizes a round table to discuss the plan to establish a European platform, where European representatives could discuss Inner Wheel topics, which are of particular interest and concern for IW in Europe.

In 2007, during the Rallye Charlemagne in Tour/France, Catherine Refabert organizes a Meeting of European National Representatives, Presidents of National Councils and Board Directors. The then IIW President, Kamala Ramakrishnan, is present at this Meeting. Amendments to the IW constitution are discussed, as is how to proceed at the next Convention in Kota Kinabalu in 2009.

This Meeting is the first European Meeting (EM). A resolution is passed to continue with such meetings on an annual basis. The European Meeting is born.

In 2008 the second EM takes place in Cologne. Gertie Munro, then responsible for International Service in her Club (Wien-Nordost), represents Austria at this Meeting. The world of International Inner Wheel opens up for her. She considers it regrettable that in future Austria would not be able to take part in these inspiring events, since Austria has not yet established the next level of IW although Austria has the necessary prerequisite of a minimum of four Clubs to set up a District.

It will be a tremendous challenge to convince the Austrian IW members, that a District would be a good idea.

Gertie finds an interested IW member, a kindred spirit, in Gabriele (Gabi) Schruempf (IWC Graz), who agrees to accompany her to the next EM in Tampere/Finland in 2009.

Gertie and Gabi subsequently take part in the EMs in Montreux/Switzerland in 2010 and in Amsterdam/The Netherlands in 2011.

At the EM in Montreux, when the then IIW President Pallavi Shah urges Gabi and Gertie to work on establishing a district in Austria, the latter decide that the first step is to inform IW members in Austria about the structure of IW in general and the purpose of a district in particular.

The then Board Director responsible for Austria ,Ruth Beausire (Switzerland), agrees to come and visit all Austrian Clubs, which she does twice during her two years in office.  She informs the members but does not push them towards a decision.

Meanwhile, in May 2011, IWC Graz-Uhrturm is founded under President Gabriele Schruempf. At the Charter celebrations in March 2012 the then IIW President, Catherine Refabert, agrees to talk on the topic "District" to the Club Presidents, the Vice Presidents, the Secretaries and all Austrian members, who are interested.

Gabi and Gertie feel this is the turning point. For the first time there is no absolute opposition to the formation of a district. On the contrary, there is some distinct interest.

After this event Gabi and Gertie are joined by Ceja Gregor-Hu (IWC Wien-West) to carry things forward.

In September 2012 Gabi and Gertie organize the 6th EM in Graz. All Austrian Club Presidents are invited to attend.

Following this EM the coordinating team, consisting of  Gabi, Gertie and Ceja invite all Austrian IW members to attend an Information Meeting regarding the founding of a district in Austria. After lively, constructive and also critical discussions the team feel that there is a favourable tendency towards founding a district in Austria.

In October 2012 a poll takes place in which all Austrian members are asked to decide for or against a district in Austria.  The majority of members and all Clubs but one vote in favour of a district.

Now Gabi, Gertie and Ceja focus on their target of creating a district.

In January 2013 Gabi creates a new Club, IWC Vorarlberg, under President Barbara Offner.

On 26 February 2013 "District 192 Austria" is officially registered with IIW.

In March 2013 Elisabeth Odelga (IWC Wien) joins the coordinating team.

In the elections in March 2013 the first District Committee is confirmed.

The theme of the district is: "Together we are stronger"

In September 2013 the Charter celebrations of the District take place in Salzburg.The IIW President, Gabriela Adami, and many European friends join in our festivities. A truly memorable international event!

Sadly, in November 2013 the not yet chartered IWC Vorarlberg closes down.

In March 2014 the oldest IWC in Austria, Wien-West, announces its dissolution. Some of its members join the other two IWC in Vienna.

Luckily our still fragile district has not only survived, but is growing in strength.

2015 starts a new chapter in the short history of District 192 Austria:

The  Charter celebrations of the first IW Club in the Czech Republic, IWC Morava,  took place in the afternoon of Saturday, 7 March 2015, in Valec, near the town of Trebic. The Extension Organiser taking care of the Club, Gertie Munro, IWC Wien-Nordost, Austria, reported on the establishment of this new Club, which has only been possible thanks to the fall of the Iron Curtain. 

Even before the charter the President of the new Club, Marie Rynesova, has sent an application to District Chairman Gabriele Schruempf (D192 Austria) to be part of her District. 

After all Austrian IW clubs have agreed the board of International Inner Wheel has approved the inclusion of IWC Morava in the District 192 Austria.

At the Official District Ceremony on 13 June 2015 will the ceremonial inclusion of IWC Morava take place and the club will become official member of the District 192 Austria.

June 2015

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