Ballarat Rotary saves the Swap Meet

BALLARAT is set to get its annual swap meet back, as local Rotary clubs combine to re-establish the popular event next year. The announcement follows the surprise closure of the Super Southern Swap Meet in April this year.Organisers said the event was abandoned after the previous lease agreement became unworkable. Ballarat’s Rotary clubs beat a number of other organisations for the right to host the event and have announced it will take place on February 25 and 26, 2012. The largest event of its kind in Australia, the swap meet attracts 30,000 people to the city and has been a yearly fixture at the Ballarat Airport for more than 20 years. President elect of the Rotary Club of Wendouree Breakfast Andrew Rowan said the clubs were thrilled to deliver the event, which provided a major economic benefit for the city.“Ballarat has previously enjoyed the economic and social benefits of a swap meet and accommodation providers and business expressed a desire to ensure an event like this continued.The combined Rotary clubs of Ballarat are thrilled to have the opportunity to deliver an event that will have important economic and community benefits for Ballarat,” he said. Mr Rowan said organisers would receive advice from the Federation of Veteran, Vintage and Classic Vehicle Clubs, which runs a similar event in Bendigo. He said the reincarnation of the swap meet would seek to replicate the success of previous events.Click to view a gallery of the last Super Southern Swap Meet “The motivation for an organisation like Rotary is to see community service clubs be involved in events like the swap meet, as opposed to outside contractors,” he said. Mayor Craig Fletcher said Rotary was well suited to running the event. “It is great to see such a strong community organisation with a record of running quality events is prepared to deliver this great event,” Cr Fletcher said. The swap meet has previously had more than 2300 sites available each year, with the majority selling out well in advance.The previous organiser, Trevor Wolstenholme, launched defamation action against City of Ballarat chief executive Anthony Schinck after the previous agreement broke down.