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Memories from the past

Many of us fear public speaking more than death - but there’s no need to be afraid - as one of the oldest clubs on the Northern Beaches, Harbord Diggers Toastmasters Club has been turning timid speakers into fearless communicators for over 50 years.

It all began in December 1970 when a group of 31 Harbord locals recognised a need to improve their communication skills and formed a new club. The club was hosted by the Harbord Diggers, where it has been meeting twice a month ever since. The philosophy of the club in 1970 was “Better Listening, Better thinking and better speaking”.

Initially, all of the clubs’ charter members were men, but from 1973 Toastmasters opened up to men and women aged 18+ and it didn’t take long for the female membership to grow. Indeed, in 1978 a diary note in our records stated that ‘the female species outnumbers their male counterparts’!. 

Since that time, many members have walked through the doors of the Harbord Diggers. Thankfully the decor has changed from the old wood-paneled rooms and brown and gold wall paper to the current modern club environment with its beautiful ocean vista – and, of course the basic skills we all seek to learn and the qualities we want to embody remain unchanged. Our club mission is to provide a supportive, positive and safe learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

Competitions and Hall of Fame

Our members have a history of strong performance in public speaking competitions – some of their key wins in recent years include:

Jeremy Hanff

Verbal Dexterity, Adam Funnell Memorial Award 2023
(Awarded annually in memory of Adam Funnell 15 April 1973 - 4th Oct 2021)

Laura - District 90 Table Topics Award 2019

Laura Fagan

Table Topics Comp Area 22 2011, 2015, 2018, 2019, Hawkesbury Division 2019, NSW District 90 winner 2019. Evaluation Comp Area 22 2016, 2017, Hawkesbury Division 2022, NSW District 90 winner 2022 & 2023

Ross - Area 22 Evaluation Competition Winner

Ross Whitfeld

Area 22 Evaluation comp 2020 and 2021

Jack Binsted

Most Improved, John Mascarenhas Memorial Award 2023

Alicia Undzillo

Toastmaster of the Year 2023

Anja Stride

Awarded in 2023 for recognition of 10 years Toastmasters membership

To view, all of the winners of our competitions at the club level click here.

Our Club Executive Team

Meet our 2023-2024 Executive team

Ross Whitfeld


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Jeremy Hanff


Jack Binsted

Treasurer 2IC

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Laura Fagan

VP Education

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Colm Fagan

VP Membership

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Adrian Caliman

VP Public Relations

Kate Caldicott-Davis


Marc Skelton

Sergeant at Arms

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Anna Farr

Senior Mentor

A message from our President

I was captivated by Kieran Perkins and Grant Hackett's effortless swimming at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, inspiring me to try it myself. Unfortunately, my skills fell short, but I managed to complete a few laps. Public speaking shares a similar dynamic, with some making it appear effortless while others struggle with fear.

At Harbord Diggers Toastmasters Club, we recognize that everyone has their own unique journey and reasons for joining. The beauty of Toastmasters is the guidance, support, and encouragement provided throughout your speaking journey. By following our theme for the year - "Bold," "Brave," and "Generous" - we can help you reach your goals. Personally, I began my public speaking journey in school and only joined Harbord Diggers Toastmasters many years later. My motivation is to enhance my teaching and training abilities, forge friendships, find inspiration, and be part of a century-old international organization.

As I continue to develop my purpose, my skills improve, I gain amazing friends, witness inspiring speeches, and take pride in being a member of both our club and Toastmasters International.

Our club is a safe place where we come together to support each other while we learn and practice our skills and have a few laughs along the way . I look forward to welcoming you to our community.

Past Club Presidents

Meet our past club Presidents

Sue Douglas

I believe taking tiny steps can lead to much bigger things. Our club is a safe place where we support one another whilst practicing our skills and have a few laughs along the way.

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Anna Leadbetter

Self-improvement is critical, but it’s important to also enjoy your Toastmasters experience, approaching each role with the mindset of having fun to eliminate some of the ‘performance pressure’.

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Colm Fagan

My philosophy is that it is important to get comfortable being uncomfortable - that’s the only way we grow beyond where we are today.

A full list of our Past Presidents and other Executive Team members can be found here.

Our Club is part of a bigger Toastmasters family

Toastmasters is structured like an inverted pyramid that places the Members at the top.

The hierarchy is made up of Club, Area, Division, District and Region

Toastmasters Pyramid Structure

The Club

Consists of individual members (like YOU), and an Executive Committee comprising elected officers who act as, President, VP Education, VP Membership, VP Public Relations, Secretary, Treasurer and the Sergeant at Arms.

The Area

Is a grouping of 4 to 6 clubs. For example – our club is in Area 22 which includes Forest, Balgowlah RSL, Harbord Diggers Daytime, Forestville and Manly Multilingual. Each Area is co-ordinated by an Area Director. 

The Division

The Division is made up of a large geographical area incorporating many clubs. Our Area belongs to Division H (Hawkesbury). This encompasses North Sydney, Ryde, Chatswood and the Northern Beaches. There are 30 clubs in Division H, covering over 500 members.

The District

Finally, Toastmasters is divided into 120 Districts worldwide, laddering up to 15 Regions across five Continents. We belong to District 90 which covers half of NSW, from the Harbour Bridge to the Queensland border. There are 7 divisions in District 90. 

The website for District 90 can be accessed here.