The Association of Lions Clubs began as the dream of Chicago businessman Melvin Jones.
He believed local business clubs should expand their horizons from purely professional concerns to the betterment of their communities and the world at large.
After contacting similar groups around the country, an organisational meeting was help on June 7, 1917, which was followed by a national convention in October where a constitution, by laws, objects, and a code of ethics were approved.
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Just three years after its formation the organisation became international, introducing a club in Canada. On July 1, 1947, the first Lions Club of Australia was founded in Lismore, NSW, and expansion continued into Europe, Asia and Africa in the 1950s and 60s.
By 1976, there were 1000 clubs established across Australia, and by 2007 there were around 1400 clubs with about 30,000 members.
The international association has grown to about 1.4 million men and women in more than 46,000 clubs across 200 countries.