Rostrum was founded in England in 1923 by journalist Sidney Wicks. The first Australian club was inaugurated in Sydney in 1930, and Rostrum was established in Tasmania in 1947. Clubs flourished in many parts of the state, with ten currently operating. Members meet weekly and practise public speaking and chairmanship. Annual events include Novice and After Dinner Speaking Awards and the Sir John Morris Memorial Speaking Award.

In 1996 clubs combined to debate the topic 'That Tasmania's Greatest Asset is its People' for over 29 days non-stop, on the lawns of Parliament House, trying to secure a place in the Guinness Book of Records. (Guinness provided a certificate recognising the record, but it has not been published in recent editions of the Book of Records.) Since 1975 nearly 800 secondary students have competed in the annual Rostrum Voice of Youth speaking competition. Tasmanian entrants have won the national title eight times.

Linley Grant