Welcome to the Blackall Branch!
Blackall Branch has a proud tradition of involvement within ICPA, from its inception at a public meeting on October 22, 1971 which was attended by seventy people. There were apologies from a further 30. The work of branch members has had a large impact on improvements to the education of isolated children all over Australia.
Our inaugural president was Gwendoline Vail who not only served this branch for many years but was elected inaugural vice president of ICPA Queensland. Blackall's first secretary was Daphne Rich who also became Queensland's first secretary/treasurer and later had the honour of receiving Queensland's first life membership. Another inaugural Blackall committee member, John Parkinson of Yaraka, was elected to the first Queensland council of ICPA.
The first Queensland state conference was held in Blackall; in fact the first four state conferences were held in Blackall. It was an incredible beginning and the example set by early office bearers has been followed ever since. The branch has been represented at every state and federal conference of the association, and no fewer than eight Blackall members have served on state and/or federal councils - Gwen Vail, Daphne Rich, John Parkinson, Jan Gall, Meg Mackenzie, Annette Banks, Ian Crombie and Diana Schutt. These people served for a cumulative total of over 55 years.
In 1975 the branch hosted a meeting for the Senate Standing Committee on Science, Education and the Arts. This was the first time the federal government had looked at the issues of isolated children. Blackall was included in the itinerary of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Distance Education in 1984.
Blackall branch has eight life members. Gwen Vail became the first recipient on the occasion of its 10th birthday in 1981. Daphne Rich and Meg Mackenzie's awards followed in 1988 while Annette Banks and Jan Gall were accorded this honour at the branch's 21st birthday party in 1992. The 30th anniversary dinner in 2001 saw life membership conferred upon Helen Heath, Penny Wagstaff and Diana Schutt. Jan Mitchelhill was awarded a branch Certificate of Appreciation in 1985.
Under strong leadership the branch has flourished and continues to this day with a healthy membership and an energetic committee.