Welcome to the Mt Isa BOTA (Branch of the Air)!
The ICPA, Mt Isa Branch of the Air conducted its inaugural meeting in 1978. Permission had to be obtained from the RFDS for these meetings to be conducted on channels 6965 and 5445 over the HF radio.
The members of 1978 included:
Jenny Old, Chris McIntosh, Chris McDonald, Pat Carrington, Lenore Camp, Heather Murray, Judy Mainwarrring, Cath Kerlin, Leslie Colston, Helen McKerrow, Joanne Delahunty, Rhonda Braithwaite, Margot Stevens, Sandra Noakes, G. Webber, Rayleigh Winter, R. Miller, Cath McMillian, June Clarke, Mary Scholes, Joni Curr, Yvonne McCoy, Betty Brown.
Many of these people are now the grandparents of Mt Isa School of the Air (MISOTA) students.
The majority of our branch members live a considerable distance from one another as the branch encompasses the wide area serviced by Mount Isa School of the Air, and therefore the branch originally "met" via radio which was the only practical means to join together regularly. Over the years our branch meetings continued via the RFDS HF Radio and then through the Mount Isa School of the Air radio channels. Many branch meetings were disrupted when atmospheric conditions made it impossible to hear over the static on the radio. Medical emergencies were also a reason for meetings to be disbanded when understandably the RFDS took priority on the radio channel.
The first telephone meeting for the Branch was held in late 2004 as Mt Isa SOTA implemented a telephone system. It's sad to think the HF Radio is now obsolete, but members certainly won't miss the static and poor reception of day's gone by. As communication technology has advanced, so has the Branch and in 2021, the Branch has begun offering its meetings by Zoom, a web conferencing tool, which allows members to see and interact with each other, the possibility of which was most likely not even imagined by our early founding members.
The Branch currently consists mainly of members from remote properties (stations) in most areas surrounding Mt Isa including Camooweal, Normanton, Burketown, Cloncurry, Mt Isa, Boulia, Julia Creek and across the state border into the Northern Territory. The Branch welcomes anyone with an interest in equity to access of education for geographically isolated children to be part of our branch, whether they live in town or further out. We have been lucky to have many members over the years make the commitment to attend both State and Federal Conferences. We feel it's so important for our members to contribute to the decision making of ICPA and participate in the discussions and debate at these conferences. .
Members on State Council:
Lorraine McGinnis - State Councillor 2004 - 2005; State Publicity Officer 2005-2008; State Vice-President 2006-2008; State President 2008-2011
Ellen Finlay - State Treasurer 2006-2010
Wendy Hick - State Vice-President 2010 - 2015
Kylie Camp - Portfolio Research Officer 2013 - 2015 (Off-Council Position); State Councillor 2015 - present
Members on Federal Council:
Wendy Hick - Federal President 2015 - 2019; Federal Immediate Past President 2019 - present.
Since 1978 our branch has donated the "Citizenship Award" each year at the Mt Isa School of the Air graduation, which goes to a deserving Year 6 student from the school.
Another initiative of our branch is "Sports for Bush Kids" conducted at the end of the year in Mt Isa. Members felt that children from the bush missed out on team sport, especially noticeable when they started boarding school. Sports for Bush Kids has been offered since the year 1999 (previously there were swim camps for the Gregory and Burke & Wills area) and provides an opportunity for children from geographically isolated areas who have no regular access to organised sport to participate in a variety of sports with their peers. Mention must be made of members, Julie Spreadborough and Kelsey Neilson, the first co-ordinators of Sports for Bush Kids whose vision and hard work have resulted in an event the children look forward to every year.