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From the President - October 2021

11 Oct 2021 11:16 AM | Anonymous

Dr Iraphne Childs, RGSQ President

Dear Members, I hope this finds you in good health and enjoying the start of our spring weather, awaiting the arrival of the purple jacaranda haze adorning our city - opportunities for some colourful shots to submit to our 2021 photographic competition - City and Townscapes of Queensland.  Some excellent prizes are on offer including a “Members’ Choice” prize.

As President of RGSQ I have served in this role for the past four years (2017-2021). Under our Constitution no member shall serve more than four consecutive one-year terms as President and so I shall be stepping down at the forthcoming AGM, passing the baton onto the next President. If elected I will continue to serve as a Councillor for the coming year to assist in the transition. I am humbly and continually grateful to the Society’s membership for the opportunity to be President for two terms (my previous term was 2003-2005). It has been a tremendous privilege, honour, and pleasure. Over the past four years RGSQ has achieved some momentous milestones. I am so pleased to have participated in and, in some ways, helped to shape these achievements. So, if I may reflect on my term of office, here are some of the highlights.

The search for a new Society home and move from Milton:

in November 2017 I signed the sale of contract of our Milton premises. Over the next nine months Council investigated 28 premises across a range of suburbs. Nowhere was perfect, but we settled on Fortescue Street Spring Hill in August 2018 based largely on the advantages of a central location. After the process of refitting Gregory Place for our purposes, we invited members to the Open Day on 8th April 2019 and had the official opening by the Governor, his Excellency Paul de Jersey AC on 18 July 2019.  

Changing our legal status from Letters Patent to a Company Limited by Guarantee: Our Society was set up under Letters Patent from Queen Victoria in 1885. Uncertainty surrounding governing and liability provisions applying to Councillors, employees and membership under this regime suggested that it was no longer an optimal legal structure. Bringing us into the 21st Century, changing to a CLG provided an appropriate platform for the Society’s future. After a lengthy legal process, development of a new Constitution and By-laws and wide consultation with members this change was   approved at the September 2018 AGM. Importantly, we retained our status as a Royal Society and a not-for-profit charitable entity.

Safeguarding Collections: The Society has been accumulating artefacts, the library and map collections and our own archives since 1885. Extensive on-going work by Collections committee members with funding from the National Library of Australia’s Community Heritage Grants has enabled Significance Assessment and Preservation Needs Analysis for this important component of RGSQ.

Reviving Committees: I have enjoyed chairing the revival of two committees which had been inactive for a few years: Scientific Studies developing a project on Stradbroke Island and Publications organising photographic competitions and publishing an inaugural RGSQ calendar.

For the future, the Society’s finances are in the good hands of a dedicated and capable finance committee; there is much positive energy in the Treks & Activities Committee, Map Group and Young Geographers special interest groups. The AGC is powering ahead with a new coordinator and an enthusiastic committee moving the Competition into the digital age. Our capacity to present monthly lectures both via zoom and in-person at RGSQ premises, record and display on the RGSQ YouTube channel, now has the potential to increase RGSQ’s profile more widely. While over the past 18 months the challenges of COVID-19 have had major impacts on RGSQ, I have observed that the Society has prevailed with flexibility, adaptation, strength and the dedicated work of Council, members, and staff.

I sincerely thank all who have assisted me over the years on Council, member volunteers and office staff through some difficult times and some great achievements. I wish the incoming President every success in leading the Society with a collegiate and wise Council, supportive office staff and a wonderful membership.

With best wishes, Iraphne Childs, President

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The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland Ltd.
Level 1/28 Fortescue St, Spring Hill QLD 4000  |  +61 7 3368 2066
ABN 87 014 673 068  |  ACN 636 005 068

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