A Short History of Queensland CICADA

The Committee defined

This article is an extract from the Queensland CICADA newsletter dated Number 15, October 1994.

To go back to the beginning, Ruth had some contact with David, John and Fred, the Mater’s (first three implantees) and Nancy met David very briefly soon after his switch-on. But the first real gathering of Queensland implantees was at Nancy’s home on 27 May 1989. Eight implantees and their families attended: Margaret Best, Ruth Collier, Tibby Elsrone, Nancy Hoffmann, Fred Mapp, John McIntosh, Gerry Smith and Janet Springhall. Only three were dyed-in-the-wool Queensland implantees, the rest couldn’t wait, made long journeys interstate and spent months in strange cities getting used to their various new squeaks, rattles and shrieks. That first gathering was a wonderful experience – suddenly we were all part of a small exclusive new Queensland new group. Even the weather was kind and held off until the last visitor was walking up the driveway.

The second gathering was at Mt. Coot-tha, and set the tone for many subsequent BBQs – no matter where the venue, someone bent on attending managed NOT to find us! The first of two BBQs at Beenleigh (1990), was NOT attended by June who apparently drove around for hours with a huge chocolate cake on the seat beside her …….. and at Sherwood Forest Park (April 1991) it was Shirley and Peter’s turn, although NOT completely …. they were eventually discovered sitting at their BBQ table at the opposite end of the park. At one of the Beenleigh BBQs we welcomed our first Queensland child implantee Courtney Sheckell.

Chrisunas 1989 saw our first Christmas Party at Mal and Elaine Ripper’s home where lions, (stone) guarded the gates and a dog (live) guarded the swimming pool. It was a very hot day! That was a memorial day for Katie: she spent it in hospital with a huge white bandage around her head. Another notable Christmas Party was in 1991, held at Ruth and Norm Collier’s home, and again a very convened at Shirley and  a very welcome swimming pool was put to good use. (Incidentally, a video of that gathering hopefully still exists… future plans for get-togethers include a video afternoon.)

By early 1990 Katie and Shirley had joined the ranks of implantees, and in March 1991 the first real, self-elected ‘committee’ meeting was held, attended by Ruth, Shirley, Mal and Nancy (where were you. Katie?). Topics discussed included a name for the group, and ideas for a newsletter. The first issue of our newsletter (all of 4 pages), edited by Nancy, Katie and Shirley, appeared in May 1991.

Sporadic meetings continued until March 1992 when a meeting was convened at Shirley and Peter’s home, attended by 8 implantees and some of their families – Margaret. Ruth, David, John, Shirley, Katie, Nancy and Peter Wiseman. Apologies were received from Mal, Gail Anderson and Fred. The results of a questionnaire designed to seek directions for our fledgling group and find out what kind of support wanted were discussed, and a  steering committee was elected, comprising a Secretary (Nancy), Treasurer (Katie),  and Newsletter  Editor (Shirley). Carol Sheekell as Children’s Co-ordinator. Ruth and Norm experienced ‘committee’ people, emphasised the need for a set of ‘road rules’ defining individual responsibilities, but no decisions were made at that stage.

In 1993 we held a Third Birthday Party at Courtney’s home, courtesy of her parents Carol and Adrian. Nancy tried to introduce the notorious balloon stomp which is always a feature of Sydney CICADA get-togethers. The newest implantee to be at the time, Brian Anderson, cut the cake and we all downed champagne provided by the Mater. Quite a birthday!

In late 1993 Tamara Wilson, a new implantee, was invited to join the Committee. Then in mid-1994 Shirley resigned from her position as Newsletter Editor, and has also resigned form the Committee.

At a meeting of the Committee in July 1994, attended by Carol, Katie, Tamara, and Nancy, a set of ‘road rules’ was formally (and finally) adopted. These define the aims of the group and the roles and responsibilities of individuals office bearers. (Copies can be obtained from Nancy) In the absence of any expressions of interest from other implantees, Nancy, Katie and Carol agreed to continue in their present positions, and Tamara agreed to be the Liaison Officer so we can provide the best possible support when needed. The position of Newsletter Editor has not been filled., but the Committee is determined to continue to produce a newsletter by fair means or foul.

The ‘road rules’ stipulate that any member of Queensland CICADA (formerly “The Brisbane Connection”) can ask the Secretary to call a general meeting, for any reason acceptable to the Committee as a whole. Any member can nominate or be nominated for a position on the Committee. New faces are welcomed.

Gazing hopefully into a crystal ball, an official organization (Incorporated?) with elected office bearers, a formal constitution, and annual general meetings will become a reality. AT present our members are too small and the disinclination of potential office bearers, too great. So we remain a loosely cohesive group which meets occasionally for mutual support. Which is as it should be. Who wants a big organization at present, with all the paperwork involved?

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