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President's Message

A Word from the President

A message from the President, November 2018. JoeJohnson

I would like to commence by congratulating Syd Kirkby AO MBE, on receiving the Lifetime of Adventure Award of the Australian Geographic Society, the Society’s highest honour.

The Society’s web page bears the following report:
"Each year the AG Society gives out seven awards, the Young Conservationist and Adventurer awards, Adventure and Conservationist of the Year, Spirit of Adventurer and the Lifetime awards. The 2018 Awards were celebrated at a gala dinner ceremony in Sydney on 26 October, attended by special guests the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
This year’s recipient of the Lifetime Adventurer award, the Society’s most prestigious honour, is polar explorer Syd Kirkby, Australia’s most decorated Antarctic adventurer".

Congratulations, Syd!

Next, I would pay tribute to the late Fred Elliot, Foundation Member of the Club, holder of the Polar Medal and Clasp, who passed away on 10th September. Fred’s association with the Antarctic was both long-standing and distinguished, and he will be missed by all who had the good fortune to know him, or to have met him.

Rest in Peace, Fred.

I was concerned to read in the latest (Spring 2018) edition of Aurora, in "Tales from the Packing Shed" Ian James' comment:
"At the veterans lunch on 5 June there was some disquiet about considerable Club funds being dispersed on various significant anniversary station reunions, e.g. Macquarie Island and Heard Island recently. It was suggested that these events should be funded separately, and a separate fund set up and/or grant applications made for the purpose".

This is not an accurate account of the matter.

National Council, at its meeting on 22nd October 2017, Minute 9.1. moved "Council to approve in principle the Heard Is commemoration on the basis of self-funding" and a similar decision was made in relation to the Macquarie Island commemoration at the National Council Meeting in Brisbane on 24th February, 2018. "As with the 70th Heard Island Anniversary held in Melbourne on 13th December 2017, the aim of the organizing committee is to self-fund this event over a 12-month period".

In both cases, the commemorative functions returned a profit. The Treasurer's Report to the recent National Council Meeting on 7th October last reported that the Heard Island activity has returned a profit of $197.65, and the Macquarie Island activity a profit of $3,134.71.

Both functions were self-funded and, whilst Club funds were initially allocated to enable the functions to be set up, the outcome has been that no Club funds have been expended in defraying the costs of either event.

Both these functions contributed very successfully to raising community awareness of the early history of modern Australian Antarctic Endeavour, and I would remind members that this is in accordance with two of the stated Purposes of the Association in the Rules of Association, Rule 2, sub-rules 6 and 8:

    "(6) To generate awareness of Australian Antarctic history, and to
          contribute to archival resources.
    (8) To generate awareness and interest among the wider public in
          issues and developments affecting Antarctica and in particular
          the Australian Antarctic Territory and Macquarie Island".

A proposal for a 65th Mawson Anniversary Commemoration to be held on Saturday 7th September 2019 was presented to National Council at the recent October meeting. This would complete the celebration of the early years of ANARE and mark the 65th anniversary of the establishment of Australia’s first post-WW2 continental station in February 1954 at Horseshoe Harbour. As with the Heard and Macquarie Island 70th anniversaries, the idea would be to celebrate the veterans, in a special way, from the period 1954 – 1965.

Council decided to allocate $2000 from the accumulated profits of the two earlier commemorations toward the cost of this event, and I hope that many of the veterans of Mawson Station along with other members of the Club will be present at the celebration.

I hope this clarifies the matter. Ian has invited members to comment on the use of our accumulated funds and I endorse this fully.

Best wishes to you all

Joe Johnson