Going the distance with Yaraka-Isisford ICPA

Yaraka-Isisford ICPA celebrates 40 years

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Although one of Queensland's more remote Isolated Children's Parents' Association branches, Yaraka-Isisford had plenty to celebrate on Saturday.

Although one of Queensland's more remote Isolated Children's Parents' Association branches, Yaraka-Isisford had plenty to celebrate on Saturday.

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Around 80 people travelled far and wide to help the branch acknowledge its 40th anniversary, including state patron Trish Mitchell and her daughter, Queensland vice president Louise Martin, from Tambo.

"For one of the state's more isolated branches, you've provided two state presidents and federal councillors, as well as the Commonwealth Bank scholarship," Ms Mitchell commented. "You have contributed so much to ICPA."

The branch's beginnings were revived by founder Teresa Cobb, who spoke of times much like those recently experienced, lopping mulga and battling dust storms, and trying to educate children at the same time.

"We started with six members, now I believe there are 34," she said. "Little did we know when we started that ICPA would be such an integral part of the community."

Speaking alongside her husband Mike Cobb, the branch's inaugural president, she said they were pleased their sons had grown up in the district, doing their apprenticeship in life with their father at the helm.

Her message to the crowd was to value all that remote living had to offer and to find ways to share it with children with a metropolitan upbringing.

Another of the highlights of the lunch was the presentation of life membership to Kaye Albrand, who joined the branch in 2001 and who was secretary for 13 years.

In the words of secretary Mary Killeen, she has organised more fundraising ventures than anyone can recall, and has been a wonderful backstop for the branch.

Related: ICPA honours Yaraka local

The ongoing need for ICPA was highlighted by both patron Trish Mitchell and branch president Andy Pegler.

Ms Mitchell warned of the creeping marginalisation of isolated children, partially through the diluted pool of funds available, and through the mainstream use of the distance education system set up expressly for isolated students.

Mr Pegler said while the branch might have a long list of achievements, it was what was going on currently that should be the barometer.

"If a station hand can't afford to live in a community because of the cost, communities are going to decline," he said.

"I try and keep my land in good order; it's the same with the community.

"The Yaraka-Isisford branch has certainly been heard at state and federal levels."

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