Celebrating over 30 Years of Community Support

John WearneIn 1981 when Charles Graham was diagnosed with MND there was nothing available to people in this State to assist them.

By chance through an article in the New Idea in 1982, he learned that there was a MND Society in Victoria, following contact with them and the provision by them of information he became determined to start a similar Association in Queensland.

He arranged for the use of the QCWA Hall at Oxley on the 26th February 1983 and his family then wrote letters to the editors of many local and nearby newspapers asking people who were interested in forming MND in Queensland to come to a meeting. The response was very good with 21 people coming together and following discussion, the Motor Neurone Society of Queensland was formed that day with office bearers being elected.

The Victorian Constitution was obtained, but was unacceptable to the Justice Department, however after lengthy discussion with them a suitable Constitution was put in place. The Society received its Certificate of Registration as an approved association in June and in September we had our application seeking recognition of the Society as a Public Benevolent Institution approved by the ATO.

On 11th July 1983 Charles Graham passed away, and whilst he did not see the Society grow, he had seen his wish become a reality.

In July 1989 following a lot of preliminary work we became incorporated and we also attended the first Australian Conference of Australian MND Societies in Adelaide. That year we also formed our first two support groups at Rockhampton and the Gold Coast, followed by Darling Downs in 1990, Townsville (1991), Sunshine Coast, Caboolture (later changed to North Brisbane & Caboolture) and Ipswich(1993), and Cairns (1995).

In 1991 the National Conference in Melbourne saw an interim committee set up to form the Australian body. Each founding Society had one representative and it was agreed that the word Disease should be included in the title of this Association. The next meeting in May 1993 saw the Constitution carried and the MND Association of Australia was up and running.

By the beginning of 1985 we were meeting at the Sherwood Baptist Church hall as this had wheel chair access and by 1993 we were in a position to purchase our headquarters at Inala with the help of a $40,000 loan from the NAB which we cleared in 3 years. On the 4th September we held our official opening with the State Member for Inala Mr Henry Palaszczuk doing the honours.

At the end of 1994 we lodged documentation to change our name to the Motor Neurone Disease Association of Queensland Inc to fall in line with the National body and the other States that were progressively changing their names. This came to fruition on25th January 1995. This same year we held our first State Conference.

The above is a brief history of the early years. The Association is now 30 years old and still working strongly for the benefit of people living with Motor Neurone Disease.

John Wearne AM – President 1983-2000 and 2008-2010