We wish to advise that the Southern Suburbs Branch of
the Genealogical Society of Queensland Inc. has closed.
The President, Helen Smith’s final speech
Tonight is a sad night but we can take consolation that Southern Suburbs has had a distinguished history from its first meeting 18th February 1980 held at Margaret Belcher’s home. Margaret was also the first President. The meetings soon moved from Margaret’s home to Coorparoo Primary School and from there to the library at the Cavendish Road High Scholl (which is where my memories of Southern Suburbs begin). We moved here to the Scout Hall in April 1996 and it has been a happy home.
Our Society started as a branch of the Genealogical Society of Queensland then became incorporated in its own right. Major strengths have been the fact we have had a regular speakers program with its many and varied topics and the fact we ran a lending library of our resources.
Southern Suburbs has produced a number of publications over the years including the Mount Gravatt Cemetery index (and there were lots of stories of the funny encounters while transcribing those headstones!) and the Greenslopes School pupils index. The Victorian Special Interest Group also produced a number of publications.
Our newsletter Scroll was first published in October 1983 and continued until its last issue this year. Over that time it has contained many articles of research knowledge and members research successes as well as news of the many happy social occasions of the branch. These have included trips to St Helena, Boggo Road Gaol where we even had dinner, Tramway museum, Movie museum, Christmas celebrations and many more although fewer trips in more recent years.
Our society has been very active over the years promoting the branch with displays in libraries and also at the National Trust Heritage Week. In more recent years classes conducted by branch members at U3A and the Brisbane City Council GOLD program have gained new members.
Our various fund raising activities over the years have included cake, pie, lolly and even sock drives Easter, Mother’s Day and Christmas raffles, the garage sales and more recently the very successful Bunnings BBQs. These fundraising activities have allowed for the purchase of resource material and the continued running of the branch and thanks go to all the members (and their families) who have participated in these events over the years.
Thanks also to our honorary Solicitor Mr Paul Sayer who has been very generous with his time in giving us advice as required over quite a number of years. Also thanks to our honorary auditor Mr Warren Hope who has been very kind in auditing our books for us.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of any society and whether it is someone being on committee or a member selling raffle tickets all activities have benefited the society and all its members and I thank each and every one of you. There a few to whom I wish to give special thanks, Robyn Simpson who has been a stalwart of the Society for more years than she would care for me to say although I will say she has been on committee in various roles since 1992 and also served in so many ways behind the scenes! Janice Cooper has also served in many roles both on and off the committee since at least 2000. Noele Alexander has been our secretary for the last twelve years and also the organiser of our speaker program, John Allen has also served on and off committee in a number of roles over quite a few years including being involved in at least two Constitution reviews and Margaret Allen who has also been a strength with the fiche and in many other ways.
Margaret Belcher, Betty Freeman, Helen Roberts, Mary Sinclair, Judy Browne, Denis Hanrahan, Sondra Stafford are just a few of the members who have been stalwarts in the past in many roles. Steve Fletcher with our wonderful website and then there are all of you. The problem with making these sorts of lists is that some people and their special contributions do not get mentioned by name and this is not intentional. All of you have played a role in our society and I will miss our interactions, finding out about your genealogical finds and commiserating with you about your ancestors who refuse to be found.
Sadly however due a lot I think to the internet and availability of resource material elsewhere so that the value of our lending library has decreased, the resulting lack of new members joining has meant that tonight after thirty-six years Southern Suburbs will be but a fond point in our memories.