President's Report AGM July 2012

Posted by Dorothy B. Williams on August 8, 2012 at 2:30 AM


Australian Rare Fauna Research Association Inc.

Annual General Meeting 29th July 2012

The last year has been a very quiet one, with several members limited in active participation by health problems and commitments to family and work. Although field work no longer has the priority that was formerly possible, and we have lacked the publicity of the past, sighting reports continue to come in, public interest is sustained, membership is stable, and research notebooks and report forms continue to proliferate among our faithful, longstanding members.

Administration has been somewhat scrappy, but in accordance with our constitution jobs have been redistributed within the committee, different aspects of secretarial duties now being shared through delegation by secretary Helen Burrell to Phil Burrell, Gordon Williams, Rosemary Chapple and Sonya Dobson, a welcome example of good teamwork. Our triennial committee election is due to take place in 2013.

We were pleased to welcome back from residence in Queensland Jan McDonald, whose very long association with ARFRA has been recognised by Honorary Membership. We also retain connections with members who are no longer able to attend in person. As our former Research Coordinator, Andrew Robinson, has in his turn removed to Queensland, I have now offered for that position in order to complete our long-planned work of publishing the results of our research.

This is now being assembled in a form which we hope will have an appeal to the general reader in addition to taking a professional approach to our evidence. Its basis relies on Peter Chapple’s interrupted drafts, updated and complemented by the work of other members, present and past. In the meantime other comparative work has been published elsewhere and we have been in touch with two more authors about to publish: Dr. David Waldron, whose expertise is in unravelling folklore, and our Patron Dr. Bob Paddle, who has been researching the effects of disease on the decline of both Tasmanian Tiger and Tasmanian Devil. Recent research by Marie Attard of the University of NSW indicates that the thylacine would not be able to bring down an animal as large as a sheep, which will lead to tighter focus on our predation reports.

Newspaper reports of big cat sightings in the Yarra Valley earlier this year brought us further reports. A consequent invitation to give a presentation on Mystery Animals at the Belgrave Library, was accepted by Dorothy Williams and Rosemary Chapple and drew still more reports. It is hoped that this presentation can be repeated at other places during the year. Other sightings continue to come to our web site, and an interview with Dorothy concerning a Kallista thylacinid sighting was posted on a student journalist’s web site.

Our visit to Ballarat University to inspect a box of files with which Dr. David Waldron is beginning a collection, and a double page thylacine spread in the historical ‘Significance’ guide from the Collections Council of Australia Ltd., point up our concern with the long-term care and preservation of our extensive database in a protected but accessible library or museum. With the loss of Andrew Robinson as Database Manager, working bees are essential to catch up and keep up with maintenance and presentation of our extensive and significant collection of scientific and historical reference material.

As a part of this, a Prints Workshop is planned for August for the study, identification and evaluation of our Prints collection of casts, photographs and photocopies, to be followed by something similar for our Predation material (non-organic!). Our Treasurer, Richard Sealock, also continues statistical work and others are following up reports on local areas.

My personal thanks are due, together with thanks on behalf all members, to all who have persevered, contributed, assisted and cheered us on, through a year that hasn’t always been easy.

Dorothy Williams

President, ARFRA


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