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Some History on PwMS-V

From records which have come to hand, it was the International Year of the Disabled 1984 and towards the end of the year, The MS Society of Victoria invited people with Multiple Sclerosis, MSSV Staff and others interested at a gathering at what was then known as Noah’s Hotel in the City. The intention was that a Representative Body be formed to publicise the disease of Multiple Sclerosis, management strategies and provide an advocacy role if and when it was required.

This Body was the first of its kind in Australia, was known as the Victorian State Council of People with Multiple Sclerosis, with a management committee of then four individual, two male and two female. The chairman was Rob Fisher; Eve Murphy was secretary, Bruce Graham and Sally Irwin who was on only for a short time due to a move to Queensland, then followed by Beverley Frith as Sally’s replacement.

The first Committee organized a conference for People with Multiple Sclerosis at the Yarra Valley Country Club, which had a good attendance. They had speakers attend from the Department of Human Services and from Employer organizations. A man by the name of Peter was also nominated by the committee for an award for his work with disabled people in the Ballarat Area. In 1986 the International Conference of Multiple Sclerosis Societies was held in Sydney with each State being represented; four Committee members Robert Fisher, Bruce Graham, Beverley Frith and Eve Murphy all attended however at the end of 1986 Robert Fisher and Eve Murphy resigned.

In 1988 at the A.G.M those attending were asked to vote for/against registration of our Organisation under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 to be known as People with Multiple Sclerosis (Vic) Inc. There was a unanimous vote for the registration of PwMS (Vic). All the relevant documentations were lodged with the Deputy Registrar of Incorporated Associations and became a legally incorporated entity on the 22nd February, 1989.


The first issue of Short Circuit, July 1989 was named, typed, assembled and put in envelopes and mailed by the secretary Peter McDonald. During the 1989 and 1990 there were a number of meetings for People with Multiple Sclerosis, to which guest speakers were invited to speak on a variety of subjects such as Professor Claude Bernard who gave an update on research and also other speakers from the MS Society. We were fortunate to find some literature on the early days.

Self help groups commenced in 1990, together with setting up the opportunity for telephone contact between people with MS in various municipalities by arrangement with PMG now Telstra – to be known as Telelink. Bev Frith was the original coordinator of Telelink.

I feel honoured to be part of the PwMS-V committee and to see how far we have come from those early days. Robert Pask, previous Short Circuit editor introduced me to the committee and when he left I took on the position of Editor. Ian Gray was President then and David Sullivan is now the President of PwMS-V. Not forgetting my mentor, Fred Stone, whom I have learnt so much from over the years, but unfortunately for us has taken up another challenge with his group at Cranbourne. I also have fond memories of the late Bruce McCulloch.

We have a confident team and will always be there for our Members and continue to make improvements.

The People with MS (Victoria) Incorporated Committee of Management.

Vale David Sullivan

I am sorry to advise that David Sullivan longtime committee member and past president of PwMS Vic Inc, and one of the longest serving MS Ambassadors, died peacefully in his sleep on Friday 13th January after an extended battle with cancer. David put a great deal of effort into the cause of people with MS and people with chronic disabilities. In addition to his work for  MS David was also a long term member of the executive committee of Australians for Disability and Diversity Employment. David was a truly gentle man and a close personal friend. He had lived with MS for nearly 30 years. He will be remembered as someone who put aside his own trials to focus on working for people with MS.
 
Nigel Caswell - President PwMS(Vic) Inc.

 

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