Leigh Radford OAM
I’m writing briefly to let you know what’s happening within your Society during this period of forced closure and social isolation. I have also recorded a brief message that can be viewed on the Society’s website.
Council has been meeting to determine the best ways to engage with our valued members and to offer useful information wherever we can. We’re also speaking to our colleagues in Queensland and New South Wales, to share ideas and exchange information. As part of that, we’re looking at emulating a newsletter that RGSQ has started with their membership. Hopefully we’ll share something with you soon.
We’re also looking at the possibility of capturing some of our planned lectures as video presentations. Hopefully there will be news on that front in coming weeks and a chance for you to watch them at your leisure. We’re also exploring ways of sharing some of our planned Cook exhibition and to tap into some of the innovative things which other organisations are doing. There are also some ideas about producing other little videos of interest on different topics. We’d also welcome your input if you have any ideas or suggestions about what we can offer in the current circumstances.
April is usually a busy month for RGSSA with our annual awards and our AGM. Unfortunately the award ceremony at Government House had to be cancelled, but we will continue with the process of conferring awards, with a view to some form of presentation when things return to normal. The AGM is another challenge and we’re currently considering how we might proceed without a face to face meeting. It provided some contentious discussion at the April Council meeting and we have resolved to proceed with a Zoom (or video conference) meeting in the next few months. That will be proceeded by a postal ballot to all members, for all matters which need resolution by a formal vote. More details will be provided soon.
In the meantime, I wish you good health, all the very best in negotiating this period of isolation.
I write to you on behalf of the Society’s Council, which held a special meeting on 16 March 2020, to consider our responsibilities in the current public health crisis with the COVID-19 virus.
A number of Australian states have now declared this a public health emergency and the circumstances and official advice to people is constantly changing, and becoming progressively more restrictive.
As a consequence, Council has decided unanimously to suspend all RGSSA activities which involve members until May, effective immediately.
To be clear, this means that our normal Lecture program, the Rare Book Discussion Group and any excursions are suspended immediately.
The Council also seeks to minimise any risks for our dedicated volunteers, and as such, the Library and the Office will be closed for public access from today (17 March 2020), for the same period.
Council has also resolved to delay the Society’s AGM for at least one month for the same reasons.
After consultation with Government House today the Awards ceremony on April 27th will not go ahead and will either be rescheduled, or possibly cancelled.
These decisions will be reviewed in mid-April and we’ll provide advice to members as things change. Wherever possible, we will attempt to reschedule activities once things return to normal, but due to factors beyond our control – like speaker availability – some activities may have to be cancelled completely.
Council is also strongly encouraging our valued volunteers not to come into the rooms to continue their work during this period of public closure. However wherever possible, we’ll collectively try to keep the wheels of the Society’s business turning as best we can.
The normal office email firstname.lastname@example.org will be functional and monitored throughout the period, so you can also communicate with us. All issues will be dealt with as best as we can under the circumstances.
We trust you will appreciate the duty of care which Council feels obliged to exercise in the current circumstances, to a membership which largely falls into the highest risk category. It is our desire to limit any risks to you, by ceasing all non-essential activities.
We will continue to communicate with you during this period and look forward to getting back to normal, as soon as possible after the COVID-19 threat passes.
As President, I wish you all well and encourage you to monitor and heed the changing medical and Government advice.