1985 Events archive

February 22nd

Formation of the Queensland Section

Formal IEEE involvement in Australia occurred with the formation in Sydney of the Australian Section on August 16th 1972. Steady growth in the following years saw the Australian Section become the New South Wales Section, and the Australia Council was established on May 30th 1986. State-based sections were formed in Victoria and Western Australia in 1983 and 1984 respectively, and Queensland became the fourth Australian IEEE section on February 22nd 1985.

David Thiel joined the IEEE in 1981 after meeting some IEEE members at a conference in Los Angeles in that year. On returning to Australia he observed the formation of state-based sections and decided that Queensland should have a separate section. He approached IEEE's Regional Activities Board and obtained a mailing list for the 250 IEEE members resident in Queensland.

In late 1984 David wrote to the Queeensland members advocating the formation of a local section. He received 70 positive responses and submitted a petition to the Regional Activities Board on November 28th 1984.

Approval to form the Queensland Section was granted on February 22nd 1985, with David Thiel in the role of Founding Chair subject to elections for the section's inaugural officers. Shortly thereafter David went overseas on academic leave and the business of getting the section started was delegated to Miles Moody.

The first organisational task facing Miles was to call elections for the various section officers, including section chair. In 1985 this was a time-consuming operation as all correspondence was conducted by post, e-mail being a futuristic notion at the time.

The elections were held on September 16th 1985 and Miles was duly elected chair, at which point he also became the inaugural chair. The first committee meeting took place the following day, but the records of who attended and in what capacity have not survived.

The section was officially launched on February 26th 1986 at a function attended by the Minister for Industry, Small Business and Technology Mike Ahearn. Miles continued in his role as section chair until October 31st 1987.

Mat Darveniza was the third section chair, presiding from November 1st 1987 until December 31st 1989. He returned to the chair in 1997 and served for a further year.

Mat Darveniza is one of the pre-eminent members of the IEEE, both in Australia and internationally. An IEEE Fellow since 1979, he was elected a Life Fellow in 1998. In 1993 Professor Darveniza was awarded the IEEE Herman Halperin Electric Transmission and Distribution Award. He was awarded the IEEE Education Activities Board Meritorious Services Citation in 1995 and the Meritorious Achievement Award in Continuing Education in 1997.

Initially the section's geographical area covered all of Queensland. On January 29th 1994 the North Queensland Section was formed, restricting the Queensland Section's geographical area to those parts of Queensland below the 23rd parallel south.

Historical artefacts:

  • The letter petitioning the formation of the Queensland Section is located here.
  • A list of petition signers is located here.
  • The IEEE document establishing the foundation of the Queensland Section is located here.
  • The IEEE letter confirming the foundation of the Queensland Section is located here.
  • David Thiel's commemorative plaque can be viewed here.
  • An overview of the early history of IEEE in Australia is located here.

Queensland Section Pioneers

Professor David ThielProfessor Miles MoodyProfessor Mat Darveniza
David Thiel
Miles Moody
Mat Darveniza
Last modified: 20 February, 2015