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ICPA celebrates at Bourke 50 years on

ICPA Life Members, Rory Treweeke and Wally Mitchell, planting a memorial tree at the Back O’Bourke Exhibition Centre. PHOTO TWH

Tanya Mitchell of Bourke has been elected as ICPA-NSW Vice President. PHOTO TWH

Bourke branch of the Isolated Children’s Parents Association (ICPA) of NSW last week hosted a very special event.

One hundred and sixty participants from all over NSW and representatives from a broad cross section of organisations and businesses attended the 50th Annual Conference of ICPA-NSW at the organisation’s birthplace, here in Bourke.

Opened by the NSW Governor, Margaret Beazley, the conference was held at the Full Gospel Family Fellowship Church in Tarcoon Street.

The Governor said that the closure of a student hostel in the town, and a meeting held on the 16 April 1971 to discuss that closure, led to an organisation that has changed the course of history for thousands of Australian children and young adults

As joint patron with her husband, Dennis Wilson, Governor Beazley said that they were proud of the fifty-year history of the organisation working to ensure access to education for young people in rural and remote locations.

Governor Beazley and Mrs Wilson unveiled a commemorative plague celebrating the formation of the ICPA that will be placed in front of a tree planted at the Back O’Bourke Exhibition Centre by life members of the association – Wal Mitchell and Rory Treweeke.

Keeping pace with technology, the plaque includes a QR code that, when scanned, links to a page outlining the history of the Isolated Children’s Parent Association.

One of the highlights of the conference was the induction of founding member of the ICPA –Wally Mitchell – as a life member.

Mr Mitchell has the rare distinction to be one of just a handful of members Australia wide to have gained the trifecta of branch, state, and federal life membership.

Instrumental in the formation of the organisation 50 years ago, Wally said the need for the ICPA was there then (in 1971) and the need is still there today.

“Remote area young people, if you can’t educate them to get off the property they’ll die there.

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