IEEE NORTHERN AUSTRALIA SECTION’S HISTORY
The IEEE Northern Australia Section was formed as North Queensland Section in early 1994, and renamed as the IEEE Northern Australia in 2008. The Section covers an area of the Queensland State north of latitude 23 deg., the area of Northern Territory State as well as of Papua New Guinea. The geographical area covered by the Northern Australia Section was originally a part of the Australian Section, (formed in 1972), and then a part of the Queensland Section.
IEEE activities in North Queensland started in 1970ties organized by Keith Kikkert, Greg Allen and John Nielson (all of James Cook University). The group of JCU IEEE volunteers was joined by Janina Mazierska (also known as Ceremuga) in 1987.
The first formal IEEE OU formed in North Queensland was the IEEE James Cook Student Branch, first in Australia (together with the University of NSW Student Branch) established on 20 February 1990. During the first five years of operation the JCU Student Branch mentored by Greg Allen won four Region 10 UG Student Paper Contests (winners: 1991-C.P. Grieshaber, 1992-Hans G. Paustian, 1993-Alex Thomas, 1995-Wayne Duncan).
The North Queensland Subsection was approved by the IEEE under the Queensland Section on 26 December 1991, with its territory defined as north of 23 deg. latitude (south) in Queensland and Papua New Guinea. Funds for its first meeting were borrowed from the IEEE JCU Student Branch.
The Foundation Chair of the NQ Subsection was Greg Allen, and Janina Ceremuga was the first Chair, with Keith Kikkert, John Nielsen, Peter Symington and Greg Allen as Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and Student Activities Chair respectively. North Queensland Subsection organized variety of events, including technical presentations and training workshops for professionals as well as for students. At the initiative of Keith Kikkert, the IEEE technical presentations in Townsville were recorded in video form and posted to Lae in Papua New Guinea and to Mount Isa in Australia for screening to IEEE members there. Also, an IEEE University of Lae Student Branch was created in Papua New Guinea during this period.
The North Queensland Section was approved by the IEEE Board of Directors on 29 January 1994, with Janina Mazierska as its foundation and first Chair. The Section grew in strength over the years, forming own Chapters: MTT-S/CommSoc Joint Chapter in 2003 and Power and Energy Society Chapter in 2013. Also, an Oceanic Engineering Society Chapter (under the IEEE Australia Council) was organised by Mal Heron of NA Section in 2013.
The Section area was enlarged by Northern Territory “ceded” from New South Wales Section, in 2008. This resulted in the Section changing its name to Northern Australia Section on 15 June 2008, with its biggest cities now being Townsville, Cairns and Darwin.
The Northern Australia Section was awarded the Region 10 Best Small Section Award in 2013. Also the Section has previously received the highest voting price from various regions (including Region 10).
Prepared by Janina Mazierska, September 2016, updated March 2017