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(Delivered at the Annual General Meeting of the Institute held at the University of Queensland in November 1986)

This year has seen the Institute undertake some revision of its structure, and planning, in keeping with other revisions made to the journal (which were set in motion in 1985). The constitution was altered, reducing the actual number of members of the Executive; and the timing of the Annual General Meeting shifted from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. These changes have been made in order to improve our planning and thus the quality of our activities.

The focus of the institute's meetings in 1986 was tertiary education. Two stimulating public meetings were held: the first was led by Dr Rayner and examined the demand for tertiary places in Queensland; the second saw a distinguished panel of educators (Ms Kelly from the Queensland Teachers' Union, Dr Meade from Brisbane College of Advanced Education, and Professors Biggs and Darveniza from the University of Queensland) react to a Federal Government discussion paper on options for selection for higher education. Both meetings were of an exceptionally high standard and provided interesting windows into the selection process and its effects on students in this State.

Our new format journal, the Queensland Researcher, is meeting its production deadlines and continues to provide a vehicle for promoting educational research. In our contacts with other State Institutes, a good deal of interest has been shown in this work, now well established and in its 14th year, since no other Institute has mounted such a publication. Our goal is to maintain the tradition of quality established with the inception of the journal in 1973. Our journal editorial committee has done excellent work in the past year. Let us hope the standard can be maintained.

I pay tribute to the cooperation and commitment of committee members to the programs and activities of the Institute in my 3 year term as President. Through shot and shell, they have been there. I thank them all.

From time to time, the question arises whether the State Institutes have served their purpose and are now out of fashion, irrelevant, extinct. We may find an answer by working at a story that has become a children's classic in Australia.


Late one night, for no particular reason, something stirred in the black mud at the bottom of Berkeley's creek.

The fish swam away in fright
And the night birds hid their heads under their wings.
When they looked again, something very large, very old, and very muddy was sitting on the bank.

"What am I?" It asked.

A platypus told him he was a bunyip, but what is a bunyip? What does it look like? What does it do?

Various derogatory remarks were offered by the animals in the vicinity, until a scientist capped the remarks by saying bunyips don't look like anything. They are nothing, and of no use. They simply don't exist.

The bunyip was shaken. "What a pity", he said and he packed up and walked off in search of himself.

He camped by a waterhole. And late at night, something stirred in the mud of the waterhole, something that emerged dripping from the ooze, and saying "What am I? What am I?"

The bunyip jumped up and shouted "You are a bunyip. What do I look like? You look just like me!" And they lived happily ever after.

Moral  1)  Research into bunyip populations is a murky business.
2)If you're unsure of your identity, go sit by a waterhole.
3)If people say you're extinct, prove them wrong by finding another extinct organism, and multiply from there.


We know there are other bunyips (Institutes). They may seem odd in appearance (we Institute bunyips are over 50 years old) but we are neither slimy nor unfriendly. And we are not extinct. Indeed we have a strong commitment to educational issues and finding solutions to problems. One of our major strengths is our bunyip (Institute) network via the ACER. And that, like the muddy water in Berkeley's creek, is not just cool, it's comforting too. Why not make a splash and join us?

Dr J. Cotterell

Please cite as: QIER (1987). President's Report 1986. Queensland Researcher, 2(3), 2. http://education.curtin.edu.au/iier/qjer/qr3/presidents-rept.html

[ Contents Vol 3, 1987 ] [ QJER Home ]
Created 19 July 2005. Last revision: 19 July 2005.
URL: http://education.curtin.edu.au/iier/qjer/qr3/presidents-rept.html