With our 2022 AGM done and dusted on 21 April 2022, and celebrating our 45 year anniversary this year, this seems like a great time to reintroduce ourselves!
We’re a 70’s baby (well, more than one baby)
The original Brisbane Mothers of Twins Club was founded in 1973, with the first informal gathering in August 1973 at the Botanical Gardens. After a great turnout at that event, in October 1973 the first official meeting of the Club was held at the YMCA on Ann Street. Liz Clifton was elected as the first President. Everyone who took on a committee position at that time had babies younger than 5 months! Wowsers!
Fun Fact: the first ever multiple birth club in Australia was established in Newcastle.
Fast forward to 1975, when the Club changed name to Brisbane Multiple Birth Association. This enabled the club to better cater to multiple birth families more generally, noting there were already a couple of triplet family members at this point.
By the mid 70’s, there were multiple clubs throughout Queensland, including Mackay, Toowoomba and the Gold Coast. Brisbane’s membership had reached almost 200 families. With such a large group of members to manage, in late 1976 / early 1977 the Club split into two (much like how some of our multiples came about, I guess!), giving us Northside and Southside.
Thus, Brisbane Multiple Birth Association Northside (BMBAN) as we know it was born.
Northside in the late 70’s and 80’s
In 1978, Judy Woodcock was elected the first President of BMBAN, and held that position for 2 years. BMBAN was privileged to have a number of other Presidents during this period, some of whom remain life members today.
The next big milestone for BMBAN came in 1987 when it was incorporated. In 1988, BMBAN meetings moved from the Craigslea Kindergarten to the Pine Rivers Neighbourhood Centre.
Fun fact: BMBAN didn’t originally include membership eligibility for expectant parents! This was rectified during a committee meeting on 16 May 1989, approving changes to the then Constitution.
1989 saw the first Expectant Parent Information Night (EPN) with these run 2 to 3 times per year and facilitated at a member’s home. In 1997 the venue for EPN moved to Chermside Library where is has remained since.
PS: Our next Expectant Parent Night is being hosted on 12 May – if you’re interested in attending, check out the event here.
BMBAN in the 90’s and early 2000’s
The first “Buy n Sell” day ran on 14 July 1992 with the public invited to attend for a coin donation. Previously, BMBAN had only run clothes and toys swaps from members’ homes, so opening this event up to the public was a big milestone.
Fun fact: after COVID restrictions eased, Clothes and Toys swaps were reintroduced by BMBAN in 2021 – keep an eye out for updates on the next event in 2022!
BMBAN was privileged to host the 16th Annual AMBA Qld State Seminar from 28 to 30 April 1995, held at the Virginia Palms. The theme of the Saturday evening event that weekend was “Italian – as little or as much as you like”. BMBAN also hosted the 25th AMBA Qld State Seminar from 30 April 2004 to 2 May 2004, themed Nautical Mayhem.
During this period, BMBAN continued to operate the local Telephone Contacts / Area Representatives system, starting with 3 area contacts, up to 17 at one point. This was implemented at inception and provided a great tool for new members to reach out for help quickly. The local area contacts continued to be a pivotal part of BMBAN’s connections with members up until mid 2020.
BMBAN in 2010’s and early 2020’s
Throughout this period, BMBAN continued to facilitate communication with its members via regular newsletters. The BMBAN newsletter was originally called “Duets”. In the mid 90’s, its name was changed to “Multiple Cuddles & Chaos”. During this period, Newsletters were distributed electronically to members.
Fun fact: the first newsletter for the Brisbane Mothers of Twins Club was priced at $0.15
This era also saw BMBAN move with technological and social media development, establishing social media accounts, setting up online membership portals and websites, and creating member-only social media groups. This has significantly changed the way that our members have communicated over recent years, with most of our member engagement now occurring via social media.
During the AGM in 2020, just prior to COVID restrictions taking place, BMBAN officially de-affiliated from the National Organisation (AMBA) and remains an independent club. We do however continue to support the work of all multiple birth associations across Australia, and in 2021 established independent membership to the International Council of Multiple Birth Organisations (ICOMBO).
With 2020/21 and early 2022 we have, like so many organisations, continued to work through the challenges of COVID, reintroducing events as restrictions eased. This was, no doubt, an incredibly challenging period during BMBAN’s history, which saw changes again in the way we communicated, including introducing Zoom for committee meetings and other events such as EPN.
We continue to recognise the challenges that new multiple birth families in particular faced during this period, losing the opportunity to connect with other new families as they might otherwise have, through playgroups and other face-to-face events. These opportunities for connection between new families have always been an incredibly valuable part of BMBAN’s offering.
The future of BMBAN
All of our current committee members, former committee members, life & honorary members are incredibly proud of BMBAN’s history, and the support that has been provided to multiple birth families throughout the last 45 years. Lifelong friendships have been made as a result of the services that BMBAN has provided and continues to provide.
As we move forward with the new 2022/23 Committee, we continue to face challenges with volunteer numbers and engagement. No doubt, the way multiple birth families receive support has changed immensely since 1977 (to everyone’s benefit) but this does present challenges for BMBAN in developing new incentives to engage our members.
With a paring-back of some of the services offered by BMBAN over the last couple of years due to COVID, financial restrictions and lack of volunteer resources, we hope to continue providing the same level of support and friendship to our existing and future members. We are so hopeful of keeping the BMBAN spirit alive for the next 45 years, and for the next generations of multiple birth families.
We hope you enjoyed our (re)introduction!