The Kemp family
The Kemp family were the founders of this important organisation. They were motivated to do so through their son Robert’s experience of epilepsy. Since leaving school, Robert had been employed in several jobs but was sacked repeatedly once his employers found out about his condition. It was a commonplace occurrence at this time. In 1968 there was no Discrimination Board, no laws to protect people with disabilities from unfair treatment, and much public ignorance and misunderstanding about epilepsy. Doris, with support from her husband Arthur, decided to try and change things. A steering committee was formed, plans made, hundreds of letters written, and newspapers and other media contacted.
Timeline of events
On 19 February 1969, Mrs Doris Kemp called the inaugural meeting of the Epileptic Welfare Association. This courageous step received some coverage in The Courier-Mail.
In 1972 the name was changed to Epilepsy Association of Queensland and in 1974 the first office was set up in the Penney’s Building in Queen Street.
Doris Kemp was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for her work with epilepsy in 1980.
The story of the first 30 years of the Association are detailed in “A Labour of Love: A History of Epilepsy Queensland Inc” by Carol Sugden.
The important work started by Doris Kemp OAM and her family, and other dedicated volunteers, has continued until this day. We are still working hard to improve the quality of life for people with epilepsy, through a range of information, support, counselling, education, training and community awareness activities. We still need to raise a significant amount of revenue from the community to keep up our work.