History of MND Australia

The formation of MND Australia

Written by John Wearne and Mavis Gallienne


John WearneWorldwide in the late 1970’s and 1980’s many self help groups formed on myriad health and lifestyle issues. In 1981, many formed as an outcome of the International year for disabled persons. People diagnosed with MND were no different and in 1981 two groups formed within six weeks, unbeknown to one another, in Australia. These groups were based in Melbourne and Sydney (prior to this time medical conditions were seen as the role of medical practitioners only).Word spread. Soon people from around Australia and overseas created networks within the MND community. As a result organizations were formed in all states of Australia, the ACT and New Zealand. At this stage there was no written information on the disease or any aspect of care of people with MND. Yet, as is the same today, the majority of people were cared for at home.

1989 saw the first Australian conference of MND Societies. This was held in Adelaide and at that time it was decided it was premature to form a national body. Following further discussion the MND Societies came together in November 1991 in Melbourne to consider this issue further.

This meeting saw the formation of a national body with an interim committee of one representative from each of the seven founding societies (as we were then called). These were the six state organizations and the Newcastle and Hunter Region. This latter region later merged with the NSW Association.

Mavis Galienne
It was agreed to call the national body the Motor Neurone Disease Association of Australia (MNDAA) and when bodies formed in the ACT and NT they would be admitted to full membership. Hence the ACT organization became a member in 1995.

An interim committee worked through issues such as the Constitution and Incorporation.

The next National Conference was held in Melbourne in 1993. The constitution was adopted and Mavis Gallienne was elected president for three years. This was extended to five years at a later conference. Nina Buscombe was the inaugural secretary and greatly assisted in the development of other state organisations. John Wearne was the inaugural Treasurer. While the books were managed through MNDAV control was in John's hands.

A great deal of work was done during the formation of MNDAA to ensure that the state and national bodies were clear on their roles. The national body undertook work that would assist the state associations to provide services to people with MND. The aim was to save money and time, to be a conduit for information sharing to ensure people wherever they lived in Australia had access to accurate information and services.



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