by Virginia Simpson-Young, 1 August 2020

The July meeting of the Management Committee unanimously agreed to recommend Peter Thorogood’s nomination for Life Membership, to be voted on by members at the AGM.

Sadly, Peter died on Friday 17 July, so his election will not now proceed. However, we are happy to say that Peter knew of his nomination and expressed his appreciation.

Our thoughts are with Mary, Jay and Sam and their families.

The draft citation prepared for submission to members was as follows:

At its meeting on 8 July 2020, the Management Committee considered the possible appointment of Peter Thorogood as an Honorary Life Member of the Society.

Peter’s contribution to the Society has been immense, but much of it has taken place in the background, and he has always been a quiet and modest person. He has rendered extraordinary services to the Society for at least two decades.

Peter Thorogood

We all communicate by email now. Peter has made this possible by establishing and maintaining our email system. This is a huge job, as he has to manage storage space allocation, security and so on. To the best of our knowledge, our email has never gone down.

Peter took over the Society’s original, rather clunky, website and applied his professional expertise to completely rebuild it using the latest technology. He maintains the website from the technical perspective, which is the most onerous aspect of the website. Peter looks after its security including fending off ‘denial of service’ attacks, and he manages the storage issues and everything else relating to the website. In addition, Peter built websites for the Glebe Island Bridge and Glebe Walks.

The website has been a victim of its own success and now requires a rebuild to provide functionality that was inconceivable or impossible 10 years ago (greater interactivity, greater flexibility and so on). Peter is on the website redesign working group and has attended meetings even though he has been in ill health. Despite the need for a freshen-up, the website remains a treasure trove of information, much of which can be found nowhere else.

Through Peter’s efforts, the Bulletin has been made available in digital form for many years. These digital Bulletins are accessed by researchers within the Society and outside. In addition, Peter has, each month for many years, laboriously cut and pasted items from the Bulletin onto the website. In doing this, Peter is contributing the bulk of the material that has been added to the website over the years.  

Clause 3(a)(ii) of the Society’s constitution states that one of its objects is to provide ‘opportunities for members to express their views on issues affecting Glebe’. Peter set up the website to include a ‘comments’ function and the ability for the public to email the Society. These are probably the main channels by which the general public contacts the Society. In addition to these website features, Peter has enabled members and the general public to express their views by setting up our social media, a necessity for an organisation in this era, including our Facebook pages and Twitter account. He also set up and maintains our YouTube channel and has uploaded all the videos on the site, including relevant videos he found elsewhere and added to playlists.

Being our ‘tech guy’, Peter fields many queries from subcommittee convenors and others who are experiencing digital difficulties. He provides assistance promptly and with great patience. He maintains all the accounts and passwords for our diverse media, which must be a very frustrating job, as people often need to contact him about forgotten passwords.

Peter has been a member of the Communications Subcommittee for at least 12 years and has attended the vast majority of meetings, assiduously reporting each time on relevant statistics, security threats and other issues.

Even though Peter is a professional website and IT developer, his decades-long contribution to the Glebe Society has been entirely voluntary. He has provided substantial and strategic leadership to the Society in the area of our digital activities, including email, website and social media. Peter has never been conspicuous in his work, but the results of his work have been very conspicuous indeed.

It is therefore proposed that there be an item on the agenda of the next Annual General Meeting of the Society in the following terms:

‘That a resolution appointing Peter Thorogood as an Honorary Life Member of the Society be passed as a special resolution’.

Proposed: Virginia Simpson-Young; Seconded: Ted McKeown; Carried unanimously.