Our History 

ADANT-Our History Image

About this photo: Dr Graham Mount lectured to ADA NT in it’s early days. Photo taken outside newly completed Museum. Thanks to Norina Dragovic for providing photographs, and to Chris Mansfield, John Plummer, Jan and Kerry Eupene in identifying ADA NT members.From Left: Tim Maddern, Varo Dharmarajah, Mark Leedham, Shalra Mewitt, John Jacobs, Harry Craven , Graham Mount, Alex Downes, Keiran Smith, Chris Mansfield, Mark Hannan , David Drew, Sheila Beech, John Plummer, Agnes Westwater, John Lyons, Chris Kaiplinger, Seng Ong. Front row: Ean Ong, Kerry Eupene. 

Formation of the Northern Territory Branch

The Inaugural Meeting of the Dental Group of the N.T. was held on the 22 March 1979 with 18 dentists present.

The meeting was jointly chaired by Chris Mansfield and Kerry Eupene. Jim Gaffney made the proposal to form the Dental Group of the N.T. and this was seconded by Agnes Westwater and carried unanimously.

Proposals to: become a member body, along with other professional groups, of The Professional Centre of the Northern Territory Inc. (located at 191 Stuart Highway, Darwin in The Master Builders’ Association Building and where there is now the Uniting Church), form a Steering Committee (to decide upon fees, set up a draft Constitution, and to investigate affiliation with the Australian Dental Association),and to set a membership fee of $15, to be used to cover any costs incurred by the Steering Committee, were carried.

The next meeting, the Inaugural General Meeting of the Dental Group of the N.T. was on the 10 May 1979. Office bearers elected for 1979-80 (and re-elected for 1980-81) were:

  • President:Chris Mansfield 
  • Vice-President: Chaplin Hsiong 
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Agnes Westwater

It was decided to change the name of the group to The Dental Society of the N.T. The membership fee was set at $15 per annum and it was decided that a quorum for meetings was to be 50% of membership. Over 20 dentists were members in 1979 and the early 1980s, including: Simon Aarternir, Don Anderson, John Barker, Brian Beatty, Shiela Beech, Geoff Brown, Graham Buchanan, James Chiu, Helen Chryssides, Sue Cole, Dr Coe, Dennis Cosgrove, Harry Craven, Noel Danton, Varo Dharmarajah, Ron Dewhurst, Alex Down, Norina Dragovic, Chris Eldridge, Kerry Eupene, Jim Gaffney, Mark Hannan, John Hirst, Chaplin Hsiong, John Jacob, Chris Kaiplinger, Murray Kranz, Chin Lee, Christine Lee, Mark Leedham, Ian Lemmey, Dr Leung, John Lyons, John Lyster, Tim Maddern, Chris Mansfield, Dr A. Mussec, Dr Ng, Ean Ong, Seng Ong, John Plummer, Meera Punitham, Dr B. Reavley, Bimal Roy, Meg Simmons, Bruce Simmons, Kieran Smith, Terry Tregilgas, Vaike Walton, Paul Weis, Agnes Westwater and Graham Whitelaw.

Highlights of the first year 

Highlights of the first year of The Dental Society of the N.T. included talks by Mr Mark Hannan on maxillo-facial osteotomies and by Mr Terry Knight on the ‘Drug Scene’, 2 BBQ nights and interaction with the Professional Centre on golf days and film nights. Professor Kailis and Dr Peter Gregory (visiting from Western Australia) were invited to talk to the Dental Society. The Alice Springs Dental Group was formed. Subjects considered over the year included fluoridation, the NT University, the School Dental Service and the proposed new Dental Act. A motion was moved and carried that the present executive remain in office for a further 12 months as the present executive had indicated that they were prepared to serve in the Society again if no one else was keen to stand for nomination.

Highlights of The Dental Society’s second year included Mr Ian Tuxworth, Minister for Health, attending a meeting of the Dental Society and Mr Tuxworth spoke about “The Future of Dentistry in the Northern Territory”; a talk by Dr Reg Hession, Federal President of the Australian Dental Association, and Dr Cruikshank-Boyd lectured for 2 nights providing a “Materials Update”. As well, Dr Bob Norton, Secretary General of the Asian Pacific Branch of FDI met with members. Discussion continued with the ADA regarding the Dental Society affiliating with ADA. For the Dental Society of the N.T. to become a Provisional Branch of the Australian Dental Association required the N.T. Branch to have an acceptable Constitution, the N.T. Branch to be Incorporated, minutes be sent to ADA.

Offices, federal subscriptions be paid, and for all State Branches to unanimously vote in favour of changing the ADA Constitution to accept an N.T. Branch.

1982 - 1983

Office bearers elected for 1981-82, and re-elected for 1982-83, were:

  • President: Kerry Eupene
  • Vice-President: Chris Kaiplinger
  •  Secretary/Treasurer: John Plummer

Convention Darwin 1984 was initially discussed during 1981.   

A Special General Meeting of the Dental Society of the N.T. was held on 10 December 1982 with resolutions: that the Dental Society of the N.T. be wound up, and that any assets, debts or liabilities be handed to the to-be-formed Australian Dental Association (N.T. Branch) that the members of the Australian Dental Association (either present, or by proxy) form the Australian Dental Association (N.T. Branch) and adopt the Constitution prepared by the Constitution Committee of the DSNT that the Australian Dental Association (N.T. Branch) seek incorporation that the committee of the (defunct) DSNT be duly elected to manage the affairs of the ADA (N.T. Branch) until the first AGM of that Branch.

All motions were carried unanimously, and the President of the new ADA N.T. Branch then asked all to stand with charged glasses to toast the success of the Branch.

The first General Meeting of the ADA (N.T. Branch) was held on 3 February 1983.

Among the business considered was a motion to offer congratulations to Dr Colin Wall on the occasion of his award of M.B.E. by H.M. the Queen, and that the Medical Protection Society had given permission for ADA N.T. Branch to collect funds on their behalf, and for which the Branch received a commission, elections to Federal Committees, the Minister for Health, Mr Nick Dondas had requested to meet the Branch, Dr Albert Tan was to be invited to talk to the Branch, suggested Interstate Guest Lecturers for 1983 were considered, and Chairmen for committees for Convention Darwin were appointed.

Branch presidents since 1983

  • 1983-84 Kerry Eupene
  • 1984-85 John Plummer 
  • 1985-86 John Plummer
  • 1986-87 Mark Leedham
  • 1987-88 W.F. Mitchell
  • 1988-89 W.F. Mitchell
  • 1989-90 Mark Leedham (resigns to study in August, W.F. Mitchell as immediate past-president resumes the position) 
  • 1990-91 Brian Beatty 
  • 1991-92 Brian Beatty
  • 1992-93 David Drew
  • ⁠1993-94 David Drew
  • ⁠1994-95 Chris Kaiplinger
  • ⁠1995-96 Chris Kaiplinger
  • ⁠1996-97 Mark Leedham
  • ⁠1997-98 Mark Leedham
  • ⁠1998-99 Jeff Swann
  • 1999-00 Jeff Swann
  • 2000-01 Erna Melton (single term as first child arrived in September 2001, though continued on the ADA NT Council)
  • 2001-02 Randall Chin
  • 2002-03 Randall Chin
  • 2003-04 Chris Mansfield
  • 2004-05 Chris Mansfield
  • ⁠2005-06 Denise Salvestro
  • ⁠2006-07 Denise Salvestro
  • ⁠2007-08 Jeff Swann
  • ⁠2008-09 Denise Salvestro
  • ⁠2009-10 Elise Beachley
  • ⁠2010-11 Elise Beachley
  • 2011-12 ⁠Ean Ong
  • 2012-13 ⁠Ean Ong
  • 2013-14 ⁠Ean Ong
  • 2014-15 Stever Burlinson
  • 2015-16 Ashley Freeman
  • 2016-17 ⁠Ashley Freeman
  • ⁠2017-18 Ashley Freeman
  • 2018-19 Nomikos Rakkas
  • 2019-20 Nomikos Rakkas
  • 2020-21 Nomikos Rakkas
  • 2021-22 Emma Neibling
  • 2022-23 Emma Neibling
  • 2023-24 Kaejenn Tchia