More than 50 guests gathered for the official opening of the Rotary Education Pavilion on Friday 11 March 2016. Special guests included
• Rotarian Justin Schaffer, the major donor up from Sydney,
• Councillors Taylor, Grummitt, and Bell,
• the current and future leaders of Rotary District 9640 – DG Ann Egan, DGE Michael Irving and DGN Darrell Brown,
• Dr Liz Caddick, Curator of the BG,
• Alex Jakimoff, President of the FGCRBG, Gene Rosser – Patron of the Friends, and past presidents of FGCRBG Kate Heffernan and Nick Bloor.
The opening of the Rotary Education Pavilion has been a long time coming. Even longer for Justin Schaffer who donated a significant sum of money to Gold Coast Rotary Club back in 2008 to be used to provide ongoing education programs for young people in an area not catered for by main stream schools. After several false starts we identified the need for a multi-purpose shelter within the Gardens for use in education programs and for housing interpretative displays.
We did not want a standard picnic shelter that you find in a park – we wanted a signature structure befitting of a Botanic Gardens and something, which acknowledged Rotary and its community service. Justin was proud to officially open a signature structure designed by Andrew Brewer from Burling Brown Architects. He gave a moving speech, advocating philanthropy and thanking Gold Coast Rotary for its support and perseverance in bringing this pavilion to fruition. President Lynda had much pleasure in presenting Justin with Honorary Membership of our club. Alex Jakimoff then presented both Justin and the Rotary Club of Gold Coast with Life Memberships of the Friends of the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens.
The support of Councillor Paul Taylor was acknowledged before Kate Heffernan talked briefly about, and then unveiled her latest creation – Stage 1 of the interpretation signs for this pavilion.
Dr Liz Caddick the Curator of the Botanic Gardens rounded out the program by explaining the importance of education in the charter of Botanic Gardens and how the pavilion would provide a valuable resource for future programs. Drinks and fellowship followed.