Gecko’s history really began 10 years before Gecko was conceived when Lois Levy saw a tiny story in 1979 which horrified her. The State Government intended giving away the entire north bank of our beautiful Currumbin Estuary to Lend Lease to build a marina, shopping centre and condominiums. She became one of the main activists who rallied thousands of locals and finally won. The Tarrabora and Beree Badalla reserves exist today as a celebration of that win.
By then Lois was, as she admits, hooked as a committed environmentalist. In 1989, Friends of Currumbin Association sent her and Philip Follent to a 4-day workshop in Sydney on effective activism and there she learned about Environment Centres.
The activist workshop inspired us to call a meeting of existing community and conservation groups’ local branches – Australian Conservation Foundation, Wilderness Society, Groups Against Sewage Pollution, Wildlife Preservation Society, Friends of Currumbin and Gold Coast Protection League – and we formed a steering committee.
Six months later, on October 29, 1989, the Gold Coast Environment Centre became a reality, with its base at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. The member groups grew and so did general membership. Later, the name was changed to include the hinterland and it became Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Centre, then Council. “Gecko” (coined around 1995), as it is now affectionately called, has always been run by management committees of many dedicated people.
From 2002 to 2012, Gecko employed a manager and administrative officer to undertake the day-to-day running of the organisation. The Management Committee was free to frame the policy, but also worked hands-on in the many teams that make up Gecko. Then, with the global financial downturn, funds tightened. We could no longer employ a full-time manager and assistant. It was the strong volunteer base of the organisation that ensured the high morale and commitment necessary to continue to implement Gecko’s policies, despite that setback. Today, the highly-motivated hands-on Management Committee, together with enthusiastic volunteers, provides an exceptional community service to the Gold Coast.
Are You Interested in Becoming Involved?
If you wish to become involved in Gecko’s numerous projects please email firstname.lastname@example.org and express your area of interest.