Also known as B.A.V.I.A. has been supporting the Blind, Visually Impaired and Partially Sighted since 1992 and is a Registered Not for Profit Organisation.
The Gold Coast Blind and Visually Impaired Association was started in 1980/1981 when Thelma Daniels (nee Lee), who belonged to the Royal Blind Society, South Brisbane, moved to the Gold Coast.
Thelma started the association with four other people and was the President, Secretary and Treasurer. They initially met at member’s houses and offices where about 9 people would attend each week.
Membership continued to grow and meetings moved to the Council Offices in Lawson Street in Southport.
Amongst the founding members were Jean & Ray Huxley, Vera & Gordon James, Lyn Cox, Vera O’Connel and Cyril Richarde.
As memberships continued to grow, Thelma approached the Gold Coast Council for land to build a meeting hall, but was continually unsuccessful in her requests.
In 1990, Cyril Richarde, who had been a Rotarian since 1958, approached Ray Stevens at the Albert Shire Council, and was successful in procuring the land at Moana Park where BAVIA House stands today with a lease agreement of $100 per year for 15 years.
The members held street stalls on a Saturday, baking and selling cakes and hand knitted gifts, to raise funds for their clubhouse.
Cyril Richarde (Builder) enlisted the help of his fellow Rotarians, Ron Burling (Architect), Matt Weathered (Engineer), Ross Cochrane (Water Engineer) and Peter Pearson (Building Supervisor), along with the help of Rotarian Sub-Contractors where possible.
Tenders were called, and with the funds raised by the association members and a generous donation from the Jupiter’s Community Fund, the hall was opened in November 1992.
In 1994 there were 60 members and in 1995 when Thelma passed on, Cyril Richarde became President, Jean Huxley became Secretary and Joyce Southward, Treasurer.
We acknowledge the tireless efforts and persistence of our founding members and thank them for the legacy we share today.