The George Wood Performing Arts Centre: In the Making

In 1988 the School Council, the president being Dr H.M MacKinnon at the time, formed the Foundation for the primary reason of raising funds for the project. John Baldwin was asked to head this organisation, and held the position of Chairman until 2002. The firm of Clarke, Hopkins and Clarke was signed on to provide architectural services, and C.D Mason Constructions Pty Ltd to construct the building. A proficient business man in advertising, John Baldwin embraced the task – he and his wife Meredith, a valued Council member, at the helm.

Plans were underway. The prospect of a network of voices congregating in one space came full circle – it took off as a community effort. An appeal was launched to raise money for the project; John and George Wood, conducted many interviews and meetings to invite potential donors and supporters; Meredith and Elizabeth Wood arranged many dinners. The initial Foundation Appeal directed towards major donors raised over a million dollars. A second appeal was aimed at smaller contributions.

Social circles formed the backbone of the enterprise: the School Auxiliary, formed in 1966, contributed in the form of stage curtains and kitchen equipment, the School Association in the provision of landscaping around the building. Both networks merged in 2001 to become the present Parents & Friends Association. Staff donation, led by science teacher and musician Bruce Brown, led to an Allen digital organ priced at $40,000. Bruce continued as the School’s organist until 2009, having retired from full-time teaching at the end of 1999.

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