By Nathan Beerkens,
Field Ecologist and Community Coordinator

Over two years in the making, a new Education Centre is at last open on the Arid Recovery Reserve.

The Centre contains a large classroom space, two bunkrooms and a bathroom. Visiting school children, university students, professional groups, friends and families can now get out of the heat, the wind and the flies to listen to presentations, get into crafts, work through exercises, or even watch a movie. We can now sleep up to 18 people on the reserve. Maybe most notable of all: the reserve now has a flushing toilet – how about that for creature comforts!

Andrew Harris (BHP) and Eddie Hughes MP officially open the Education Centre. Photo: Kathryn Hollingworth

This is possibly the cheapest Education Centre ever built in South Australia, and we’re proud of that. It has truly been a community effort. The buildings were donated by the Roxby Downs Caravan Park in 2015 and moved into place by Toll, where they sat idle for a time until we raised the funds to do them up.

Old portable buildings were donated by the Roxby Downs Caravan Park in 2015 and sat idle on the reserve before we could raise the funds to do them up.

Thanks to the support of our community and friends in the Far North, we received state government funding through Fund My Idea to turn the Education Centre into a reality. With some extra funding provided by BHP, we were able to engage builder Ashley Stevens to join the long skinny buildings together to make a larger classroom. It wasn’t a particularly nice job working with these old portable buildings, but he did stellar work making them into a solid new structure.

You have to break eggs to make an omelette. Here our builder has joined two buildings together and begins the task of gutting them to make the classroom.

Several local businesses contributed their time and services to the renovations, including Mossy Electrical, Balaklava Stitch Joint, Minetech and Spotless. Roxby Downs District Rotary Club members came out on working bees, along with other volunteers from the community and further afield. We were very fortunate to meet Lionel and Sylvia, a volunteer couple who stopped in with us for three weeks to paint the centre and add all the little trimmings.

Hard working volunteers put their backs into digging a trench to connect the new centre to the solar power system.

Volunteers Lionel and Sylvia did an amazing job painting the inside walls and adding all the trimmings.

Spotless donated their time to paint the outside.

Thanks to all our friends and supporters in the Roxby community and beyond. We look forward to hosting you at the new Education Centre sometime soon.

The finished classroom. Artworks are displayed from science-arts workshops held throughout the year with the support of Inspiring South Australia.