In 1985 came together to buy land, vehicles, building materials and tools for an education centre on the Qld/NSW border. This land had been selected by Robert Martin Collins whose foresight, inspiration and drive led to the declaration of Lamington National Park, 2 years after his death, in 1915. R.M. Collins is Susan Zoomers great grandfather. He would approve that this block has passed down to his offspring and is being used for purposes that he no doubt would agree with.

Richard continues ”The realisation of our intended non-profit community organisation was still some ten years away". In 1988 with support of Nick Smith and under the guidance of Bruce Teakle, we began building a beautiful mortise and tenon pole building called Bruce’s Shed. A cast of hundreds of friends came to help on weekends over the next 8 months to make it happen. During January of 1989 we moved in under a roof supported by poles, with walls and floor yet to be constructed. Unfortunately however we soon fell foul of the authorities at the time and found ourselves embroiled in an application to the Beaudesert Shire Council seeking consent use for an education centre here. Despite assurances, we were dismayed to find that we were to be denied. This then led to 2 years of protracted negotiations finally resulting in a decision in our favour in the Planning and Environment Court.

As part of our application to Council we had approached the Queensland University of Technology’s Architecture Department to see if they would like to present their student’s with a semester long project of designing an environmental education centre. After 6 months of work and consultation third year student (and now friend and architect) Emma Scragg came up with the winning design that has been the guiding work for our construction at Wild Mountains.

From 1993 –1998 new momentum was found resulting in the building of part-time staff accommodation known affectionately as Caddie’s Place. Caddie Bradley was a special and vibrant young woman who loved life and the environment. We first met her as a student at the Youth Earth Symposium program in which Wild Mountains was integrally involved. The Youth Earth Symposium ran for 6 years and gathered together from across the Gold Coast and Brisbane regions, volunteers who were passionate about providing a quality environmental education program for high school students. Each year some 100 students, self selected from over 30 high schools, took part in what was arguably the most powerful environmental education program in Australia… a life changing event for many. It was here that Wild Mountains met Caddie as a young participant. She then went on in the following years to volunteer at further YES camps as well as at Wild Mountains. Caddie was last seen by the Wild Mountains crew working on the building after which she was named and not long before she was sadly lost at sea following her passion.

During this period, yet maintaining their support, Geoffrey and Kathryn left the mountain. Meanwhile Joan McVilly had joined as a permanent member of the team living and volunteering her efforts at Wild Mountains. With her assistance, the realisation of a not for profit organisation eventuated in April 1998 with the incorporation of Wild Mountains Trust using the legal expertise of Minter Elison’s Bill Thompson and Lachlan Davidson. In moving to a new structure Wild Mountains had many models to choose from. We eventually chose the advantages of a Trust run by a Company Limited by Guarantee. This provided for the perpetuation of the project beyond the lifetimes or involvement of the founding members, non-profit status (the public benefit seen as primary: far ahead of making money) and the involvement of a wider membership with the flexibility to make special provision for founding (and subsequent) residential members.

And the journey continues…Become a part of our history by volunteering.