Barren Grounds

To: <>
Subject: Barren Grounds
From: Frank O'Connor <>
Date: Sat, 05 Jul 2003 18:34:00 +0800
At 17:32 05/07/2003 +0930, Peter Waanders wrote:
Hang on a minute Frank!  When funds were raised to purchase Gluepot, some donors pledged their ongoing support for a number of years. These pledges are coming to an end in the next year or two - not 20!!! Thanks to the tireless efforts of one or two dedicated members on the management team (not including myself as with a more than full-time job I unfortunately only have limited time to do Gluepot things) a Foundation has been established with the aim to $1M, and Gluepots annual operation expenses would be covered by the interest earned on that. In only one year we already have close to $200K in the foundation. Birds Australia has been less than helpful to say the least. While the management team is proactive in these matters, BA always puts its own financial interests firsts (frustratingly though understandably).
So perhaps you'd like to reconsider your view on this publicly.

I congratulate the Gluepot committee on their efforts and I am glad Gluepot is there and looks secure in the long term, but my core argument remains that I believe that there should have been a national fund raising effort to support the observatories and put them on a sound financial basis before Gluepot and Newhaven were purchased.

I know some of the arguments as to why this didn't happen.  BA does not own the land the observatories are on.  BA needed substantial funds for other projects such as HANZAB.  Gluepot came up as an opportunity.  The BA National Office was short of funds itself.

But the crisis or potential crisis at the observatories still remains.  Rotamah has closed, although funding was only one of the issues for this.  Barren Grounds and Eyre are financially marginal.  Broome has a substantial turnover but doesn't have a solid long term financial backing.  All wardens work very long hours for minimal wages.  The management committees do sterling volunteer efforts, but they don't have the people that can do the substantial fund raising that Gluepot thankfully has.  The observatories went close to being cast adrift a couple of years ago as BA was finding it difficult to guarantee support for them.  This threat has passed, but the observatories all have only a short term guaranteed existence.  Their long term existence depends on people visiting them, wardens and management committees making outstanding efforts, and funds being found at reasonably short notice when emergencies happen.

Frank O'Connor           Birding WA
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