The Mudgeeraba Foundation (established June 1999) had its annual Donation Ceremony in the Mudgeeraba Foundation Centre (MFC) on 11 December. 2008. It is combined with the opening ceremony of the d'Arcy Doyle Art Award exhibition (see www.mudg.com.au and www.darcydoyleartawards.com.au).
Mayor Ron Clarke traditionally opened the evening event which is also regularly attended by Dianne Reilly MP, State Member for Mudgeeraba. Then Dr Peter Ochsenbein, owner and director of Mudg Pty Ltd, Trustee of the Mudgeeraba Foundation, granted donations of more than $55,000.
Dr Ochsenbein offered a collection of 220 art prints (famous painters of the last century) with a value of $20,000 to a not yet selected GC art school. There followed donations of a total of $22,500 to four organisations. Firstly, the Mudgecraha Old Post Office Heritage Centre received $5,500 (in addition to $7,000 donated previously) for a bronze sculpture by Arno Schilling (recipient of the Mudgeeraba Foundation Award) to be unveiled on 26 January 2009 (Australia Day) on the Mudgeeraba Green by Cr Ted Shepherd.
Secondly, the Gold Coast section of the Australian Society for Keyboard Music received $3,000, in addition to $3,000 last year, for the Gold Coast Open Piano Competition.
Thirdly, the Gold Coast Lapidary Club received $4,000 tor a high performance metal detector, and the fourth recipient was Queensland Rowing ($10,000) for a special racing event (see photo with CEO Christian Renford and Dr Peter Ochsenbein).
The latter is of Australia-wide interest because its goal is the first competition between boats of the officially (FISA) not yet existing Octuple Scull class (8 rowers, each having two oars) which should he able to break all regatta records. To mark the seriousness ot this project, the CEO of Rowing Queensland was accompanied by two top athletes, one of them Sam Conrad, an Olympic rower who competed at Beijing this year in the men's 8+ and also has the honour of being a third generation Olympian (his father competed at the 1976 Olympics, and grandfather competed at the 1956 Olympics).
Peter Ochsenbein promised to urge the Queensland Govemment to include the carefully prepared event in the Q150 sesquicentenary celebrations. He is convinced that, due to stronger and more skilled athletes and better materials, the arguments against this class have become obsolete and that some record times would inevitably lead to approval by national rowing bodies, and eventually by the FISA.
After Dr Ochsenbein presented his general donations, Dianne Reilly MP handed out the d'Arcy Doyle Art Awards to seven winners, with a main prize of $6,000, totalling $13,000.
Dr Ochsenbein then informed the numerous guests in the packed MFC about his confidential personal efforts to organise an immaterial but politically invaluable donation to the whole region, namely to have the Gold Coast City Council granted Lord Mayoralty by Her Majesty The Queen on the occasion of Queensland's 150th birthday.
Between April and November, Peter corresponded independently, first with the Premier's office, then with the Mayor's office and finally with the Governor General's office. His move was based on very thorough internet studies about all aspects of the issue, which resulted in a comprehensive document. Therein it is made clear that the honour is not granted to a person but to the Council and the population as a whole for their efforts and achievements. Among the convincing arguments he also mentioned that there are already ten Lord Mayoralties in Australia.
Being of Swiss origin, (a 'Swaussie') Peter argued that even strict Republicans might not oppose. He is aware that Ron Clarke in his well known modesty, is not keen to become Lord Mayor although, due to his integrity and the Gold Coast's importance, many think he is one. Audience applause proved there is indeed considerable support, and that the issue may not yet be closed - provided that Gold Coast residents want to have their say.