[singlepic id=386 w=320 h=240 float=left] Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt has congratulated the Daradgee Environmental Education Centre on its centenary of education.

Mr Pitt today represented Education Minister Cameron Dick at the official opening of the centre’s refurbished premises in Far North Queensland.

A farm shed and recycling stations, kitchen, dining verandah and accommodation block have been added to the centre over the last five years as part of the $1.3 million refurbishment.

“This is a double celebration marking the centre’s 100-year journey from provisional school to Environmental Education Centre and the opening of these infrastructure projects,” Mr Pitt said.

“This weekend the celebrations have attracted past students and staff including former principals John Newell and Robyn Grigg and the family of long-serving principal Reg Goodman.

“I thank those who have travelled to attend the two-day event.

“Opening as a provisional school in 1911, the Daradgee State School operated from 1915 until 1984 when it closed to reopen two years later as the Daradgee Field Studies Centre.

“The catalyst for the transformation was past principal Nev Simpson who supervised the growth of the young centre until 1994 when it passed into the capable hands of current principal Noel Cristaudo.”

Mr Cristaudo said Daradgee always operated with a practical, hands-on, outdoors environmental focus so it was a serendipitous twist that the school continued to operate as an Environmental Education Centre (EEC).

Mr Dick said each year more than 1800 students come to Daradgee EEC for invaluable lessons ranging from sustainability to leadership.

“The State Government is pleased to have contributed more than $1.1 million to the ablutions and accommodation facilities and recognises the centre’s major financial input to the other projects, “Mr Dick said.

“With the support of the Gambling Community Benefit Fund, the centre provided $110,000 for the kitchen and dining verandah.

“The centre also jointly funded the $75,000 farm shed and recycling stations with the Westpac Bank and Bendigo Bank’s Foundation for Regional Renewal.

“Daradgee Environmental Education Centre enjoys great community support and I thank community members and the Friends of Daradgee for their continued efforts to improve the centre.”

DEEC offers courses in sustainability (water, energy, waste and biodiversity); team work, outdoor education and challenge (leadership and lifestlye); along with camp experiences (healthy cooking, gardening and the farmyard).

The two-day celebrations include a school Open Day, Johnstone River boat cruises, Reunion Dinner, social cricket match and picnic.