In March 1965 a notice was inserted in the Gold Coast Bulletin by John Hall asking people interested in lapidary to attend a meeting in the S.C.W.O Rooms, Burleigh Heads. Over sixty people turned up. John Hall introduced Gordon Cran who chaired the meeting and it was decided that there were sufficient lapidary enthusiasts to form a Club. This was to be named the Gold Coast Lapidary Club.
Nominations were called for a temporary management Committee and nine people were chosen. The next meeting was arranged in the same hall for April 13th at which Alby Hams was elected the first President, Gordon Cran Vice-President, Joy Cheslin Secretary and Don Hand Treasurer. It was decided that the Club colours would be gold and blue depicting the sunshine and blue sea for which the Coast is so noted.
The Committee meetings were held on the second Tuesday of the month and the General meetings on the third Tuesday in the S.C.W.O. Rooms, Burleigh Heads until a suitable place could be found. Our first Club Room was a converted bakery at Burleigh Heads. Four tables were obtained, grinding machinery and two polishers were purchased and installed for polishing stones, and each member was asked to donate a chair.
The next Club Room was a building at Mermaid Beach and after that we moved to a shop in Berkeley Arcade, Mermaid Beach. We vacated the shop in December 1972 and the equipment was stored under a member’s house until the Club was able to rent a building on the Pacific Highway, Burleigh Heads. This we occupied until our own Club Rooms were built at Pizzey Park in 1974. All this time the General Meetings were held in the S C. W.O. Rooms at Burleigh Heads.
From the beginning it was the desire of members to own our Club Rooms. At a meeting in March 1972 a motion was passed that we approach the Gold Coast City Council for the lease of land. After much negotiation we were granted a Lease in Pizzey Park, Miami and given permission to proceed with our building. Funds were very low so we organised stalls at Sundale Shopping Centre, barbeques and evening entertainment, which were augmented each year with money raised from the sale of jewellery at the Southport Show.
By early 1974 we had $2,500 in funds and approached the bank for a loan of $3,000. The loan was granted and the building of the Club Rooms commenced on 1 June 1974. Field trips were cancelled for the time-being and members gave up every weekend to work on the building, and by September we were able to move into our new premises. The Club Rooms were officially opened by Sir Bruce Small, the Gold Coast Mayor at that time, on 6 November 1976. Since then, many improvements and extra machinery have been added making it a showplace of which every member is proud.
Alby Hams resigned as President at the end of the first year and was followed by Ron Cronk, Allan Hamilton, Bill Richardson, Cec Chivers, George Lude, Maurie Withers, Bill Green and Ken Wilks. From the original membership of 52 the number has continued to increase over the years. In 1971 Cec Chives designed the badge to incorporate the Club’s name, the rising sun and a cluster of crystals. The original was embroidered on material in the Club colours but later an enamel badge was introduced.
The main activities were faceting and cabochon classes, conducted three nights and one day a week, and monthly field trips. Other classes in silversmithing, copper enamelling and copper wire work were added at various times. The Club has had a library since its inception, with the first books being donated by members. Now we have a large collection of books covering a wide range of lapidary topics. The first monthly issue of our magazine Snippets was in October 1975.
In November 1977 we held our first Gem Expo at the Burleigh Heads State School, and the second was held in 1978. After that the date was changed to the last Saturday in June. When S.E.Q.A.G.C. was formed in 1969 the Gold Coast Lapidary Club was represented at the meeting. Since that time delegates have held positions of Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer and members have attended the Gem Rally each year.
As always, the Gold Coast Lapidary Club has emphasised that the main purpose of any Club should be to encourage friendship among members, thus ensuring the gem of all gems, true friends.