A fervent believer in the importance of education and a man instrumental in the establishment of Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus, Mr Peter Hobart OAM DUniv was laid to rest on the Gold Coast yesterday (Wednesday, 10 August).
Born in Sydney in 1934 and educated at Knox Grammar School, Peter Raymond Hobart left a career in the agricultural and horticultural chemicals industry and arrived on the Gold Coast in 1973.
In ensuing years Mr Hobart would serve successfully in a number of business and community leadership roles, including as Managing Director of the Ray White Southport Group, President of the Rotary Club of Southport and in senior positions for the Chamber of Commerce, The Southport School and All Saints Anglican School.
However, the outcomes arising from his tireless advocacy in the cause of higher education in South East Queensland will likely be remembered as Mr Hobart’s most significant achievement.
This process began with his appointment as Foundation Chairman of the Council of the Gold Coast College of Advanced Education (CAE) in December 1985.
In this role, Mr Hobart’s efforts were crucial to the early development of the Gold Coast’s first higher education institution.
Not only did he campaign vigorously to secure capital funds for the initial building on the Southport campus, he liaised closely with local business and community leaders to attract funds for the library and other projects.
Those efforts were further enhanced by the support Mr Hobart marshalled from politicians, State Government departments and the Gold Coast City Council.
As a consequence, the College was provided with roads and related services at a substantial saving, including a first playing field carved out of scrub by the Queensland Industry Training Council with the assistance of the local community.
In 1988, the Labor Federal Government’s higher education reforms required the CAE to amalgamate with a larger institution in the South East Queensland region. Mr Hobart was critical to the negotiations that united the CAE and Griffith University.
Major focus for higher education
The Foundation Chairperson of the Advisory Council of the Gold Coast University College, Mr Hobart was an energetic and influential leader who ensured the campus became a major focus for higher education on the Gold Coast. He was appointed to Griffith’s University Council in 1990.
Mr Hobart’s contributions to the policy and capital development of the Gold Coast campus were largely forged from his strong and lasting relationships with the Gold Coast community.
Such invaluable connections, particularly with business, were reflected in the breadth of research and consultancy relationships that soon developed within the University’s faculties.
In turn this was complemented by strong support for teaching programs in the areas of business, education, engineering, hotel management, Japanese and nursing.
Mr Hobart was made a Doctor of the University in 1993 for his distinguished contributions to the Gold Coast community and Griffith University in particular.
Mr Hobart and his wife Jenny’s connection to Griffith University continued via the Peter and Jenny Hobart Medical Bursary, offered by the Rotary Club of Southport in recognition of the couple’s contribution to the initial development of the medical program at Griffith University.