Vojvodina Club’s incredible RCH generosity angers some
The Royal Children’s Hospital has lauded a western suburbs social group for donating their former club house to a charity auction that raised about $1.9m for sick kids.
But senior members of the Vojvodina Association, a group for former Yugoslavian region migrants, have had to defend their charitable decision after malcontents questioned the sale.
The association’s former reception centre at 25 Carrington Drive, Albion, sold a whopping $1m above its reserve in a heavily contested auction a day before Good Friday, but was not part of the eponymous charity event.
However, all funds from the sale, less advertising costs, will go to the RCH Foundation.
RCH Foundation chief executive Sue Hunt said the money would support “medical excellence at the hospital, such as pioneering patient care initiatives, the latest equipment and technology, groundbreaking research and ongoing education and training”.
“We look forward to working with the hospital and the Vojvodina Association to ensure their generous gift will transform the lives of sick children,” Ms Hunt said.
The two organisations had a longstanding and “cherished” relationship, but their latest philanthropic act would benefit “generations to come”, she said.
But the sale and benefits to sick kids have seemingly angered some, with the Vojvodina Club posting to social media ahead of the auction last month revealing committee members had been threatened over an arrangement that named the RCH Foundation as owners of the property.
“There have been threats being made to club committee members since 2015 and during the pandemic and including yesterday and today,” the post issued on March 6 revealed.
Describing the grievances of non-members as “very sad”, the post clarified that the clubrooms were being sold as they could not operate due to COVID-19 restrictions.
For a number of years, the space had hosted traditional music and dance events as well as providing regular social events for members to attend.
Teska Carson commercial real estate agency director George Takis sold the property for $1.91m at auction on Wednesday, March 31.
Five prospective buyers exchanged more than 100 bids for the 2014sq m allotment, which had its reserve set at $800,000.
“But it just kept on going,” Mr Takis said.
“I had disregarded the building in my valuation, but it turned out it sold to an owner occupier.”
The buyer intends to use the property as a food wholesale business, trumping developers and other club operators to claim the title.
It currently features an office space, commercial kitchen, carparking and a bar.
Mr Takis said the result had been buoyed as bidders knew their money was going to a good cause.
“We did play on the heartstrings a bit,” he said. “We did encourage people to bid that extra $1000 for a good cause.”
The sale was not included in the Good Friday Appeal’s amazing $17,122,879 final tally.
The Vojvodina Club could not be reached for comment, but has indicated on social media it will find a new venue for functions in the future.
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