Our Early Beginnings
The Kulungah-Myah Family Centre Inc. now trading as Kulungah Myah Community Centre, (KMCC) has been an integral and dynamic part of the Kardinya community for 30 years.
The Service had its beginnings in 1990 when the City of Melville made available the land at 136 Le Souef Drive, Kardinya. The State Government funded the building of the Centre itself, which featured a main office, full kitchen, two meeting rooms and two large multi-purpose spaces with fenced outdoor play areas. On the 23rd of May 1990, the first meeting was held to establish an interim Committee to organise the service. KMCC received a number of significant grants totalling $37,500 to assist with its establishment, these included:
- a pre-operational grant from the Department of Communities – $2000
- Lotteries Commissions Grant – $30000
- Family Foundation Grant – Administration grant $5000 & Equipment $500.
Importantly, KMCC was built to operate a kindergarten program funded by Family and Children’s Services. On the 22nd February 1991, KMCC was licensed to conduct a Child Care Service. A few days later, on the 25th February, a 4 year old kindergarten program opened for the first time. The Kulungah-Myah Kindergarten was an immediate success, attracting many local families who had established homes in the new and growing suburbs surrounding it.
On the 20th November 1992, the Kulungah-Myah Family Centre meaning “Children’s Meeting place” became incorporated.
The kindy service continued successfully until its closure at the end of 1998, when Family and Children’s Services stopped its funding to kindergarten programs.
In 1999, Kardinya Primary School used KMCC to run their 4 year old Kindergarten program until they could accommodate them on their school grounds. In mid-2000, the centre welcomed First Steps Independent Kindy; a new private kindergarten owned and operated by Nichola Jennings and Nicky Thomson, both early years teachers from Kardinya Primary School. First Steps was very successful and operated from KMCC for 17 years, before closing at the end of 2016. In the following year, a pre-school program for 3 year olds was established by Claire Wylie (owner) and her staff; named First Steps PreKindy.
The Centre Grows
Since its inception, KMCC was a very attractive base for a number of local groups, including the Kulungah-Myah Toy Library, now trading as Kardinya Toy Library. In one of the toy libraries earliest meetings on May 1991, Committee Members discussed a number of matters including fees, borrowing conditions and grant options. The toy library soon commenced its borrowing service from KMCC, and had an official opening day on Saturday 7th September 1991. The toy library grew steadily, and became so popular that it soon organised a waiting list of potential member families to respond to demand. The toy library remains operational, and in 2021 celebrated its 30 year anniversary.
KMCC evolved to not only meet the needs of children and families, but also seniors and people with disabilities in the local and wider community. The Kulungah-Myah Seniors Club formed in 1998 with only 6 members. It has now been running for the past 25 years, with up to 40 members coming along each week for games and activities. For many years, Enrich Living (formally St Ives Care) operated their Day Centre Program from KMCC. They provided lunches, craft activities, games and exercise for their clients experiencing the early stages of dementia.
A number of other special interests groups have also used the space with regularity. The Southern Suburbs branch of the Cake Decorators Association, were also one of the first groups to use KMCC on a weekly basis, until their closure in 2019. Other long term and current users of KMCC, include the Nihongo Youchien Playgroup, Melville Spiritualist Church, Faith Bible Church, GKI Perth, Perth Film Academy, Bricks4Kidz and Chinese Dojo. Other activities at KMCC for adults and children include art and craft activities, exercise groups, and children’s drama and music.
An important driver of KMCC’s success has been Program Manager, Rose Alden, who has been with the service since January 1998. With the support of an active Board of Governance, Rose has used her skills and expertise to ensure the service remains relevant, dynamic and accessible to develop a strong network with other neighbourhood centres across Perth, and strong relationships with key local agencies.
In 2021, Kulungah Myah Family Centre adopted the trading name of Kulungah Myah Community Centre to better capture its outward community focus, and its inclusive approach to service provision. In 2022, this name change came with a new logo, a new website, as well as new Board appointments to embrace youth and young adult representation. New partnerships were developed with local high schools, and universities, social initiatives with Give Write, FairGame and Upparel introduced, and a youth volunteer program developed. We now have an expanded program of activities catering to all segments of our community. The Centre has in the past year begun to cater to a growing demographic – home-schooling families. There are now two homeschooling cooperatives using the centre.
On 26th November 2022, KMCC celebrated 30 amazing years of service, with a wonderful celebration. This is an outstanding achevement for a volunteer, community managed service. It is testimony to the dedicated hardwork of all of our Board, staff, user groups and community stakeholders.
In 2023 the staff team expanded to include our resident health promotion expert, Natasha Reid, in the role of Community Engagement Officer, and Monica Smith as Project Worker who is successfully spearheading our grant funding acquisition. We are very fortunate to have communications student and Razanne Al-Abdeli apply her marketing and promotions skills to support our programming. Our focus in 2023-2024 is to:
- expand service provision to include vulnerable youth
- leverage partnerships to introduce service innovations, and meet unmet community needs
- integrate digital technologies throughout our operations and continue plans to improve digital literacy in our community.
- demonstrate our social impact.