Our Early Beginnings
The Kulungah-Myah Family Centre (KMFC) has been an integral and dynamic part of the Kardinya community for 29 years.
The Service began 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. KMFC 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, KMFC was built to operate a kindergarten program funded by Family and Children’s Services. On the 20thNovember 1990, the Kulungah-Myah Family Centre meaning “Children’s Meeting place” became incorporated. On the 22ndFebruary 1991, KMFC 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. The 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 KMFC 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 KMFC 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, KMFC was a very attractive base for a number of local groups, including the Kulungah-Myah 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 KMFC, 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 is celebrating its 30 year anniversary.
KMFC 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 group formed in 1998 with only 6 members. It has now been running for the past 24 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 KMFC. 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 KMFC on a weekly basis, until their closure in 2019. Other long term and current users of KMFC, include the Nihongo Youchien Playgroup, Somerville Playgroup, Cambridge Weight Plan, Melville Spiritualist Church, Faith Bible Church, GKI Perth, Perth Film Academy, Bricks4Kidz and Chinese Dojo. Other activities at KMFC for adults and children include, art and craft activities, exercise groups, children’s film, drama and music.
An important driver of KMFC’s success has been Centre Coordinator, 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, by forming networks with other neighbourhood centres across Perth, and partnerships with key local agencies.
KMFC has continued to grow and develop to meet the changing needs of the local community. By providing a welcoming and encouraging environment suitable for a wide range of social, educational and cultural programs, it benefits many individuals, families and organisations across the City of Melville and beyond.