History of Uniting Church Childcare Centre Gympie
We were the first child care centre in Gympie was established by the Baptist Church in approximately 1970.
The Uniting Church Child Care Centre Gympie was established in 1977. The centre catered for 51 children and fees then were $8 per week. The building had originally been built and opened as a family convenience store by a James and Sarah Brown. Interestingly, Sarah Brown (nee Long) was the eldest daughter of William and Sarah Long who married in 1878 and had 17 children – nine sons and eight daughters!!
The Horseshoe Bend Child Care Centre site becomes a major concern as the building is getting older and requiring maintenance as well as the issue of safety of the Centre being so close to a busy road. The local Council advises the Child Care Centre to relocate the centre as the safety of parking on Horseshoe Bend becomes a burgeoning issue.
June - Department of Family and Community Services letter received confirming approval of Federal Government grant of up to $645,233 for the construction of a 51 place child care centre to replace the Horseshoe Bend Centre.
November - Settlement made on purchase of house and land at 17 Cartwright Rd, Gympie. (Purchased from the estate of the late John Frederick Croke who ran a tailoring business from home in the earlier days )
December - Application approved by Cooloola Shire Council subject to a large number of conditions. The centre was advised that they would incur payments of more than $28,000.00 for intersection improvements and water and sewerage charges.
Schedules of Materials and Scope of Work for Centre compiled in July 2001 by Middap Ditchfield Architects with ads subsequently placed in The Gympie Times, Sunshine Coast Daily and The Courier Mail calling for interest in tendering for the construction of the Child Care Centre. The contracted builders chosen for construction of the Centre were Nissen Bros with Kevin Nissen at the helm and Tim Ditchfield and Peter Middap were appointed as the project’s architects.
April - The new centre opened on the 2nd of April 2002 and reached full capacity as soon as the centre was up and running. At the commencement of work at the centre, there were a total of 20 staff members employed, with that number continuing as the service chooses to run above child/staff ratios.
July - Official opening of Child Care Centre was held on Saturday the 27th of July @ 2.00 pm. Member for Fairfax Alex Somlyay carried out the official opening on behalf of the Federal Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony. In opening the centre, Mr Somlyay paid tribute to builders Nissen Bros of Gympie and made special mention of the outstanding design of the new building. Reverend David Fanning, chairman of the Mary-Burnett Presbytery Uniting Church in Australia carried out the blessing of the centre before 80 guests took part in afternoon tea. Director of the Centre, Kelli Radford, welcomed guests Rev Ross Davies and Cooloola Shire Mayor Mick Venardos.
The whole centre was airconditioned with reverse cycle models to ensure the children (and staff) were comfortable throughout the day.
Centre Shade cloth installed covering 50% of playground to give the children a Sunsmarter place to play and learn.
Artificial grass was put down throughout the centre for the children with softfall in areas necessary to ensure safety.
Centre Painted from top to bottom to give the whole place a fresh makeover. Curtains throughout the centre were all replaced also.
Solar panels have been fitted and made a massive difference in our bills, as well improve the services sustainability.
Speed Bumps were put in the centre car park to improve the services safety for all families on arrival and departure.
Artificial grass replaced as it was becoming worn
Centre Painted to freshen up the service.
Started the Kindergarten Program with our Kindergarten Teacher
Skill Centre worked with the centre staff to create equipment using recycled timeber to improve the centre sustainability. These included: Safe path from the footpath to the centre (with gate), Bush Kitchen for the back playground, Sheet storage containers (wooden), Planter Boxes (wooden)
Solar panels have been fitted and made a massive difference in our bills.
More Solar Panels
More Solar Panels to make us EVEN MORE sustainable
Water Saver taps and LCD light replaced all lights throughout the centre.
“Unveiling of the Playground for Sustainable Development” at the Uniting Church Child Care Centre.
This project was designed and managed by Lukas Ritson from Own Grown Organics, a Brisbane-based company in consultation with the centre educators, children and parents. Together a natural sustainable environment to educate our children while also supporting our educators and the community was created.
The work carried out used local business’s for the project as much as possible –Tamaree Timbers, Campbell’s Landscape Supplies, Pizza Hut, Shaw’s Family Meats, Gympie West Store, The Victory Hotel, Shady Rest Motel, Handy Hire, Coates Hire, local laborer’s, Urban Grass, Cardale Concrete Pumping, Gympie Landscape supplies and Blue Sky Fencing
Special guests included – Federal Member Llew O’Brien, State Member Tony Perrett, Mayor Mick Curran, Councillor Mal Gear, current, new and past families, staff and committee members and apologies from Aboriginal Elder Aunty Lillian Bourke and a very special parent Karen Hawkins who played a big part in getting the project started.
Front foyer given a “makeover” to make it more welcoming and user friendly.
As of today the Centre is successfully run by United Education Early Learning, with a total of 20 staff members. The Centre has maintained its popularity over the years. This success is as a result of the high standards and the fun loving environment that we provide to the children and parents of the Gympie community. We will continue to add to our history story in our positive ways.