MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (13:04): Today I would like to acknowledge the important role of community centres. They are the hub of learning, creativity, friendships and so much more. In late April I spent some time at SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre in Drysdale. Dianne Bennett, president, and Anne Brackley, OAM, centre coordinator, took me on a tour of this historic site, which was a former Methodist Sunday school built in 1912. Community-made quilts and artworks spanning many years hung from the walls and told stories of friendships and the history of our region. I was impressed by what they do to support the community and the range of skills and courses they offer to assist people to transition to work and also contribute to the culture and the social connections in our region.
In this warm setting people can study a range of courses, including digital literacy, languages, mental health, first aid, creative arts and health and wellbeing. SpringDale supports 53 special interest groups, from ballroom dancing to tai chi and the wonderful jigsaw club—the centre is home to more than 4000 puzzles. The centre was a hive of activity during my visit, when there was a men’s cooking class—they were turning their hand to making veal schnitzel—and there was also an all-abilities art class where participants were creating fantastic paintings, including portraits and landscapes.
Anne Brackley is a goldmine of information and sharing local history. She spoke of pioneers Anne Drysdale and Caroline Newcomb and the plans for a monument that will acknowledge their important legacy. It is great to see our community centres document our history and support our future.