Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 09-09-2014 Contents Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 10
TUNS OF POWER
THE BIG FOTON TUNLAND.
2.8L TURBO DIESEL CUMMINS ENGINE & LOADS MORE
4x2 MANUAL DRIVEAWAY.
From left, Gryfynn Wittchen and Isabella Dacosta Andrade with cottage director Michelle Fernandez at Spence
Children's Cottage, a government house converted to childcare in 1974.
Photo: Matt Bedford
Historic childcare centre turns 40
Women's liberation was sweeping
Australia and the Whitlam government
was at the vanguard of dramatic social
The year was 1974 and a group of
progressive new mothers wanting a
life beyond the home got together in
Canberra to figure out a balance
between caring for their newborns and
continuing their careers.
The result was the Spence
A government house converted into
a childcare facility was a novel
approach at the time but 40 years on it
has proved to be an enduring one.
Cottage director Michelle
Fernandez said in the early '70s
existing models of care didn't meet the
needs of working mothers.
Two centres were established in
Spence and Narrabundah as part of the
new models of care.
Ms Fernandez said the Women's
Electoral Lobby and the Liberation
Council were working with
government to establish these
improvements to childcare.
The cottage was one of the only
community childcare centres
established in Canberra before the
Whitlam government was
controversially toppled in 1975.
The first formal meeting to establish
the cottage took place in June 1974.
They went on to apply for grants and
establish the suburban childcare
facility. In September 2014 they
celebrate 40 years. The stand-alone
not-for-profit centre, operated by the
parent community, has grown and
developed with a number of extensions
In 1991 new extensions were
opened by former ACT Labor MLA
Roberta McRae. For its 21st birthday
in 1995 the cottage received another
extension. And this they will cut a cake
to mark four decades of service.
Ms Fernandez, who has worked
there for 22 years, said the cottage was
the sort of place that got under your
skin. "I worked from the ranks of a
work experience student to now and
I've been director for 12 years,'' she
said. "I have a real passion for it and
I think it is a lovely small centre, as
opposed to some of bigger centres that
are around. We still only have the 25
children a day so it has that family feel
about the centre.''
The Spence Children's Cottage
will celebrate its 40th birthday on
Saturday, September 13, from 2pm.
to 4pm. There will be a raffle,
music, face painting, old fashioned
games and a balloon artist. For
more information call
0458 819 800.
We have to
care for the
Member for Canberra
I recently spent a week in Melbourne
caring for my mother who had just had
a hip replacement.
At 75, Mum is generally fit and
healthy, and as a single mother she is
incredibly independent. So it was a
real shock for me to see her in a
vulnerable position, in need of support
Realising our parents aren't
infallible is one of the most difficult
aspects of adulthood. It was all the
more difficult for me knowing that
soon I would be returning home --
about 700 kilometres away.
I am often contacted by elderly
Canberrans who are unhappy in their
older age -- unhappy with their living
arrangements, with what they perceive
as a diminished role or standing in the
community, or unhappy as a result of
the loss of loved ones. I am also lucky
enough to meet many Canberrans who
are happy and healthy in their later
years. In an ageing society, we need to
ensure there are more people in this
It's up to us as a community to
actively engage with the elderly -- be it
school visits to aged care centres or
ensuring we have the right community
services. I commend Canberra
organisations like the Men's Sheds and
the Tuggeranong 55 Plus Club who are
already providing wonderful services.
Of course, there is also a role for
government. We need to do a better job
of planning for our elderly. This means
ensuring social housing and aged care
facilities are located in the heart of the
community, near shops and schools.
We need to rethink how we treat and
engage with the elderly if we are to get
the best out of our citizens.
Access to Ginninderra Falls up for discussion
Robyn Coghlan, Chair
After discussions at our July meeting
on proposed changes to dog exercise
areas, the ACT government has agreed
to leave the Mt Rogers area for off-
leash use, as at present.
This is an encouraging example of
community opinion being considered
and acted upon.
Were you lucky enough to visit the
falls on Ginninderra Creek, just over
the border in NSW, when they were
open to the public in the 1980s and
90s? Located on private property, they
are now closed for insurance reasons.
The Ginninderra Falls Association has
launched a survey on
ginninderra.org.au/survey2014 to gain
community opinion about the future of
access to the falls.
Give us your ideas on our public
meetings at surveymonkey.com/
s/bccpublicmeetings or on our
homepage. Our next public meeting,
Future Transport in Belconnen'', will
be held on Tuesday, September 16 at
7.30pm in the Community Room
above the Belconnen Library.
Capital Metro will discuss light rail
stage two and beyond. ACT Roads will
reveal the five most dangerous roads/
intersections in Belconnen, and
strategies to reduce accidents.
Note you will need to have attended
three public meetings in the 12 months
from November 2013, to qualify to
vote or stand for a committee position
at our annual meeting in November.
Focus on changes in Dickson
Mike Hettinger, Chairman
Dickson issues dominated the August
meeting of the North Canberra
Environment and Planning
Department and RoadsACT
representatives discussed proposed
developments in Dickson with
concerned residents. Developments
include a temporary car park next to
Dickson pool during construction at
Dickson shops, zoning changes east of
the pool, and related traffic issues.
The next NCCC meeting will be an
AGM on September 17 at 7.30pm at
ACT Sports House, Hackett. The
Minister for Territory and Municipal
Services, Shane Rattenbury MLA, and
Tony Gill, RoadsACT, will attend. The
meeting will include discussion on
traffic issues in Ainslie and the Inner
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