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Plans to establish and build a community kindergarten to service the Chelmer and Graceville area began several years before there was anything to show for it. Local families like the Baillies, Robinsons and Borshts, themselves with young children and therefore with a personal need, got behind the proposal. These families started to raise funds and enquire into the practical issues of land and legal backing.

In the early days, fundraising at the kindergarten included a Bridge Club, a Keep Fit group, and a Marionette group. For a number of years the Marionette group staged performances not only at our own kindergarten, but also elsewhere at the invitation of other kindergartens.

The kindergarten was devastated by both the 1974 and 2011 floods, but on both occasions our resilient and resourceful local community rallied around the kindergarten to ensure that Chelmer-Graceville Kindergarten was re-established.

When the kindergarten opened there was only a building and no established playground area. Many improvements, both indoor and outdoor, have taken place over the years. The kindergarten is planted with many trees providing shaded areas for children to play in. As a result of fundraising, donations, grants and government funding the kindergarten has an extensive array of equipment including a library area, many toys, puzzles and games, the sandpit and mud pit, iPads, swings, climbing forts and frames and a well stocked painting and craft area.

Land was acquired at the present site, a “D” shaped block running from Acacia Avenue through to Richardson Street at the rear. As the area was too large for effective supervision, a section was fenced off which allowed ample room for development of outdoors activities, and the building was erected, an economical besser-block construction built to the standard requirements of the Creche and Kindergarten Association (C&K).

The Chelmer-Graceville Kindergarten was first opened in 1962 by the local Member of Parliament, the late John Herbert. Through his interest in the welfare of the kindergarten he became our Patron and attended many Committee meetings. Kim Robinson was our first President to whom we owe many thanks, as well as his Committee for their hard work in establishing our kindergarten.

In the initial years, as is today, there was a tremendous community spirit and rapport amongst the families and staff. There has always been active participation from a strong body of families, not only in crucial fundraising activities, but also in various social interest groups. The hard work entailed in fundraising, which is a necessity in a community kindergarten, has over the years served to also draw families into friendships, many of which have far outlasted the kindergarten days.

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