The first 25 years of the Castlemaine Community House
The Castlemaine Community House was established in 1985 following lengthy consultation and lobbying from the Castlemaine Community. A Family and Community Services grants of $3,225 funded a pilot neighbourhood centre to ‘provide an easily accessible meeting place for all people in the local or broader Castlemaine area’. How little things change . . . 25 years later this remains one of the Community House’s central objectives.
The initial community facility operated from the old CWA rooms, adjacent to the RSL building, and was used by community groups such as the Community Coffee Morning Group, the South School Neighbourhood Group and the Castlemaine Men’s Group.
The centre opened to the public on 4 July 1985 as the Castlemaine Community Drop In Centre. Early programs and course included sewing, ceramics, hobbytex, microwave cooking and skincare! A version of community lunch operated even in the early days with community members invited once a week to bring a plate to share.
In 1986 the House moved to a room at the Library and in 1987 relocated to its own dedicated space at CHIRP.
CCH experienced extraordinary growth during a ten year residency there but in 1998 was forced to move once again, this time to another private property in Templeton Street. When the escalating rent for this property became prohibitive, the House moved to its (then) temporary residence within the School of Mines building in Lyttleton Street where it operated in cramped and confined premises for over five years.
In 2011 we moved into the Faulder Watson Hall, while the ongoing search for a dedicated Community House continues.