School's out in Kawarren: it's time to play!
Kawarren is located in southwest Victoria and has a population of around 230. About 60 families live in the area, and for a long time, the locals have wanted a place to meet. When the Kawarren Primary School closed in 2009 due to dwindling enrolments, they had their opportunity.
Whilst many said that they would never be successful in securing the old school for the community, a determined few from the Kawarren Recreation Reserve Committee (KRRC) ignored the nay-sayers, and Echidna House, as it is now known, evolved. (Kawarren means 'echidna' in the local aboriginal language).
However, community groups who were preparing to move into the new facility were concerned that it would not be furnished. A $5,000 grant from the 2015 FRRR Gardiner Dairy Foundation Working in Dairy Communities grant program was combined with fundraising monies from KRRC to purchase 16 flip trestle tables with locking wheels for the two community rooms at Echidna House.
Determination pays off for committee members
The KRRC has been working on this project for a while, and back in 2013 they received another grant from the Working in Dairy Communities program to replace broken windows at the former school site. Their hard work has paid off, with the new community centre opening it’s doors in November 2015. A significant number of local community groups are now calling Echidna House home, including the Kawarren Tennis Club, Gellibrand Neighbourhood House, LAWROC Landcare Group, Kawarren Fire Brigade, the CFA, the bridge ladies, as well as KRRC.
Volunteer grant coordinator with KRRC, Chris Towers, said that their biggest lesson out of all of this was to just begin!
“Securing small grants from FRRR meant that we could tackle small parts of the project and keep lobbying for larger grants”. The grant funds ensured the space was furnished with tables, and additional fundraising has enabled KRRC to purchase matching seating.
Image: Hoya Trebilcock