Where people live and work together, you will always find volunteering. Across all cultures including first nations, giving time or skills to achieve a shared purpose has added meaning to people’s lives and contributed to community life for thousands of years.
Video: volunteer event launching Clunes Neighbourhood House’s new home, February 2023
Earlier this year we celebrated volunteers in Clunes with the launch of Clunes Neighbourhood House’s new home at the Clunes former Free Lending Library. In Clunes Neighbourhood Houses’ first 40 years of operation, we have always been a sub-tenant or tenant. But this event marked a new era. A permanent home for us, preserved by community volunteers with the support of the Hugh D.T. Williamson Foundation who assisted them to complete a range of vital planning and preservation works, and safe guarded by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action.
Extract from the celebrations:
Today is a celebration of the past, the present and the promise of a good future.
So Welcome or Womin dji kka to use the language of the Dja Dja Wurrung, on whose land we are meeting today.
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, and pay our respects to elders, past, present and emerging. For many thousands of years the Dja Dja Warrung have been meeting here and talking about ways of doing community, just as we are today.
Today is a house warming party for Clunes Neighbourhood House.
But Today’s house warming is only possible because more than 150 years ago our community decided we needed a free and inclusive space for locals to come, gather and learn.
First as a Mechanics Institute, then later as the Clunes Free Lending Library, this building over many years has welcomed people of all ages and backgrounds through its doors.
Over time those doors fell into disrepair and the building fell silent.
But because of the efforts of so many people such as the late Reg Kinnersley, along with Graeme Johnstone (who’ll be taking building tours this morning) - Tom Binns, Roma Wiseman, Jan Turner, Phil Taig, Victoria Reeves and Denise Fordham (just to name a few), the Clunes Former Free Lending Library is back on its feet and on the way to recovery, to again provide a home to another community group - one that has never had a permanent home of its own in its existence of over 40 years – the Clunes Neighbourhood House.
As of this week, Clunes Neighbourhood House (a place of learning and gathering for the whole community – just like the original intent of the building) will be open on Tuesdays to Thursdays - from 9.30am til 2pm.
Clunes Neighbourhood House, like many community groups is volunteer led. I’ve put my hand up to join the committee, as are many others here today. If you would consider - Perhaps you could put your hand up to help too?
Lots of people have joined us today – whether they are offering activities or having a go in the dunk tank – we want to thank each and every one of them for helping us make today a fun event. We also want to thank Hepburn Shire Council for contributing to this event. Particularly so we could have the dunking machine!
So in concluding – let’s cut this ribbon, and and let’s call this building (and this event) officially open.
Speech: Neil Newitt, Volunteer