Meerilinga to breathe life into unused Kulunga Aboriginal Kindergarten in Hilton

Monday, 18 November 2019 (Hilton, Western Australia) – Meerilinga Young Children’s Foundation were today presented with a Lotterywest grant for $371,855 by the Hon. Minister Simone McGurk MLA – State Member for Fremantle and Minister for Child Protection; Women’s Interests; Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence; Community Services. The funding will allow Meerilinga to restore the 1955 built Kulunga Aboriginal Kindergarten at 85 Rennie Crescent in Hilton to create a community hub for parenting services, training, playgroups and an inclusive space for locals to utilise.

In collaboration with the City of Fremantle, local organisations and businesses, and in consultation with local Elders, Meerilinga aims to create a welcoming environment in line with community needs. Local contractors will make the purpose built building once again fit for use and will recreate the outdoor nature play environment.

The ‘Meet your Neighbour’ event saw Minister McGurk present Meerilinga Chief Executive, Lesley Moreschi with the cheque. Local neighbours including the PCYC, Hilton Primary School, the Hilton Precinct, the Hilton Aged Care Home and café were all in attendance at the event.

Minister McGurk said the restoration of the Kulunga Aboriginal Kindergarten would be a great boost for Meerilinga Young Children’s Foundation.

“The Meerilinga Foundation is active in a number of areas, including parenting services and community neighbourhood and development services,” Minister McGurk said.

“Community spaces like this one create a shared space for local families to gather and are vital for training, playgroups and other activities.”

Lesley Moreschi said: “We are thrilled to be receiving this grant from Lotterywest. The transformation of the Kulunga Kindergarten will allow the character of the building to remain but will ensure that the building is safe for use. This will allow us to extend our services to Hilton and the surrounding community, and will also enable us to provide a space for residents use.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lotterywest for their funding, as well as the City of Fremantle for generously allowing us to lease this building with its rich history.”

The Kulunga Kindergarten which was previously home to a pre-school program for 3 – 4 year old Aboriginal children, was closed in 2014 due to lack of government funding.

City of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt welcomed the funding announcement, saying the plan by Merrilinga Children and Family Services to use the City-owned facility as a community hub was a perfect fit.

“We’re really pleased to see this facility used in such a valuable and constructive way,” Mayor Brad Pettitt said.

“Meerilinga will be located close by a range of other services, this is very much in line with our own vision for the building.

“Hilton residents can look forward to an expanded range of services including adult education, early parenting and services for children and teens.”

Updates on the renovation process will be available via the Meerilinga website and social media channels.