Not for Profit Association
Birralee Kindergarten is a community-based association with all profits reinvested to benefit our children and our community. Our association and its assets are owned by the parent body which elects a management committee each year to operate the centre effectively.
Affiliation with Lady Gowrie
Gowrie believe childhood is a unique time of life, to be valued and enjoyed in its own right. Gowrie also recognises this is the time where foundations are laid for future health, learning and wellbeing. We value children growing up with the understandings, skills and dispositions to be caring people and effective learners, able to contribute to their world and to enjoy rich and successful relationships with others.
Lady Gowrie’s History
The Lady Gowrie name honours the wife of a former Governor General of Australia and recognises her particular interest in programs for young children. Lady Gowrie opened each of the centres in 1940 at public gatherings.
Lady Gowrie described the Brisbane centre as a paradise for children and arranged for jacaranda trees to be planted along the front of the building and in the grounds. The extensive playground of the centre was originally planned as an extension of the playrooms where young children would spend most of their playtime out-of-doors.
The Brisbane centre opened to children on the 17th June 1940. Seven two-year-old children and ten four-year-old children began at the centre on that day. By November of that year there were 57 children enrolled. As well as teachers, a registered nurse and a social worker, the centre employed a secretary and cook-housekeeper. Hot meals and a dessert were provided for the children each day.
During World War II the centre was temporarily closed by government decree. The Centre at St Paul’s Terrace still has the air-raid shelter as a reminder of these times.
The centre re-opened in 1943 and reached a full complement of 100 children aged from 2 to 4 years. All children lived in close proximity to the centre. However, as housing in the inner-city area began to be replaced by businesses, families began to come from further afield. Today families come from all areas of Brisbane in order to use the services of the centre.