Kenmore West Kindergarten began in 1972 when local parents saved the house (our building) from demolition and negotiated with the Government to develop a kindergarten. Some indigenous children were bussed to the centre and an indigenous assistant was employed. By 1976, the indigenous children were accommodated closer to home and their kindergarten became Wandarrah Kindergarten in Inala. The director of Kenmore West Kindergarten, together with the parents, worked hard to have our centre affiliated with the Creche and Kindergarten Association (C&K).
Since that time, the playground and the building have undergone many changes. Outside, the levels of our play space have been altered to give us a variety of grassed areas, soft-fall, artificial grass and mulched areas covered in native ground covers. Climbing structures have come and gone as materials and architectural ideas have changed. In 2008 two water tanks were installed. One is used for the children’s water play and the other is connected to the toilets and used for the watering of the gardens. In 2009 the playground was extensively refurbished with new swings, a reading hut, stairs and seating installed. We now also have a vegetable patch and chicken coop. The area inside the building has been greatly increased over the years. The storeroom and home area were added over the old front verandah. The playroom was lengthened to accommodate the reading area. The kitchen and the children’s toilets have been enlarged.
In 2011 solar panels were installed. The car park was resurfaced due to being successful in receiving a Gambling and Community Benefit Fund grant. In 2012 we celebrated Kenmore West Kindergarten’s 40th anniversary. A Fun Day was held with a sausage sizzle, face painting, jumping castles, reptiles, a variety of stalls and a performance by the Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dancers.
In commemoration of the 40 years of Kenmore West Kindergarten we embarked on an Indigenous art project, in recognition of the kindergartens indigenous beginnings. This project reflects our kindergartens wildlife, environment and community. With the help of aboriginal artist Peter Mulcahy, we created a feature in the central area of our car park. Peter created designs of animals with a connection to the stories of the Dreamtime along with the children’s handprints. The children placed river rock art works of their own in a concrete central circle. Two native trees, a Lillypilly and a Wattle, were also planted.
This is Peter’s story of this significant feature.
At the centre of this work we have our Gaarrimay (the nest). As the children are central to our existence, we hold them closest, to provide and protect. These little ones, these little eggs are the culmination of every ancestor that has ever come before them. They are and will be the storytellers of all that you do. They are the link between you and the generations you will never come to see.
The Sandstone boulders represent you, the parents and the teachers, ever guiding and providing. You too, like the sandstone are the layered culmination of thousands of generations and now stand as protectors of the nest. Remember they can only be what your gentle guidance allows them to be.
Next is the Australian Cypress timbers, they stand as Sentinels as totemic teachers.
These 4 figures start with Gugurrgaagaa (the Kookaburra), he is the Awakener, the one who calls the sun to rise each day. He does this with joy in his heart, in the hope that this joy is spread with one another everyday of our lives. Gugurrgaagaa faces the east so the sun will rise each day for these little ones.
Opposite him we have the figure of Yabba (the carpet snake). He faces the west in recognition of my Jut Ju Uncle Paddy Djeripi Gerome and my kin connection to the Waka Waka peoples of the North West. Yabba stands for spiritual power and strength. He teachers us that the shedding of things does not diminish us, but it is exactly that which allows us to become something greater. Yabba teaches us of growth strength and fluidity.
The third sentinel is that of the blue tongue lizard. He is a local to the Kindy and his dreaming stories will reveal his teachings as an aspect of the creator father and the Dreaming itself.
The last Watcher, representing the totemic teachers and our ancestors who watch over this most ancient of lands and all its people, is Bala Balaa (THE BUTTERFLY) This image faces your little ones Kindy as a reflection of all that lies ahead of them. Bala Balaa was the first creature to prove life after death. This little caterpillar passed through a cocoon of darkness to re enter the world as a Butterfly.
May all our children grow strong and beautiful, and in opening their wings to eventual adulthood, never forget the child within. Like Bula Bulaa, who will forever remain the little caterpillar with her beautiful adult wings.
By Peter Muraay Djeripi Mulcahy ©
In August 2015 KWK commenced major renovations. These works include – a new entrance with an equitable access ramp, office and parent meeting space; replacement of the back verandah roof and a raised deck and sliding doors to increase supervision and provide equitable access between the indoor and outdoor spaces. These renovations were funded by the Queensland Government through the ECEC Centre Upgrade Program.
All this work has been made possible by the generosity and hard work of the families and the community.
Our building and land belong to Education Queensland and we pay a nominal lease to them. Education Queensland is responsible for the upkeep of the building and grounds. KWK is responsible for day-to-day maintenance and owns all the equipment and materials that the children use.