The history of the Power Neighbourhood House
‘For thirty-six years we have worked hard to respond to the needs of the disadvantaged and isolated in our area, providing not only services and assistance to participants but also supporting many additional community groups, through which we aim to improve the well-being of individuals and the whole community.’ (Carol Berger 2019)
The early history of the area around Power Neighbourhood House
The site at 54 Power Avenue, was for thousands of years owned and cared for by the Wurundjeri-balluk clan. They moved in family groups across the area and along the waterways such as Gardiner’s Creek collecting food and materials they needed for hunting, gathering, building and cultural activities.
From the 1900s the main use of land was fruit and market gardens. From 1945 the site was used as a migrant camp for those who moved from war-torn Europe. The Housing Commission began construction of low-cost brick and concrete homes to accommodate these people, of which our ‘House’ is one.
PNH was opened in 1984 with its first coordinator, Sherry Danaher (1985-7), appointed in 1985 with a grant from the Dept of Family and Community Services. In the 1980’s when many households had only one car which breadwinners took to work, when many households had no car at all and when very few women were in paid work.
PNH grew from the energy of a group of residents who decided to press for a building where they could meet and conduct activities that were low fee or no-fee and provided a warm welcome, safe from judgement.
Coordinators at PNH
1985 – 1987 Sherryn Danaher
1988 – 1996 Marie Plowman
1996 – 2002 Belinda Hayes
2002 – 2004 Allison Ibrahim
2004 – 2006 Leanne Khan
2006 – Present: Caroline Berger
The first groups, as have all groups since, provided relaxed opportunities for local residents with similar experiences to learn from and support each other, with the emphasis being on support.
Activities in the Early Years
In 1985 activities included a craft, play, exercise, youth discussion, mahjong, gents, a single parents’ support, and yoga- meditation groups and a program of community lunches and financial talks.
Activities in 2021
In 2021, after thirty-five years the House is used day and night offering; Yoga, Relaxation, Art, Art Therapy, Support groups, MyTime carers groups, Connecting Teens, Party on Power, Craft Classes, Family Violence working Group, Adult English, Tuesdays food assistance program, Gardening, Mums and Bubs Exercise and social program, Storytime, After school club, Book Group, Public Internet Access, help with filling out forms and a cuppa and a chat ANYTIME. Support and Auspice is offered to assist the local Public Tenants Group and the ACT Resident Network.