110th Anniversary of Crèche and Kindergarten Association
Guests, distinguished as are you all. Kaye and I are delighted to host this evening’s celebration and we welcome you all most warmly to Fernberg.
When the Crèche and Kindergarten Association was established, one hundred and ten remarkable years ago, Fernberg was a private home.
My predecessor of the time, Viscount Chelmsford, lived in what we now refer to as ‘old’ Government House at Gardens Point.
And Brisbane was a small city of just over 130,000 people.
Today, as Government House, Fernberg belongs to all Queenslanders – and the Crèche and Kindergarten Association serves a total Queensland population of almost 5 million people.
It is rare for any association to survive for more than a century.
Some are able to do so through visionary leadership and wise stewardship; others through committed support; but the fundamental reason they continue to play a role in contemporary society is that they remain relevant.
In May 1907, when the Association opened its first service in Queensland, it was to provide support for working mothers in the Fortitude Valley area. Today, the Association is active in communities throughout the State, providing thousands of families with the highest standard of early childhood education and care.
It’s a vital service and a remarkable story that Kaye and I enjoyed reading in ‘Playing for Keeps’, the history of the first hundred years of the Association. We were also very pleased to hear that an expanded history will record the provision of services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
In reading the history, it was particularly pleasing to Kaye and me to note the role played in the establishment of the Association by the then vice-regal spouse, Lady Chelmsford.
At the historic meeting held in early 1907 to establish a crèche and kindergarten, it was resolved that Lady Chelmsford be invited to take the role of President.
As we know, she accepted the invitation and the fledgling crèche benefitted greatly from her keen interest in social and moral issues, particularly those involving women and children, and from her influence.
But Lady Chelmsford alone did not ensure the success or future of the new crèche, nor the 361 C&K services currently operating throughout the State; that has been thanks to the commitment and dedication of the hundreds of women and men who have since served the Association as staff, committee members and volunteers – many of whom are here tonight.
Tonight’s reception celebrates these contributions and, on behalf of all Queenslanders, I applaud and thank them all – you all – for ensuring that the Association continues to provide such a vital service to the children of Queensland. Thank you.