Our three centres have been serving their communities for many years, and incorporate adult community education and neighbourhood house services which reflect their local identities. We acknowledge the significant support of Nillumbik Shire Council in the growth and success of Living & Learning Nillumbik.
The Eltham Living and Learning Centre was established with support from Eltham Shire Council in 1974. Council supplied:
- two houses--the historic homestead at 739 Main Road, Eltham, and associated farm buildings as well as a house in Eltham Lower Park used as a Playhouse childcare cooperative
- funding for a coordinator and secretary
- an annual budget allocation.
An Advisory Committee was established and a program of voluntary skill sharing was developed, using the farm outbuildings as classrooms and workspaces:
- The Stables – woodwork, lead lighting, photography, weaving – destroyed by fire in 1990
- Box and tack room – used by the Adult Literacy Group (an ancillary group until 1989)
- The Poultry Shed – used as the first pottery studio
- The Goat Shed – used for animal husbandry courses, then storage – damaged by fires in 1989
- In 1980 a Friends of the Centre group was established as a fund-raising arm of the Committee. This group ran the Eltham Art & Craft Market until 1984.
The Eltham centre plays a key role in the coordination and delivery of nationally-recognised qualifications courses and continues to have a strong emphasis on the arts. In 2011, an Art Studio and Training Room were built through the Federal Government’s Investing in Community Education program, providing more opportunities for skill development and social interaction.
The North Riding Living and Learning Centre at Panton Hill was established along similar lines as the Eltham Centre in 1978 to cater for people in the rural north of the Shire. At first, activities were conducted in private homes until a house was provided by the Shire.
In 1982 the North Riding Centre and Eltham committees were combined as one Committee of Management and Occasional Committees were established for each location. The current attractive building in Bishops Road was built in 1987, and continues to provide a setting conducive to learning and community gathering.
Diamond Creek Living and Learning Centre was established in 1989 as a neighbourhood house by a group of volunteers from the local community. The centre shared the original primary school principal’s residence with the local School Community Development Officer, the Diamond Creek Progress Association and a local Diamond Valley Shire youth program.
The Centre was granted sole occupancy by the Education Department in 1994. In 2004, Diamond Creek Living and Learning Centre sought to develop a partnership with Nillumbik Shire Council’s Eltham/Panton Hill centres. The two committees combined to form Living & Learning Nillumbik.
Living & Learning Nillumbik delivers some vocational and employment training programs at Edendale. In 2011, funding from the Federal Government’s Investing in Community Education program provided a new driveway and car park, horticultural shed, purpose-built training room and a reception building, which significantly enhanced this community facility.
In addition, the old Homestead was beautifully restored and accommodates training in Early Childhood Education and Care. Edendale and Living & Learning Nillumbik are working together to integrate environmental sustainability and vocational training.