Yarraville Community Centre’s building is a historical landmark of the inner west.
Located in the vibrant and culturally-rich suburb of Yarraville, this superb building has a rich history of its own. The historic building is one of the oldest buildings in the west although the building you see today was not the original building on the site located at 59 Francis Street, Yarraville.
The first building was originally built in 1868, and was originally home to the Yarraville-Stony Creek Common School with only 50 pupils. However, there was an increase in population and a demand for a bigger school was campaigned. A larger school then opened in January 1875 called the Yarraville State School. This building was a brick and timber structure designed to accommodate 500 pupils. This building was sadly destroyed by fire in 1888 and the grand building you see today was redeveloped in 1889.
The primary school closed in the early 1970’s and it became Yarraville Community Centre (YCC) in 1975, amalgamating with the Blackwood Street Neighbourhood House in 2000.
After some time, serious deterioration put the original building (and YCC) in jeopardy. In 2006, a major community campaign was launched to secure funding to restore the building and expand the programs and services. Today the centre is a vibrant community hub that provides education, training and support to more than 2000 people each week. This includes childcare, venue hire, short courses as well as many free education classes including computer technology, English and literacy classes and vocational training. YCC also offer many free community services including carer support programs, food relief programs, support for newly arrived parents, refugees and a community pantry.
Christine McCall, CEO of YCC has been a very significant long term staff member since 1993. She has been the driver behind the success of centre and has dedicated much of her career to make this centre a thriving place for the community.
“YCC has been part of my life for close to 30 years, when I first started working at YCC the building needed a lot of work to bring it back to its former glory. Working alongside community members, we worked very hard to lobby for funding and support for the restoration of a building that has been a part of the fabric of this community spanning a period over three centuries; from the last quarter of the 19th century and into the 21st.
I feel very privileged to be able to work and be surrounded by our community members and amazing staff in this iconic building.”
Susan Stojanova who has also been a long-standing staff member since 2002. She remembers volunteering at YCC, and feeling a true sense of community especially at lunch time in the kitchen with a group of very diverse people coming together and later, working in the childcare centre where children refer to the building as ‘the castle’. She says, “I also enjoyed seeing the local community coming in for ballroom dancing classes. It’s been a special place for me in my life.”