Mount Martha Community Contact and the living and learning of the community in Mount Martha House


Narrator:   In mid-1979,  Mornington Community Contact advertised there was to be a meeting at Mount Martha House with the idea of activating a playgroup.   As a result of that meeting, Jocelyn Kennedy decided to start a playgroup.   Ann Hutchinson and Jocelyn joined forces, and with a few toys, the playgroup began.   These were the first seeds of Mount Martha Community Contact.

Image of Jocelyn Kennedy Kidd

Jocelyn please will you tell us about your time here :

I had always seen Mount Martha House and thought I would love to do something there, and when it did become available and that meeting from Mornington Contact, that was my opportunity.  I was always motivated by the perceived isolation of people in Mount Martha, resulting in a lot of loneliness of all ages.  The younger women with children, grandparents a long way away.

Along with playgroups and an increasing volunteer base, Anne Brooks and I arranged morning coffees meeting with local guest speakers, which were received enthusiastically.

This then lead to 9 recreational classes in Feb 1980, with the assistance of Bayside Learning, an adult education unit from of Frankston TAFE, we ran successful classes.   The motto was “Live and Learn with Mount Martha Contact”, as it was called then.

By 1981, 30 classes were being offered for term 1, from golf lessons to high school English expression, lead-lighting, upholstery and wherever possible trades and teachers were sourced from the local community.

Child-minding being offered with classes, showed a need for occasional child-minding to be developed.  Carole Rayment along with others organised the child-minding, along with a favourite minder known as Nanna Pat, the grandma of the child-minding.  There was great demand from local ladies needing a brief time-out.

In 1990 Room 30 was remodeled and opened by Robyn Mangan.

End of term gatherings became cocktail parties, well-attended and saving the day for one Liberal Party meeting, who without a liquor license were without refreshments. So Sir Philip Lynch and John Howard and their entourage, mingled with the guests and enjoyed the hospitality of Mount Martha Contact in room 64.   A lot of fun was had by all.

Funding was sought which helped progress.  As pottery classes were popular a kiln was purchased and given to Mount Martha Primary School, for their use and to provide the pottery for Contact classes.

Classes blossomed, friendships formed, many still strong and playing tennis or golf today.

Fred Hales was the first chairman and wife Wynne Hales became Treasurer and together the steered the ship of this new group and its volunteers.  Legally it became necessary to incorporate which became Mount Martha Community Contact Inc.

Narrator:  Cr Bev Colomb was Manager of the Mornington Community Contact Inc. Please will you tell us about your involvement with Mornington and Mount Martha House.

Very interesting contact was the key word that ran through Mount Martha and Mornington at the time.  I actually started at Mornington attending the playgroup with my son, and doing some courses.   At that time I thought this was the most marvelous place and something that offered the community so much more than many other organisations at that time.  I went off to study Community Development, because I thought “this is what I want to become involved in”.

Then I was asked to join the committee, and after a period of time, when the manager left, I went for an interview and got the job. That started 15 years of my life.

It was very intertwined with Mount Martha.  We had a wonderful network of Community Houses on the Peninsula, which still exists today.  We would do a lot of things with Mount Martha House.    I just remember how pleasant  to go to meetings at Mount Martha House.  I just loved it. I would just sit there in one if the front rooms and wonder how anyone did any work down there it just a beautiful outlook.   We worked a lot with ACFE.  They were one of the main State Government funders for the program.  We developed accredited programs.   Just as I saw myself being one of those people that came through a community house and returned to study and it sort of went on from there.  I also had the pleasure of seeing the people of Mornington and Mount Martha having all those opportunities that they wouldn’t have had, either to get back into the workforce, return to study, or to make those wonderful connections, there was a lot of self-esteem building support that came and spread out into the community.    It was just wonderful.

While I was manager, I put my hand up to join council – that was quite sometime ago.  I have always had an interest in Community Houses from then.   Now we are back there looking at revitalising Mount Martha House.   So I have very fond memories of the Committees of Management and the people from the very beginning who started these grass root places up, it’s such a pleasure to run into those people these days, people that have been such a big part of the House, getting on with their lives.   They always comment on how much benefit being at Mount Martha House was to them.

Thank you all very much.

DHHS group runs Playgroups and a 3-yr old kindergarten is in full swing

NARRATOR:    Please move back down the corridor to outside room no 64 to station 10 for Mount Martha House under the Mornington Peninsula Shire.