The house was built in the 1860s and was named Kingsley. It has been an elegant homestead that has had several loving families sharing its space over the years. In the 1950’s the house was home to the Mayor of St Kilda. Around the early 1980’s the house was handed to the community to become a resource for everyone and has now been the centre of community work for Elwood and St. Kilda for over 30 years. Hence the name: “Elwood St. Kilda Neighbourhood Learning Centre” . We are a centre for adult education and community support. Our organisation provides social, education and recreational activities in a supportive and welcoming environment.
ESNLC Inc. was established by enthusiastic volunteers at a well-attended public meeting in July 1983, and the organisation’s Constitution was set in place. By October that year activities such as playgroups, aerobics, drawing, sewing, knitting, craft and yoga were running. There was also a women’s discussion group and participation from the local Polish community. On four days a week the centre hosted ‘Drop-in Time’. In March 1984 the first Coordinator was appointed by the Committee of Management (COM), to assist with the increased use of the House. The following year saw the establishment of the Elwood Toy Library, a major project that provided local families with access to good quality toys for a minimal annual fee. On 10th May 1986 disaster struck; fire caused the House to close its doors for six months. Activities slowly resumed in the freshly painted and re-carpeted building and the program continued to grow. Elwood Primary School set up their After School Care Program here in 1988 and by 1989 the House was open 7 days a week, offering educational and recreational classes and community self-help groups. To assist in the organisation of this activity 10 hours of coordination funding was provided by Community Services Victoria.
Now, the house is home to a loving base of volunteer and staff, aiming to help the Elwood & St Kilda community by providing support and programs for growth.
“Kingsley: Our House & Home” Book
If you’re interested in the above history, be sure to check out the book written by Isaac Douglas Hermann. It details a much fuller history of the house and its roots in Australian history.
A hard copy of the book is available to purchase at the centre for $10, otherwise click below to read the PDF!