A COMMUNITY PRE SCHOOL IN BLACKHEATH AT THE TOP OF THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
A STORY ABOUT THE GENEROSITY AND DEDICATION OF ORDINARY PEOPLE WHO HAD A VISION FOR A BETTER FUTURE FOR THEIR CHILDREN
Kookaburra Kindergarten was begun in 1952 by a small group of Blackheath residents. Three ladies, Mrs. Colleen Napier, Mrs. Norma Gledhill and Mrs. Kath Johnston had a vision for a pre school to allow their children to have a family orientated beginning to their education. This was a very innovative idea at the time and it was the hard work and tireless volunteering of time and resources by many of these residents in different ways which saw this pre school develop over six decades into the wonderful place that it is today.
Our first story is that of Mrs. Joyce Burrows, who was involved with Kookaburra from the very beginning. She is an outstanding example of the women in Blackheath who voluntarily contributed so much to the community and charities over many years.
What follows is a story of an ordinary Australian who contributed an extraordinary amount of time and energy over her lifetime to the successful development of our pre school. There were many others of course and we want to acknowledge their wonderful contribution as well.
MRS JOYCE BURROWS
Joyce and her husband, Jack believed, that education opened many doors and in 1954, their daughter, Margaret was enrolled in Kookaburra Kindergarten and then her sister, Susan, in 1955. Joyce then volunteered as a parent helper and in 1958 was offered the job of a paid assistant teacher, which she accepted. She began working with Mrs. Dorothea Hood, who was the director of the pre school at that time. Their partnership in building the pre school lasted until 1976 when Joyce and Mrs. Hood retired.
However, that was not the end of the story for Joyce. She then became a volunteer Office Assistant and was also on call as a casual staff member when required. She continued to attend all monthly meetings and soon volunteered to become Publicity Officer. Her ongoing role in this position allowed her to organize fund raising to ensure the kindergarten would have the money necessary to provide the educational and developmental resources currently needed.
Joyce was then called upon to stand in as Acting President, Treasurer and Secretary when required. The attendance records in the minutes show that she was very rarely absent from the monthly meetings. Her dedication to the original belief that she and Jack held, that education opened many doors, was diligently upheld for other people's children as much as her own.
In the early 1980s, as recognition of her outstanding dedication to the care and education of our youth, Joyce was awarded Life Membership of the Blackheath Kookaburra Kindergarten Association. She remains the only Community Member of Blackheath to have been awarded this honour.