Celebrating 35 Years of Wahroonga

By Rise
20 July 2023
In 1988, a group of tireless volunteers helped transform an old, dilapidated house at 2 Craig Street, Mundaring into what we all now know and love as Wahroonga Social Centre. As we mark the 35th anniversary of this transformation, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to those who have played a role in shaping Wahroonga throughout its history.

Last week our staff, volunteers, and clients, both past and present, walked down memory lane at a gorgeous high tea to celebrate Wahroonga’s official 35th anniversary. The day was filled with speeches, delicious food, and an incredible presentation of the centre’s rich history. Eyes welled up as familiar faces reflected in the montage of old photographs, recounting shared memories, laughter, hard work and community spirit.

As we reflected on the legacy of Wahroonga, a special thank you was given to Corry and Ted Barbour, Carole Martell, and Steve Williams. Long-term staff and volunteers whose contributions have given Wahroonga its character and charm over time. The fresh flowers, lovingly tended by Corry, the maintenance work by Ted to keep everything running, and the delicate touches by Carole and Steve were all remembered as small but powerful gestures that helped keep Wahroonga vibrant and full of life.

Among those present to celebrate the day were a host of volunteers and staff, both past and present, who have all contributed to Wahroonga’s history in their own special ways. From Bev Kenworthy’s invaluable insights from Rise’s first meetings 40 years ago, to Joan Grey’s 20-year long volunteer service and Mary Kenney who has been a much-loved volunteer for over 25 years now!

We were thrilled to welcome back past staff members Toni Hocking, Cathy Gebbetis, and Cynthia Brownlow, who have a rich history working within numerous roles at the centre. In particular, the beautiful gardens curated by Cynthia were fondly remembered, a tradition now continued by Chef Helen. Likewise, our current staff, Debbie Armstead and Leanne Bath who have been with Rise for 25 and 20 years respectively, were present to reminisce with friends. It was also an honour to have our acting CEO Shaun Mays, Director - People and Culture Fiona Durrant, and Acting Manager – Aged Care Services Delivery Lee Vaughan among our special guests. Your support means the world to us!

A big shout out goes to the team who worked behind the scenes to make this amazing event possible –Jackie Quinn, Wendy Grivell, Chef Helen, and Lucas Farrell. The heart-warming presentation put together by Lucas, coupled with Helen’s scrumptious spread, were absolute winners amongst the crowd. Jackie’s invaluable work behind-the-scenes to put the whole day together, especially, did not go unnoticed.

We’ve come a long way since 1988, but the essence of Wahroonga remains unchanged as we strive to keep the centre just as it always was – welcoming, attentive, and full of warmth, where every small detail still matters.

“It was such an emotional day for lots of people who have a history with Wahroonga. I’ve had great feedback from our guests who have also said it was so very special to be part of the day and the history of Wahroonga.”  
 - Jackie Quinn.

Here’s to a beautiful past, and the promise of an exciting future!

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