Dunlea Centre, Australia’s Original Boys’ Town, developed the mantra a “place for change” during its rebranding process in 2015, and it has unquestionably been a place for change.
From the year’s onset, the long-term equine residents were bid adieu and Morabito Constructions launched into action, fencing off and clearing the paddock area whilst preparing the ground for foundation work.
The project moved at a cracking pace and even the drenching April rains couldn’t dampen the progress for too long. The lost time due to the inclement weather was quickly recouped and the project was back on track. Ten months later and there are two new buildings occupied by our young people and in full operation with the refurbishment of the existing site more than half way completed. By the time this report is published and available the project will be nearly completed. An official opening will occur later in the year.
Not since the energetic Fr Joseph Ciantar sdb, forged ahead with his vision for new buildings and construction back in the 1950/60s has such a significant project occurred on this site. Dunlea Centre is grateful for all the generous and encouraging support it has received from so many to achieve this amazing upgrade and refurbishment. This was made possible by a building grant from the Federal Government administered through the NSW Catholic Block Grant Authority and a significant bequest from the late Dorothy Shirley Melford.
Fittingly, on November 25th, Dunlea Centre celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Centre’s commencement and the 200 year jubilee of the birth of St John Bosco, the founder of the Salesian Society of brothers and priests. This event allowed many past pupils and staff to get a glimpse of the scope of the building works and its impact on the surrounding area.
The late Mr Bill Walsh, former Finance & Properties Director for the CEC NSW, was remembered for his enthusiastic support and involvement with Dunlea Centre over the years. One of the new buildings was dedicated to Mr Walsh and a plaque blessed by the provincial was erected at the entrance. Similarly, another plaque was dedicated to the late Dorothy Shirley Melford whose generosity enabled the agency to fund the shortfall in building funds. Her plaque was also blessed by the provincial was erected on the other entrance.
In addition to the new building works, the year has been filled with many other events and activities that can be viewed within this report. Of note, the agency was successful in its application for the renewal of its registration and accreditation as a school. The inspection was held in late July and the outcomes were overwhelmingly positive with another 5 year approval period granted.
With this in mind it is important to take the time for reflection. All the support and energy that has been injected into the work at Dunlea Centre is ultimately for the betterment of our young people. It is also a result of many years of work and dedication that has transpired since its inception in 1939. We are confident the new buildings and surroundings will continue to promote a feeling of value for the work that is carried out on a daily basis. As St John Bosco so aptly stated, “The school is not the end; it is rather the instrumental means for improving the way of life.”
Paul D Mastronardi