On the grounds of the Engadine site, celebrations were held to mark 75 years of Dunlea Centre achievements in helping young people and their families. This included showcasing recently completed purpose-built buildings and commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of St John Bosco.
Dunlea Centre, which was formed in 1939, provides direct support to troubled young people and their families from areas across Sydney and Wollongong. This year alone, the Centre has helped well over 50 families.
The mission of the organization is to partner and help strengthen families in crisis. This is achieved through the provision of a therapeutic, educational and life skills service in conjunction with a residential program. The Salesian preventive system of walking alongside the young person underpins the program’s work. The ultimate purpose is to repair, restore and/or strengthen family relationships.
It was great to see such strong public support for the Open day. Dunlea staff and young people commenced proceedings with the singing of the national anthem. Formal speeches from Dunlea Centre Chairman, Father Peter Carroll and a blessing from the Salesian Provincial, Father Greg Chambers followed. Speeches were then delivered from Sutherland Shire Mayor, Carmelo Pesce, member for Heathcote Lee Evans MP and Federal member for Hughes Craig Kelly MP.
Mr Kevin Morrison from the CEC made a special dedication to the late Mr Bill Walsh for his contribution to Catholic Education building projects throughout NSW, and especially to Dunlea Centre. Mr Morrison also made a dedication to the late Shirley Melford, who bequeathed a significant amount of money to the overall cost of the building project.
The complete refurbishment of Dunlea Centre will be complete by mid-2016. The focus will then move to the old chapel which is proposed to be redesigned into a modern and contemporary museum which will highlight the Boys’ Town story from inception. Dunlea Centre, Australia’s Original Boys’ Town, has been the foundation for many young people to build on and start making positive, long-lasting changes in their lives. It continues to this day to be “a place for change”.