Lorna Brennan

Dubbo Photo News - - News -

I’m the lo­cal fa­cil­i­ta­tor of the Buniny­ong School as Com­mu­nity Cen­tre. I’ve been here for the last 13

years. Be­fore that I did lots of sup­ported play­groups around the region. I was based at Nyn­gan for a few years and trav­elled out as far as By­rock and Co­bar, and down to Glen Alice be­fore we moved to Dubbo.

I was work­ing with a lot of fam­i­lies try­ing to get them en­gaged in early

learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties through the sup­ported play­groups. I can be much more fo­cused here with just Dubbo and be­cause I’ve now got a cen­tre, we can of­fer many dif­fer­ent ser­vices and pro­grams.

We’ve got a baby health clinic and a preschool. It’s like a lit­tle early child­hood

hub here at Buniny­ong School that has evolved since I started it. When I first walked in here it was just an empty build­ing, there was noth­ing in it – not even a tele­phone.

You also of­fer sup­port for mul­ti­cul­tural fam­i­lies? Yes, I’ve been so

in­volved with the multi-cul­tural fam­i­lies in Dubbo. They are here from all points of the globe – with­out any fam­ily – and they don’t have any sup­port be­cause they are tem­po­rary res­i­dents who don’t qual­ify for any help. Some of the mums were com­ing to play­group and I no­ticed there were more and more ev­ery time, so I asked a few of them if they would like to learn Con­ver­sa­tional English, as that was what they were strug­gling with. So we started that group two years ago. I got some fund­ing from the Coun­cil to start it off. Last year we in­volved TAFE and they were do­ing proper Con­ver­sa­tional English. I’ve had so much fun with these girls, we have done so many things and I’m so lucky to have the bus so that I can pick them up.

How do they find out about the cen­tre? A lot of it is word of mouth. When we started, it was a lit­tle group of about five or six mums and about four chil­dren who played qui­etly in the cor­ner while we sat and chat­ted, then it got to the point one day I found my­self with a mega­phone telling every­body to go out­side be­cause it was just so loud. Last year I worked with 68 mi­grant fam­i­lies here in Dubbo and that’s grow­ing ev­ery week.

I was ac­tu­ally a Sur­veyor orig­i­nally in Scot­land. My back­ground is Early

Child­hood. I did a sec­ond de­gree in early child­hood.

I’ve been in Aus­tralia for 30 years.

We lived out near Bre­war­rina on a sta­tion at The Marra. My first in­tro­duc­tion to an early child­hood ser­vice was when the mo­bile play­group would come and visit us once a month. It was my first op­por­tu­nity to meet with other fam­i­lies out that way as I didn’t know any­one.

I came to Aus­tralia on a work­ing hol­i­day and just loved it. I loved the

free­dom, the space, the wide open land, so we de­cided to em­i­grate. We put an ad in The Land news­pa­per of­fer­ing a “Go any­where, do any­thing, Scot­tish fam­ily”. One guy (Phil) rang us from The Marra Sta­tion, so we drove all the way from Gympie with all our worldly goods packed in a sta­tion wagon. We headed out on a dirt road and just started driv­ing through a pad­dock. I was breast­feed­ing our daugh­ter think­ing, “If my mother could see me now.” We got to a fence and Phil said, “I thought there was a gate here, oh well...” and he got out and cut the fence. When we got to the lit­tle cot­tage it only took me half an hour to un­pack all of our be­long­ings. We were there for five years and it was great.

The kids thanked us for hav­ing such a great child­hood, they re­ally loved

it there. My son is an Ecol­o­gist now be­cause of his back­ground hav­ing lived out bush. My mother-in-law said years later “all those pho­tos of the kids you sent, I could never show them to my friends be­cause the chil­dren never had any clothes on”. It was too hot and dirty, and if it rained they would be drip­ping with red mud.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.