Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Celebrating Mooroolbark

Celebrating Mooroolbark is primarily about the Mooroolbark Community Centre and festivals held in Mooroolbark but it is more than that. It provides a view of the community spirit that existed in the area as it evolved from a rural community to a suburb of Melbourne.

The Mooroolbark History Group effectively has used articles from local newspapers plus photographs to tell the story. A brief account of the early settlement of Mooroolbark is followed by the story of the Mooroolbark Public Hall, the community meeting place for the residents of the area from 1924 until the building of the new community centre in 1980. The hall was the location for the first school until it moved into its own building and a number of churches also initially held services in the hall. The hall was also the centre of entertainment for the local population with dances and carnivals held in and around the hall.

In March 1980 the new community centre was opened and since that time has been the meeting place for many community groups, recreational classes, social functions, art displays and other events. To celebrate the opening of the community centre the first Red Earth Festival was held and it continued as an annual event until 2001. From 2002 the Celebrate Mooroolbark Festival, centred around the community centre, has been held each March.

The story of the community centre and the festivals unfolds chronologically and is well illustrated with copies of newspaper articles which further enhance the story as well as many photographs of people and events. The focus of the book is on the people and events that contribute to the function of the community centre and the festivals as well as the public who enjoy participating in the community centre activities and festival events.  As the title suggests, this book is a celebration of Mooroolbark. It is also the story of the evolution of a vibrant community contributing to an understanding of the social history of the suburb.

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