How it all began
The Drummoyne Community Centre was formed in 1979 following an informal survey by a group of residents interested in child care and related activities which gained support by including the interests of the wider community. It was soon recognised that it would be necessary to approach the local Council as support would be needed in acquiring premises for meetings and community activities.
Rooms at the back of the Library, which was then located in Council's Administrative Building in Marlborough Street, were made available, but before long the Centre was to outgrow these premises and Council provided a cottage in Bayswater Street. The Centre initially provided occasional child care, coffee mornings and meeting facilities for community groups. As services grew they included information and referrals, leisure classes, after school care and community aid.
Over time Council recognised that the range of services had expanded beyond the capacity of the cottage and that the Centre needed a purpose built facility in a central location. A Planning committee was established and work on the new building started in 1983 on the site of the old Scout Hall in Cometrowe Street.
The current Centre at 10 Cometrowe Street opened in December 1988. We celebrated our 25th anniversary in 2004 with a number of events including launching a book 'DCC Stories - Celebrating Community'. Copies of this book are available in the City of Canada Bay libraries.
Life membership was conferred on Frank and Margaret Marjason, at the AGM in September 2004, in recognition of their outstanding contribution in building community over DCC's 25 years. As individuals and in partnership they have achieved much. They are foundation members who helped bring DCC to life. Frank recorded many aspects of our history in his art, which can be seen on DCC's walls.
Frank Marjason sadly passed away on 17 March 2011.
Frank was involved in the Community Centre from the time it had been a mere twinkle in the eyes of some locals and the twinkle in Frank’s eyes continued to be here throughout its 32 year history. This stemmed from Frank’s strong sense of community and great love of people. Over the years, Frank was involved in almost every aspect of DCC starting with committee work, and then various groups including Older Men’s Discussion group, tai chi, yoga, tea and chat and on occasion would drop in on groups from which new art works would evolve like after visiting the Iron Cove Club and walking groups.
Frank was an extraordinary volunteer. Some key aspects included facilitating the SAGE group (Senior Australians for Growth and Exploration) and with his wife Margaret brought their positive brush along to lead the Artability group which enabled people with disabilities many of whom had severe physical limitations to explore their own creativity. Frank explored every opportunity to give of himself altruistically — be it the works of art he donated to DCC and many other services and businesses in the area; be it the chatting, dancing, singing and flute playing at events; be it his warmth and friendship whilst challenging all to live in the moment. Frank’s presence is still very much here with many of his art works on the Centre walls, a wonderful social history which will live on for future generations. What’s more he lives on in the hearts of those he touched.
One of the activities closest to Frank’s heart was the SAGE group as Kate Bowie explains:
“Growing old for 25 years in Frank’s class was never ‘show and tell’. By example he showed us how ageing could be the time of our lives. His compassion for all people and love of our community he captured for posterity. He filled the gaps at our meetings with amazing memories and the vast knowledge he acquired in his 96 years of life’s experience. Many times we acknowledged his place in our lives by agreeing we were privileged to know Frank. His light continues to brighten our pathway.
PS He liked this bit from Omar Khayyam:
We are no other than a moving row
Of Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go.”
There were many sides to Frank as Mary Jones recalls:
“I first met Frank when he came to me for remedial massage in 1996. It immediately became clear to me that Frank was interested in looking after himself physically, mentally and spiritually. He started attending our monthly meditation meetings in 2002 and also the quarterly peace meditations at DCC. He was full of energy and enthusiasm for life, giving to all he met. He was inspirational to us all. He always had something to add to any situation. He brought much joy, teaching people how to live and eventually how to die. He will be remembered by many.”
As Mervyn Spencer DCC’s President sums up:
“Without doubt Frank was an exceptional individual; a man of many talents with a charismatic, warm hearted attitude. A friend to everyone and an inspiration to all of us who wish to improve ourselves. He has left us a gift, which is the opportunity to live up to the standard that this wonderful man set for us.”
Margaret Marjason (25 Jan 1926 - 28 Aug 2014)
Margaret made an amazing contribution to the life of Drummoyne Community Centre and to those she met here. It was Margaret who provided the words to describe the essence of the place when we were creating a photo display - drawing the elements of the place together. She described it as Learning Together, Working Together, Having Fun Together and Sharing Info Together. Building a sense of community of togetherness was a strong part of her focus. She was an excellent listener and a wise counsel.
Margaret had an amazing tenancity to live life to the full despite the health issues that confronted her. She was an inspiration in the yoga class when she came along even when her Parkinson's disease limited what she could do. She was also an active member of the Peace Meditation group and came to many events. Her altruistic ways abounded, donating her art works for raffle prizes on many an occasion.
Margaret was keen to encourage others to explore their creativity when along with Frank she led the Artability group which enabled people with disabilities, many of who had severe physical limitations, to find their own way of expressing themselves.
We at DCC are very grateful for all the gifts Margaret shared with us - of her insights, wisdom, generosity and genuine love of being part of and building a sense of community for all. It is a legacy that lives on in the hearts and minds of those she leaves behind.
Jeannette York was conferred life membership on 11 September 2009 at our Annual General Meeting. Jeannette was a member for 11 years at the time starting her involvement as a Councillor representative on the Management Committee and later as an elected Committee member, including a year when she was Vice-President. In addition Jeannette was a volunteer tour guide on the BayTripper New Resident Bus Tours sharing her knowledge of the area as well as assisting at numerous activities and events over the years. Jeannette passed away on 3 May 2018.