Brunswick Creche has a long history, dating back almost 120 years, and has always been community-run. The reasons for opening the crèche were, in the words of the Secretary in the 1896 Annual Report:
“ to provide the opportunity for working women with young children to go out to work , in order to assist in the support of their families, which, owing to depression and slackness of employment for men, has of late years become an absolute necessity”.
In 1895, a £200 donation from a benefactor, Mrs T.J Sumner or before marriage known as Sarah Jones of Stony Park, Brunswick, provided the initial funds to rent a small house and run the crèche for a trial period to establish its benefits to the local community. The crèche formally opened on 30 October of that year, at rented premises in Burchett Street, Brunswick with Mrs Sumner as the first Committee President.
The crèche proved very successful and, by 1907, had raised sufficient funds to construct a suitable building to accommodate a greater number of children.
This was thanks, in part, to Mrs Sumner who donated an additional £600 towards the new building. In 1909, the crèche purchased the land on the corner of Glenlyon Road and Bruce Street and construction of the present building commenced.
In 1911, the crèche moved to the new premises which are described in the Annual Report as “airy and commodious and in every way most convenient”. The official opening on 19 July was attended by Mrs Sumner and the acting Premier, Mr W. Watt, who each planted an elm tree on the grounds. The next year, Mrs Sumner again made a significant donation to the crèche, clearing all debts relating to the building.
During World War I and World War II, the crèche had an important role in supporting working women and a number of renovation and expansion works were undertaken. During the Second World War the crèche opened six days a week and was formally linked to the Brunswick Kindergarten across the road, and Brunswick State School, to provide a comprehensive service to the war-affected community.
The crèche founder, Mrs Sumner, resigned as President of the Committee in 1924, after 29 years serving the community. She died in 1929, having seen the crèche grow from the germ of an idea to a significant pillar of the Brunswick community.
In 1950, the crèche purchased the house next door in Glenlyon Road which led to a significant expansion and resulted in the building layout that exists to this day. This was completed in 1957 and the new building was opened in 1958 by Dame Pattie Menzies.
Over fifty years later, the crèche remains true to its original purpose and continues to provide affordable, high-quality care to the families of Brunswick and the surrounding areas.