The Margaret River Community Centre started in a small house on the corner of Station and Wallcliffe Roads.
In 1983 having visited a number of Learning Centres in the eastern states and being excited about the prospect of what they offered the community, a Margaret River resident instigated community discussion about establishing a Neighbourhood House in Margaret River. Subsequently the first meeting of the Margaret River Community Centre took place in June 1984.
Over the following years the Centre developed through the energies and commitment of a team of volunteers and ran a variety of programs. In 1990 the organisation relocated to the old Margaret Hospital complex.
The Centre comprises 8 Heritage listed buildings which, following an extensive renovation programme funded by the then Lotteries Commission, is today an example of excellence in the field of recycling historically important buildings for modern use and is a model for the South West. Officially opened by the Hon. Paul Omodei MLA in April 1994 the Centre has gone from strength to strength.
The Centre’s chief concerns are with social justice issues, adult education and children’s services. It is completely self-supporting from rental of office and communal space to other not for profit community based organisations on both ongoing and more casual arrangements, and from its day care service: Margaret River Community Child Care, which was established in 2004 in response to community demands. It is an agency for Emergency Relief Funds, and in addition each year distributes over eighty Christmas hampers with the assistance of Lotterywest. The Tax Help Program for low income earners operates annually with support from the Centre. The Margaret River Soup Kitchen is run from and supported by the Centre. It has been feature in Gourmet magazine and serves 5000 vegan meals per year. The Artist In Residence program provides accommodation and support for artists to interact with the local community, and has seen visits from a diverse range of artists from both visual and performing arts. The Isacc’s Cottage Community Art Gallery provides an affordable display space for local artists, and the recently renovated Wash House Art Space is available for artists to work. In response to a perceived need and with a generous grant from Lotterywest, in 2008 the MRCC renovated the old hospital kitchen to a Class 1 Food Premises Classification. The kitchen is available to members of the public for commercial or community use.
The Margaret River Community Centre Inc. is a true resource for the community, reacting to the perceived needs of the community, disseminating information and providing essential services.
Subject to availability and hiring criteria Centre rooms may be hired by individuals and organisations on a casual or one-off basis, and recent users have included Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, Harmony Day celebration, Wild Weaving art residency.