The Middle Park Kindergarten was established between 1939 and 1941 by an ‘enterprising group of Middle Park residents’. The idea for the kindergarten originated with the parents’ Club of the areas Health Centre when Sister Perret was in charge. The inaugural meeting for the interested persons in formulating the kindergarten was held at Mrs. E. Butterworth’s home at 111 Neville Street, Albert Park.
The “pioneers” of the kindergarten were Mr. Tom Pye, Mr. Jack Dalton, Mr. Les Schroder, and Mrs. D. E. Dean. The kindergarten rented various halls in the area until on Tuesday, December 8, 1964 the ‘fine new building adjacent to the Middle Park Central School, in Mills Street’, was officially opened. The Mayor and Mayoress of South Melbourne, Councillor and Mrs Patrick were amongst the many Councillors, representatives from the Department of Health and the Kindergarten Union, Trustees and Life Members present at the official opening. It was noted by Mrs D. E. Dean, (one of the ‘creators’ of the kindergarten) in her address at the opening that the kindergarten was “so short of equipment at the outset – that we used to boil cotton reels in dye in our coppers to make toys for the children to play with”. It was recalled, also, that in those early days the kindergarten had not enough money to start a bank account, and the little it had was kept in a bag which was deposited in a local hotel for safe keeping. There it was kept in a safe along with the hotel’s bags of takings from the various bars. “Oh! How we hoped that the bags would get mixed one day and we’d get the wrong one, but, alas, that never happened.”
In the address given by Mr. Crean on behalf of Mr. Dick Rowe, Trustee of the Kindergarten, who was absent on the day of the opening, tribute was paid to ‘the pioneers’ including Mrs Doris Dean, founding secretary for 18 years, to Percy Mustow ‘who always paid for our Christmas function’, to Morris Brothers ‘who supplied 2 dozen milk for 25 years’ and to many other friends and donors.