In the time before the world was discovered to be round, maps of our flat earth had corners marked "Here there be dragons". That statement will soon be appropriate for the park in Chapel Hill's Sutling Street alongside Cubberla Creek. As part of Chapel Hill Kindy's 50th anniversary, sculptor Daniel Gill is preparing a 2 metre long sandstone model of the kindy's long time emblem, the Moggill or Water Dragon.
How appropriate is that symbol for a kindy that has always placed an emphasis on the natural environment. The present pupils have already prepared "fossils" from natural objects found down at the creek under the guidance of artist Suzi Lucas. These will form part of a mosaic which will surround the sculpture, an echo of the quilt which was prepared by parents and children to commemorate long serving and much loved director, the late Merle Hammond, and her teaching assistant, Marge Fergus' 10th anniversary of service in 1984.
The occasion of the kindy's 50th anniversary promises to be an opportunity for parents and students past and present to celebrate its significance in their lives. My family was involved in this well loved institution from 1979 to 1985 with two children, a secretary, a president, and a fruit salad-preparing mum dashing in and out of its doors.
Many things remain fixed in our memories of that halcyon period of our lives: the time my dear husband managed to cut the cord of his power saw while erecting one of the incarnations of the covered play area; the time we rescued the kindy guinea pig from the bowels of our backyard swimming pool, which was under construction, by vigorously poking at it with a broomstick only to have it sat upon and squashed to death next day after it had hidden away under a blanket - one adventurous unlucky guinea pig.
Chapel Hill Kindy is known for its caring attitude. Both of my children benefited educationally and emotionally from Merle's wise observations and advice. Some former students are reliving these happy days through their own children who are now enrolled at the centre. The kindy has been blessed with a series of directors and teaching assistants who "get kids".
Celebrations will be held on Sunday December 6 at Sutling Street Park from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. The statue will be unveiled at 3.15pm by Councillor Julian Simmonds. There will be a free sausage sizzle compliments of Simon's Gourmet, free children's entertainment from Geckoes Wildlife Show and a musical Christmas Show, community displays, a multi prize raffle, Christmas decoration making, and sales of homemade lemonade, rosie tea, second hand books and puzzles, and tea and coffee – something for all!