The Princes Hill School Park Centre began in 1975. The establishment of a co-operative arrangement between the Princes Hill Secondary College School Council, Princes Hill Primary School Council, and the Melbourne City Council.
A key element of the program was to utilise existing buildings and parkland and provide programs rather than spending money on bricks and mortar. By 1985 the School Park Centre was flourishing. Funding by the Melbourne City Council increased, and the initial renovations on the One C One building, a two-story red brick building, originally built as a hat factory, were carried out. Council amalgamations in 1994 created new changes to be negotiated.
North Carlton became part of Fitzroy and then part of the final structure the City Of Yarra. This presented a major challenge in enduring that the services and facilities so well respected and known in the community became part of the new council.
It was at this time that the official name of the Centre changed from the School Park Centre to the Princes Hill Community Centre. In 1996 the Princes Hill Community Centre celebrated 21 years in the community, reflecting on how the Centre had provided relevant recreational, educational, cultural and support services, facilities and resources, to the local community over the years. Part of the celebrations included a retrospective of the building One C One, previously the name given to a folk music organization, which held regular Sunday Night performances on the first floor. In November 1997 the City of Yarra passed the resolution to no longer operate the Princes Hill Community Centre as a direct service of the council. In 1998 the Centre become an Incorporated Association under the direction of the Committee of Management.
In 1999 the centre continued to operate and maintain many programs. However core funding was still necessary for the survival of the centre. The survival of the Centre over the next few years is a testament to the dedicated work of the committee and staff and many voluntary hours of work, and the support of the Princes Hill Secondary College.
In 2000 the politics at the time were such that the Centre had to survive without any funding from the City of Yarra or DHS. To survive the Centre sold its mini bus, and staffing hours were further cut. 2001 was also a totally unfunded year. A fund raising event at the Carlton Court House Theatre, raised $2000 and community awareness of the plight of the PHCC.
In 2002 programs were cut further due to the implication of the changes in the law on public liability. However it also represented a turning the tides for the PHCC. With the support of Jackie Fristacky our local council member, a submission for a grant of $20,000 from the City of Yarra for capital works and operational expenses, was successful.
This allowed the PHCC to focus on more than just surviving, and allowed for the upgrading of the Centre, with repairs, painting, new computer, Internet, resurfacing the floor of the studio as well as program development. In 2003 funding to investigate the way the PHCC and North Carlton Railway Station Neighbourhood House could work more effectively together was received. Much time was volunteered by those on the working party committee to plan and implement this process and in 2004 consultants were employed to look into the options.
2004 was taken up with the feasibility study into a new model based on closer collaboration with the North Carlton Railway Station Neighbourhood House. This work made clear the complementary nature of the services of NCRSNH and the PHCC and the importance of striving to develop community services in collaboration.
During this time the Princes Hill Secondary College was also undergoing an upgrade and extension. As part of this the food technology area was brought up to commercial standards and a new full size gym was planned and completed in 2006.
The gym at the PHSC allowed new sporting options to become available to the community. It has also provide a consistent income stream to the PHCC as in return for handling the hire of facilities the PHCC receives part of the revenue.
In the interim funding was applied for from the City of Yarra to cover the transition until all these procedures were set up. Funding was granted for 3 year, ceasing in 2009. The PHCC now has a sustainable income stream, and as a result has been able to look towards a bright future, offering new programs and opportunities to the community.
This website, aimed at making more readily available information about community activities, is part of this new initiatives.