Isaacs Electorate: Noble Park Centenary

Noble Park is 100 years old this year, and over the last two weeks our community has enjoyed some wonderful centenary celebrations. The primary event was a well-attended community festival, starting on the evening of Friday, 16 October with the opening of a historical exhibition at the Paddy O’Donoghue Centre in Buckley Street, Noble Park. This was followed by a day of community celebrations on Saturday, 17 October, starting with a march of community groups, led by former mayors, down Douglas Street, through the Noble Park shops. I had the honour of marching with the former mayors. The day was filled with music, food and cultural events, reminiscing and meeting old friends. There was also a wonderful Noble Park Centenary Ball at the community centre on the preceding Saturday, 10 October which was attended by many local community groups and, notably, the other local federal member, the member for Bruce and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, whose electorate takes in the northern side of Noble Park, and state member and Minister Tim Holding. The weekend was a great time of enjoyable reunions for many old Noble Park families who came for the celebrations.

Noble Park is 100 years old this year, and over the last two weeks our community has enjoyed some wonderful centenary celebrations. The primary event was a well-attended community festival, starting on the evening of Friday, 16 October with the opening of a historical exhibition at the Paddy O’Donoghue Centre in Buckley Street, Noble Park. This was followed by a day of community celebrations on Saturday, 17 October, starting with a march of community groups, led by former mayors, down Douglas Street, through the Noble Park shops. I had the honour of marching with the former mayors. The day was filled with music, food and cultural events, reminiscing and meeting old friends. There was also a wonderful Noble Park Centenary Ball at the community centre on the preceding Saturday, 10 October which was attended by many local community groups and, notably, the other local federal member, the member for Bruce and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, whose electorate takes in the northern side of Noble Park, and state member and Minister Tim Holding. The weekend was a great time of enjoyable reunions for many old Noble Park families who came for the celebrations.

Noble Park has always been known for its great sense of community. Daryl Pitman, in his editorial to the Centenary souvenir edition of the Our Town magazine, wrote of the ‘Noble Park spirit, which has blossomed and triumphed through 100 years of challenges, world wars, depressions and hardships’. Noble Park is a suburb of settlers. Generations of settlers have made Noble Park the diverse community it is today.

I know that a number of Melbourne suburbs and communities have turned 100 in recent years, but I do not think that any of them have celebrated quite like Noble Park. The planning for these celebrations commenced over a year ago, in August 2008, when the President of the Noble Park RSL, Gordon Murray, approached a number of prominent residents to think about how Noble Park could celebrate its centenary. Following those initial discussions among that small group of people, a public meeting was held at Noble Park RSL where it was decided to establish a committee to organise a community festival and historical display that would appropriately mark this important occasion.

As the regular meetings commenced, the plan attracted the support of community groups, including the Noble Park RSL, the Rotary Club of Noble Park, the Noble Park Keysborough Lions club, local sporting groups and the local Adult Migrant Education Service. In time, local businesses got on board, including the Noble Park Traders Association and a number of individual businesses. The celebrations attracted the important backing of the City of Greater Dandenong, which underwrote the event and, as the program developed, local schools came on board. The work was assisted by the Noble Park Keysborough Community Drug Action Forum, with considerable help from Lee Talarmis, the public officer. There is not time to name the many, many people who pitched in, but I want to pay tribute to the tireless work of the centenary committee and, in particular, Phil Reed. There was considerable coverage given to the events, both before and after, by all three local newspapers: the Dandenong Leader, the Dandenong Journal and the Star.

Earlier this year, I was able to announce, with the member for Bruce, that the Rudd government would offer $7.27 million towards renewing and upgrading the Noble Park Swim Centre, under the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program. The swim centre is a Noble Park icon and I think it is particularly fitting that, thanks to the federal government funding, this $13 million project is able to go ahead in the year of Noble Park’s centenary. The work going ahead on the Noble Park Swim Centre has been welcomed by the whole community because the swim centre is used by all, from the youngest to the oldest residents of Noble Park. In particular, the newest of the settlers in Noble Park, the Sudanese community, make great use of the swim centre. They, along with everyone else in the community, are looking forward to it reopening.

At the end of the day, it is the local residents and their spirit who truly make a community. I cannot improve on Daryl Pitman’s words:

It’s the people of Noble Park who have made it what it is. Buildings and facilities mean nothing without good people. And Noble Park has been blessed with the best. That’s what keeps shining through.

Happy 100th birthday to Noble Park.