History

The Minifie Park Child Care Association Inc. was established in 1986 to manage the 35 place Minifie Park Child Care Centre which opened mid-1987. The Minifie Reserve, later commonly referred to as Minifie Park, was donated by the Minifie family to the local community for use by families. The land and buildings of the Centre are now owned by the City of Boroondara and leased to the Association.

- The Violet Farm -

It is said that by the twentieth century Balwyn had a violet farm in Yarrbat Avenue. Mrs Esmond Kinnear nee Robb lived with her family on a farm situated to the east of Beckett Street which stretched from Yarrbat Avenue to Winmalee Avenue. She recalled that next to her family's farm was a violet farm run by two women who lived with their family in Whitehorse Road. The sisters used to come and pick the violets day by day, particularly on weekends...the violet farm was immense  from Yarrbat Avenue to Winmalee Road and it had just a little hut on it. By 1934 a large violet farm was to be found on the corner of Belmore and Greythorn roads.

- The Minifie Family -

Built in 1904, Belmore Grange sat on the corner of Belmore and Clayton Roads and later became 1 Clayton Road.
By 1935 the property was owed and occupied by James E. Minifie and his family. James Minifie, along with his sons, owned and operated James Minifie and Co. Flour Mills in Kensington. The Minifie family lived at Belmore Grange until 1950 when the house was donated to the church and is now used an aged care facility as St Catherine's Home for the Aged. The gardens in front of the house facing towards Belmore Road were donated to the community for use by local families.

- Opening Minifie -

Minifie Park Child Care Centre opened as a 35 place long day care centre in the Autumn of 1987. Providing child care for children aged between 6 weeks old and 6 years old, the original building had three rooms and the cost of a full-time placement was $95 per week. The first Director employed by the Association to manage the service was Christine Tanner. The Minifie team started with just eight employees.
By the end of 1987, the Association recoginsed that the needs of the local community could not be met by the 35 place centre and had already began applying for further funding from the local Government to build an extenstion. At the time these requests were denied and the centre remained in it's original form for the first decade of operation. Flo Davies took on the role of Director in 1989 and remained in this role until 2012.

- The first extension -

In 1996, Minifie Park Child Care Centre successfully applied for funding that would enable the service to grow from it's original 35 places to 60 places. Construction began to add on an extra playroom and modify other spaces within the building.

- The Redevelopment -

Again, due to the overwhelming need in the local community, Minifie Park Child Care Centre recognised the need to grow and was again successful in applying for funding to extend the centre from a 60 service to an 80 place service. This time the council determined that an entirely new building was required and set about designing and constructing a state of the art, purpose built facility with the intention of having the project complete by the end of 2012.
The project was completed in three stages, with the centre operating as usual from the site throughout the entire build. It was during this process, in 2012 that the Association voted to change the name of the service from Minifie Park Child Care Centre to Minifie Park Early Childhood Centre. It was also during 2012 that Flo Davies stepped aside from her 23 year role of Director. The Association appointed Rachel Davies to the role in mid-2012.
The new Minifie Park Early Childhood Centre building and grounds were completed at the beginning of 2013.

- The Flood -

In mid 2013, Minifie Park Early Childhood Centre was devastated by a flood which tore through the ceiling of the Kindergarten bathroom and caused significant damage to the Kindergarten and Preschool rooms. As a result Minifie Park was closed for a week, but with the support and help of local council, the Committee of Management, volunteer families, allied ECEC services and the ever-enduring staff, the service was back up and running again in no time.