For almost 45 years, Dianne Davison has looked after, and out for, children in Mullumbimby. Finally, she has decided it is time to say goodbye.
Di is retiring, along with two of her other long-term staff at Dinosaur Preschool; Elaine Stenner who has worked there for 29 years, and Liz Smart who has been there for ten years.
Di started working at the preschool, then known as the Mullumbimby Childcare Centre, in 1977, and it was a year later that she and her husband Colin took over ownership in 1978. The preschool was located in the old RSL band hall that was donated them, but eventually they needed more space.
In 1993, the building was relocated from Stuart Street to its current location on Station Street.
‘We were running out of space and we had no disability access’, said Elaine.
‘The building was moved over to the Station Street site, and extended so we’d have disability access and toilets etc.’
Caring, gentle nature
Di has always been known for her caring, gentle nature and the encouragement she gave to everyone around her to increase in confidence and ability. Di and Colin took in students, including special needs students, and ‘encouraged people to extend themselves,’ says Elaine.
‘My son was at the preschool, and then my daughter, and Di encouraged me to get trained up. I did my training at Durrumbul Preschool’. Elaine then worked in pre-schools around the area, and then eventually went full time at Dinosaur Preschool.
In 1981, Di and Colin turned the preschool over to the community and it became the Mullumbimby Community Preschool, and continues to be managed and run by committee.
‘I feel sad, but I also feel it’s time to move on and let some younger people come in and take over. I love working with the children, and we’ve got children of the children that we looked after. It’s good to see how well they’ve done. Kids think it’s hilarious when I tell them that their mum or dad used to do this or that.’
If you would like to send Dianne, Elaine or Liz a message, or you would like to share a memory you can email: [email protected] and they will pass them on.
There will be a farewell event early next year.