Kumbia Hall committee president Desiree Crawford – who will also chair the new sub-committee – with Sandra and Bill Steffensen

February 12, 2024

The Kumbia Hall Committee will form a sub-committee to investigate future uses of the disused Kumbia Kindergarten buildings.

The decision was made at a public meeting at Kumbia Memorial Hall on Monday evening, which attracted about 50 people as well as a strong contingent of South Burnett councillors and council candidates.

The meeting was chaired by local resident Bill Steffensen.

He invited those in attendance to put forward their names for the sub-committee, as well as their ideas for possible future uses of the buildings.

The decision to try to keep the buildings, and form the sub-committee, followed a wide-ranging discussion about the history of the kindergarten and possible uses in future.

The fate of the former Inverlaw and Wondai School buildings, which were relocated to the site in 1970 and 1973, had been up in the air.

Former Kumbia Hall committee member Todd Armstrong told the meeting that after it became known the buildings could be sold, members of the community had come forward expressing a desire they be kept.

The hall committee, which is the trustee for the buildings, had feared that a considerable amount of money would have to be spent to bring them back into use as they had fallen into disrepair.

The committee had wanted to focus its efforts on the upkeep of Kumbia Memorial Hall, built in 1922, which also requires repairs.

Sandra Steffensen told Monday night’s meeting the original Kumbia Kindy was the brainchild of a group of Kumbia mothers in February 1969.

The kindy initially met in the Kumbia Memorial Hall until money was raised by the community to buy the former school buildings. which were then moved on to the hall reserve behind the Memorial Hall.

Trustees were appointed for the ongoing development of the kindy.

The buildings were officially opened by then-patron Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen in 1974, and had an enrolment of about 50 children.

From 1976-82, the kindy was officially a pre-school until this moved to the nearby Kumbia State School.

The kindy buildings were then handed over to the Kumbia Hall Committee and were used for other purposes for six years before one reopened as a kindergarten in 1988 and the other was used for museum storage.

The kindergarten closed again in December 2022 and the building has remained vacant ever since.

Ideas put forward at the meeting for future uses of the building included:

  • A Men’s Shed
  • A site to host exercise classes
  • An off-site office for contractors involved in local renewable energy projects
  • A community centre / disaster recover centre
  • A computer games room
  • A mobile hairdresser’s salon, and
  • A place to host a visiting community health nurse.

Suggestions on how to raise the funds needed by the Hall Committee in the meantime included a “Buy A Stump” community fundraiser for both the hall and the kindy buildings.

Bill said the suggestions collected from Monday’s meeting would be considered by the Hall Committee and the volunteers who had put their names forward for a sub-committee would be contacted to organise another meeting.

Rita Buchholz was a foundation member of the original 1969 kindy committee and then worked to get it reopened in 1988 … she said the kindy had catered for families from 50 miles around the area.
Volunteers were invited to help look after the kindy’s grounds while its future is debated, including mowing and whippersnipping
The Kumbia Kindergarten buildings back on to Gordon Street, opposite the sportsgrounds
Officer-in-charge of Kumbia Police – and former hall committee member – Senior Constable Todd Armstrong explained the cost of bringing the buildings up to modern standards
Local resident Bill Steffensen chaired the meeting in Kumbia Memorial Hall

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