Opened in 1979, the Kevin Heinze Garden Centre remains an important part of the disability landscape.
Inspired by his visit to a garden for children with disabilities in England, the late Kevin Heinze, a well-known Melbourne garden identity, believed that all children should be given the opportunity to take part in gardening activities. He saw the benefits that horticulture-based therapy and recreation programs brought to children with disabilities and wanted to introduce the concept into Australia. Working with the Kiwanis Club of Doncaster and Templestowe volunteers raised the seed funds required, and with the help of the Doncaster/Templestowe Council (now the Manningham Council) secured a lease on some land in Wetherby Rd, where the Centre opened and continues to be located today.
In 2019, we expanded our service delivery to the beautiful, natural and calming setting of Peppertree Place in Coburg in Melbourne’s inner north. Our second site allows us to work with the people of the Moreland area, allowing them to form the same health-giving connections to nature, gardening and community, which were central to Kevin’s original vision.
In its early days, the Kevin Heinze Garden Centre relied heavily on a dedicated team of volunteers. Today, whilst the staff team has increased, volunteer support remains a fundamental part of the culture.