Long-time Burnett Heads resident Lyn McIlwain is no stranger to community spirit, she helped the local kindergarten grow to the thriving, positive space it is today.
Lyn moved to the seaside community in 1976, with her late-husband and her children.
Trained in clinical nursing and midwifery Lyn decided as well as a sea change, she needed a career change, and so applied for a job with C&K Oaks Beach Community Kindergarten.
Her keen interest in helping the kindergarten thrive has been profiled as part of the Bundaberg Regional Council Our People Our Stories initiative which celebrates local people.
More than four decades ago, Lyn recalls the start of her role at the kindergarten.
“In the old hall the Burnett Heads Kindy started in 1970, and they already had a couple of teachers,” she said.
“They weren’t funded and relied on raffles at the pub, lamington drives, bush dances and more.”
Shortly after her start, Lyn rallied the community together to build a permanent space for the kindergarten, garnering support from the Bargara Lions Club and Apex Clubs.
In the early stages of building, she recalls being told “just make a few cakes ladies, and you’ll succeed.”
But with Lyn’s tenacity and drive, she knew they would need more than cakes to fulfil the community project.
“Tafe students assisted in the build and Duffy’s buses would bring them down (to help),” she said.
“East Bundaberg Rotary put the trusses up on the roof. I did rely heavily on community services to assist.”
After almost a decade of living in Burnett Heads, Lyn’s dream had arrived, and the community kindergarten was fully functioning.
“We opened in 1986,” she said.
“The State Government offered land and Council gave us 50 loads of fill and did the carpark all for nothing.
“We got $2000 from State Government and $2000 from Local Government.
“We had it paid off in four years, but mainly from the 5800 lamingtons we made once a year!”
Leaving her role at the community kindergarten some 20 years later, Lyn said it was now fully funded and continued to be a thriving, positive space for children today.
“I want to thank the community’s unwavering generosity and support towards a permanent educational facility for the adults of the future,” she said.
“It takes a village to raise a child and I am so proud of our unique village and surrounding areas.”
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