A Brief History of The Centre

The Centre was the first of its type to be established in Regional Victoria

After meetings and deputations from a number of community interests, the Department of Education decided, in late 1961, that the old high school building in Chisholm Street would be used for a Continuing Education Centre administered by the High School through its Advisory Council.  A High school staff member was seconded to the position of Executive Officer.

The Centre has been operating successfully in the North East of Victoria as a community based provider of adult and community education since 1962

  • The Centre was established officially as the “Continuing Education Classes Centre” and officially opened by Mr McDonnell, the Director of Education on 27 February 1962.
  • The first “administrator” of The Centre was Mr Colin Cave. Colin was regarded as a visionary in the adult education world, and was Executive Officer from 1962 – 1971.
  • In The Centre’s first year, 105 men and 266 women enrolled in 21 classes. Today over 5000 people participate.
  • 1980 – Accountability was transferred from the Education Department to the Council of Adult Education.  Funding came from the Regional Board of Technical and Further Education.
  • 1984 – Three steps were taken to expand the geographic emphasis on the local area.
    • A ‘planning and development’ sub committee of The Centre Committee was established.
    • A proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Education for a twelve month research project.
    • Application was made for a TAFE Particular Purpose Grant for a Women’s Access Project.  Needs identified: residents of rural communities, the aged, shift workers and women at home.
  • 1985 – The Centre published a research project on education needs of adults and older people living in rural communities. The results of the research led to the establishment of BRIGHT ADULT EDUCATION and KING VALLEY LEARNING EXCHANGE, and later a regional network of adult education providers.  The Centre also played a role in establishing the Wangaratta U3A.
  • 1987 – 1990 – New project areas were introduced: Distance Education; Learning Connections; Energy Education; Basic Education; Job Train; Older Workers Retention Project; VCE; Developmental Disabilities, Volunteer Resource Bureau
  • 1993 – Significant growth as The Centre was successful in tendering for Employment and other programs. 40 staff employed.  New Work Opportunities, Landcare Environment Action Programs, Job Club, NEIS,SIP, OTFE, ALBE, CGEA, Leisure for Everybody, Driver Education, Research projects
  • 1997 – The Centre and Benalla FORUM merged.  The name Benalla FORUM was retained until January 2000 when the new logo, branding, and image were launched

2010 –  The opening and completion of a major capital works project. The extension to our Chisholm Street building allowed us to bring staff back together on one site, operate a commercial kitchen, create more learning and multipurpose spots, as well as renovate the customer service area.

2012– Celebration of 50 years! The Centre celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary with a series of events throughout 2012 including:

  • Live radio broadcast with Edge FM/3NE
  • Open Day
  • Hosted a Business Wangaratta/Business After Hours Event
  • Exhibition displaying original images from the beginning of The Centre
  • Celebratory 50th Dinner
  • 50th Anniversary Book

TODAY The Centre is a vibrant provider of a range of adult education and learning opportunities including: 

  • Youth programs
  • Language and Literacy
  • Accredited Vocational Education Programs
  • Individually tailored training programs for businesses and enterprises
  • Training Packages
  • Business management programs
  • “Training arm” for large and small businesses
  • Disability access
  • Basic skills training
  • Victorian Certificate of Education
  • Community Visiting
  • Voluntary Work Initiative and Volunteer Resource Centre
  • Sport North East promotes the vital importance of building, maintaining and encouraging active sport and recreation activities, ensuring that people of all abilities able to participate. Programs include: Access for All Abilities, Good Sports Program, Regional Sports and Recreation Program, Club Help, Healthy Sporting Environments, Act Belong Commit