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Strathmore Community Association

Strathmore Community Association (SCA) existed from 1949 to 1986, and was responsible (as the umbrella organisation) for the establishment of many community clubs and the construction of many community facilities, most notably at the site on the corner of Loeman and Napier Streets in Strathmore, and the establishment of sporting and cultural / social clubs. The following article appeared in the Essendon Gazette (now the Moonee Valley Gazette) on September 17, 1986 at the time of the winding up of the Association.

"After 37 years of community service the Strathmore Community Association folded last week leaving Essendon with many fine buildings and services to sustain its memory.

The man responsible for the winding up, Ernie Angel, one of its longest serving members says the Association's contribution to Strathmore represents the hard work and free time of its leading members over the years.

People like the late Max Johnston, after whom the reserve in Loeman Street is named, and Don Eddy for whom there is a plaque at the Strathmore Hall, commemorating his work, who helped build the social, educational and sports complex at the Napier Street Site.

Mr Angel said that it was the people of the area who gave the association's committee its dynamics and zeal to proceed when the odds were against them.

Formed in 1949, by the members of the Strathmore's Mens Club and the Strathmore Progress Association during the hard times after the World War II, it went on to acquire land at the corner of Loeman and Napier St, Strathmore, where it built the area's first community hall.

Capital works were on the first agenda at the Association's initial meeting chaired by the Shire President, Cr R H Park, of Broadmeadows Council which ran Strathmore before Essendon took over in 1979.

The SCA began work after holding many functions to raise money through creating community awareness of possibilities for the area.

War shortages meant that there was a paucity of materials with which to build the Association's "ambitious" project consisting of a community hall, kindergarten and baby health centre, Mr Angel said.

Strathmore Community Hall
Pictured is Mr Ernie Angel with former treasurer, Mr Bert Barbour, an association member for 34 years (left). They have seen their part of the world develop through the hard work of locals.

The hall structure was merely a series of columns until the building laws were relaxed in the fifties, and the work could proceed at lower cost.

He said the Association's management later launched into a series of projects that established the association as the originator of the Strathmore tennis club, kindergarten, bowling club, hockey club, theatrical group, under 17 football club, hockey club and symphony orchestra.

"These bodies were required to be affiliated to the SCA by the Council and from inception of the kindergarten in 1957, were required to pay a five shilling per member affiliation fee to the Association," Mr Angel said.

The SCA was the recognised management body and the affiliation fee it charged remained at five shilling or about fifty cents until February this year (1986).

"All bodies were however, self governing in their own right and ran matters within each body.

Mr Angel said, since joining in 1956 during his first term as councillor, the affiliation fee was invaluable in running the association.

"Problems arose when contributors began to see themselves as totally independent and able to run their own affairs without the umbrella of the association," Mr Angel said.

"Then the Essendon City Council took over the area in about 1979 and levied substantial rates on the clubs.

"These people rightly objected but also raised objections to paying the affiliation fee as well.

Finally it was agreed to formally conclude the Association on February 28 (1986); and its taken a few months since to sort out the the financial state of the matter."

A plaque paid for from the remaining monies will be mounted on the Napier St site as a momento to the SCA accomplishments.

Papers relating to its history have also been forwarded to the Essendon Historical Society to keep its memory alive.

So ends the pioneering era of the Strathmore Community Association formed by ordinary citizens in the area for the betterment of the other ordinary citizens, Mr Angel said."

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Link to draft plans for the Site at the corner of Loeman and Napier Streets Strathmore. The final layout differed significantly from these earlier drafts.